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1905 (Anglais) Broché – 1 février 1972

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5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Dress Rehearsal To The Bolshevik-Led October 1917 Russian Revolution 4 mars 2011
Par Alfred Johnson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
The author of this book, a central Soviet leader of the Russian Revolution of 1905 and of the Bolshevik-led revolution in 1917 as well as one of the 20th century's larger-than-life revolutionary figures, Leon Trotsky, noted, as have others, that the unsuccessful 1905 revolution acted as a "dress rehearsal" for the Bolshevik-led October 1917 revolution. And thus this book was intended to, and does, give a bird's eye view from a key participant about the lessons to be drawn from the failure of that first revolution, both the strategic and tactical military and political lessons. And from reading many histories of the October of 1917 revolution from all kinds of political perspectives, Trotsky and Lenin at least, learned those lessons very well.

The presentations in this book actually were written in several different periods, the central part was written while Trotsky was in European exile in 1908(after a harrowing escape from the hazards of a court-imposed internal Siberian exile). Trotsky first hones in on a sociological, political, economic and cultural overview of the trends leading up to the 1905 events. He also analyzes the key "sparking" event, the January 9th march (old calendar) by the hat-in-hand workers to petition the Tsar for the redress of pressing grievances that turned into a massacre, the subsequent months long waves of political and economic strikes that forced some timid Tsarist constitutional innovations in October, the creation of the soviets (workers councils) in that period and its subsequent arrest as a body, and the pivotal, although unsuccessful, Moscow insurrection that ended the period of active revolutionary upheaval. Other parts of the book include polemics against various liberal and social democratic opponents (more on those below), the trial of the Soviet deputies, including Trotsky's stellar use of the courtroom as a platform to defend the Soviet's actions from strikes to insurrection. The very last part, which kind of puts paid to the period, is a detailed description of his Siberian escape, the stuff of legend.

A quick summary of the basic strategic concepts of the Russian revolution is in order here to make sense of what the various working class organizations (and others) were trying to achieve in the 1905 revolution. It comes down to three concepts: the Menshevik social-democratic view (also essentially shared by the liberal capitalists, the peasant-based social-revolutionaries, and most of the radical intelligentsia) that economically backward (compared to European capitalist and imperialist development), peasant-dominated (including vast peasant-dominated national minorities), and autocratic Russia was ripe for a bourgeois revolution of the Western-type led by the bourgeois before any thought of socialism could be projected; the Bolshevik social-democratic view which also argued for a bourgeois revolution of a more or less short duration but with the understanding that the Russian bourgeois was too tied to world imperialism to lead such a movement and also argued that it would be led by an alliance of the urban workers carrying the bulk of the peasantry with them (especially on the long unresolved land question); and, the Trotsky radical social-democratic view that the urban workers (and urban allies) also including that Russia mandatory peasant alliance would not only fight for the historic gains associated with the bourgeois revolution (quench land hunger, create a unified nation-state, form some kind of popular government with wide representation) but, of necessity, also form a workers and peasants government to start on the road to socialist construction. That is the core of his theory of permanent revolution (later, in the late 1920s, extended to other countries of belated capitalist development) associated thereafter with his name.

This thumbnail sketch does not do justice to all the intricacies of each position but, after reading this book one should understand those positions better and note, at least in passing, that Trotsky seems even in 1908 to have the better of the argument after having seriously drawn the lesson of his own experience and observed that the Russian bourgeoisie, for many reasons, had no heart to lead a revolution and were quite comfortable making its peace with Tsarist society. He also noted that the peasantry was too amorphous, too driven by its land hunger, and too scattered in the countryside to lead a modern revolution. But that is music for the future. Certainly even in 1908 (or earlier) as he was fighting a rear-guard action against his various political opponent, including Lenin) to defend his political perspectives he earned the title bestowed on him by George Bernard Shaw as the "prince of pamphleteers." Even one hundred years later I am glad, glad as hell, that I am not the one that he is polemizing against with his pen. The wounds still would not have healed.

Of course the theory of permanent revolution, recognized as such or codified in full or not later by the Bolsheviks, turned out to be the fighting formula for the Bolshevik-led October revolution. The liberal bourgeoisie (led by the Kadet Party) turned out to be even more venal that it had been in 1905; the Mensheviks tried to pass a camel through the eye of a needle to try to keep giving power to the bourgeoisie, including taking part in their provisional government; and the social revolutionary-led peasantry turned to the Bolsheviks (at least important elements, including the peasant soldiers) when the latter supported land seizures by the poorer peasants. An attentive reader will see that scenario develop in embryo after reading this important eye witness work.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Brian Wayne Wells, Esquire, reviews "1905" by Leon Trotsky 12 mars 1998
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This is a history of the 1905 revolt in St. Petersburg Russia which became the "great prologue to the revolutionary drama of 1917." The book was written by one of the leading participants in that revolt--Leon Trotsky.
Unlike many of Trotsky's later writings this 1908 book covers the historical events of 1905 without regard to political considerations of the Trotsky/Stalin conflict of the 1920s. Thus we are able to enjoy free-wheeling style of writing in the book free of the guarded language and descriptions which characterizes much of his other works. With its descriptions of the economic conditions of the Russian Empire at the turn of the century, the book reminds the reader of Lenin's 1899 book--"The Development of Capitalism in Russia."
When the book was brought out by Random House in 1972 and later in paperback by Vintage books it became a popular seller even in the mainstream book stores. Thus it has its place as a memorial to a different time in the United States when a spirit of unrest blew across the nation.
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