Winter is here. It is cold outside, but the warmth of truth permanently. Today is the holiday celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On this day, we reflect and we are further inspired to advance the cause of human justice. We shall not be moved. In our time, we witness a new President (who is an extremist demagogue named Trump) and the constant struggle for human liberation. Some believe in the evil of xenophobia, but I reject it. Some (including many black people. We know who they are like) want to cozy up to a sexist, xenophobe, and a bigot like Donald Trump, but I reject Trump's agenda 100%. In essence, we shall move forward. That means that we help the poor in the world as tons of the poor are starving and suffer humiliation, which isn't right. We ought to defend our human rights as democratic rights represent the touchstone of a truly progressive society. We are in this together. Any injustice anywhere is a threat to justice anywhere. Also, it is important to recognize our gifts too. We are certainly born with a whole lot of blessings and we will continue to uplift people and to promote real, positive change in the world. During this time of the year, we contemplate, we celebrate with family, and we acknowledge the blessings that we have. This is one of my favorite times of the year because of the joy and camaraderie we experience during this season. As we get older, we know lessons. We learn about sticking together as human beings, we learn about eliminating distractions, and embracing love for wisdom. I do greatly appreciate the friends sending me great messages (you know who you are). It is always important to respect women and the poor. Just because a person is poor or lacks money doesn't mean that this human being is less than human. We ought to show love, concern, and compassion to the poor. I respect the concepts of equality and justice.
Our people have experienced a long journey in human history. From thousands of years ago in Africa to the American shores, we have invented, we have spoke up for freedom, and we have inspired the human family in glorious ways. We made progress in many ways, but we have so much more to go. 2017 is here, but our quintessential commitment to freedom remains in our souls forever. We demand an end to police brutality and we desire justice period. We believe in universal health care and a living wage. We believe in miracles too. It took a miracle for the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act to be passed. There are countless stories where many people survived diseases and other illnesses in miraculous fashions. We are inspired by the past. Likewise, we recognize the contributions of so many people in the present who love philanthropy, who are engaged in helping the youth, and who are expressing their ideals eloquently & with vigor.
Once again, Donald Trump disrespected John Lewis by saying that he is all talk and no action. This once again shows that I have no respect for this male Trump. He has shown himself not to be a real man. John Lewis shed blood for all of us. He has worked for voting rights and civil rights for decades. He has been to Selma to protest injustice and he suffered police brutality on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Trump once again crossed a line with me. John Lewis has shown compassion in his life. That is why I won't acknowledge Trump as my future President. Trump is not my President. I honor black heroes who stood up for us and are still promoting justice in our world. Also, always take the time to connect with family and friends. Family are loved by us forever and friends are great to get advice, to get inspiration, and to just have fun with. Like always, I wish the best for everyone here. We are all in the same journey for life, we love our families, and we believe in the truth. I'm an agitator. I'm an agitator for social justice, for racial justice, for gender justice, and for environmental justice. I'm an agitator for immigrant rights and for an end to police brutality. I'm an agitator for black liberation too and I'm thankful of it. Fight for what is right too. Change only comes by struggle as history attests. Going against the status quo is part of our human experience and we believe in justice, equality, and dignity.
It is important to expose racism in society. Also, it is vital to expose class oppression in society too. There can be no sugarcoating of capitalism. Many corporations have used capitalism to make record profits at the expense of the human rights of the working class including the poor. Many workers in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, etc. experience lax wages, bad working conditions, and a huge amount of oppression. For the past decades, we have seen the growth of the petty bourgeoisie (they exist in many colors from many white people, many Latino people, many Asian people, and to many black people) which outlines the class stratification of society. Many members of that class actively defend U.S. capitalism and imperial Western foreign policy. For example, many corporate heads are advocates of the status quo. Also, we still witness massive economic inequality. This reality existed under George W. Bush, President Barack Obama, and will continue in this Trump Presidency. Therefore, fighting for black liberation is a must. Black is Beautiful. It is also important to recognize that the Obama administration was wrong to advance massive bailouts for Wall Street banks (while not enacting equivalent economic resources to distressed communities). The Obama administration was wrong to deport a record 2.5 million undocumented workers and to advance militarist policies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Another important point is to be made as well. Many people believe that President Barack Obama has made no accomplishments during his 2 term Presidency. Obviously, that is false. I agree with President Barack Obama on signing Dodd-Frank, the settlement given to black farmers (who were the victims of racial discrimination), the Iran nuclear deal, a GI Bill, the legitimate parts of the stimulus package, the existence of new fuel standards for vehicles, a new START Treaty, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The deal is that the system of oppression continues to exist regardless of who is President. We have the right to stand up for the truth regardless. Donald Trump is wrong too for his advocacy of extremism, bigotry, and xenophobia. Trump is disgraceful for his sexism and his disrespect of John Lewis (who shed blood for civil rights). We disagree with imperialism and jingoistic nationalism that seek to divide people instead of bringing people together. We must oppose the existing economic and social system which seeks to exploit wealth instead of cultivating justice for all. We love our civil liberties too. That means that I will oppose the Patriot Act, Abu Ghraib, torture, waterboarding, etc. Therefore, the corrupt acts of the American state must be opposed, so economic and social justice is made into a reality.
We still rise.
The Russian Revolution (after 100 Years)
As we approach the 100th year anniversary of the Russian Revolution, we show reflection and an acknowledgment of that revolution as being one of the most important events in human history. It changed the world and outlined issues that we debate to this very day which includes: class struggle, economics, socialism, communism, oligarchy, government, and leadership. To start, many events must be known. First, before the revolution (back in the 19th century), the Russian nation was in a hot mess. Serfs were discriminated against despite them being emancipated (or granted voting rights). Anti-Semitism ran wild in Czarist Russia. Pogroms or executions of Jewish people in Russia were common place in the 19th century and early 20th century. Economic inequality was rampant and the czar had executed authoritarian control of the Russian population in a brutal fashion. Czar Alexander III rejected even progressive reforms and allowed autocratic rule. The philosophies of Marx and Engels were already global by 1900. Karl Marx believed that only class struggle would defeat the capitalists and cause a revolutionary situation where the workers would have economic and social equality in the world. Marx advocated communism or a classless society where the monarchy and capitalist elites would be gone. In the midst of the Czar’s tyranny, opposition groups existed. They were diverse from the moderates who wanted democratic reforms to the socialists and the communists who desire revolutionary change in the Russian society. The Russian Revolution was going to happen since tensions were growing since the 1800’s. With 4/5s of the population living as peasants and the feudal nobility running the majority of the economic and political infrastructure of Russia, a revolt was bound to happen. Cities like St. Petersburg and Moscow had many workers being paid low for long work. The disastrous war against Japan in 1904 caused more turmoil.
