Garcia Liner about the Russian revolution

As the Latin American revolutionary XXI century can appreciate the history of Bolshevism at the end of 100 years? The best estimate of the Bolshevik revolution in the year of the century will give álvaro garcía Liner (Alvaro García Linera).

In the book entitled “What is a revolution?” (¿Qué es una revolución?) with the subtitle “From the Russian revolution of 1917 to the revolution of our time” (De la Revolución Rusa de 1917 a la revolución de nuestros tiempos) Garcia Liner recreates the history of the Russian revolution in all its fullness of details, making you wonder about the relevance of this event.

First of all Garcia of the Liner indicates the historic scale of the revolution: “the Russian revolution of 1917 is the most important political event of world significance in the twentieth century. She changed the modern history of the States, has created a new define political ideas throughout the world, transformed social thinking of the peoples, returning them to the role of the subjects of the historical process, made changes in military scenarios and put forward the idea of a new way (of the world) in the development of mankind”. Russian revolution announced the birth of the XX century by making the revolution a “moral beacon of the insurgent peoples”. “The revolution will be the most popular and demoniziruet word of the XX century”.

Therefore, “over the past 100 years in the name of the revolution killed more people than in the name of any religion”, with the only difference that “during the revolution, the sacrifice is carried out for material liberation of the people.”

Before giving the definition of the Russian revolution, Garcia Liner considers the revolution as “a movement of ordinary people”, “- organized society that perceives itself as the arbiter of its own destiny”.

The liner criticizes a simplistic approach to the Russian revolution, which brings it to a Winter storm and the establishment of the new government. “Revolution is not a point episode that can be tied to a specific date, photograph. It’s a long process, lasting months and years, during which the ossified structures of society, social classes and state institutions are blurred, and all that was previously solid, normal, certain, predictable and orderly, is dissolved in a chaotic and creative “revolutionary whirlwind””.

Revolution becomes possible because of the incredible combination of a number of events and factors: “Revolution is an event of exceptional, rare, where the unthinkable combination of very different and contradictory currents that motivate the whole society — previously indifferent and amorphous — to independent political action.”

Says Garcia of the Liner, the revolution “is a purely trench warfare and war of movement”, combining Lenin and Gramsci. In the course of preliminary sharp ideological struggle, the Bolsheviks gaining a dominant political position among the subordinate classes. “In fact, the October uprising just confirmed the real power, which the Bolsheviks achieved in all active layers of the labour companies. It is often touted as the “dual power” or “the diversity of local authorities””.

According to Garcia, the Liners, the opposition between revolution and democracy is a false promise, because “the revolution is an absolute exercise of democracy”. Similarly, it is a mistake to assume that revolution is impossible without the “war of movement” which eventually provides the conditions for the victory of the revolution. Therefore, Lenin advocates the concept of “United front” in the debate on the Communist international, Gramsci elaborated in relation to Eastern and Western societies.

The Russian revolution inherent in General to all hell, namely, “cultural, ideological, political and moral victory of Bolshevism in the civil society”. Immediately Garcia Liner back to terms with which he described the stages of the Bolivian revolution, considering the dictatorship of the proletariat, Lenin proclaimed. He considers the dictatorship of the proletariat as the “crossroads of the revolution”, has nothing to do with the capture of the institutions of the old regime, the dismissal of the former leaders. The “revolution of the XXI century show that all this is happening through democratic elections.”

“The dictatorship of the proletariat is the basic content of the class struggle generated by the revolution, this is the time when speech attenuate, the ability to believe goes by the wayside, and the struggle for the unification of the characters dies.”


© Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional – ChileСальвадор Allende

In the course of the Cuban revolution that was the battle at Playa girón (Girón Playa); in the days of the Allende government — the military coup of Pinochet; and Venezuela, with the suspension of the activities of state oil company PDVSA and the attempted coup in 2002; in Bolivia, a coup attempt in September 2008, known as “the conspiracy of the prefects”. The importance of the Leninist doctrine of the dictatorship of the proletariat is to “establish for a long time a monopoly on coercion, collecting taxes, public education, the rule of power and political-cultural legitimacy”. Without this, any revolution is doomed to failure.

