Thursday, November 06, 2014

From October to Brest Litovsk by Leon Trotsky, Conclusion

This work ends with Trotsky's apology for the Brest Litovsk treaty that conceded large portions of the Russian Empire to Germany along with reparations and brings Russia's participation in World War 1 to an end.  Trotsky's explanation is that Russia was too weak industrially and militarily to resist.  Germany's goal that Trotsky mentions is that of splitting off as many people groups from the Russian Empire as possible into separate nations.  The other goal that Trotsky didn't mention was to free up German soldiers for the Western front.  He portrays things almost exclusively as an effort to placate a power crazed imperial Germany, without recognizing Germany's problems beyond mentioning a strike.

That Russia's military and economy were too weak seems true, but there is something missing:  Before the October Revolution started, Russia's factories and military were already thoroughly compromised by social revolutionaries and anarchists, as Trotsky informs us.  So we are left to wonder whether the failure of the Russian military-industrial complex was the inevitable result of an incompetent Tsar and a costly war, or was it the result of deliberate sabotage by the social revolutionaries, or some combination?  From the later histories of Trotsky, we see that his pacifist rhetoric in this work is replaced by a ruthless use of military power.

A final observation is the fury that is directed towards the fellow social revolutionaries who share ideology, but not necessarily methods and power structures.  In spite of the rhetoric of a government by the working classes, it is clear that only His government of the working classes is acceptable.  Compromised be damned.  Literally.  The end of this work is some hope in the future.  The inefficiencies resulting from duplicate production will be removed, and a central planned economy will determine what is to be produced and who will get what.  The proletariat of the imperial burgoie powers will rise up and overthrow the tyrants.  The future is full of hope.

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