[Marxism] Bolshevik newspapers: myth and reality

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Jul 16 12:42:58 MDT 2011

For most aspiring vanguard party builders, the Bolshevik Party serves as 
a kind of gold standard worthy of emulation, even if the actual 
historical experience of that party remains far removed from 
contemporary versions of that history which tend to project back into 
the early 1900s patterns of behavior that would Lenin himself would have 
never recognized.

Perhaps nothing is more essential to the task of building a new 
“Bolshevik” type party than a newspaper that will promulgate the party 
“program”. When James P. Cannon returned from Moscow in 1928, he 
resolved to create a new communist party that would be true to Lenin’s 
vision. Nothing was more necessary in that process than creating a 
newspaper based on a revolutionary program. Wasting no time, Cannon 
launched the Militant. That newspaper was seen as in the tradition of 
the Bolshevik press but the actual living history of the Bolshevik press 
had little to do with Cannon’s idealized version. As is so often the 
case, idealized versions of Bolshevik history can get the contemporary 
left in all sorts of trouble.


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