The author talks about what socialism is. Garcia Liner believes that if the revolution does not apply to other countries, then eventually it fizzles out. And in this regard says: “People would like to do a lot in my life, but it gives us the opportunity to make only a part of it.”

People wanted the revolution to be more transparent, clean, heroic, ambitious and successful (and it is worth to work), but in the real history of the revolution are more complex, confusing and risky. People can not adjust the reality to fit their dreams, rather, they should adjust their hopes and desires under the existing reality in order to bring it to them, enriching their aspirations that real life gives us and teaches”.

Analyzing the dynamics of development of the Russian revolution, Garcia Liner warns that “no revolution has predefined content”, and the character of the Russian revolution was formed in accordance with the way in which the Bolsheviks set about the revolutionary transformation. “Socialism is not the nationalisation of the means of production”, as Lenin taught, “only capitalist monopoly of the state, put at the service of all people and therefore ceased to be capitalist monopoly.”

“… socialism will never turn into the socialization or democratization of poverty, because it primarily involves the growing socialization of wealth”. “Contrary to what the representatives of the world left movement considered throughout the twentieth century, the nationalization of major means of production, banks and trade does not create a new mode of production and develop new economic logic, and certainly not socialism, because it is not the socialization of production.” “In other words, one of the main slogans of defeated left-wing of the XX century — “state ownership is synonymous with socialism” — was incorrect and meaningless. Even now, there is mitigated leftism, whose representatives, sitting on the terrace of a cozy café, drinking cappuccino, expect a nightmare of the revolution and demand that the progressive governments vigorously carry out nationalization to immediately establish a socialist system”.

In the final part of the book, Garcia examines the Liner of one of my favorite topics: the role of time in resolving economic problems. The author shows complete failure of the policy of war communism, and, as Lenin argues, and introduces the NEP to restore economy in the context of the terrible devastation in the country.


© RIA Novosti, Vladimir Leonov | go to Photobacterium sell the sausage at the Sukharev market of the NEP period

“The basic position of Marxism, that the material base of society affects the other, is not always taken into account by the revolutionaries, who can overestimate the political will and action as the driving force of change.” However, “without a material basis does not exist a revolutionary potential that can be used and which degenerates into an empty demagoguery.” NEP denied a significant part of the illusions about the construction of socialism, helped me to understand what really is socialism, and had clearly identified priorities accomplishes the revolution.

“Socialism as a system of new economic relations cannot be built by the state on the basis of administrative decisions. First of all, it should be inclusive, creative and voluntary business of the working classes, accumulate experience new ways of creating and managing wealth”.

Thus, “the struggle for new priorities and organizational structures of the working classes are the fundamental tasks of the revolutionary process”. “After the armed uprising of the main issues on the agenda be the economy and world revolution.”

“In a word, socialism is a very long historical period of acute social contradictions in which the capitalist relations of production and the logic of exchange value, retain their force, but from their depths arise the disparate forms of collective work that seeks to spread across countries and regions.” “Thus, socialism is not a mode of production or fate. This historic space sharp fierce class struggle…”.


© State Museum of the political history reseidential the workers of the Putilov plant on the first day of the February revolution of 1917

Why was defeated in the Russian revolution? Because I wasn’t able to connect with other revolutions. And because the state has assumed a major role in bringing about change and making social decisions, as is the road leading to rapid failure. But this revolution has left us the most important experience of social revolution.

“Today, we remember the Russian revolution, because it is for a moment awakened in ordinary people a hope for building a different society…”. “But we remember her because she suffered a crushing setback, burying hopes of a whole generation of the poor classes.”

Although I give extensive quotations from a relatively small volume (about 100 pages) book Garcia Outliners, I’m sure there are many other arguments that deserve our attention. But enough of these to make sure that the revolutionary practice is the best source for understanding the past, present and foreseeing the future. It allowed Garcia the Liner to make such impressive insights.

Compared to a sad held at the meetings of scientific councils in the centennial of the Russian revolution of 1917, divorced from modern historical and political reality, the work of Garcia Outliners once again shows that it is the largest Latin American researcher of the modern era.