The rapid rise of the bourgeoisie
The bourgeoisie does not like to be reminded that it came to power through a bloody revolution, and not through gradual reforms. When the old ruling classes (feudal lords, the landowning aristocracy) refused to leave, revolution was the only way to move society forward. But then the revolution was in the interests of the rising bourgeoisie.
In historical bourgeois revolutions, for example, in the English Revolution of 1642-1651, or the famous French Revolution of 1789, we see that the bourgeoisie resorted to violent revolution with great bloodshed and death to establish their rule. Although we can read articles about these events, mourning the "unfortunate" who fell under the blow of the bourgeoisie, we do not see the same condemnations that fall upon the Great October Revolution.
Why is this so? The answer is very simple. The English and French revolutions brought to power the bourgeoisie, the same class that rules today. They broke the chains of the old feudal system, holding back the development of capitalism, a system in its infancy, and laid the foundation for the tremendous development of productive forces, science and technology. Along with this, new rights appeared, of course, bourgeois, but nevertheless they were progressive in comparison with those that dominated under feudalism.
In 1989, in France - and around the world - there were magnificent celebrations on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution. Of course, the celebrations ignored the real meaning of 1789. This was more connected with the fear of a new revolution. However, this event was celebrated, despite all the violence, death and bloodshed.
But when it comes to the October Revolution, everything happens differently. And the reason is clear: the October Revolution put an end to capitalism and landlord economy, it removed the hated tsarist regime from power and laid the foundation for the process of building a workers' state. That's why they hate her so much - she gave an example to workers all over the world, an example that they could look at and emulate when mass communist parties arose in many countries, and the October Revolution was reflected all over the world, from the German revolution of November 1918 to the Spanish Revolution of 1931-1937.
It is precisely because Lenin and the Bolsheviks showed that a workers revolution is possible, that workers can come to power and begin the process of transforming society, so much attention is paid to distortion historical the truth. This has nothing to do with the use of violence. This is just an image of the bloodthirsty, distraught Lenin, an image that can be used as a scarecrow whenever the question of the social revolution is raised as a necessary means of achieving real changes in society. This is done in order to scare away the radically minded youth and workers from the Communists, Marxists.
The October Revolution of 1917 was actually a relatively peaceful event. In the main cities, the support of the Bolsheviks at that time was so overwhelming that the old regime simply collapsed and showed almost no organized resistance. Violence began after the revolution, as the Civil War began. It was started because the old exploiters, the tsarist land aristocracy and capitalists refused to accept the will of the people, which entailed the expropriation of the landlords and capitalists. Thus they launched a war against the Soviet government. The Bolsheviks had to repulse everything that they had in order to preserve the young workers' state.
The truth is that if the October Revolution did not take place, the revolutionary workers, peasants and soldiers would be drowned in blood. In late August - early September 1917, General Kornilov gathered his troops in the vicinity of Petrograd. He prepared his so-called wild division, experienced fighters from the Caucasus, to enter the city and drown the revolution in blood.
His goal was not to defend democracy, but to establish a military dictatorship to restore the old order. As the historian Mayer writes in his book Furies: Violence and Terror in the French and Russian Revolution:
"... trying to restore the old regime and empire, even if they were deprived of the Romanov dynasty, the last [tsarist officers] were just as hostile to liberal or socialist democracy as to proletarian dictatorship."
According to some historians, Kornilov ordered not to take prisoners and not even save the wounded from the battlefields. His defeat at the hands of the Petrograd workers led by the Bolsheviks saved the Russian masses from a particularly brutal dictatorship, which would be the Russian version of fascism.
The White Terror that followed during the Civil War led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children, as well as to mass executions of peasants who supported the Bolsheviks. Kornilov after escaping from prison said: "... the more terror, the greater our victories." When he gathered his forces (even before the formation of the Red Army) for a total counter-revolutionary war, he vowed that his goals should be fulfilled, even if it means "burn out half the country and shed the blood of three quarters of all Russians." Kornilov also contributed to anti-Semitic pogroms in an attempt to restore the old pre-revolutionary regimes of the tsarist regime.
