I don’t think I’m turning into a revolutionary. I’ve always been more a conservative personality. I don’t like a lot of change and upheaval. But I can appreciate change when it is needed and well thought through. I am finding some interesting similarities between what Trotsky reports in his history and the political climate we’re experiencing today.
Remember back when I said I was getting SO lost in History of the Russian Revolution? Never mind, I am totally on it now. Ok, maybe not TOTALLY, but I’m getting on ok. Once I decided to let go of trying to understand each paragraph or page and just read, allow the pieces to come together on their own, it got easier, and I felt better about spending so much time in this book.
A lot of what I have already learned is coming back to the surface from long-term storage as I read, too. That helps a lot.
I’m amazed at Trotsky’s use of rhetoric. He’s one of those people that no matter what he says, you nod in agreement and move toward his position. He has a way of speaking (or writing really) that makes me think he’s a great guy, trying to do the great things, and make the world better for everyone.
Now…before you go all “You’re a commie lover!” on me, that’s not the case at all. I’m more of personal Trotsky sympathizer. I tend to lean that way in politics. I see you’re point; I think you have a good heart, but you’re so wrong. Trotsky is an interesting character, and his story is fascinating. Stalin hated him, so that’s a good sign, right? But then Stalin hated everyone.
I found a funny video called “What Did Leon Trotsky do in Exile?” on YouTube. Poor Trotsky inciting revolution everywhere he went. No government wanted that…kinda makes you like the guy.
Here are a couple interesting quotes I found so far.
“The art of revolutionary leadership in its most critical moments consists nine-tenths in knowing how to sense the mood of the masses…”
How does one “sense the mood of the masses these days”? Take a poll? Troll social media? Watch a cable news channel? From what I can tell, they all tell completely different stories. When we watch, we look at one group’s machinations and think, “Wow…what is wrong with those people? What are they so upset about?” We can’t imagine things being perceived differently. It makes it complicated to work together toward common goals. But then…maybe that’s the whole point of our current news media.
“The revolution was carried out upon the initiative and by the strength of one city, constituting approximately about 1/75 of the population of the country.”
Kind of frightening, isn’t it? I keep thinking about the world today. I hear, “They (whoever they are) can’t take over the whole country! They are too small, too isolated, too…” But only one city led the Russian Revolution, and one small group of men transformed that into something terrible that ended in millions of people dead.
“The oppressed masses, even when they rise to the very heights of creative action, tell little of themselves and write less. And the overpowering rapture of the victory later erases memory’s work.”
That goes for all of us, all throughout time, even moms. We’re in the trenches, man. We don’t have time for thought journals. Those that are busy living hard lives, aren’t sitting to think out a plan and document the details. Once things change, someone goes back and culls through what happened and reports on it. It’s always second hand and written by the winners.
“The privileged classes of every age, as also their lackeys, have always tried to declare revolutions, a mutiny, a riot, a revolt of the rabble. Classes which have outlived themselves are not distinguished by originality.”
Hmm…yeah. I know.
Here’s one more revolutionary quote I found interesting,
“Strikes, meetings, demonstrations, are not only acts in the struggle, but also measures of its force. The whole mass does not participate in the strike. Not all the strikers are ready to fight. In the sharpest moment the most daring appear in the streets. The hesitant, the tired, the conservative, sit at home. Here a revolutionary selection takes place of itself; people are sifted through the sieve of events.”
Here he’s talking about the difference between how the military/police test whether to rebel against government, and how the people have more freedom and opportunity to make these tests. To me, it brings to mind the “uprisings,” “riots,” and “protests” of the recent past here in the US. What are we testing?
I’ve been one of those “conservatives” that sit at home. And I mean conservative, as in wary of change and set in my older more comfortable ways, not the way the media throws around “conservative” and “liberal” as epithets. I’m watching what’s happening, wondering where it will lead. I’ve read too much, studied too much history, to throw myself into political battles against one side or another. Moves spurred in haste and anger rarely lead to anything but ruin.
I still don’t think I’ll turn into a revolutionary. Yes, something needs to change in our country, but I’m not sure anyone is in a place to know what those changes should be. I’m not taking sides just yet. I don’t want to rule out possibilities. Technology has changed the world so much, I’m not sure we can know what will work and won’t in the same way we used to.
I am fascinated by your reading of this book and analysis of it.