Tag Archives: labour

The History of the Soviets

By Anton

The word ‘soviet’ is Russian for ‘council’, and these originated during the 1905 revolution in Russia. In 1905, the Russo-Japanese War increased the strain on Russian industrial production, the workers began to strike and rebel. They represented an autonomous workers movement, one that broke free from the government’s control over trade unions. Soviets sprang up throughout the industrial centers of Russia, usually organized on the factory level. The soviets disappeared after the Revolution of 1905, but re-emerged under Socialist leadership during the Revolution of 1917.

After the toppling of the tsar from power, soviets were once again organised under the provisional government to almost keep things together until the constituent assembly was elected.

At the beginning of the February Revolution of 1917, these soviets were under control of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, and even the Mensheviks had a larger share of the elected representatives than the Bolsheviks. But as World War I continued, the Russian army met defeat after defeat, and the provisional government proved inadequate at establishing industrial peace, the Bolsheviks began to grow in support. By degrees, the Bolsheviks dominated with a leadership which demanded “all power to the soviets.”

The Bolsheviks promised the proletariat a state run by workers’ councils to overthrow the bourgeoisie’s main political body – the Provisional Government. In October 1917 (this actually happened in November, but the Julian calendar that was used in Russia at the time didn’t account for leap years, so was behind everyone who used the georgian calendar), the Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government, giving all power to the Soviets. It is important to note that the Soviets were heavily dominated by The Bolsheviks, which meant the Bolsheviks had the support of the vast majority of the proletariat.

Organisation

With village and factory soviets as a base, there arose a vast pyramid of district, cantonal, county and regional soviets, each with its executive soviet. Over and above these stood the “All-Russian Soviet Congress,” which appointed an “All-Russian Central Executive Committee” of no more than 200 members, which in turn chooses the “Soviet of People’s Commissaries” — the Ministry. Beginning with a minimum of three and maximum of 50 members for smaller communities, the maximum for town soviets was fixed at 1,000 members. The soviet system was seen as an alternative to parliamentary systems for administering republican governments. The deputies were accountable and were able to be recalled by those who elected them.

John Reed (author of ‘Ten days that shook the world’) wrote:
“Until February 1918 anybody could vote for delegates to the Soviets. Even had the bourgeoisie organised and demanded representation in the Soviets, they would have been given it. For example, during the regime of the Provisional Government there was bourgeois representation in the Petrograd Soviet – a delegate of the Union of Professional Men which comprised doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc”.

Leon Trotsky wrote in Terrorism and Communism (1920) that “In Petrograd, in November 1917, we also elected a Commune (Town Council) on the basis of the most “democratic” voting, without limitations for the bourgeoisie. These elections, being boycotted by the bourgeoisie parties, gave us a crushing majority. The “democratically” elected Council voluntarily submitted to the Petrograd Soviet…the Soviet Government placed no obstacle in the way of the bourgeois parties; and if the Cadets, the SRs and the Mensheviks, who had their press which was openly calling for the overthrow of the Soviet Government, boycotted the elections, it was only because at that time they still hoped soon to make an end of us with the help of armed force…If the Petrograd bourgeoisie had not boycotted the municipal elections, its representatives would have entered the Petrograd Council. They would have remained there up to the first Social Revolutionary and Cadet rising, after which…they would probably have been arrested if they did not leave the Council in good time, as at a certain moment did the bourgeois members of the Paris Commune.”

Unfortunately, due to the majority of parties support for the counter revolution, all opposition parties had to be banned. The Left SRs and Left internationalist Mensheviks were allowed to run for the soviets, and many of these people later joined the Bolsheviks, in fact the left SRs entered a coalition with the Bolsheviks from the start of Soviet rule. The ban on opposition parties, as well as general poverty due to a world war, a civil war and the fact that 14 foreign armies had invaded, ultimately lead to the Thermidorian reaction taking over the Bolshevik party, and Stalin and his bureaucratic clique ruled with an iron fist, crushing all autonomous workers organisations.