When we say that he wanted the old regime, let's not forget what kind of regime it was. In January 1905, an event occurred that went down in history as Bloody Sunday. A peaceful demonstration gathered in front of the Winter Palace, in which about 140 thousand people took part to appeal to the tsar. The answer they received was a bitter lesson, showing the true nature of the king and his regime. Troops opened fire on the unarmed masses, killing hundreds and injuring thousands. It was then that Tsar Nicholas II became known as Nicholas the Bloody.
It is this story that explains the hatred of the Russian masses towards the tsarist regime. And then Lenin wrote from exile in Switzerland:
“... the working class has received the great lesson of civil war; in one day the revolutionary education of the proletariat stepped forward in a way that it could not have stepped into the months and years of a gray, mundane, clogged life. The slogan of the heroic Petersburg proletariat “death or freedom!” Is now echoing throughout Russia.
If Kornilov had won the Civil War, then there would have been a much worse “bloody Sunday”. And what will bourgeois historians now say? Without a doubt, they will justify this as a necessary means of maintaining the established order, and little will be said about “violence and bloodshed”! The fact is that it would be blood shed in defense of private property, the privileges of the elite, its right to exploit the workers and peasants and continue the centuries-old suffering of the poor working masses.
Churchill decided to use chemical weapons in the war against the Bolsheviks
What really prevailing bourgeois historians cannot recognize is that the October Revolution succeeded thanks to the massive support of the workers and peasants. During the ensuing Civil War, as the Red Army advanced, land was taken from the landlords and distributed to the peasants. Whenever White’s army conquered areas, these progressive measures were reversed.
In despair, Churchill ordered chemical weapon against the Bolsheviks. An article that appeared in The Guardian in September 2013 titled “The shocking use of chemical weapons by Winston Churchill”explains what happened in 1919:
“... as a long-standing supporter of chemical warfare, he was determined to use them against the Bolsheviks. In the summer of 1919, Churchill planned and carried out a continuous chemical attack on the north of Russia. ”
A new chemical weapon has been developed that can deliver a very toxic gas, diphenylamine chloroarsine. Major General Charles Foulkes, who is responsible for this project, called it "the most effective chemical weapon ever invented." This gas caused uncontrolled vomiting, coughing up blood and fainting of the victims.
Sir Kit Price, director of chemical weapons production, was convinced that this would very quickly lead to the collapse of Bolshevik power in the Soviet Union. At the end of August 1919, several villages captured by the Bolsheviks were bombarded with shells fired with this gas, but the weapon proved to be less effective than Churchill had hoped, and very soon its use was discontinued.
But let's think for a moment. Here we are dealing with a British political leader, whom the same historians, who condemn the violence of the Red Army, are called a democrat, and who was ready to use chemical weapons indiscriminately against Russian peasant villages. Again, the contrast is striking to the nth degree.
Massacre of the Paris Commune
If one of the readers is not convinced that the White Terror would lead to a bloody massacre, he should look at what happened to the courageous Communards during the short existence of the Paris Commune in 1871. How many students have ever been told what happened in Paris in March, April and May of that year? The answer to this question can be reduced to one thing: the defeat of Emperor Napoleon III in September 1870 in the Franco-Prussian War.
In fact, the Paris Commune was the first time in history when workers deliberately tried to take control of society. If someone wants to know more about this glorious episode in the history of the working class, he can read the works of Marx's Civil War in France, Lenin's On the Paris Commune, and Lessons from the Commune.
As soon as the reactionary troops of the Versailles regime entered Paris, a systematic massacre of communards began, and, according to various sources, from 18000 to 20000 communards were executed during the Semaine Sanglante (Bloody Week), and thousands of others were either imprisoned or sent to the link.
The events of the collapse of the Paris Commune show the true face of the French bourgeoisie in the face of the threat of a social revolution that could take away all its privileges and put an end to its despotic rule. In their view, this level of violence was justified. Here we see again that it is not violence itself that is a key element in assessing whether it was justified, but the fact that it was used to defend the existing order.
