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.
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.
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.
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.
This post received a “Red Star” from the Editorial Team.
Sources: (Mostly hyperlinked)
Freeze, Gregory. “Russia A History” 3rd Edition.