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The Rise and Fall of Communism in Russia$
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Robert V. Daniels

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780300106497

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300106497.001.0001

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Socialist Alternatives in the Crisis of 1921

Socialist Alternatives in the Crisis of 1921

Chapter:
(p.157) Chapter 13 Socialist Alternatives in the Crisis of 1921
Source:
The Rise and Fall of Communism in Russia
Author(s):

Robert Daniels

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300106497.003.0014

The Russian revolutions of 1917 were driven by socialism, embraced by revolutionaries of whatever party affiliation as a utopian antithesis to present reality rather than a projected set of institutions. Marxism failed to clarify the meaning of socialism as Marxists, subscribing to the doctrine of the natural transition from capitalism through socialism to “communism,” did not give much attention to the details of the future society. The civil war provided an opportunity to formulate definite conceptions for the road ahead. This consideration of future alternatives was initiated by the so-called Trade Union Controversy that featured three competing platforms: the Leninists, the Trotskyists, and the Workers' Opposition. It was the centrists that presented the first clear position on the trade unions, beginning with Leon Trotsky's call for the militarization of labor early in 1920 that was criticized by the Ultra Left. The Ultra Left's position did not sit well with either Trotsky and Vladimir Lenin. Trotsky and Nikolai Bukharin offered the two most systematic rationales for War Communism in Terrorism and Communism and The Economics of the Transformation Period, respectively.

Keywords:   socialism, Communism, Trade Union Controversy, Workers' Opposition, trade unions, Leon Trotsky, Ultra Left, Vladimir Lenin, Nikolai Bukharin, War Communism

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