National liberation and Bolshevism reexamined: A view from the borderlands

20 May

Very interesting article by Cde Blanc, reconsidering the actual history of the RSDLP’s relations with the ethnic and regional Social Democratic and revolutionary parties of the “borderlands”, from the Bund, to the Caucasus nationalities, to Central Asia.

John Riddell

By Eric Blanc . ( Eric Blanc is an activist and historian based in Oakland, California. ) A view from the Czarist empire’s borderlands obliges us to rethink many long-held assumptions about the revolutions of 1905 and 1917, as well as the development of Marxist approaches to national liberation, peasant struggle, permanent revolution, and the emancipation of women.

The following paper analyzes the socialist debates on the national question up through 1914. I argue that an effective strategy of anti-colonial Marxism was first put forward by the borderland socialists, not the Bolsheviks. Lenin and his comrades lagged behind the non-Russian Marxists on this crucial issue well into the Civil War—and this political weakness helps explain the Bolshevik failure to build roots among dominated peoples.

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