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Messages - Bev

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Imperial Russian History / Re: 1905 Bloody Sunday
« on: February 22, 2007, 07:33:21 PM »
Alix, I have no idea as to what you're getting at.  How could it possibly matter what day it was?

Imperial Russian History / Re: 1905 Bloody Sunday
« on: February 22, 2007, 01:27:40 PM »
Well I certainly agree with your assessment of the civil rights marches, but my point was that the civil rights marchers were not equally armed with fire hoses and truncheons and so it was not an equal but opposite reaction.  

This is just my opinion, but I believe that Russia was undergoing a great paradigm shift, and as you pointed out, it did not have the safety valves that the other nations had to let off the pressure.  I really don't like historical parallels because I don't think they are very accurate, but I do see some comparisons between what is happening in the middle east and what happened in Russia.  Abrupt shifts in a culture are always met with a visceral reaction from the power structure.  They see the change, they feel the loss of control and they look outside the culture to assign fault for that change.  Their first impulse (and usually their last) is to try to stop or prevent change and that is impossible, no one person or institution can control all the variables all the time and that is the only way to stop change.  It's the Pillsbury Doughboy effect - if you press one area, it will just pop up someplace else.

Imperial Russian History / Re: 1905 Bloody Sunday
« on: February 22, 2007, 11:38:17 AM »
Alix, Newton's third law of motion, "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" is one of the great principles of symmetry in the universe.  Newton did mean equal and equal - for every force there is a reaction force that is equal in size but opposite in direction.  Whenever an object pushes another object it gets pushed back in the opposite direction equally hard. F = F.  If a semi truck hits a pickup truck head on the force exerted on both trucks is exactly the same.  But which truck would you like to be riding in?  

However, Newton's laws of motion are natural laws, they do not apply to human endeavors.  (Although I might be able to make a case for the first law as it applies to Tsarist Russia...just kidding)   If  the two trucks collided and the driver of the semi got out of his cab and shot the driver of the pickup that is not an equal and opposite reaction.  When the city of Birmingham met the civil rights marchers with truncheons and fire hoses, that was not an equal and opposite reaction.  Those reactions are excessive and out of proportion to the events.  

Imperial Russian History / Re: 1905 Bloody Sunday
« on: February 21, 2007, 11:38:46 PM »
Alix, civil disobedience and passive resistence are legitimate means of social protest.  They were the means employed by Jesus Christ in his ministry, so if Gapon chose to use those means he was imitating Christ which was part and parcel of his christian activism and poltical theology.  

Newton wasn't referring to human endeavors, and many more times than it is comfortable to remember in our long road to civility, the reaction is completely out of proportion to the action.  The soldiers sent there by the Tsar were not there to walk the demonstrators peacefully to their homes, nor were they armed with icons and pictures of the Tsar, they were armed with weapons and ammunition and they were sent there to use force to shut dissent down.

Imperial Russian History / Re: 1905 Bloody Sunday
« on: February 21, 2007, 09:12:33 PM »
In Father Solovyov's 1897 treatise, "Justification of the Good" he asserts that "law should guarantee a dignified existence" and "western theories of cultural progress and the rule of law is the modern path to the Kingdom of God."  In "Philosophy of History" an 1891 article he states that true christians should protest, "wars inspired by national egoism, conquests that raise on people on the ruin of another, civil and economic slavery making one social class the passive means for the enrichment of another and legal punishments which do not aim to reform the criminal but serve only the social society."  

This sounds very much like the demands made in Gapon's petition.  According to Solovyov, the church was a "collective of pius resignation" which had doomed itself to irrelevance by its apathy and "other worldliness".  In Solovyov's seminal work, "Godmanhood" he argued that it was the duty of christianity to bring about the kingdom of God on earth, that by separating the church from politics it encouraged people to accept the status quo.  Solovyov puts forth the new philosophy that "God became man not as an atonement for humanity's sin (he called this the "legalistic theory of of redemption" - isn't that clever?) but "as a practical revelation of the Kingdom of God in humanity."  

As to Potolov's historiography, I myself would be very leery of using the Karelins and othe social democrats as sources for Gapon's petition/beliefs.  For one thing their account are self-serving, secondly it claims a role for the social democrats that the social democrats contemporaneously said was not available to them and the memiors written by the Social democrats in 1922 were without contradiction and not only bias driven but purpose driven - they were to build the history of the SD movement and secure its place as the force that drove the revolution.

Imperial Russian History / Re: 1905 Bloody Sunday
« on: February 21, 2007, 11:03:17 AM »
Again, I believe that the political theology movement is being underestimated as Gapon's inspiration and motivation in the events leading up to Bloody Sunday.  The philosophy of Fr. Vladimir Soloviev, that it is the duty of every Christian to bring about the kingdom of God here on earth, that the kingdom of God cannot be achieved by salvation of the individual alone, and it is inherently selfish and unchristian to believe that the kingdom of God is other-worldly, was the foundation for the work and mission of Gapon.  Alexander Vadkovskii, an adherent of Soloviev philosophy of christian activism, who became rector of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy in 1887 developed Soloviev's philosophy into a practical, organized movement of students who worked among the urban proletariat (among them Gapon) as christian activists/reformers.  Soloviev and Vadkovskii rejected the slavophile element of the church as regressive and reactionary, and the westernizers with their progressive liberal doctrine of change as the path to attaining the Kingdom of God on earth.  When Vadkovskii became metropolitan of St. Petersburg, he supported and encouraged the workers in 1905.