Trotsky--elected president of the Petrograd soviet at age 26--described how the workers' council system concentrated all the forces of the revolution. Trotsky and Lenin would be leaders of the Russian Revolution. Lenin would sign an agreement with Germany to not be involved in World War I anymore. The workers of Petrograd would protest injustice again. On International Women's Day in 1917, they left their jobs to participate in spontaneous demonstrations against food shortages and against World War One, in what became the first day of the revolution. This revolution spread into other locations of Russia. The Bolsheviks or one revolutionary faction rebelled and caused the Czar to abdicate from his throne. Soon, 2 major factions of the Russian Revolution would develop. One was the moderate Provisional Government with leaders like Prince Lvov and Alexander Kerensky. The other faction would be the Soviets who represented peasants and other workers (i.e. the Bolsheviks). The Mensheviks were the moderates, but they were found in both the Provisional government and the soviet councils. Even Stalin didn’t want soviet councils to immediate take over, but Lenin did. Lenin's Theses was clear about what he wanted. Lenin thought that the Provisional government was too moderate and desired a radical program. Now, it is time to show the evolution of the historic Russian Revolution.
The Tyranny of the Czars
Before understanding about the history of the Russian Revolution, it is important to mention information about the corruption, the tyranny, and the brutality of the Czars of Russia. Russian czars were arrogant and were filled with extravagance. They wanted power and opposed opposition with a consistent ruthlessness. Before the revolution, 4/5s of the population were peasants. The structure was a feudal nobility. There was massive economic inequality. The Czars used his nobles to dominate the Russian region. Many Czars were overtly anti-Semitic. Many innocent Jewish people were victims for a long time via the pogroms. In his "History of the Russian Revolution," Trotsky illustrated the corruption of the old order by describing Tsar Nicholas II himself:
“This dim, equable and "well-bred" man was cruel--not with the active cruelty of Ivan the Terrible or of Peter, in the pursuit of historic aims...but with the cowardly cruelty of the late born, frightened at his own doom. At the very dawn of his reign Nicholas praised the Phanagoritsy regiment as "fine fellows" for shooting down workers. He always "read with satisfaction" how they flogged with whips the bob-haired girl-students, or cracked the heads of defenseless people during Jewish pogroms...This "charmer," without will, without aim, without imagination, was more awful than all the tyrants of ancient and modern history.”
In places like St. Petersburg, Moscow, and in other locations, workers experienced low wages, bad conditions, and other struggles. People resisted the Czars during the 19th century too. Army officers revolted in 1825. Alexander II was a more progressive Czar and created reforms. Still, he was assassinated by revolutionaries who wanted more radical change. The Czars after Alexander II were reactionary extremists. The Czars refused to enact radical change. Alexander III in 1881 refused to enact progressive reforms in Russia. Alexander III was an autocrat. He labeled people who are dangerous who worshiped outside of the Orthodox Church and didn’t speak Russian. He imposed censorship, monitored teachers, expanded spy agencies, and used pogroms against Jewish people. Nicholas II came after him. He started his reign in 1894. From 1863 to 1900, Russia also rapidly industrialized. More factories were built, a navy grew, and industries expanded. Nicholas II expanded steel resources and he raised taxes. In 1900, Russia had the fourth highest producer of steel (under the United States, Germany, and Great Britain). The Trans-Siberian Railway was completed in 1916 which connected European Russia to Siberian Russia in the Pacific Ocean. In the midst of this expansion, oppression against the peasants by the Czars continued.
The Revolutionary Movement Develops
The growth of industrialization in Russia during the 19th and early 20th centuries didn’t end oppression. Many workers suffered bad working conditions, lax pay, and other issues. There was child labor and the banning of labor unions too. So, discontent grew among the poor and working class in Russia. That is why many workers legitimately organized strikes in order for change to come about. During this time, many revolutionary movements develop in response to economic problems and the despotic actions of the Czars. One revolutionary group was the Marxists in Russia. They followed the views of Karl Marx in terms of economics and politics. Karl Marx’s “Communist Manifesto” changed the world. Karl Marx believed that workers must unite in overthrowing the capitalist rulers and instituted a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” The proletariat means the workers of the world. By 1903, the anti-Czar movement divided into 2 major factions in Russia. One faction was the moderate Mensheviks who wanted a broad case of populist support of the revolution. This faction included socialists, social democrats, and moderates. They wanted to form a more democratic government in Russia. The other faction was the Bolsheviks. They were more radical than the Mensheviks. They wanted to sacrifice everything in order for the Tsarist system to be eliminated and a workers’ state to be instituted. Major leaders of the Bolshevik movement were Lenin (or Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov) and Trotsky. Lenin was a great organizer and a powerful speaker. By the early 1900’s, he escaped into Europe to avoid arrest by the czarist regime. He still contacted other Bolsheviks to fight against the Czar Empire. He would wait until he would return to Russia in safety (with help from the German authorities). From 1904 to 1917, Russia experienced many events which inspired the development of the Russian Revolution.
The Russo-Japanese War
The Russo-Japanese War lasted from February 8, 1904 to September 1905. It represented a new era of time. It was fought between the Russian Empire and the Empire of Japan. Each side wanted to dominate regions found in Manchuria and Korea. Their disagreements caused the war to exist. Most of the war took place in the Liaodong Peninsula and Mukden in Southern Manchuria. The battles also transpired in Southern Manchuria and the seas around Korea, Japan, and the Yellow Sea. Russia sought a warm-water port on the Pacific Ocean for their navy and for maritime trade. Vladivostok was operational only during the summer. Whereas Port Arthur, a naval base in Liaodong Province leased to Russia by China, was operational all year. Since the end of the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895, negotiations between Russia and Japan proved impractical. After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Japan rapidly industrialized, embraced many Western ideas, and wanted to maintain its sovereignty at the same time. Tsarist Russia expanded its territory to the East. It conquered Central Asia, Afghanistan, and other local states. It stretched into parts of Poland and into the Kamchatka Peninsula in the east. With its construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway to the port of Vladivostok, Russia hoped to further consolidate its influence and presence in the region. In the incident of 1861, Russia had directly assaulted Japanese territory. Fearing Russian expansion, Japan regarded Korea (and to a lesser extent Manchuria) as a protective buffer. By 1897, a Russian fleet was in the Port Arthur. After three months, in 1898, China and Russia negotiated a convention by which China leased (to Russia) Port Arthur, Talienwan and the surrounding waters. The two parties further agreed that the convention could be extended by mutual agreement.
