Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Martov-Mania Spreads!


Celebrate the centenary of the October Revolution the right way by catching the wave of Martov-Mania that is sweeping the world. Harold Meyerson makes a worthy contribution to Martov-Mania in The American Prospect, where he does an excellent job of recounting how the October Revolution actually went down. Here's where the noble Julius Martov got squeezed out:
Inevitably, all these differences came to a head at the Soviet Congress meeting 100 years ago. Martov made a motion that the new Soviet government be multi-tendency and contain members from all the socialist parties (a “united democratic government,” as he termed it). He encouraged the new government to reach out to other groups and social forces. Otherwise, he warned that a civil war of great violence, and a reign of repression to keep the Bolsheviks in power, would inevitably follow. Delegates from all tendencies applauded his motion, but then the Right-Mensheviks and Right-SRs walked out, to Martov’s dismay. Trotsky, speaking for himself and Lenin, countered that it was the Bolsheviks who’d taken power and Bolsheviks who’d govern. Turning on Martov, who’d been his mentor and friend, Trotsky delivered this famous malediction:
Now we are told: renounce your victory, make concessions, compromise. With whom? I ask: with whom ought we to compromise? With those wretched groups who have left us or who are making this proposal? But after all we’ve had a full view of them. No one in Russia is with them any longer. A compromise is supposed to be made, as between two equal sides, by the millions of workers and peasants represented in this congress, whom they are ready, not for the first time or the last, to barter away as the bourgeoisie sees fit. No, here no compromise is possible. To those who have left and to those who tell us to do this we must say: you are miserable bankrupts, your role is played out; go where you ought to be: into the dustbin of history!
Upon which, Martov stormed out of the room. But into history’s dustbin? Or, I’d contend, into its pantheon of democrats and social prophets?
The pantheon, Harold, definitely the pantheon. 

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