Hundredth Anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution: Hoisted

Must-Read: Julius Martov (1920): The state and the socialist revolution": "Reality has cruelly shattered all these illusions...

...The "Soviet State" has not established in any instance electoral recall of public officials and the commanding staff. It has not suppressed the professional police. It has not assimilated the courts in direct jurisdiction by the masses. It has not done away with social hierarchy in production. It has not lessened the total subjection of the local community to the power of the State.

On the contrary, in proportion to its evolution, the Soviet State shows a tendency in the opposite direction. It shows a tendency toward intensified centralism of the State, a tendency toward the utmost possible strengthening of the principles of hierarchy and compulsion. It shows a tendency toward the development of a more specialized apparatus of repression than before. It shows a tendency toward the greater independence of the usually elective functions and the annihilation of the control of these functions by the electoral masses. It shows a tendency toward the total freedom of the executive organisms from the tutelage of the electors.

In the crucible of reality, the "power of the Soviets" has become the "soviet power—power that originally issued from the Soviets but has steadily become independent from the Soviets.

We must believe that the Russian ideologists of the soviet system have not renounced entirely their notion of a non-Statal social order, the aim of the revolution. But as they see matters now, the road to this non-Statal social order no longer lies in the progressive atrophy of the functions and institutions that have been forged by the bourgeois State, as they said they saw things in 1917. Now it appears that their way to a social order that would be free from the State lies in the hypertrophy—the excessive development—of these functions and in the resurrection, under an altered aspect, of most State institutions typical of the bourgeois era.

The shrewd people continue to repudiate democratic parliamentarism. But they no longer repudiate, at the same time, those instruments of State power to which parliamentarism was a counterweight within bourgeois society: bureaucracy, police, a permanent army with commanding cadres that are independent of the soldiers, courts that are above control by the community, etc.

In contrast to the bourgeois State, the State of the transitional revolutionary period ought to be an apparatus for the "repression of the minority by the majority."... In reality, the Soviet State continues to be... a government apparatus resting in the hands of a minority.... The "power of the Soviets" is being replaced with the power of a certain party... [that] becomes the essential State institution, the framework and axis of the entire system of "soviet republics."!...

The "soviet regime" becomes the means of bringing into power and maintaining in power a revolutionary minority which claims to defend the interests of a majority, though the latter has not recognized these interests as its own, though this majority has not attached itelf sufficiently to these interests to defend them with all its energy and deter- mination...

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