In 1900, the Boxer Rebellion happened. The Boxer Rebellions about Chinese people (in groups called the Boxers) trying to get rid of Western imperialists from China. Russians, Japanese individuals, other Europeans, and Americans united to end the Boxer Rebellion (in order to defeat the Chinese people fighting for independence). Afterwards. these imperialist interests further controlled China. During the rebellion, 100,000 Russian soldiers were stationed in Manchuria. Russia didn’t vacate Manchuria immediately. The Japanese tried their best to negotiate with Russia about Korea and Manchuria. Meanwhile, Japan and Britain had signed the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in 1902. In that agreement, the British sought to restrict naval competition by keeping the Russian Pacific seaports of Vladivostok and Port Arthur from their full use. The alliance with the British meant, in part, that if any nation allied itself with Russia during any war against Japan, then Britain would enter the war on Japan's side. Both Japan and Russia had competing negotiation interests and goals. Russia was not interested in negotiation with Japan. Russia wanted to build up militarily. By early January 1904, the Japanese government had realized that Russia was not interested in settling the Manchurian or Korean issues. Russia refused to compromise, so on February 6, 1904, the Japanese minister to Russia, Kurino Shinichiro was recalled and Japan severed diplomatic relations with Russia. Nicholas II’s ego and autocratic personality prevented negotiations to prevent a war.
It is also true that Nicholas II wanted to promote Russia's prestige and he was a racist. He called the Japanese people racist slurs. He had a false sense of security and underestimated the Japanese military strength. Japan issued a declaration of war on February 8, 1904. However, three hours before Japan's declaration of war was received by the Russian government, the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked the Russian Far East Fleet at Port Arthur. On the night of February 8, 1904, the Japanese fleet under Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō opened the war with a surprise torpedo boat destroyer attack on the Russian ships at Port Arthur. The attack heavily damaged the Tsesarevich and Retvizan, the heaviest battleships in Russia's far Eastern theater, and the 6,600 ton cruiser Pallada. These attacks developed into the Battle of Port Arthur the next morning. England worked with Japan to fight against Russia. The Russians experienced massive defeats by the Japanese. The Russian fleet was blatantly annihilated. Then, the Treaty of Portsmouth existed which ended the war. Both sides accepted the offer of Theodore Roosevelt, the President of the United States, to mediate. Meetings were held in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, with Sergius Witte leading the Russian delegation and Baron Komura, a graduate of Harvard, leading the Japanese delegation. The Treaty of Portsmouth was signed on September 5, 1905 at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Seavey's Island, Kittery, Maine, while the delegates stayed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Witte became Russian Prime Minister the same year. The effect in Japan was that it caused Japanese imperial power to grow. The Japanese people wanted a stronger peace treaty in their favor since they believed that the peace terms were too restrained. Russia suffered more economic problems after the war. There was high inflation and revolutionary movements were growing. This influenced the Russian Revolution of 1905. The revolts in Russia in 1905 ultimately influenced the Russian Revolution in 1917.
Bloody Sunday (The Revolution of 1905)
The 1905 Revolution was the prelude to the 1917 Russian Revolution. The 1905 Revolution existed in response to the tyranny of the Russian Empire. It lasted from January 22, 1905 to June 16, 1907. It consisted of political and social unrest all over Russia, Poland, and Baltic area. The revolutionaries and their allies were involved in worker strikes, peasant revolts, and there were military mutinies too. There were many causes to the Revolution. According to Sidney Harcave, author of The Russian Revolution of 1905, four problems in Russian society contributed to the revolution (they were the agrarian problem, the nationality problem, the labor problem, and educated revolt against the czarist system). The peasants were emancipated or had the right to vote. Yet, they earned very little. They couldn’t sell or mortgage their allotted land. Yearly, thousands of nobles in debt mortgaged their estates to the noble banks or sold them to municipalities, merchants, or peasants. During the time of the 1905 Revolution, the nobility sold off one third of its land and mortgaged another third. The government wanted to make the peasants to be conservative land holding class. The state passed laws to allow them to buy from the nobility and pay small installments over many decades. The land was the allotment land. It couldn’t be owned by individual peasants, but a community of them. Many peasants earned little resources and many peasants rebelled. Some rebelled in the provinces of Kharkova and Poltava in 1902.
Many ethnic minorities opposed Russification, which led to discrimination and repression of them. Russia was a multiethnic empire during the early 20th century. Back then, the Russian elites believed in the racist lie that European civilization must be valued more than Asian or African culture. Many ethnic minorities were restricted of voting and they couldn‘t serve in the Guard or the Navy. There was limited attendance of these minorities in schools. Jewish people in Russia were only 6 percent of the population, but they lived in the western borderlands mostly. Jewish people were forbidden to settle or acquire land outside the cities and towns. Many of them were restricted in school access, denied the right to vote for municipal councilors, and weren’t allowed to serve in the Navy or Guards. Jewish people, Polish people, and religious minorities in Russia were oppressed by the Czar system. The Polish uprising of 1863 was about Polish people fighting for their human rights.
The industrial working class didn’t like how the government did too little to protect them. The government banned strikes and labor unions. The Russian government used laissez faire capitalist policies and it didn’t work to help the poor. Industrialization grew the economy of Russia by the 1890’s with the help of minister of finance Sergei White. His policies included heavy government expenditures for railroad building and operations, subsidies and supporting services for private industrialists, high protective tariffs for Russian industries (especially heavy industry), an increase in exports, currency stabilization, and encouragement of foreign investments. His plan was successful and during the 1890's "Russian industrial growth averaged 8 percent per year. Railroad mileage grew from a very substantial base by 40 percent between 1892 and 1902." The problem was that poor working class people still experienced bad conditions. As one source has mentioned,
“the turn of the century, discontent with the Tsar’s dictatorship was manifested not only through the growth of political parties dedicated to the overthrow of the monarchy but also through industrial strikes for better wages and working conditions, protests and riots among peasants, university demonstrations, and the assassination of government officials, often done by Socialist Revolutionaries.”
