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Power to the Soviets
Book Review of October: The Story of the Russian Revolution

Cohen, David

Publisher:  Against the Current
Date Written:  01/11/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article

Book review of China Miéville's October: The Story of the Russian Revolution.



It is primarily a history of the events in St. Petersburg, the center of the revolution, so some important people never really turn up. Front and center are Lenin, Trotsky, Martov, Zinoviev, Kamenev and leaders of the Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs).

This history starts with the founding of St. Petersburg and quickly covers the founding of the Russian Social Democratic Workers Party (RSDWP) in 1898. We are introduced to Vladimir Ulyanov, who becomes known as Lenin, and his friend Yuli Tsederbaum, soon to be known as Julius Martov. Lenin will, in 1903, become the leader of one faction of the RSDWP, known as the Bolsheviks, and Martov the leader of the other faction, the Mensheviks.

Miéville describes their differences: "What fundamentally underlies the membership dispute -- in winding, mediated fashion, and far from clearly, even to Lenin -- are divergent approaches to political consciousness, to campaigning, to working class composition and agency, ultimately to history and to Russian capitalism itself."

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