[Marxism] National liberation and Bolshevism reexamined: A view from the borderlands

DW dwaltersmia at gmail.com
Wed May 21 09:46:26 MDT 2014

Andy wrote:
"That's as may be. But then why did none of these other parties in the
borderlands, which Eric says were so advanced politically on both class and
nation, and so big, why did none of them lead a revolution in their own

You are operating under some assumptions. That, and you can clarify: the
Bolsheviks succeeded in central Russia and the national Marxists didn't in
non-central Russia; in the borderlands.

I think the question goes back to the issue of autonomy and solidarity
within a de-centralized RSDLP, something that didn't exist. The national
parties were to weak, not as such as a base among non-Russian speakers, but
in relationship to the forces of counter-revolution. The concentration of
the working class in Russia was key, along with the very natural support
they received from the *Russian* peasantry. The relationship of forces were
then far more favorable for the Bolsheviks and Left SRs then in Petrograd
and Moscow than any one area outside the Russian area of the Empire. This
is why Eric suggests along quite orthodox lines: the Bolsheviks themselves
had a correct line of march in terms of the *Russian* Revolution...but
seemingly unmitigated failure everywhere else.

Given the inability of the Russian SDs *prior* to the Russian Revolution to
ever build a base on parity and mutual respect of with non-Russian SDs,
weakened *both* and not just the national Marxists. It seems from the
reading that *unity* of some sort in an all-Empire collaboration was
needed, which is why the central question early on about what kind of party
the RSDLP was going to be, was key. The Russians failed this and the result
was what we see today...which is the turning back of the October Revolution.

Andy, I think, is trying to abstract the question of October from what went
on before and afterwards (Stalinism, bureaucracy, national oppression). And
that is the point of the essay: what were the results of the inability of
the Bolsheviks to grasp and understand the national question in Tsarist


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