More taxes imposed on the peasants to build industry forced many peasants to go into the cities. In 1900–1903, the period of industrial depression caused many firm bankruptcies and a reduction in the employment rate. Employees were restive: they would join legal organizations but turn the organizations toward an end that the organizations' sponsors did not intend. Workers used legitimate means to organize strikes or to draw support for striking workers outside these groups. Workers used strikes in 1902 in the railroad shops in Vladikavkaz and Rostov-on-Don created such a response that by the next summer, 225,000 in various industries in southern Russia and Transcaucasia were on strike. These strikes were illegal, but necessary.
The educated class fomented and spread revolutionary ideas after a relaxing of discipline in universities which allowed a new consciousness to grow among students. Educated students didn’t want the czar system. Many restrictions on universities ended. More students formed newspapers, journals, and organizations to fight the views of the Czars. Many left wing students fought against repression measure to try to change society.
The government knew of these problems and issued token responses. The minister of Interior Plehve stated in 1903 that, after the agrarian problem, the most serious ones plaguing the country were those of the Jewish people (as many Russian leaders were anti-Semites outright), the schools, and the workers, in that order.Because the Russian economy was tied to European finances, the Western money markets contraction in 1899–1900 plunged Russian industry into a deep and prolonged crisis which outlasted the dip in European industrial production. This setback aggravated social unrest during the five years preceding the revolution of 1905.
Many Russian progressive movements wanted more political democracy and limits to the Tsarist rule in Russia. Russian progressives formed the Union of Zemstvo Constitutionalists in 1903 and the Union of Liberation in 1904, which called for a constitutional monarchy. Russian socialists formed two major groups: the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, following the Russian populist tradition, and the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. Rosa Luxemburg stated in The Mass Strike, when collective strike activity was met with what is perceived as repression from an autocratic state, economic and political demands grew into and reinforced each other. In 1904, liberals wanted reforms in the constitution. There was the Moscow City Duma passed in 1904. That caused a resolution to demand the establishment of an elected national legislature, full freedom of the press, and freedom of religion. Similar resolutions and appeals from other city dumas and zemstvo councils followed. Tsar Nicholas II moved to fulfill many of the demands. He appointed liberal Pyotr Dmitrievich Sviatopolk-Mirskii Minister of the Interior after the assassination of Vyacheslav von Plehve. On December 25 [O.S. December 12] 1904, the Tsar issued a manifesto promising the broadening of the Zemstvo and local municipal councils' authority, insurance for industrial workers, the emancipation of Inorodtsy, and the abolition of censorship. However, the crucial demand of representative national legislature was missing in the manifesto. Strikes happened in St. Petersburg in December 1904, which lasted to January of 1905, which was the first step in the 1905 revolution. The December 1904 strike was at the Putilov plant (a railway and artillery supplier) in St. Petersburg. Sympathy strikes in other parts of the city raised the number of strikers to 150,000 workers in 382 factories. By January 21 [O.S. January 8] 1905, the city had no electricity and newspaper distribution was halted. All public areas were declared closed.
The controversial Orthodox priest Georgy Gapon (who headed a police sponsored workers’ association) led a group of large workers to the Winter Palace to deliver a petition to the Tsar on Sunday, January 22 [O.S. January 9] 1905. The troops guarding the Palace were ordered to tell the demonstrators not to pass a certain point. According to Sergei Witte, and at some point, troops opened fire on the demonstrators, causing between 200 (according to Witte) and 1000 deaths. The event became known as Bloody Sunday, and is considered by many scholars as the start of the active phase of the revolution. Soon, strikes existed all over Russia. Polish socialists called for general strikes. In January of 1905, over 400,900 workers in Poland were on strike. Students fought back too. his prompted the setting up of the short-lived Saint Petersburg Soviet of Workers' Delegates, an admixture of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks headed by Khrustalev-Nossar and despite the Iskra split would see the likes of Julius Martov and Georgi Plekhanov spar with Lenin. Leon Trotsky, who felt a strong connection to the Bolsheviki, had not given up a compromise but spearheaded strike action in over 200 factories.
One October 26, 1905, over 2 million workers were on strike and there were almost no active railways in all of Russia. Armenians and the Tartars fought each other too. Poles, Finns, and the Baltic provinces wanted autonomy not Russification, so they fought for their rights too in this Revolution. Muslim groups like the First Congress of the Muslim Union took place in August of 1905 to fight for their freedom. Certain groups took the opportunity to settle differences with each other rather than the government. Some nationalists undertook anti-Jewish pogroms, possibly with government aid, and in total over 3,000 Jews were killed. State repression continued. Nicholas II agreed on the State Duma of the Russia Empire in February 18, 1905. The October Manifesto, which advanced reform proposal, was written by Sergei Witte and Alexis Obolenskii. It was presented to the Tsar on October 14, 1905. It closely followed the demands of the Zemstvo Congress in September, granting basic civil rights, allowing the formation of political parties, extending the franchise towards universal suffrage, and establishing the Duma as the central legislative body. The Tsar waited and argued for three days, but finally signed the manifesto on October 30 [O.S. October 17] 1905. The czar only signed the document to stop more bloodshed and he regretted signing it. Many people supported the Manifesto. Many strikes in St. Petersburg ended. Liberals loved the October Manifesto. Yet, socialists and revolutionaries denounced the elections and wanted an armed uprising to end the Empire. Strikes continued. The Revolution ended by 1907. The Russian Constitution of 1906 existed. Nicholas wanted to limit the power of the Duma. Terrorism and strikes including executions of by the state increased in the 1905 Revolution.
