Thursday, August 18, 2005

I am the Walrus?

“For many observers, then and later, this was strange sort of socialism. Most of the classical works of socialist theory not only in Russia but throughout Europe had started from the premise that socialism’s introduction would involve an immediate expansion of political participation, mass creativity, democratic and legal rights and practices, popular consultation and industrial democracy. Before 1917 there was already plenty of reason to question whether Lenin, the eulogist for dictatorship, was properly categorized as socialist. He was not the only self-styled socialist who evoked such objections; similar criticism had been made of the whole tradition of advocates of dictatorship; Louis-Auguste Blanqui in France, Wilhelm Weitling in Germany and Pjotr Tkachev in Russia. But, unlike them, Lenin had come to power.

In the eyes of the Mensheviks […] his Sovnarkum had unjustly called itself a socialist government and had besmirched the name of socialism[…] Such a conflation mortified non-Leninist socialists since it resulted in conservatives and liberals everywhere claiming that the inevitable consequence of any conceivable socialist government would be the sort of political, social and economic oppression that characterized Lenin’s Russia.”

Lenin; A Biography by Robert Service p.355

1 comment:

Andrew Gabriel Rose said...

By the way, the concept of an engagement period began in 1215 at the Fourth Lateran Council, when Pope Innocent III declared a longer waiting period between betrothal and marriage. Dick.