Author Topic: Why doesn't communism work?  (Read 148667 times)

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Alixz

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #180 on: July 27, 2010, 07:35:03 AM »
C - you may be correct.  I got that number, though, on a piece about Nicholas I.  That was pre Crimean War.  It makes sense that Alexander II would have shortened the term of service.  He was the only Tsar who seemed to have any sense when it came to the welfare and mind set of
his subjects.

Do you have a source for your information?  I am going to look up mine, if I still have it.  But that number stuck in my mind because it seemed so outrageous.

Constantinople

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #181 on: July 27, 2010, 01:23:45 PM »
I got it from Wikipedia
just type conscription imperial russia wiki into google

Offline AGRBear

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #182 on: July 27, 2010, 08:40:47 PM »
Daily Life in Russia under the Last Tsar by Henri Troyat p. 115:
>>...since the reforms of << [1 Jan]>>1874 military service was compulsory for everyone in Russia from twenty-one to forty-years of age, without any possibility of buying out or substitution.  the men passed as 'fit' were registered either in the ranks of the regular army, or in the territorial reserve.  Active army service was for eighteen years, five of which were with the colours and thirteen with the reserve or militia.  In view of the enormous size of the  [p. 116] population only the young men selected by lot were incorporated into the regular army.  The rest were called up only in the event of war by Emperor's edict.<<

Before 1874 a man was taken into the army for 25 years and served the full  25 years.

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #183 on: July 27, 2010, 09:02:10 PM »
The burgeoning "middle class" workers were the ones who supported Lenin et al.  Suddenly Russia had become a manufacturing county and produced a class of working men and women who moved to the cities to find jobs and then lived in squalor and poverty even though they worked very hard.

The students also supported the Bolsheviks, but then students in most revolutions begin to strike and protest even though they are still young and still learning and may not yet have understood the entire picture.  I am not saying that student protests are wrong, only that many times their parents have worked very hard to get the money to send their children to get a better education and the students find more interesting things to do outside of the university.

Had the manufacturing jobs not brought the newly freed serfs to the cities perhaps they would have not trusted Lenin either.

Also a change in the military would have been a good thing.  When a person was "drafted" into military service it was for 25 years.  Most families never expected to see their military children again.  If the term of service had been shortened and there was any hope of ever returning to their homes and families before they were old men, the military might not have been so eager to support the Bolsheviks either.

I wrote a source which agrees with you  only in more detail.   When I find it,  I'll bring it here.  Meanwhile,  let me add a few more bites and pieces.   The Bolsheviks (because that is what they called themselves in those early times)  were for the first time able to reach the serfs who had been out of reach when they had lived in the country but all the industrialization had brought many many young people into the cities where they could be within earshot of  the Bolsheviks  and other  groups.  Since most of these young people found themselves dissatisfied in being used and abused in the factories, etc. etc.,    they stopped and listened to the voices that were shouting out  what they were thinking, such as more rights for the worker and better working conditions....

Gotta run.  I'll add more later.

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Offline PAVLOV

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #184 on: July 28, 2010, 09:40:50 AM »
On what basis did military service change in the Communist era ? Pre 1874 seems awful as one spent most of ones life in the army. I think if you were an officer things were probably not so bad, but if you were a "foot soldier" you were a slave to the goverment for most of your life.

Alixz

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #185 on: July 28, 2010, 09:46:56 AM »
I don't know about the Communist era.

However, I had read about the 25 year enlistment and that was why the families did not expect to ever see their military members again.

It was a life (to me) of servitude by the already enslaved serfs.

It is no wonder that the people were ready for change.  I know that all aristocrats were also serving, mostly for life, but for the common man who had been ripped from his family and moved to a barracks thousands of miles away, it is no wonder that the Bolshevik's plans sounded good.

Can you imagine being conscripted at the age of 21 and not being allowed to return to your family until you were 46?  That is if an occasional war did claim your life first.

1874 would have been during the reign of Alexander II who was the most enlightened of the Tsars.  But the change while good must have seemed to be a very heavy burden still.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 09:50:18 AM by Alixz »

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #186 on: July 28, 2010, 10:27:55 AM »
The burgeoning "middle class" workers were the ones who supported Lenin et al.  Suddenly Russia had become a manufacturing county and produced a class of working men and women who moved to the cities to find jobs and then lived in squalor and poverty even though they worked very hard.

The students also supported the Bolsheviks, but then students in most revolutions begin to strike and protest even though they are still young and still learning and may not yet have understood the entire picture.  I am not saying that student protests are wrong, only that many times their parents have worked very hard to get the money to send their children to get a better education and the students find more interesting things to do outside of the university.

Had the manufacturing jobs not brought the newly freed serfs to the cities perhaps they would have not trusted Lenin either.

Also a change in the military would have been a good thing.  When a person was "drafted" into military service it was for 25 years.  Most families never expected to see their military children again.  If the term of service had been shortened and there was any hope of ever returning to their homes and families before they were old men, the military might not have been so eager to support the Bolsheviks either.

Alixz, I don't know where on earth you got the idea that the Russian middle class supported the Bolsheviks. They were for the most part very liberal but not radical by any stretch of the imagination. It was the urban working class in Petersburg and Moscow that primarily supported the Bolsheviks, and even there (among this miniscule proportion of the total population) many supported the Socialist Revolutionaries. But of course the Bolsheviks gained adherents among the proletariat with the political disenchantment that necessarily attached itself to World War I.