The Czar dissolved the Duma (or a legislative body) and World War I soon started. Nicholas II in 1914 made the decision to bring Russia into World War I. Russia had unprepared military and economic problems. Its generals struggled to create a plan for military action. That is why the German military executed many victories against the Russian armies during WWI. German machine guns mowed down Russian troops in the thousands. Soon, more than 4 million Russian human beings were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. The czarist movement was not strong and the military leadership experienced struggles all over the war. In 1915, Nicholas moved his headquarters to the war front. In that location, he hoped to rally his troops to victory. His wife or Czarina Alexandra ran the government when he was away. She ignored the czar’s chief advisors. She followed the advice of the mysterious Rasputin. Rasputin called himself “a holy man.” He claimed to have magical healing powers. Nicholas and Alexandra’s son was Alexis. He was suffering from hemophilia (or a life threatening disease). Rasputin seems to lower the child’s symptoms. Alexandra rewarded Rasputin by making him to have power to make key political decisions. Rasputin didn’t want reform. In 1916, a group of nobles killed him since they didn’t like his role in the Russian government. Meanwhile in World War I, Russian troops mutinied, deserted, or ignored orders. Food and fuel supplies were declining because of the war. Prices were hugely inflated. People from many classes were clamoring for change and an end to the war. Nicholas and Alexandra faced a serious crisis in Russia. The Russian bourgeoisie was heavily dependent for investment and credit on the purse strings of international capital as explained by Trotsky:
"The social character of the Russian bourgeoisie and its political physiognomy were determined by the condition of origin and the structure of Russian industry. The extreme concentration of this industry alone meant that between the capitalist leaders and the popular masses there was no hierarchy of transitional layers. To this we must add that the proprietors of the principal industrial, banking and transport enterprises were foreigners, who realised on their investment not only the profits drawn from Russia, but also a political influence in foreign parliaments, and so not only did not forward the struggle for Russian parliamentarianism, but often opposed it: it is sufficient to recall the shameful role played by official France. Such are the elementary and irremovable causes of the political isolation and anti-popular character of the Russian bourgeoisie. Whereas in the dawn of its history it was too unripe to accomplish a Reformation, when the time came for leading a revolution it was overripe." (Trotsky, History of the Russian Revolution, vol. 1, page 32)
The March 1917 Revolution
The March Revolution started first in March of 1917. It happened when women textile workers in Petrograd led a city wide strike. In the next five days, rebellions existed over shortages of bread and fuel. Almost 200,000 workers came into the streets shouting, “Down with the autocracy!” and “down with the war!” At first, the soldiers obeyed orders to shoot the rioters. Yet, they sided with them. Local protests expanded into a huge uprising. The March Revolution caused Czar Nicholas II to abdicate or leave the throne. The year later, Nicholas and his family would be executed by his opponents. The March Revolution caused a provisional government to exist. A provisional government is a temporary government. Alexander Kerensky headed it. A leader of the moderate-socialist Trudoviks faction of the Socialist Revolutionary Party, Kerensky was a well-known person in Russia. He continued fighting in WWI. He lost support among soldiers and civilians because of that action. Russia suffered more because of the war. Angry peasants wanted land. Workers in the city became more radical and socialist revolutionaries formed soviets. Soviets were local councils made up of workers, peasants, and soldiers. In many cities, the soviets had more influences than the provisional government. The Germans allowed Lenin on a train to return to Russia or in Petrograd in April of 1917. The Germans believed that Lenin could go into Russia, cause more unrest, so the Russians would end their attack on Germany during the war. The November Revolution of 1917 changed the world forever.
The Provisional Government
There was the time of the Provisional Government between the February and October Revolutions. The Provisional Government shared power with the Petrograd Soviet (Council) of Workers’ Deputies. Soviets or workers’ council existed all over Russian cities for years. Socialist groups grew. Many Mensheviks and social Revolutionaries ruled many councils. The Petrograd Soviet met in the Tauride Palace or the same building where the new government was taking place. The Petrograd Soviet believed that Russia was not ready for socialism. So, they wanted to pressure the “bourgeoisie” to rule and create democratic reforms in Russia. These reforms included forming a republic not a Monarchy, have an elected assembly, abolition of religious and ethnic discrimination, a democratic police and army, etc. They wanted to use pressure on the Duma Committee to enact changes. They wanted to be a lobby democratic group. The Provisional government agreed to take serious the opinions of the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies. Dual power was still forming. The All-Russian Central Executive Committee of Soviets (VTsIK) undermined the authority of the Provisional Government but also of the moderate socialist leaders of the Soviet. Although the Soviet leadership initially refused to participate in the "bourgeois" Provisional Government, Alexander Kerensky, a young and popular lawyer and a member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party (SRP), agreed to join the new cabinet, and became an increasingly central figure in the government, eventually taking leadership of the Provisional Government.
Kerensky promoted freedom of speech, he freed political prisoners, and he continued the war effort. Kerensky faced problems. The soldiers, the urban workers, and the peasants said that they have gained nothing by the revolution. Other groups wanted to undermine Kerensky. WWI caused huge casualties for Russia. Many people wanted to end the war. The Bolshevik Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, wanted him to be overthrown. Lenin was in exile in neutral Switzerland. Later, the February Revolution legalized formerly banned political parties. So, he saw this as a way to promote his Marxist revolution. He returned to Russia. He arrived into Petrograd in April of 1917. The Bolsheviks increased their popularity steadily. Workers, soldiers, and peasants went into radical politics. On June 18, 1917, the Provisional Government launched an attack against Germany that failed miserably. Soon after, the government ordered soldiers to go to the front, reneging on a promise. The soldiers refused to follow the new orders. The arrival of radical Kronstadt sailors – who had tried and executed many officers, including one admiral – further fueled the growing revolutionary atmosphere. The sailors and soldiers, along with Petrograd workers, took to the streets in violent protest, calling for "all power to the Soviets." The revolt was not successful in July. Lenin fled to Finland. Trotsky and other Bolsheviks were arrested.
The Fall 1917 Bolshevik Revolution
As the Russian Revolution continued, we see its strengths and imperfections. There are no justifications for its errors too. Yet, we learn about the Russian Revolution as a means for us to promote revolutionary change in our generation and in future generations too. The Bolsheviks continued to grow. In early September, the Petrograd Soviet freed all jailed Bolsheviks and Trotsky became chairman of the Petrograd Soviet. Growing numbers of socialists and lower-class Russians viewed the government less and less as a force in support of their needs and interests. Russia was declared a Republic in September 14, 1917. The Bolshevik Central Committee drafted a resolution, calling for the dissolution of the Provisional Government in favor of the Petrograd Soviet. The resolution was passed 10–2 (Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev prominently dissenting) and the October Revolution began. It was led by Lenin. On November 7, 1917, Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin led his leftist revolutionaries in a revolt against the ineffective Provisional Government (Russia was still using the Julian Calendar at the time, so period references show a 25 October date). The October revolution ended the phase of the revolution instigated in February, replacing Russia's short-lived provisional parliamentary government with government by soviets, local councils elected by bodies of workers and peasants.
