Peace, (Love?) Bread, Land, and Worker’s Control

Peace and bread (America’s favorite carb) are not words commonly associated with Russia prior to the 1917 Revolutions. At the time: “In Russia, military setbacks, food shortages, popular unrest, and a crisis of political leadership brought about the abdication of the tsar and the demise of the Romanov dynasty in February, 1917.” At a time of political, economic, and social turmoil, Vladimir Lenin emerged via the “sealed train.” to reaffirm the radical changes taking place in the Bolshevik party, to promote a transfer of “all power to the soviets” (Freeze, 281) and to “feed the hunger” of the proletariat class.

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Lenin’s role is defined as “decisive: his powerful drive, and obsessive belief in revolution overcame the internal party fissures and gave the Bolsheviks a decisive edge over modern socialists”(Freeze, 281). The promise of “peace, bread, land, and worker’s control” appealed to the masses of disenfranchised protesters and appeased grievances dating prior to the Great Reforms.

Lenin, served as the leader of the Bolshevik faction of the Social Democratic Party, who renounced the bourgeois Provisional Government and demanded an end to “revolutionary defensism” through the April Theses, by establishing a revolutionary soviet government. The turn around on the implementation of the act was dramatic, just in the fashion of the revolution. The following timeline exhibits the swift return of Lenin and is intense intrusion into society.

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-11-21-46-am(Virginia Tech European History Timeline).

The timing and language used to introduce the discourse of the April Theses demonstrates a strong demand from the proletariat to gain autonomy and equality, which, thereby, transformed the expression and socio-political crusade of the socialist movement.

“The language of socialism and class conflict became the idiom of public discourse for the press, rally, public meeting, and all manner of political propaganda…The plan called on “technocratic change, of reshaping consciousness and of making the proletariat a true universal class- for itself and, if need be, in spite of itself” (Freeze, 281).

The April Theses uses discourse and vivid language to imply  a dire need to change the status quo of Russian attitudes, norms, and insecurities. The main tenets of the April Theses call on Trotsky’s Theory of Permanent Revolution , calling for a “a republic of Soviets of Workers’ through the disbandment of the parliamentary republic as seen through the Provisional government, as well as: addressing the agrarian program shifted to the Soviets of Agricultural Laborers’ Deputies, a confiscation and nationalization of all lands in the country, the union of a national bank, and other “party tasks”, calling on a name change to be addressed as the Communist Party. More information can be seen through the video.

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This work overall united a torn movement into a strong foundational work to force the October Revolution, and to corner the Provisional Government into allowing the influence of the Bolsheviks into the Petrograd.

The Provisional Government thereupon invited the Petrograd Soviet to help form a coalition government consisting of both socialist and non-socialist leaders, an invitation that the Soviet Executive Committee accepted with reservations.

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 2.01.50 PMThis post received a “Red Star” from the Editorial Team.

 

Sources: (Mostly hyperlinked)

Image

Freeze, Gregory. “Russia A History” 3rd Edition.

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12 thoughts on “Peace, (Love?) Bread, Land, and Worker’s Control

  1. I appreciate how you focused on Lenin and his role in the revolution, and not just the social unrest and provisional government failures. His promises of food AND political peace presented him as an irresistible leader for the people. Your use of quotes, pictures, and video all help show this appeal! Nice work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The April Theses are so critical to the deepening of the revolution and you’ve identified some of the key reasons here. What about the timing of Lenin’s arrival back in Petrograd is so critical? And why are the tenets of the April Theses so radical? The video source you found is really cool! And I love your title for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The timing of Lenin’s arrival back in Petrograd was critical due to the onset of the February Revolution and with the arrival of anti-war socialists, this would remove desire for the Russian war effort in WW1, leading to the eventual overthrow of provisional government.
      The April Theses were revolutionary because of their promises and claim to reclaim all power from the provisional government to the “Soviets”, which was unheard of in the country.

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  3. I had never heard of the April Theses before, and I appreciated how you highlighted them in your post. Lenin is obviously an important character in Russia’s history and I honestly have never learned much about him. Your post introduced details about Lenin that I had never known, and it helps me to understand the background of Russia’s history.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with Drew, I really appreciate your focus on Lenin during this time! He was such a strategic (an interesting) leader, so it was cool to see another side of the revolution. I like that you took Lenin’s promise of food into play after noting how little food there was, but how much food controlled the military and the civilians. Once again you clearly researched this topic well and did a great job of completing the full picture!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved the different images, charts and links you provided. I had never heard of the April Theses before your post and all the extra information you provided really helped me understand the topic in a more in-depth way. One of the most interesting facts you mentioned was in the beginning of your post dealing with food rations and how Lenin appealed to such a wide range of people because they were not used to being promised “peace, bread, land, and worker’s control”. When I think about it, these promises are such “normal” concept in American society today but it is interesting how other nations, specially Russia began to get the same rights Americans have today even if it was 100 years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your post has great images and information. Lenin was such an important figure at the time and your post did a good job of divulging interesting facts about him as a leader. Between your images and your writing, you paint a very clear picture of what happened.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I admire all the work you put into this blog. You picked a lesser-known topic and explained its effects well. This chapter had a lot going on, and it could be difficult to follow how all the events and people impacted 1917. Your use of the April Theses shows Lenin’s goals and how we was able to gather support, and I especially found the table comparing Lenin and the Provisional Government useful.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think you worked hard on this post and it paid off. Lenin has always been an interesting character in history for me. His writings are very inspired and persuasive. You said it best that his April Theses unified a movement.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think you did an amazing job with this post! You brought in outside resources and provided images that made it easy to follow along, while understanding your analysis. You made it clear who Lenin was and what he did, following a timeline of significant dates. He held one of the most iconic images throughout this revolution and you touched on one of his most important platforms during a time of chaos and that was enlightening to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You’re totally right when it comes to historical events and the importance of timing. Do you think Lenin would have had the same impact on Russian society had his influence/writing been published (in modern terms, ‘trending’) even a few months earlier or later? I like how you hyperlinked your sources next to your quotes. I makes it easier for the reader to quickly click and look-up any additional information they might be interested in. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I also appreciate your focus on Lenin. He is basically the historical face of the October Revolution so it is good to get some more background on what he actually did. He clearly was a very savvy political mind; as you showed, he knew the importance of timing. Great post!

    Like

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