Soloviev called the Russian Orthodox church "a collective of pius resignation", an institution that supported paganistic ritualist nations without requiring of them real social change and improvement which should be the true mission of christianity.  

That Gapon called for the release of political prisoners wasn't a revolutionary idea, it was a tenet of political theology as first espoused by Soloviev when he called upon Tsar Alex. III to forgive and pardon those revolutionaries who had assassinated Alex. II.  Soloviev believed that the only way in which acts such as that could be stopped was to fix the problems that led people to such brutal acts.  To Soloviev and Gapon, these weren't revolutionary ideas, they were firmly and absolutely rooted in christian gospel and it was their duty and responsibility as it was for all christians that we establish the kingdom of God on earth.

Imperial Russian History / Re: 1905 Bloody Sunday
« on: February 21, 2007, 08:13:33 AM »
Gapon was perfectly correct, and obviously honest with the workers.  The Tsar was in the suburbs, not a half an hour away.  Why could the Tsar not travel to St. Petersburg and meet with the people?  And of course there was a petition to present that day, the petition that Gapon wrote.  There was no need for magic, the Tsar could have used the train.

Imperial Russian History / Re: 1905 Bloody Sunday
« on: February 20, 2007, 10:57:26 PM »
From Trotsky's memiors:

"The telegraph was allowed complete freedom to inform the entire world about every stage of the January strike.  Every Paris concierge knew three days in advance there was going to be a revolution on Sun. Jan 9.  And the Russian government did not move a finger to stop the massacre."

Puts quite a different, less sinister slant on it, doesn't it?  Trotsky wasn't exposing an intrigue, he was being ironic.  

Imperial Russian History / Re: 1905 Bloody Sunday
« on: February 20, 2007, 10:40:27 PM »
I'd have been better off with the position in Tehran - Khomeini was less of a tyrant.

He'd open that door to the loge, the smoke would billow out and the devil would suddenly appear in bedroom slippers with a cigarette dangling permanently from his lip and then, "est-ce que Madame, je peux avoir un moment de votre temps precieux?"  I still hate him.

You're right, Alix, I should have said :: wearily ::  so much less hurtful.

Imperial Russian History / Re: 1905 Bloody Sunday
« on: February 20, 2007, 09:44:49 PM »
Rob, I have lived in Paris, and if anyone is a wellspring of misinformation, gossip and just plain bullsh*t it is the concierge of a Paris apartment building, who spends at least three to four hours a day reading the tenants' magazines and newspapers usually over his prolonged and agonizingly long lunch break in which he refuses to 1., accept packages, 2., allow guests to enter, 3., distribute mail and 4., give you your own damned  key because you had somehow offended his sensibilities and exhibited a lack of proper gratitude (the correct number of francs in accordance with the number of floors he had to walk up and say wearily to you, "pourquoi est-ce que je dois vous dire encore que j'ai besoin trois jours de preavis pour des invites.  Je les ai envoyes loin.")  I have no doubt in the world however, that the concierge claimed he said it three days before it happened.

Mon ane je ne comprends pas le systeme francais de concierge.

Imperial Russian History / Re: 1905 Bloody Sunday
« on: February 20, 2007, 07:38:01 PM »
Hmmm, how would a Paris concierge know there was going to be a revolution in Russia?  Probably because the horrible conditions of the Russian workers was known throughout the industrialized world and anyone at the time could have predicted that it was inevitable.

:: drilling through concrete with a butterknife ::
Alix, you cannot have wage security without laws that enforce it.  Making demands is part of labour negotiations.  No, U.S. strikers do not demand that all strikers be released from the Alaskan wilderness where they've been imprisoned by the president, because it is legal to strike in the U.S., it is legal to agitate for unions, it is legal to petition the government, it is legal to associate with more than three people at a time, it is legal to keep union and political pamphlets in your home, it is legal to refuse overtime, it is legal to enjoy religious holidays, it is legal to join the political party of your choice without fear of losing your job, it is legal to change jobs without the government's permission, there is a minimum wage enforced by law and there are anti-discrimination laws in effect.  No union today goes to negotiations expecting that all their demands will be met by the company, but they make them all the same, so that there is room to negotiate and room to concede. No union in Russia expected that all their demands would be met either.  It was however, moral and right that the union ask for the release of their union brethren who did nothing more than to advance their struggle for rights.  Now maybe in your opinion, they should have crawled on their hands and knees to the tsar and asked him if he would mind asking the industrialists if they would mind giving the workers the one ruble a day they were asking for, but considering the fact that not only did he refuse to accept the petition, he did not consider giving them anything, I don't think that would have been very effective, do you?

Imperial Russian History / Re: 1905 Bloody Sunday
« on: February 20, 2007, 04:12:03 PM »
Why do you think that the workers did not need political rights and legal recourse if those rights were violated? 

