We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Friday, September 1, 2017
[Russian Revolution series, part 1 of ?] One Hundred Years Ago: ‘The Revolution is not over; it is just Beginning!’
My introduction to the series
In recognition of the overwhelming importance of the Russian Revolution, I will be running a series of articles which I believe best describe the events in 1917 that led to the first workers control of a nation. I am convinced that the revolution was the single most important event of the 20th century simply because all the other major capitalist classes were threatened by it because it might be regarded as a positive event by their own workers. You will learn that during the events of 1917 these capitalist classes were already meddling in Russia to prevent a workers' takeover of the revolution, and after the revolution was accomplished, many capitalist nations (some observers estimate as many as 14 nations) invaded Russia to overturn the revolution and restore control to those favorable to capitalism.
There is considerable evidence to support the fact that the rise of fascist governments and major pro-fascist factions in Western nations were a reaction by many capitalist ruling classes to the Russian Revolution. I have written many commentaries (for example, see this) regarding the events during the 1920s and 1930s which led to a number of fascist governments: the fascist governments of Italy, Germany, and Japan; the rise of pro-fascist factions among many ruling classes of the Western capitalist countries; the Spanish Civil War which was supported by fascist Germany and Italy (while the other Western capitalist countries stood by in "neutrality"), and led to the overthrow of the Spanish republic; and many interesting events in the Soviet Union including the slide into a centralized control of the government, the rapid industrialization of the economy, the full employment Russian workers enjoyed while the Western capitalist nation experienced widespread unemployment of the 1930s.
During the lead-up to WWII the ruling capitalist classes of the British Empire and the US became increasingly threatened by the aggression of Nazi Germany to the extent that they allied themselves with their nemesis the Soviet Union in order to defeat Germany and associated fascist governments. (Even as early as February 1941 the US ruling class foresaw that the US would be in a prime position to reign as top-dog in a world prostrate from the devastation that would result in this developing war (which became known as WWII), and the country was urged by the right-wing of the ruling class to abandon its previous "isolationist" view and enter the war). However, after their successful conclusion of the war, Western capitalist countries immediately returned to a hostile relationship with the Soviet Union which became known as the Cold War.
All during the Cold War the US ruling class gradually constructed a new empire with its NATO army primarily by economic and financial means, but always backed up by the sponsorship of terrorist groups and armies (examples: Operation Gladio, Contras, and the anti-Communist purge in Indonesia). Even when nations such as Vietnam wanted to establish an independent government free of US Empire control, they were invaded in a war that devastated their country. In the late 20th century the Soviet Union's government collapsed which was probably due to the increasing sclerotic control of the economy by a self-serving huge bureaucracy, and thereafter the US ruling class reigned supreme and began their construction of a transnational ruling class consisting of capitalists who demonstrated their obeisance to the leadership of US-British capitalists. I identify this as a US-led Empire. As you can see, the Russian Revolution has had a profound effect on the subsequent history of the world. Therefore we must study it to see why it had such a profound effect and to understand why it didn't succeed.