Also, Constantinople is correct, the Russian draft was not for twenty-five years by 1914. Back in the mid-nineteenth century Alexander II, the Tsar Liberator, reformed the military as he did so many other aspects of Russia's institutions and society.
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Alixz

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #187 on: July 28, 2010, 12:16:25 PM »
Elizabeth - forgive me.  I meant the urban working class and called them the "middle class" by mistake. I even stated that they were "a class of working men and women who moved to the cities to find jobs and then lived in squalor and poverty..."

Also, I think that we had concluded and I also posted that Alexander II had changed the military service requirements.

Anything else?

Offline AGRBear

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #188 on: July 28, 2010, 07:03:09 PM »
Daily Life in Russia under the Last Tsar by Henri Troyat p. 115:
>>...since the reforms of << [1 Jan]>>1874 military service was compulsory for everyone in Russia from twenty-one to forty-years of age, without any possibility of buying out or substitution.  the men passed as 'fit' were registered either in the ranks of the regular army, or in the territorial reserve.  Active army service was for eighteen years, five of which were with the colours and thirteen with the reserve or militia.  In view of the enormous size of the  [p. 116] population only the young men selected by lot were incorporated into the regular army.  The rest were called up only in the event of war by Emperor's edict.<<

Before 1874 a man was taken into the army for 25 years and served the full  25 years.

AGRBear

After 1874 it was 5 years active service, followed by being in the  reserves for 18 more years, which meant they could return to their home and families.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 07:06:59 PM by AGRBear »
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

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Constantinople

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #189 on: July 28, 2010, 10:19:50 PM »
I would class Lenin, Trotsky and most members of the Kadet party as middle class.  Lenin was a lawyer and intellectual, Trotsky was educated as an economist and a high proportion of the Kadet party who were leftist were university students.  The middle class was small (less than 10%) and the upper class much smaller so without the involvement of the urban proletariat, not much would have changed and with the disaffection in the army, the time (1917) was ready for any change.

Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #190 on: July 29, 2010, 07:03:16 AM »
Actually if you are citing Russia as an example, it wasn't the serfs and especially not Kulaks who supported Lenin and the Bosheviks, it was the urban proletariat who were the vanguard of revolution in places like St Petersburg and Moscow.  Most of the rural poor did not trust Lenin.

There was considerable land hunger among peasants, though, evident in a whole series of disturbances leading up to 1917, and the Bolsheviks tapped right into this. Russia being a mainly agrarian eceonomy they were obliged to add a program for the peasants, irrespecive of who supported them in the beginnng, and even their hammer and sickle flag was supposed to reperesent the two bases of power - proletarian and peasant. This is what I mean about the deviations from Marxist theory.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2010, 07:06:41 AM by Janet Ashton »
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Constantinople

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #191 on: July 29, 2010, 07:40:23 AM »
My impression from my research is that there were occasional insurections on estates by peasants but they werent widespread and there certainly wasn't any support from the kulacks.  There had been land hunger since the freeing of the serfs but most peasants even in 1917 were illiterate, so I am not sure how the Bolsheviiks, Mensheviks or anyone else would have spread their ideological message.  If Lenin did promise the peasants land then that would have turned out to be a cheap trick once collectiviasation started.

Alixz

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #192 on: July 29, 2010, 09:54:48 AM »
Kulaks were former peasants in Russia who owned medium-sized farms as a result of the reforms introduced by Peter Stolypin in 1906. Stolypin's intention was to create a stable group of prosperous farmers who would form a natural conservative political force. By the outbreak of the First World War it was estimated that around 15 per cent of Russian farmers were kulaks.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSkulaks.htm

Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #193 on: July 29, 2010, 12:50:10 PM »
My impression from my research is that there were occasional insurections on estates by peasants but they werent widespread and there certainly wasn't any support from the kulacks.  There had been land hunger since the freeing of the serfs but most peasants even in 1917 were illiterate, so I am not sure how the Bolsheviiks, Mensheviks or anyone else would have spread their ideological message.  If Lenin did promise the peasants land then that would have turned out to be a cheap trick once collectiviasation started.

THis may be an issue of timescales?
In the revolution of 1905, rural discontent was a significant factor, leading to harsh reprisals later (hence "Stolypin's necktie") and the eventual policy to start selling land, thereby creating the "kulak" class, which was not, however, ever of sufficient size to act as quite te bulwark Nicholas and Stolypin wanted.
 
In 1917, the Provisional Government's refusal to address the demands of the Land Committees cost them dear when Lenin popped up with his slogan of "Peace, Land and Bread" and the Bolsheviks in their early days in power passed laws legitimizing the seizure of estates by the rural poor. All this is a good decade before collectivisation began - though that in turn was theoretically conceived as a means of peasants taking ownership of the land - to hold it in common rather than privately, of course, and many supported it as a consequence.

It would have come as a big surprise to Karl Marx, who thought the agrarian population inactive and unlikely to be agents of revolution.

I actually didn't think any of this was controversial, though the reasons for it have been debated endlessly, with Marxist historians (e.g. Hobsbawn) arguing that capitalist activity in the countryside had politicized the rural poor, while others see rising standards of living as a factor ("there is no moment so dangerous for a regime as that in which it begins to reform itself") and still others have declared that the picture varied from place to place, depending upon local conditions.
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many; they are few.

Constantinople

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #194 on: July 29, 2010, 01:14:35 PM »
I would agree with that.  The rural uprisings i was referring to were a lot earlier but Lenin fuelled rural uprisings generally.