Capitalism is in a crisis, and the light at the end of a tunnel is an oncoming train. We must seize control of our workplaces, public places and town halls and turn them into forums to decide our collective future. Our workplaces must no longer belong to the few, but to the people who work there; most importantly, we should fight to get representatives of the proletariat into parliament, to increase class consciousness and to gain concessions from the bourgeoise; we must form a SPD-like mass party and form militias. It is only when the majority of the proletariat is class conscious that we can topple the bourgeois state and form soviets and workers committees, because the fruits of our labour should belong to us, not to a small elite.

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Daily Headline – 12/05/13

Conservative Lord Young: exploit cheap labour

Lord YoungThe prime minister’s adviser on enterprise Lord Young has told the cabinet that the economic downturn is an excellent time for new businesses to boost profits and grow because labour is cheap.

Instead of trying to improve conditions for workers the ruling coalition is focusing on the positive side to recession, cheap labour and as we all know, cheap labour is good for business and good for profits.

If ever there was a clear sign of the governments callous attitude towards the working class and their lust for profits over people here it is.
Only business owners should be voting for the coalition, anyone else is voting against their own interests.

Conservative = Scum

Daily Headline – 03/05/13

UK local elections 2013 – Results

The results are in and things went pretty much as expected.

The story is one of UKIP success, with Labour also picking up from the losses of the coalition partners the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Top 3 winners (most gains):

1) Labour
2) UKIP
3) Independents

Top 3 losers (most losses):

1) Conservatives
2) Liberal Democrats
3) British National Party (BNP)

So the good news, the coalition made fairly big losses (though the Lib dems didn’t lose as much as many were expecting), the Greens made some gains overall and the BNP lost all their councillors.

The bad news is of course that UKIP made a lot of gains and look like cementing themselves at the 3rd party of UK politics, even if they are 4th they are truly in the mix now! Also the smaller left parties had absolutely no impact at all.

Final results:

Party Councils Change Councillors Change
Conservative 18 -10 1116 -335
Labour 3 2 538 291
Liberal Democrat 0 0 352 -124
Independent 0 0 165 24
UKIP 0 0 147 139
Green Party 0 0 22 5
Residents Association 0 0 12 2
Mebyon Kernow 0 0 4 1
Liberal 0 0 3 1
Independent Community and Health Concern 0 0 2 0
No Overall Control 13 8 N/A N/A

Daily Headline – 11/04/13

Tory donors switching to Ukip

The Electoral Commission UKThe Guardian has an interesting article today about Tory donors giving large and small sums of money to UKIP for them to fight the upcoming local elections that takes place on the 2nd of May.

Elections will be held in 35 English councils, including all 27 non-metropolitan county councils and eight unitary authorities, and to a single Welsh unitary authority. Direct mayoral elections will take place in Doncaster and North Tyneside. A total of 2,362 seats will be contested.

From the Guardian:

Stuart Wheeler, the gambling tycoon in charge of Ukip’s funds, said former Tory backers had promised big donations for next year’s European elections. Some had already made smaller donations that would contribute towards the £200,000 to be spent on advertising in local elections over the next few weeks, he said

Wheeler, who himself gave more than £5.5m to the Conservatives before being expelled from the party three years ago, said Ukip was taking the local elections seriously while aiming for a bigger push in the 2014 European elections.

“Some of [our new donors] were Conservatives but many are unwilling to go public. Any donation of more than £7,500 has to go on the electoral commission website. Quite a few give us exactly £7,500 because they don’t want [their identities] to be known,” he said.

UKIP, by big business, for big business.