The rise of Italian fascism
While a revolution was taking place in Russia, a variety of revolutionary unrest erupted in the world, threatening the power of the ruling classes in other countries. One of these unrest occurred in Italy, where in August 1917 in Turin, grain riots broke out, led by representatives of the working class, which quickly grew into mass anti-war protests of the working class with armed clashes between workers and state forces. In the end, the movement was brutally suppressed, many workers were killed. According to bourgeois sources, at least 50 people were killed, 200 injured, and 822 workers arrested. Other sources say that the death toll could reach 500 people, because the bodies were taken away very quickly. Authorities tried to stop the spread News about this event.
It was only a harbinger of the fact that the working class of Italy could and was ready to go over to an open revolution. But this was not the first time that Italian state authorities shot and killed protesting workers. There has been a long history of violent government repression against worker protests. One of the most famous took place back in 1898 - the Beva-Beccaris massacre, named after the general who ordered the workers to be shot during mass food riots in Milan. On May 7, 1898, 60000 striking workers marched towards the center of Milan. General Beva Beccaris stationed his troops in the Piazza del Duomo, Milan's main central square. As the workers advanced, the general gave the order to shoot at the demonstrators, including artillery. Eighty protesters were killed and 450 injured, according to official statements.
After World War I, a huge wave of worker-peasant struggle rose in Italy. Peasants seized land, especially in the south, while in industrial centers, mainly in the north, workers occupied factories. However, this did not turn into a revolution (why - the topic for a separate article).
As soon as the immediate threat of revolution passed, the bourgeoisie struck back with a vengeance. She began to support and finance the Mussolini fascists, using them as shock troops against the revolutionary workers.
Mussolini founded his fascist party in 1919, and initially only small forces were gathered around him. But after the money of the wealthy capitalists began to pour in the river, the Mussolini party began to grow stronger. In return, Mussolini and his fascist gangs raided trade unions and socialist organizations, as well as intimidating KPI figures. At the peak of the power of the Mussolini party, in 1922, he organized the famous "March to Rome" when the king appointed him prime minister. The dictatorship was declared later, in 1926.
What fascism meant for the working class
In April 1926, trade unions were replaced by fascist "corporations", which were under the direct control of the regime. The right to strike was revoked. This was a response to the revolutionary movement of 1918-1920, during which the workers achieved a significant increase in wages and an eight-hour working day. In May 1927, a 10 percent reduction in wages was introduced, followed by a further reduction in October of that year, which led to an overall annual reduction in wages of 20 percent. In 1930, the Italian Industrialists' Association demanded a further reduction in labor costs, and the regime introduced another 8 percent reduction in wages, and in 1934 another. And although, faced with high inflation in the mid-late 1930s, the regime was forced to make some increase in wages, the overall reduction in the real wages of workers between 1922 and 1943 was 25 percent.
In the process of strengthening their power, the fascist gangs organized a systematic campaign of arson of the offices of the Communist Party, Socialist Party and trade unions, attacks on meetings of the labor movement and killings of key workers and peasant leaders. According to Gaetano Salvemini (quoted from the book “Le origini del fascismo in Italia”),
"about three thousand people died at the hands of the Nazis in two years."
The most famous was the case of Giacomo Matteotti, a member of the Socialist Party, who publicly condemned the 1924 election as a hoax, accusing the government of fraud and fraud. He was killed on June 10 of that year. The killers acted on the direct orders of Mussolini himself, who by that time was already the prime minister.
Churchill, the American ambassador, the pope - all supported Mussolini
What was the reaction of the "democratic West" to all this? Winston Churchill, who was subsequently introduced during the Second World War as “a fighter for democracy and freedom,” Mussolini said at a press conference in Rome in January 1927 the following:
“If I were Italian, I’m sure I would be completely with you from beginning to end your victorious struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism.”
