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The Bolsheviks in 1917: Index to a Debate

October 12, 2017

The following are the contributions published so far in an ongoing discussion initiated by Lars Lih and Eric Blanc.

‘All Power to the Soviets’
A seven part series 
by Lars T. Lih

Part 1: Biography of a slogan March 23, 2017

Appendix: Pravda: ‘Mandate for Soviet Elections’ March 23, 2017

Part 2: The Proletariat and Its Ally: The Logic of Bolshevik ‘Hegemony’ April 26, 2017

Part 3: Letter from Afar, Corrections from Up Close: Censorship or Retrofit? June 24, 2017

Appendix: Lenin’s ‘Letter from Afar,’ as Printed in Pravda, March 21-22 June 24, 2017

Part 4: Thirteen to Two: Petrograd Bolsheviks Debate the April Theses July 20, 2017

Appendix: April Theses: Bolsheviks Set the Record Straight July 20, 2017

Part 5: ‘A Basic Question’: Lenin Glosses the April Theses August 15, 2017

Appendix: Lenin Refutes a Misreading of the April Theses’ August 15, 2017

Part 6: ‘The Character of the Russian Revolution: Trotsky 1917 vs. Trotsky 1924′ October 25, 2017

Appendix: ‘Trotsky (1917): ‘The Character of the Russian Revolution’, October 25, 2017

Part 7: ‘We demand the publication of the secret treaties’: Biography of a sister slogan, April 2, 2018

Appendix: ‘March 1917 editorials on the war by Kamenev and Stalin’, April 2, 2018

Articles by Eric Blanc

Did the Bolsheviks Advocate Socialist Revolution in 1917? October 13, 2017

The Roots of 1917: Kautsky, the State, and Revolution in Imperial Russia October 13, 2016

Before Lenin: Bolshevik Theory and Practice in February 1917 Revisited March 2, 2017

‘The Only Guarantee of Polish Independence Is International Solidarity’ March 16, 2017

A Revolutionary Line of March: ‘Old Bolshevism’ in Early 1917 Re-examined April 2, 2017

Lessons from Finland’s 1917 Revolution June 11, 2017

Assessing Revolutionary Social Democracy: A Response to Duncan Hart July 13, 2017

Responses to Lars Lih and Eric Blanc

Re-Arming the Party: Bolsheviks and Socialist Revolution in 1917
A reply by Paul Le Blanc,  October 21, 2017.

The Revolutionary Democratic-Dictatorship of the Proletariat and the Peasantry? Say What?
A reply to Eric Blanc by Louis Proyect, March 20, 2017

In April 1917 Lenin Insisted on Overthrow of the Government
A reply to Lars Lih by Jim Creegan, April 22, 2015

Lenin, Bolshevism, and Social-Democratic Political Theory
A reply to Lars Lih by John Marot, June 11, 2015.

Lessons from Finland
A reply to Eric Blanc by Duncan Hart, July 11, 2017

Paul Le Blanc

‘October Song’ – A challenging portrayal of the Russian Revolution
A review by John Riddell of Paul Le Blanc’s October Song, October 9, 2018

Paul Le Blanc’s ‘October Song’: Criticism and Response
An exchange between Marty Boyers and Paul Le Blanc, January 8, 2019







  1. Dear John,

    Thank you for this interesting and important debate.

    Do you plan to issue a PDF dossier of all the articles, for ease of printing and reading?

    All the best, Uri Weltmann

    בתאריך 13 באוק׳ 2017 04:15,‏ “John Riddell” כתב:

    > John Riddell posted: “The following are the contributions published so far > in an ongoing discussion initiated by Lars Lih and Eric Blanc. ‘All Power > to the Soviets’ A seven part series by Lars T. Lih Part 1: Biography of > a slogan on March 23, 2017 Appendix: Pravda: ‘Mand” >

    • Thanks, Uri, for a stimulating suggestion. I’d like to give this some thought and consult the authors. There are copyright considerations regarding the authors, who may have their own plans regarding this material. What you are suggesting is conceptually similar to publishing an e-book, which raises also the question of how to distribute it effectively.

      Let us think on this; other opinions are welcome!

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