In the latest opinion polls:

YouGov: CON 33%, LAB 41%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 10%
TNS-BMRB:  CON 25%, LAB 40%, LD 10%, UKIP 14%

Not sure who you can vote for? Click here to see the list and click details for who is standing. For example I chose the first available on the list Cambridgeshire County Council which has the following parties standing:

Conservative
Liberal Democrat
Labour
UKIP
Green
English Democrats
TUSC
Monster Raving Loony
Independent
Cambridge Socialists

Cambridgeshire County Council is divided into 60 ‘electoral divisions’ and not all parties listed above are standing in all of the electoral divisions.

Disappointing to see in the Romsey electoral division of Cambridgeshire that Cambridge Socialists are standing against the Greens but glad that TUSC is not standing against   Cambridge Socialists or the Greens in any of the divisions.

Good luck to the three of them, Greens, TUSC and Cambridge Socialists.

Coalition of Resistance

PRESS NOTICE… PRESS NOTICE…

Coalition of Resistance

 

MAJOR PRESS CONFERENCE TO LAUNCH ANTI-AUSTERITY MOVEMENT

 

LABOUR AND GREEN MPS, HIGH-PROFILE JOURNALISTS, COMEDIANS, CAMPAIGNERS UNITE

TUESDAY 26TH MARCH, 11.30AM, UNITE THE UNION, 128 THEOBALD’S ROAD, LONDON, WC1X 8TN

Caroline Lucas MP – journalist Owen Jones – comedian Mark Steel – Labour’s Katy Clark MP – comedian and disabled activist Francesca Martinez – Steve Turner (Unite) – Zita Holbourne (PCS).

The People’s Assembly – a new initiative backed by major trade unions such as Unite, Unison and PCS, the Green Party, Labour MPs and campaigning groups – will be hosting a press conference on Tuesday 26th March at Unite’s head office (map).

The People’s Assembly will be holding a 3,500-strong rally at Westminster Central Hall, 22nd June 2013, as well as meetings and rallies across the country.

This new movement will be pushing the arguments against austerity currently missing from British politics, and fighting for all those people currently being hit by Government policies: whether low-paid workers, disabled people, unemployed people, the young, women, BME people and others.

Daily Headline – 23/03/13

UK outlook ‘negative’

British austerity flagCredit rating agency Fitch has changed the UK’s outlook to negative, setting up a future downgrade.

The Conservatives came to power on the grounds of reducing public debt…

“Fitch said Britain’s lack of growth and growing debt mountain meant there was a “heightened probability of a downgrade in the near term”.”

Failed again tories!

Instead the Conservative/Liberal coalition has blindly followed ideologically driven policies that have no possibility of working out for the country.

Not that they care of course! Their policies are aimed, as they always have been, at making the rich wealthier and the poor poorer.

“Chris Leslie, Labour’s shadow Treasury minister, said: “This is yet another blow to a downgraded chancellor who made keeping the confidence of the credit rating agencies the number one test of his economic policy. What really matters are the economic realities which Fitch are responding to including, as their statement says, ‘the persistently weak performance of UK growth’.””

Indeed Chris but don’t forget it was your party that got us into this mess!

If you are going to go down the party politics route then the top four parties (Con, Lab, Lib, UKIP) can be instantly dismissed.
Though real change is not with party politics, it’s with the people, it’s with dissent.

Daily Headline – 15/03/13

22% of Britons think Tony Blair should be tried for war crimes

uk partiesA poll by YouGov has shown that…

53% of Britons think that the Iraq invasion was wrong.

56% think that as a result of the war the UK is more unsafe.

22% think Tony Blair should be tried for war crimes.

69% think Tony Blair knew there were no WMD.

41% think Iraqis would have been better off under Saddam Hussein than they are now.

In other UK polls…

Ipsos MORI have a poll out for voting intention:

CON 27%(-3), LAB 40%(-2), LDEM 11%(+4), UKIP 13%(+4).

UKIP are still polling ahead of the Lib Dems, so who will win the next general election? Labour or a Conservative/UKIP coalition?

Either way this offers nothing for the working class and just alters how badly we get shafted, labour bad, con/ukip very bad.