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08 March 2021


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John Poole

It is kind of crazy how much time these guys spent just thinking about this considering how the people running the previous revolutions were completely unaware of what they were doing. It will be interesting to see what the practical impact of that will be.

Craig Johnson

These are such great episodes Mike. I just finished reading Deutscher's 3-volume The Prophet biography of Trotsky and it's a real thrill to hear you cover the same territory.

Konstantin T.

To John Poole's point... I would be very much interested in Mike's viewpoint on how the revolutionary theory influenced the events. I cannot help but think of the October 1917 coup as a naked power grab backed up by a few simple populist promises such as "Peace to the Peoples! Factories to the workers! Land to the peasants!"
All of these promises, of course, were broken eventually. So in the end, the Bolsheviks turned out to be better liars than anyone else, more ruthless in their pursuit of power.

Shane Doherty

So far what I'm picking up from turn of the century socialist theory is it relies too heavily on deterministic outcomes, when humanity is just chaotic enough to defy all models of political and economic development.

Grzegorz Wiśniewski

@Shane Doherty Exactly. That's what I thought on Marx's works. He had some valid observations and diagnoses at the time, but the part about the prospects is just utopian hypothesis - as he do not take into account chaotic abilities and inclinations of people. Especially the always unequal numbers of people active and passive - it is always some minority that leads. And if this minority is determined, able & really small in the context of society - it actually always go sideways.

I was always rather uninterested with the background of October Revolution (1917), so everything in this episode is quite new for me. But I am astounded how accurate were Trotsky’s estimates about the Russia’s proletariat potential – and ultimately how deeply unmarxist it was.

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