- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Correction / clarification

Posted by: Barry Stoller on February 20, 19100 at 09:31:30:

In Reply to: upon claims... posted by Samuel Day Fassbinder on February 19, 19100 at 19:50:20:

Stoller: You have proved MY claim: that the Bolsheviks had the support of the majority of Russia at the time of the revolution.

RD: A majority of a reduced turn-out, and some mere 198,000 votes out of a population of 200 million. Further, it was a *slight* majority...

SDF: You'll note that this makes arguments of convenience out of arguments about what the nonvoting masses "really think"... if they didn't vote for party A or party B this means they 1) didn't support any party, 2) were just too busy to vote at all, 3) supported all parties but felt no obligation to choose, 4) really supported party A but didn't make it to the polls, 5) really supported party B but didn't make it to the polls, or 6) feel free to spout any of the above or anything else one wants, according to one's prior political indoctrination...

First off, my opening statement was incorrectly phrased. I meant to say that the overwhelming majority of WORKERS AND POOR PEASANTS supported the Bolsheviks. As my post continued, this distinction was clearly expressed throughout. (What should the working class care about the sentiments of the bourgeoisie, large or small? Marx, as I demonstrated here, defended the use of proletariat terror to prevent reactionary control of elections.)

Secondly, if I understand you right, you are trying to demonstrate that my conviction that the 51% of Americans who currently do not vote are rejecting the political choices presented to them is specious based on the large absention of Russian voters in the Soviets' election of September of 1917. If so, you are comparing onions and apples. Suffrage in America is a very old institution whereas suffrage in post-Tsarist Russia was VERY new. As I've said before, it stands to reason that present-day Americans, after decades upon decades of ineffectual ballot-voting, would reject the whole institution. It does not stand to reason that post-Tsarist Russians would feel the same.

That said, there were many Russians who did not vote in 1917. Let's consider the widespread illiteracy of Russia, the semi-feudal conditions in which it would have been easy for many peasants to have been deterred from voting (by landowners), monarchist / landowner rejection of the institution of Soviets (democracy), etc., etc.

In short, your comparison (if I understand what you said right) is not apt.

: The revolution will come about, if it comes about at all, not through some sentiment that "naturally" accompanies capitalist development, but rather instead through the conscientization (i.e. the learning process) of the working class...

Agreed. The objective conditions must certainly be there (i.e. centralization of developed industry, etc.) but also the subjective conditions (class-consciousness of the proletariat) must be there as well. Hence, my support for a political party that does just that.

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