Imperial Russian History / Re: 1905 Bloody Sunday
« on: February 20, 2007, 12:12:55 PM »
I have mixed views on Gapon too.  But I have no doubt that he was sincere in his beliefs.    I have mixed views on the Tsar, but I have no doubt he was sincere in his beliefs.

Imperial Russian History / Re: 1905 Bloody Sunday
« on: February 20, 2007, 10:55:25 AM »
Oh, I see, they agreed to continue to pay Gapon to support his mission.  Now what was Gapon's mission?  The Social Gospel Misssion.  Because Gapon promised to help end terrorism, doesn't mean for one minute that Gapon was a terrorist or a revolutionary.  It means exactly what it says - he promised to HELP.  Instead of a sinister connotation, do you think it might be that Gapon and his mission would help direct the people away from violent means and towards social reform?  Do you think that Gapon, (who knew Rutenberg long before Bloody Sunday) who probably knew quite a few revolutionaries, (he lived with them in London when he escaped arrest in Russia after Bloody Sunday) might have tried to dissuade Rutenberg and the SDs from using violence as a means of reform?  Didn't the SDs and other revolutionary groups approach Gapon prior to Bloody Sunday and tried to attach themselves to his movement and were rebuffed by Gapon and the workers?  Wouldn't that indicate that Gapon was acquainted with revolutionaries prior to Bloody Sunday?  It certainly doesn't mean that he was ONE of them, it means that he knew them.  Prior to Bloody Sunday, Gapon did not try to hide his connection with the police and the government and he certainly didn't try to hide it from Rutenberg after Bloody Sunday.  Lenin himself claimed that Gapon was no "agent provovatuer of the police."

And I did not claim that your comments were not accurate, I claim that your interpretation of them may be wrong.  I do know enough about the Okhrana police files to know that what was reported wasn't always the whole story or even the correct one and that secret files are filled with gossip, lies and innuendo.  

Imperial Russian History / Re: 1905 Bloody Sunday
« on: February 20, 2007, 10:09:33 AM »
This is really irritating.  No one is portraying Gapon as a "lily white innocent pius...holy man."  I pointed out quite early in this thread that the caricature of him as a one dimensional, evil, bomb throwing, rabble rousing, anarchial revolutionary, intent on overthrowing the monarchy is just that - a caricature.  And no, you don't know why the Okhrana was paying him, something that he did not keep secret by any means.  His workers' movement was done under the auspices and protection of the police and had government approval.  There is no proof that he was paid for anything other than that previous to Bloody Sunday.  He was a believer in the Social Gospel Mission as were many young priests who had attended St. Petersburg Theological Academy.  Now maybe some people can conjecture that he was a revolutionary with ulterior motives of destroying the Tsar, but until evidence is produced, I will stay with the facts.  There is also no proof that Gapon was aware of the presence or absence of the tsar on those two days in January.  There is also no reason to think that the Tsar could not return to St. P. on Jan. 9th, by 2 p.m.

As Kir'ianov points out in his historiography on the mentality of the workers prior to 1905, the slogan, "Down with autocracy, long live the Tsar" was the prevalent sentiment among the workers during the 1903 strikes as it was during 1905 January, until the troops fired upon the people.  Obviously, the workers were well aware of their political rights as human beings, were not advocating the overthrow of the Tsar and wanted reform not revolution.

No one is arguing that the workers and Gapon expected the tsar to accept the petition and say, "uh, well, okay, all your wishes are granted."   What they hoped for was that the tsar would accept the petition.  Of course the petition was about the political rights of the workers, why wouldn't it be?  They had no political rights and the only way to bring about real reform is to codify it in law.  These workers were not stupid, they well understood that they were without legal recourse and without it they had nothing.  Did Gapon and the workers have the sense God gave a goose?  I would think so, I sincerely doubt that they had any hope that all of their demands would be met, and no one would have thought that by entering negotiations the tsar would have acceded to all their demands.   Gapon and the workers did believe that the Tsar would accept their petition and if he had the sense God gave a goose, he would have.  He was in the midst of a war, he had to keep those factories going - it was in his best interest and the best interests of Russia that he do so.  

There is no evidence whatsoever, that Gapon was a revolutionary, that he was intent upon overthrowing the Tsar, that he wanted to topple the government or do anything other than reform it, which without a doubt, was greatly needed.  That public opinion as well as Gapon's was changed on that day was not because of Gapon, it was because of the Tsar's actions on that day.  The entire world was revulsed by what had happened, it sparked strikes across the entire Russian empire,  and resulted in the October Manifesto which ended the autocracy forever in Russia.

So no, Gapon was no revolutionary, he was a reformer who believed in what he was doing, the people loved him and followed him, he obviously had flaws and ulterior motives as everyone does but there is no evidence at all that he was not sincere in his belief in what he was doing and his belief that the Tsar would be moved by the march and accept the petition of the workers.  Gapon dedicated his life to the workers, he set up relief agencies, he mediated for them, he developed educational opportunities for them, he gave them recreational outlets, he counseled them on their domestic disputes, he worked tirelessly on their behalf.  What did the Tsar do for them?  

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