The fact that Churchill later came into conflict with Mussolini was not at all connected with the struggle for democracy. This was due to the fact that Italy ultimately sided with Hitler and threatened the vital interests of Great Britain. But in his crush on the Italian working class, Churchill fully supported Mussolini.
Such was the approach of the leading British bourgeois politician. But what was the point of view of American leaders? In 1928, an English translation of Mussolini's autobiography was published in New York. The foreword to the book was written by the former US ambassador to Italy (from May 1921 to February 1924) Richard Washburn Child.
The following suggestions, taken from the foreword to this book, are enough to indicate whether the “democratic” United States supported Mussolini:
“I knew well a man who now finally wrote characteristically, directly and simply about myself, to whom I have a deep affection ... in our time, one can penetratingly predict that no person will show greatness equal to the greatness of Mussolini ... I knew him before of how the world as a whole, outside of Italy, had ever heard of him ... when I first saw him, he came to my residence shortly before going to Rome. "
In the memoirs of Richard Washburn Child, “The Diplomat Looks at Europe” (1925), there is a chapter on Mussolini, full of praise to the Nazis, and he clearly sees in them the saviors of Italy and the bulwark against the threat of communism.
What about the catholic church? Pius XI was an inveterate anti-communist. “We have many interests that need to be protected,” said the pope shortly after Mussolini’s campaign in Rome in 1922. Mussolini relied on the pope to strengthen his power and achieve his political goals. Later, the official Catholic hierarchy created the myth that the church fought against fascism. Although some local priests were indeed on the side of ordinary people, the Vatican under Pius XI played an important role in helping Mussolini strengthen his power. Mussolini expressed his gratitude for the restoration of many privileges previously lost by the church.
Thus, we see how a bourgeois “democratic” member of the “mother of all parliaments”, an American diplomat and the leader of the Catholic Church, did not hesitate to support the bloody regime responsible for the deaths of so many people, simply because it was in their material interests. The same people attacked the Bolsheviks for their violence, again not for violence in itself, but because it was revolutionary violence carried out in defense of the workers and peasants, who removed capitalists and landlords from power. We see how these people use and condone violence when it seeks to protect private property.
The massacre of Chinese Communists in 1927
The Chinese revolution of 1925-1927 was another historic moment when the workers tried to take their fate into their own hands. However, due to the weakness of the Chinese working class, the attempt failed. The defeat of the revolution again led to a terrible bloodbath with tens of thousands of workers killed.
During 1927 and 1928, a series of massacres took place, the first of which occurred in Shanghai in March-April 1927. Thousands of activists were killed. In May, the Kuomintang staged another massacre in Changsha when about 10000 Communists were killed. Between April and December 1927, according to historians, 38000 people were executed and more were imprisoned. Between January and August 1928, more than 27000 people were sentenced to death. By 1930, the Chinese Communist Party estimated that around 140000 people were killed or died in prison. In 1931, another 38000 people were executed.
All this was done with the support of all imperialist powers, primarily the United States and England. Again, the Western imperialists, the local landowners, and the bourgeois saw in all these killings the need to maintain their rule over the Chinese masses.
Japan invades, but Chan's priority is to annihilate the Communists
Much has been said about the millions who died in the course of many years of fighting in China, but the responsibility for this lies with the Chinese capitalists, landowners and imperialists, whose interests they served. They were not ready to give up their land and their profits. The Chinese bourgeoisie considered fighting against the communists more important than repelling the invasion of the Japanese. This was repeatedly demonstrated during the Japanese invasion. This is not the first time in history when we see that the ruling class has more in common with enemy invaders than with its own people.
Strengthening his power in 1927, Chiang Kai-shek focused on the destruction of the Communists. This laid the foundation for what later became known as the “Long March,” when the Communists fled from cities and reorganized into partisan armies in remote areas. In 1931, the Japanese invaded China, capturing Manchuria, and then deployed troops in Central China, not far from Beijing. But instead of concentrating his forces against the Japanese, Chiang Kai-shek deployed the bulk of his forces near Yanan, the province where the communist forces concentrated ...