In the October Revolution, MRC directed armed workers and soldiers to capture key buildings in Petrograd. The Winter Palace is attacked at 9:40 pm and captured at 2 am. Kerensky fled into Petrograd. There is the opening of the 2nd All-Russian Congress of Soviets. On November 8, Second Congress of Soviets convenes. Mensheviks and right SR delegates walk out in protest against the previous day's events. Congress approves transfer of state authority into its own hands and local power into the hands of local soviets of workers', soldiers', and peasants' deputies, abolishes capital punishment, issues Decree on Peace and Decree on Land, and approves the formation of an all-Bolshevik government, the Council of People's Commissars (Sovnarkom), with Lenin as chairman. The fate of the Russian Revolution depended on the extension of workers’ power beyond the borders of Soviet Russia. As Trotsky explained so clearly:
"...The completion of the socialist revolution within national limits is unthinkable. One of the basic reasons for the crisis of bourgeois society is the fact that the productive forces created by it can no longer be reconciled with the framework of the national state. From this follow, on the one hand, imperialist wars, on the other, the utopia of a bourgeois United States of Europe. The socialist revolution begins on the national arena, it unfolds on the international arena, and is completed on the world arena. Thus, the socialist revolution becomes a permanent revolution in a newer and broader sense of the word: it attains completion only in the final victory of the new society on our entire planet..." [The Permanent Revolution (London: New Park Publications, 1971), p. 155]
Lenin allowed the Cheka (or a police force) to exist and the Cheka were involved in murder, torture, and acted as a secret police. The Bolsheviks executed the tsar and his family on July 18, 1918. Liberal and monarchist forces, loosely organized into the White Army, immediately went to war against the Bolsheviks' Red Army, in a series of battles that would become known as the Russian Civil War.
The Red Terror was a campaign of mass killings, torture, and systematic oppression conducted by many of the Bolsheviks (especially by the Cheka) after the beginning of the Russian Civil War in 1918. Soviet historiography describes the Red Terror as having been officially announced in September 1918 by Yakov Sverdlov and ending about October 1918. However, the term was frequently applied to political repression during the whole period of the Civil War (1918–1922). The Cheka (the Bolshevik secret police) conducted the mass repressions. Estimates for the total number of people killed in the Red Terror range from 10,000 to over one and a half million. Also, it is important to note that many Marxists and socialists opposed the Red Terror like Lev Kamenev, Nikolai Bukharin, Karl Kautsky, and M. S. Olminsky. So, every Marxist and every socialist should never be blamed for the atrocities of the Red Terror.
The Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was one of the most important events of the 20th century. It lasted from November 1917 to October 1922. It was a brutal war and it was complex. The 2 major factions that fought in the War were the Red Army and the White Army. The Red Army were made up of Bolsheviks while the White Army was made up of a diverse amount of people (like pro-Tsarists, social democrats, other socialists, monarchists, and other opponents of the Bolshevik order). Also, there were the rival militant socialists and non-ideological Green armies who fought against both the Bolsheviks and the White Army. There was the anarchist Black Army who fought the Bolsheviks and the White Army too. The war covered a wide spectrum of lands from Ukraine to Siberia. 8 foreign nations intervened to ally with the White Army as a way to try to defeat the Red Army. The Red Army defeated the White Armed Forces of South Russia in Ukraine and the army led by Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak in Siberia in 1919. The remains of the White forces commanded by Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel were beaten in Crimea and evacuated in late 1920. Lesser battles of the war continued on the periphery for two more years, and minor skirmishes with the remnants of the White forces in the Far East continued well into 1923. Armed national resistance in Central Asia was not completely crushed until 1934. There were an estimated 7,000,000-12,000,000 casualties during the war, mostly civilians. The Russian Civil War has been described by some as the greatest national catastrophe that Europe had yet seen (before World War II). The Red Army was victorious. Also, new nations were formed in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland as there were independence movements during this time period. The Soviet Union would continue to exist for decades to come. The civil war started after the defeat of the Russian Provisional Government.
After the October Revolution, the Red Guard was formed and the Cheka existed or the Bolshevik state security group. Leon Trotsky formed the Red Army made up of peasants and other workers. He used conscription since the army at first was very small. The problem was that Trotsky allowed the Red Army to use hostages and shooting at people to make sure people complied in the Red Army. These same actions were also done by the White Army officers too. 83% of the Red Army divisional and corps commanders were ex-Tsarist soldiers. The war was ultimately a battle between pro-Bolshevik forces and anti-Bolshevik forces. The war definitely was on when the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk existed and the political ban formed. Anti-Bolshevik groups were diverse and were loosely confederated. They included landowners, republicans, conservatives, middle-class citizens, reactionaries, pro-monarchists, liberals, army generals, non-Bolshevik socialists who still had grievances and democratic reformists voluntarily united only in their opposition to Bolshevik rule. This group formed the White Army via forced conscription and terror. Another problem with the White Army was that it was supported by overt imperialists who wanted Russia to be a Western client state. Many leaders of the White Army were Gen. Yudenich, Adm. Kolchak and Gen. Denikin. An Ukrainian independence national movement existed. One leader of the Black Army was Nestor Makhno. Many Jewish people and Ukrainian peasants were in the Black Army. They played a role in halting General Denikin’s White Army offensive towards Moscow during 1919 while rejecting the White forces from Crimea. The European part of the Russian war was fought on three main fronts which were the eastern, the southern, and the northwestern front. There were three major periods of the war.
