The Bolsheviks and Workers' Control
The State and Counter-Revolution
Year Published: 1970
Resource Type: Book
Cx Number: CX6188
A pamphlet exposing the struggle that took place over the running of workplaces in the immediate aftermath of the Russian Revolution. In doing so not only does it demolish the romantic Leninist "history" of the relationship between the working class and their party during these years (1917-21) but it also provides a backbone to understanding why the Russian revolution failed in the way it did. From this understanding flows alternative possibilities of revolutionary organization.
Bolshevism will eventually be seen to have been a monstrous aberration, the last garb donned by a bourgeois ideology as it was being subverted at the roots. Bolshevism's emphasis on the incapacity of the masses to achieve a socialist consciousness through their own experience of life under capitalism, its prescription of a hierarchically structured "vanguard party" and of "centralization to fight the centralized state power of the bourgeoisie", its proclamation of the "historical birthright" of those who have accepted a particular vision of society (and of its future) and the decreed right to dictate this vision to others - if necessary at the point of a gun - all these will be recognized for what they are: the last attempt of bourgeois society to reassert its ordained division into leaders and led, and to maintain authoritarian social relations in all aspects of human life.
To be meaningful the revolution to come will have to be profoundly libertarian. It will be based on a real assimilation of the whole Russian experience. It will refuse to exchange one set of rulers for another, one bunch of exploiters for another, one lot of priests for another, one authoritarianism for another, or one constricting orthodoxy for another. It will have to root out all such false solutions which are but so many residual manifestations of man's continued alienation.