Communism’s first trial should have been a slam dunk, instead it got Lenin and Stalin, and, to be sure, a most vicious and creepy counterrevolutionary range of forces that certainly didn’t help at the crucial gestation.
We have criticized this site already but should reiterate our lament over the lost opportunity of the Russian revolution. The marxist left is still singing the hymn of Lenin when that legacy is one of failure. Lenin remarkably ignited a starting point and as remarkably enabled the revolution to survive the forces of counterrevolution besetting the starting point. But in the end the bolsheviks had no real platform to realize and created a pseudo-communist fake that has ended up discrediting the whole left. Where is the (marxist) left now at a time of immense crisis? It is defunct because of the memories of bolshevism. We have placed part of the blame on Marx and Engels who refused to specify what they meant by a postcapitalist communism, a fatal mistake generated by Marx’s incorrect theories. Lenin had no grasp whatever of what a new society required and in the end it was Stalin who filled that void with something grotesque. The legacies of War Communism, and the NEP are of course a part of that confused realization.
Such a moment required a detailed blueprint for a new democratic society based on the expropriation of capital, a viable and innovative solution to the question of a socialist economy and much else. Instead it got Lenin as a dictator and a one party state with no grasp of their situation or opportunity. It is not surprising the whole international sputtered and ended in failure.
Our blueprint for ‘democratic market neo-communism’ suggests, itself incomplete no doubt, some of the pieces needed in the unfolding of an immensely complex transition, detailed enough to bypass the complete mess made by the bolsheviks, before event the coming of Stalin, of a unique opportunity…
In drawing up a balance sheet of 1918, the first and most important point is that, against all the odds, the Russian Revolution of October 1917 survived. Lenin held a small celebration when the revolution outlasted the three months or so of the Paris Commune. He had thought the survival of the revolution would be touch and go, as it was. But in early February 1918, when the Paris Commune milestone was passed, the forces of reaction were still gathering.