One Hundred Years of the Russian Revolution: A Retrospective View

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1. Thomas Harrison, “Socialism and Homosexuality,” New Politics (No. 46, Winter 2009), 19-21; and Sherry Wolf, “LGBT Political Cul-de-Sac: Make a U-Turn,” New Politics (No. 46, Winter 2009), 34.

2. Keith Rosenthal, “Disability and the Russian Revolution,” International Socialist Review, Parts I and II, (Issue 102, Fall 2016), 71-91; and (Issue 103, Winter 2016-2017), 89-109.

3. Stephen F. Cohen, Rethinking the Soviet Experience: Politics and History Since 1917 (Oxford University Press, 1985), 5-6.

4. Chris Harman, “Russia: How the Revolution Was Lost,” International Socialism (1st series, No. 30, Autumn 1967), 8-17.

5. Thus, when on January 17, 1920, the Bolshevik government abolished the death penalty except in districts where there were military operations still taking place, the Cheka issued a secret order instructing its officers to transfer prisoners to the zone of military operations so they could then be executed. See Lennard D. Gerson, The Secret Police in Lenin’s Russia (Temple University Press, 1976), 161.

6. Samuel Farber, Before Stalinism: The Rise and Fall of Soviet Democracy (Verso, 1990).

7. Alexander Rabinowitch, The Bolsheviks in Power: The First Year of Soviet Rule in Petrograd (Indiana University Press, 2007). Professor Rabinowitch is also the author of The Bolsheviks Come to Power: The Revolution of 1917 in Petrograd (W.W. Norton and Company, 1978; recently reissued by Haymarket Books).

8. Rabinowitch, 221.

9. Rabinowitch, 314-316.

10. Rabinowitch, 330-331.

11. Rabinowitch, 340-341.

12. Steinberg, I.N., In the Workshop of the Revolution (Rinehart and Company, 1953), 97, 105.

13. Farber, 122-23.

14. V.I. Lenin, The Revolutionary Proletariat and the Rights of Nations to Self-Determination, in Collected Works, vol. 21, August 1914 - December 1915 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1964), 408-09. Lenin’s emphases.

15. For a detailed account of Marx’s and Engels’ critical views of the Jacobins and the French Terror see Hal Draper, Special Note C, “The Meaning of ‘Terror’ and ‘Terrorism’” in Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution, Volume III, The “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” (Monthly Review Press, 1986), 360-374.

16. Rosa Luxemburg saw Jacobinism as leading directly to the small-group putschist notions of the French Blanqui and the nihilistic terrorism of the Russian Nechaev. Peter Nettl, Rosa Luxemburg, Abridged Edition (London: Oxford University Press, 1969), 195.

17. Leon Trotsky, “Part IV: Jacobinism and Social Democracy,” in Our Political Tasks, www.marxists.org/archive/trosky/1904/tasks/ch.05.htm In this pamphlet, Trotsky astutely observes that the Jacobins were utopians and idealists who had “total distrust toward real men. ‘Suspicion’ was the inevitable method for serving the Truth,” which stood in clear contrast to what Trotsky saw as the “revolutionary confidence” of social democracy.

18. For a fuller discussion of Lenin’s “quasi-Jacobinism,” see Farber, 208-215.

19. Christian Rakovsky, “The ‘Professional Dangers’ of Power,” in Tariq Ali (ed.) The Stalinist Legacy (Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1984), 49, 53.