Most of the fighting in this first period was sporadic, involving only small groups amid a fluid and rapidly shifting strategic scene. Among the antagonists were the Czechs, known as the Czechoslovak Legion or "White Czechs", the Poles of the Polish 5th Rifle Division and the pro-Bolshevik Red Latvian riflemen. The second period of the war lasted from January to November 1919. At first the White armies' advances from the south (under Gen. Denikin), the east (under Adm. Kolchak) and the northwest (under Gen. Yudenich) were successful, forcing the Red Army and its allies back on all three fronts. In July 1919 the Red Army suffered another reverse after a mass defection of units in the Crimea to the anarchist Black Army under Nestor Makhno, enabling anarchist forces to consolidate power in Ukraine. Leon Trotsky soon reformed the Red Army, concluding the first of two military alliances with the anarchists. In June the Red Army first checked Kolchak's advance. After a series of engagements, assisted by a Black Army offensive against White supply lines, the Red Army defeated Denikin's and Yudenich's armies in October and November. The third period of the war was the extended siege of the last White forces in the Crimea. Gen. Wrangel had gathered the remnants of Denikin's armies, occupying much of the Crimea. An attempted invasion of southern Ukraine was rebuffed by the anarchist Black Army under the command of Nestor Makhno. Pursued into the Crimea by Makhno's troops, Wrangel went over to the defensive in the Crimea. After an abortive move north against the Red Army, Wrangel's troops were forced south by Red Army and Black Army forces; Wrangel and the remains of his army were evacuated to Constantinople in November 1920. Also, Green Army was heavily made up of peasants who opposed both the Red and White Armies too (there military forces in their peak was 40,000 people). They wanted an independent, autonomous power base in their lands.
Lenin's New Economic Policy
After the Russian Civil War, revolutions continued to exist worldwide. Later, revolutions grew in China and throughout Europe plus all over Africa. In March of 1921, the Kronstadt rebellion began when sailors in Kronstadt revolted against the Bolshevik government, demanding that all socialists be allowed to publish freely, that independent trade unions be given freedom of assembly and that peasants be allowed free markets and not be subject to requisitioning. Lenin declared that the mutineers had been misled by the Socialist Revolutionaries and foreign imperialists, calling for violent reprisals. Under Trotsky's leadership, the Red Army put down the rebellion on March, 17, 1921, resulting in thousands of deaths and the internment of survivors in labour camps. It was lead by Stepan Petrichenko and consisting of Russian sailors, soldiers, and civilians. The rebellion originated in Kronstadt, a naval fortress on Kotlin Island in the Gulf of Finland that served as the base of the Russian Baltic Fleet and as a guardpost for the approaches to Petrograd, 55 kilometres (34 mi) away. The rebellion was crushed by the Red Army after a 12-day military campaign, resulting in several thousand deaths. The rebellion was one of the reasons for Vladimir Lenin's and the Communist Party's decision to loosen its control of the Russian economy by implementing the New Economic Policy (NEP).
The Russian Revolution and the Russian Civil War changed the world forever. War and revolutions caused many changes. The civil war devastated Russia for a time. Lenin and his Red Army won. Yet, the Russian economy suffered because of the destruction of the war. Trade was stagnant. Industrial production declined. Many people went into other countries in order to gained employed and many of these people were skilled workers too. Lenin had to do something. Therefore, in March of 1921, Lenin put aside his plan for a state-controlled economy at the moment. He created a small scale reform plan called the New Economic Policy. This was called the NEP for short. The NEP allowed the peasants to sell their surplus crops instead of turning them over to the government. The government still controlled major industries, banks, and means of communication.
Yet, it let some small factories, businesses, and firms to operate under private ownership. The government also encouraged foreign investment. The country slowly recovered in part because of the peace and new policies. By 1928, Russian firms and factories were producing as much as they did before World War I. Bolshevik leaders obviously didn’t agree with nationalism since Marxism is internationalist by nature. They wanted party unity and loyalty. That is why they including Lenin organized the Soviet Union into many republics that were self governing but under the control of the central government. In 1922, the land was called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or the USSR. The Bolsheviks now renamed themselves the Communist Party. The Communist Party came from the literature of Karl Marx. Marx wanted communism to be a classless society where workers seized power to overthrow the capitalist elitists. In 1924, the Communists created a constitution based on socialist and democratic principles. It was very historic. The Communist Party held power. Lenin ruled the USSR. It is important to promote workers’ power, which Stalin didn’t really advocate, especially after Lenin passed away. Lenin rightfully rejected imperialism as parasitic in his own words:
"...The fact that imperialism is parasitic or decaying capitalism is manifested first of all in the tendency to decay, which is characteristic of every monopoly under the system of private ownership of the means of production. The difference between the democratic-republican and the reactionary-monarchist imperialist bourgeoisie is obliterated because they are both rotting alive…" [“Imperialism and the Split in Socialism,” in Lenin Collected Works, Volume 23 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977), p. 106]
The Rise of Stalin
The rise of Stalin was antithetical to the aims of the Russian Revolution. Even Lenin and especially Trotsky disagreed with Stalin’s authoritarian agenda. Lenin had a stroke in 1922. So, the power on who was to rule the Communist party was debated by many factions. Leon Trotsky and Stalin wanted to have a big influence in the Communist movement of Russia. Stalin, even back in the 1920’s, was known as impersonal, cruel, and harsh. Stalin means “man of steel” in Russian, but Stalin was not his original name. In 1922, he was the general secretary of the Communist Party. Stalin wanted more leadership power, but Lenin before he died had questions about Stalin. Lenin viewed Stalin as not being able to handle power correctly. He was right. Lenin's last advice to the party was to warn it against Stalin's "disloyal" and "intolerant" abuse of power and to advocate his removal from the post of General Secretary. Lenin's last active days were spent organizing his fight against the Stalin faction at the Congress. He wrote a letter to Trotsky asking him to take up the defense of the Georgian comrades, and to the Georgian leaders warmly committing himself to their cause. Trotsky wanted socialism to spread worldwide in an international revolution. Stalin wanted socialism to spread in one country at a time.
In 1928, Stalin completely controlled the Communist Party. Trotsky was forced into exile by 1929 and Leon Trotsky would be one of Stalin’s greatest critics. Trotsky also had a brief affair with the famous artist Frida Kahlo. Leon Trotsky would be killed in Mexico City by a sharp object. Stalin would have authoritarian power and soon to be a dictator (as in a totalitarian fashion). Totalitarianism is a form of government in which the national government takes control of all aspects of both public and private life in a reactionary fashion. Stalinist Russia took over the public and private aspects of Russian society. Russia under Stalin changed. Stalin used a police state force to try to stop dissent. Stalin used the Great Purge in 1937 to execute his opposition, even the original Bolshevik leaders who fought against the Tsarist empire. Many people were sent into labor camps too. Stalin allowed censorship, indoctrination of schools, religious persecution, and other evils. Stalin executed the Five Year Plans in trying to grow the Soviet economy. During that time, there was a growth of the production of industry and agriculture. The problem was that food shortages existed. Also, Stalin tried to steal the collective farms from the peasants. People resisted in fighting for voting rights. Between 5-10 million peasants were killed by the Stalinist regime, because the peasants fought for economic rights. During that time, many women gained economic and educational opportunities, which is good. Yet, many people’s civil liberties were violated in the reign of Stalin. Any school or university that had people who disagreed with Stalin were in risk of imprisonment. Religious persecution existed against Greek Orthodox people and Jewish people existed under Stalin. Stalinism wanted to compete with the capitalist world in material resources instead of developing a key class analysis to benefit the workers internationally in a progressive fashion.
