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Where would Russia have been without the Bolshevik revolution?

Counterfactuals are always slippery, but I'm not convinced the death toll over the course of a century would have been any lower.

But over and over I keep coming back to the same key point - bad things happen when sociopaths end up in power.

Overt politics are irrelevant. It doesn't matter if a sociopath pretends to be a fascist, a communist, a libertarian, a Christian fundamentalist, an Islamic fundamentalist, a corporate executive or a social democrat.

Sociopaths cause poverty, death, and destruction.

We have limited experience of cultures and corporations which aren't run by sociopaths. I'd suggest getting more experience would be a good start.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Aug 6th, 2012 at 07:28:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where would Russia have been without the Bolshevik revolution?

Fair question.

It's a commonplace to say that Tsarist Russia was as overdue for change as the ancien régime was in 1789. The collapse that took place was on the cards, and it's reasonable to suppose it would have happened without the Bolsheviks. What the result would have been is hard to say.

I'm certainly not making out the Bolshevik Revolution was a Bad Thing. I do think that Lenin had a successful revolutionary strategy but that, in terms of his own long-term goals, the revolution was not a success.

As to your second point, how to take over the political institutions of a country in such a way as not to open the field to sociopaths?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Aug 7th, 2012 at 03:07:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to start an argument of the benefits and viability of the options, but the Bolshevik Revolution did not overthrow Tsarist Russia. It was a revolution that grabbed power within the power-structure established after the Tsarist regime had been overthrown.

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by A swedish kind of death on Tue Aug 7th, 2012 at 08:20:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can call that the radical phase of the revolution.
The radicals triumph because:
  • they are "better organized, better staffed, better obeyed,"
  • they have "relatively few responsibilities, while the legal government "has to shoulder some of the unpopularity of the government of the old regime" with "the worn-out machinery, the institutions of the old regime."
  • the moderates are hindered by their hesitancy to change direction and fight back against the radical revolutionaries, "with whom they recently stood united," in favor of conservatives, "against whom they have so recently risen." They are drawn to the slogan `no enemies to the Left.`
  • the moderates are attacked on one side by "disgruntled but not yet silenced conservatives, and the confident, aggressive extremists," on the other. The moderate revolutionary policies can please neither side. An example is the Root and Brand Bill in the English Revolution which abolished the episcopacy, angering conservatives and established institutions without earning the loyalty of radicals.
  • they are the "poor" leaders of the wars which accompany the revolutions, unable to "provide the discipline, the enthusiasm," needed.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 7th, 2012 at 08:33:01 AM EST
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James C Scott, in "Seeing like a state", describes the "official" strategy of the Bolsheviks as Taylorism applied to revolution... No suprise the success of that party ends up with a centralised oligarchic state.

And the October revolution didn't happen at all according to the Bolshevik strategy...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Aug 8th, 2012 at 10:29:33 AM EST
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