Lenin, Stalin and the ‘Internationalist’ Nature of the Red Army

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The Red Army of Revolutionary Russia was officially formed on the 23rd of February, 1918, although elements of the Czarist Armed Forces had expressed support for the Bolshevik cause during the tumultuous events of late 1917. The October Revolution saw a transformation of the consciousness and labour of humanity. Never before had the working class successfully seized and held onto the means of production and political power. At the time of this remarkable transition, Czarist Russia was engaged in a nightmarish ‘mass war’ with Imperial Germany, but Lenin was well aware that in reality this conflict was between different sections of the International Bourgeoisie, which through its political power, was fighting an egotistical, imperialist war and using the International Working Class as cannon fodder. Whilst tens of thousands of men were murdering one another in Europe, the Heads of State and their middle class lackeys sat back in safety and watched the results come in. The very German working class men being sent to run at Czarist Russian machine guns were exactly the same Proletariat that were being forced to fire these machine guns in the Czarist Army! Lenin had to formulate a Socialist State that acted as a shield for the Soviet people, so that Socialist strength and power could be developed peacefully. Stalin was instrumental even before the death of Lenin (in 1924) in rejecting the ‘syndicalist’ views that abounded at the time, and which wanted to see disconnected and uncoordinated ‘Communes’ operating at a local level of concern and development. Stalin (with Lenin’s agreement) stated that as 90% of the Soviet people were illiterate and poverty striken, they could not be expected to spontaneously develop an advanced understanding of Revolutionary thinking, but needed to be protected and provided with the material conditions to develop their minds and bodies. As this development from nothing would take many decades, Stalin successfully argued, an interim Socialist State would have to be created that mimicked the outer power and strength of a Bourgeois State, but which was thoroughly different within. Eventually, as material conditions improved, and the thinking and physical existence of the Soviet people developed, the conditions for achieving Socialism would be generated that would eventually facilitate the transition into Communism – and the natural ‘dissolving’ of the Soviet State. In the meantime, as the capitalist world wanted to militarily attack and destroy Soviet Russia, a Red Army was needed premised not upon ‘conquering’ the enemy, but rather ‘liberating’ the working class men and women who comprised its rank and file. Whereas the bourgeois armies relied upon racism and nationalism to inspire people to fight for it, the Red Army relied upon the Scientific Socialism of Marx and Engels as interpreted by Lenin. This meant that the Red Army interpreted all ‘enemy’ soldiers as potential ‘Comrades’ temporarily imprisoned in the ranks of the bourgeoisie. The Soviet Red Army was originally a vehicle for working class self-defence, designed to ‘liberate’ the International Working Class, and in theory at least, spread the Socialist Revolution around the world. Lenin had to combat the Imperialist German threat in 1918, whilst striving to apply Socialist Thinking and minimising Russian and German working class deaths. As matters transpired, the Western world (including Japan and Nationalist China) invaded Revolutionary Russia in 1918, but these 14 countries were eventually defeated by the Red Army in 1921. This historical requirement demonstrates that even if an army is premised upon Socialist Thinking, its military ability must still remain top-notch until the danger to Socialism is thoroughly disarmed and removed. Even when fighting for survival, the Red Army never resorted to racism or hatefilled nationalism, this is why it represents a new era in the evolutionary development of humanity.

Reference:

The Bolshevik Revolution 1917-1923 – Volume One: By EH Carr, MacMillan, (1950), Pages 129-135. Stalin wrote a number of theses that successfully ‘rejected’ the ‘Syndicalist’ notions prevalent at the time (i.e. 1918).

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