Stalinism's problems were that it was too bureaucratic, didn't accept the spreading of democratic rights, and misused its power which ultimately led to the Soviet Union's end in 1991.
The Lessons and Legacy of the Russian Revolution.
In 2017, it will be 100 years since the Russian Revolution. In this centenary of the Russian Revolution, we realize that it was a revolt against world capitalism. For long centuries, many capitalists in many cases have enacted colonialism, imperialism, racism, sexism, xenophobia, environmental degradation, and other evils in the world. Before the Russian Revolution, Russia experienced brutal, tyrannical czars. Peasants were experiencing oppression, and anti-Semitic pogroms against innocent Jewish people existed. Workers struggled to get jobs or decent wages in urban centers. Revolutionaries existed to end the tyranny of the Czars. Also, Duma existed to promote reform, but the status quo remained in many ways. Czar Nicholas II was blatantly corrupt in his actions. The provisional government was controlled by Kerensky and other moderates after the czar was overthrown. Many moderates were the Mensheviks who didn’t want the soviets to have the undisputed power in Russia. By October 24, 1917, more revolutionary people ended the power of the Provisional Government to create the modern Soviet Union. That revolution was led by the Petrograd Soviet’s Military Revolutionary Committee. The Bolsheviks (whose leaders included Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky) succeeded in their goal of ending the reign of the Czars. By the time of October, the majority of the Russian people supported the Bolsheviks. Lenin and Trotsky wanted to enact a socialist order. They established the first socialist workers state in human history in the midst of 150 million people of Russia back then. Workers’ control of factories grew. Redistribution of wealth to peasants existed. Russian banks were nationalized. Lenin ended Russian involvement in World War I via the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Yet, problems existed. The Russian Civil War caused tons of people to die (the White Army was supported by 14 imperialist nations. There were other factions in this bloody, complex war too) and that civil war harmed the Russian economy for years. The rise of Stalin existed.
Instead of forming a progressive, socialist system, Stalin re-imposed the state bureaucracy and violated the many civil liberties of the people during his reign of terror and authoritarianism. That is why many people erroneously believed that Stalin is representative of all forms of socialism, which is a pernicious lie. From Stalin’s great Purge of Bolsheviks to his violations of the rights of other people, Stalin is not representative of socialism at all. Under Stalin, the state bureaucracy grew Russian industry and its military. Stalin was cold blooded and calculating in his actions. The heroic Red Army did defeat the Nazis, which was a good thing. I will acknowledge that. During the Cold War, The Soviet Union competed against the West for resources in the world. Stalin's insistence that the USSR must "catch up and outstrip" the West economically or be conquered reflected how Russia had become subject to the laws of capitalism through the necessity of military competition. The new form of class rule imposed after the defeat of the Russian Revolution was state capitalism ironically. Even the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was about socialists and other freedom fighters trying to end Stalinism in Hungary. They were unsuccessful, but they inspired many other human beings to advance liberty and freedom. That is why many people rose up against Stalinism in satellites of the USSR in Eastern Europe by 1989. This caused the USSR to be collapsed by the early 1990’s.
It has been over one quarter of a century since the end of the Soviet Union. Francis Fukuyama’s “End of History” thesis believed that the end of the USSR represented the superiority of Western capitalism and a beginning of a new Utopian age of freedom spreading worldwide. We know that to be precisely wrong. The truth is that since over 25 years ago, we see the growth of income inequality worldwide, we see the growth of terrorism, mass poverty, torture, and the increase of right wing, xenophobic, and nationalist movements in Europe and in America (which contributed to the Brexit vote and the extremist Donald Trump to be selected as President by the Electoral College. Trump's cabinet members include ex-generals and outright extremists like Sessions). While in 1970, 92 percent of 30-year-olds made more than their parents did at a similar age, only 51 percent did so in 2014. Millions of Americans are suffering from inadequate health care. For the first time in more than two decades, overall life expectancy fell in 2015 due to the shocking rise in mortality from suicide, drug abuse and other manifestations of social crisis. The rise of Trump is paralleled by the growth in the political influence of the National Front in France, Pegida in Germany, the Five Star Movement in Italy and the UK Independence Party, which led the campaign for Brexit. In Germany, the ruling class is using the Christmas Market attack in Berlin to escalate the anti-refugee campaign led by Alternative for Germany. Imperialists powers in our generation lust for markets, trade routes, economic resources, and other resources while jingoistic nationalism is utilized by the capitalist elite class in order to contain dissent and expand divisiveness in various countries. We have reactionaries like Paul Ryan who are overt in their intention to end or privatize progressive policies like Medicaid, Social Security, the right to an education, the minimum wage, Medicare, etc. There has also been more young people express not only discontent with the status quo, but are advocating workers' rights, anti-imperialism, and social justice.
Today, many reactionaries even criticized the right of the people to oppose the Czars during the Russian Revolution. It is obvious that Stalin did a whole lot more mistakes than Lenin and Trotsky (who were more sincere than Stalin in creating revolutionary change). While, we abhor imperialism and capitalist exploitation, we should never be naive to think that the Russian Revolution was perfect. Therefore, we must let the truth be known. The legacy of the Russian Revolution (with its strengths and imperfections) is that human beings will continue to oppose tyranny by any legitimate means necessary and we should promote not only economic justice, an end to oligarchy, and opposition to the Czars, but democracy too. We know that free market capitalism doesn't work, because history proves that unfettered capitalism damages the environment, harms workers' rights, and strips the human rights of the people while enriching financial oligarchs. That's real talk. True revolutionary change is fine, but any revolutionary action must be bounded under integrity, justice, humane treatment, and legitimate morality. There is no true freedom without democratic rights. Many socialists and freedom fighters for centuries and thousands of years have given their lives for human liberation. The Russian Revolution impact our time too as we see the wicked evil results of capitalist exploitation worldwide. We will continue to fight for the liberation of the workers, the poor, the homeless, and humanity in general.