'All Power to the Soviets?' - Biography of a slogan

Lih, Lars
Date Written:  2017-03-24
Publisher:  Links
Year Published:  2017
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21800

The origins of one of the most famous slogans in revolutionary history: "All power to the Soviets!" in its original context of Russia in 1917.



The political strategy behind the slogan "All Power to the Soviets!" is based firmly on the application of old Bolshevism to the prevailing circumstances in Russia after the February revolution. The heart of Old Bolshevism was a reading of the constellation of class forces in Russia in the aftermath of the 1905 revolution -- the so-called "driving forces of the revolution." This reading gave rise to a political strategy that the Bolsheviks called "hegemony" (not to be confused with later uses of the protean word). We will examine the hegemony strategy in detail later in the series, but we can summarize it here: the Bolsheviks must strive for a vlast based on the workers and peasants that would carry the revolution "to the end" (achieve the maximum of political and social transformation available at the time) in opposition to the drive of anti-tsarist liberals to halt the revolution as soon as possible.
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