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The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism

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The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism


Book Format
Number of Pages
Bertrand Russell
Is Large Print
Publication Date
October, 2007
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
7.44 x 9.69 x 0.28 Inches

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In 1920, Russia was a ...

In 1920, Russia was a disaster scene. Hunger and misery were widespread. It was a police state blockaded by the outside world. Is it fair, Russell asks, to judge Bolshevism in this context? Bolshevism was not entirely responsible for Russia's misery. But Russell is critical of Bolshevism for its superficial understanding of human nature and human motivations, and for its ruthlessness. He concedes that its ideals were good, but its methods departed from its ideals. Nevertheless, he concludes that it was the right government for Russia at the time "because the possible alternatives are worse. If Russia were governed democratically, according to the will of the majority, the inhabitants of Moscow and Petrograd would die of starvation." With food in very short supply, peasants were reluctant to part with it for worthless paper money. Peasants, the vast majority of the population, would have abandoned the cities under a democratic system. Bolshevism has the attributes of a religion, Russell decides. It entertains dogmatic beliefs and closes people's minds to scientific enquiry. Russell was not favorably impressed by Vladimir Lenin, calling him "an embodied theory." He likens him to Oliver Cromwell. He recommends that capitalist injustices be resisted non-violently and gradually, focussing on power at first, not money, and on "propaganda to make the necessity of the transition obvious to the great majority of wage earners." Russell wrote this book in 1920. When he revised it in 1948 he found little need for change. Many of his predictions have come true. Despite its abstract topic, this book is a quick and easy read.

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Electrode, Comp-389269062, DC-prod-cdc04, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-30.0.3-ebf-2, SHA-8c8e8dc1c07e462c80c1b82096c2da2858100078, CID-81d4cdfb-36e-16e911430f307d, Generated: Fri, 22 Nov 2019 03:07:30 GMT