Russian Revolution Centenary: Capitalists Still Really Hate Socialism

American troops (here and above) were part of 14 imperialist armies that invaded in 1918-19 to destroy the revolution. Many refused to fight.

In fact, they really really hate socialism. The wall street journalalways the guardian of the interests of the working class and oppressed peoples, issued warnings that socialism was the “greatest catastrophe in the history of mankind” and that socialism “has caused at least 65 million deaths , according to the ‘careful research’ of demographers.”

A few days later, another Journal article explained that there were in fact “100 million dead”. Oh good?

The truth is that these numbers are more like the atrocious record of imperialism: the 27 million Soviets, overwhelmingly civilians, killed during the Nazi invasion of 1941-45, the millions who died during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1921, the total of 17 million dead worldwide during World War I, more than 50 million dead in World War II, the 4 million dead in the Japanese, French and American wars against Vietnam, and 3 million more in Korea, to name a few wars waged against the peoples oppressed by imperialism.

Establishment media sows confusion

Not to be outdone in confusion, in a New York Times Opinion Page, Arthur Montefiore asserts that “President Trump is in many ways the personification of the new Bolshevism”. Montefiore also asserts that “without Lenin there would have been no Hitler”. However, he shows his attitude towards Lenin by stating that “the (provisional) government should have found him and killed him”.

Mr. Montefiore laments that during Russia‘s Civil War, “any coordinated attack by the White armies, the other side of the Russian Civil War, or any intervention by Western forces would have swept away the Bolsheviks.” Why didn’t it happen?

The fact is that in 1918, some 14 imperialist armies, 255,000 soldiers in total, invaded Russia in an attempt to suppress the revolution – mainly from the United States, England and France. The United States and Britain also sent arms shipments to several counter-revolutionary armies led by former Tsarist generals. But all this, apparently, was not enough to get the job done. Why not?

The Russian Revolution had the support of workers around the world

One might ask why did the Russian Revolution succeed after all? With millions dead in the First World War, with an exhausted, starving population, surrounded by hostile armies, stranded without allies, with a tiny industrial production of the pre-war base, what saved the revolution ? Wait… No allies? Let’s see …

The only way the revolution could have been saved, against all these obstacles, was because it had the full support of millions of workers and peasants in Russia, as well as the solidarity of millions of workers and soldiers in the world. The truth is, no one wanted to fight the Bolsheviks except the capitalists, landowners, aristocrats and other Wall Street types. But they never do their own fighting, they need workers to do it. It’s their problem.

American soldiers mutinied

Simply put, the soldiers sent by all the imperialist countries did not want to fight the Bolsheviks. For example, American soldiers in Murmansk, Russia mutinied in 1919, as noted in “American intervention in Russia 1918-1920: the forgotten mutiny.

The report explained that “American soldiers actually fought and died on the battlefield of northern Russia against the Soviets between the years of 1918 and 1919. Advisors to US President Woodrow Wilson…persuaded him that the Germans had installed the Soviets in power and that the United States should in turn send an “experimental” survey of American soldiers to Russia to spark a Russian uprising against the Soviets…. that the Russian people fervently hated the Soviets and longed for a new government.

However, the soldiers didn’t quite see it that way: in a letter to US General Pershing, one officer lamented: “The morale of our troops is at its lowest since the signing of the armistice with Germany. The men and some of the officers seem unable to understand why they should be kept in Russia after the fighting with Germany has ended. With the question of why they fought in Russia, American troop morale quickly dropped.

A US general said the anti-Communist Russian forces, “twice mutinied, are unreliable and have little sympathy for the allies”. Another officer complained that the Russian troops were “responsible” for the Allied effort (!). He explained that most Allied commanders held suspicious opinions of Russian soldiers because they feared they held “Bolshevik opinions”. Although President Wilson hoped that the Russian population would “valiantly support the small expeditionary force and fight the Bolsheviks, no massive army of Russian volunteers evolved”.

This eventually led to a troop mutiny and American troops were withdrawn.

The Russian Revolution survived and entered into history; the first to declare it a constitutional right to a job, to free health care, to legalize abortion, to equal rights for women, including universal suffrage, to organize a Soviet of Nationalities, where each nation would need to be consulted on important issues, abolished anti-gay laws, etc. That this revolution was finally overthrown does not detract from its historical significance.

Capitalists still worried

Why, we must ask ourselves, 26 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, after the capitalist press around the world so confidently declared the “victory” of the Cold War against the Soviet Union and “the end of story,” does she still spend time attacking socialism? ? Because they are worried.

The fact is, the demise of the Soviet Union brought the misery of capitalist exploitation back to Russia and the former Soviet republics, as evidenced by the reduced life expectancy from 65 in 1987 to 58 in 1994 (NY Times 8/28/17).

It also ushered in a new “golden age” for American capitalism and renewed attacks on the working class here. Freed from any comparison with socialism (or so the capitalists thought), inequality soared; racism, misogyny and other capitalists
the evils grew. The rich got much richer, the poor and working people got poorer, but in the United States a new, stronger resistance movement began to grow.

The reality is that while the workers can do without the capitalists, the capitalists can do nothing without the exploitation of the workers and the oppressed. It is our work that produces their profits. We work cooperatively – labor under capitalism is socialized. But the premium that is produced is taken by the capitalists. The profits are taken for the benefit of the few – the banks and the financial oligarchs. There is socialized production and capitalist expropriation.

Across the country, workers, especially young people, are abuzz and looking for answers. The Occupy Wall St., Black Lives Matter and Bernie Sanders campaigns in 2016 showed that millions of workers are open to socialist ideas. This means that they realize that they can very well do without the capitalists. No amount of capitalist media confusion can change that.