DUAL POWER: THE DYNAMICS OF RADICALIZATION
Initially, this division ran conveniently between Right and Left, pitting the moderate liberalism of the Provisional Government against the socialisms of the Soviet. The Government would organize elections and a constituent assembly, establish the rule of law, and generally implement the “bourgeois revolution”; the Soviet would handle practical administration and secure the strongest benefits for the working class in the parliamentary system now to be created. The two would march separately in the same direction.
Popular hopes, however, outpaced the limited goals the Soviet’s early leadership set for the revolution. The peasantry needed immediate land reform; workers wanted a say in the economy. Workers also expected so- viets to be institutionalized in the constitution, in a way hard to square with a parliamentary system. More important, the “national defensism” advocated by the Soviet Executive was out of step with the people’s mood. On the factory floor, in the streets, and among the soldiers, attitudes were cut and dried: end the war and bring the armies home.
Social polarization rapidly exploded the political framework of bour- geois revolution. Instead of responding to pressure from below, the Soviet’s leaders entrenched behind avowedly moderate goals. After the Miliukov crisis in April 1917, leading socialists joined the coalition to broaden its base, only to suffer the inevitable burden of its failures.3 In theory, the Left’s new portfolios—ministries of labor, agriculture, food supply, posts and telegraphs, justice, and war—gave ample scope for revolutionary initiative. But the new incumbents were hamstrung by limited readings of the revo- lution’s potential, while even modest reforms remained blocked. Just as popular opinion turned against the Provisional Government, therefore, moderate socialists became inveigled into defending its policies, disastrously compromising their popular credentials. Herein lay the true key to the April crisis, the unresolved “problem of dual authority, social polarization, and the revolution’s future goals and direction.”4
April–October 1917 was a story of escalating contradictions. Popular expectations outgrew the government’s intentions on every front; and as Russian society mobilized, the government’s capacity dwindled. By simply seizing the lands, peasants indicted its dissembling over land reform. When the government failed to bring peace, it lost the loyalty of the troops. The June military offensive was a disaster. Morale collapsed. Popular demon- strations followed on 18 June, with massive disorders on 3–5 July, the July
Days. The Kornilov rising of 25–28 August, a counterrevolutionary coup by the recently appointed commander-in-chief, was defeated by working- class resistance, with a resurgence of popular revolutionary hopes and fur- ther damage to government. Most of all, amid general economic collapse, the honeymoon of workers and employers expired. Organized workers in- creasingly assumed practical control through factory committees and the Soviet’s coordination. On all three fronts—land, army, and industry—pres- sure for resolving dual power in favor of the Soviet reached a crescendo. Following the April crisis, the group consistently urging that resolution was the Bolsheviks. Immediately after February, the Bolsheviks had joined other socialists in loose coalition around the Soviet. But with Lenin’s return from exile on 3 April, this abruptly changed. Next day, he read his “April Theses” to a mixed socialist audience and urged for the first time pushing the revolution into a socialist stage: “The peculiarity of the current moment in Russia consists in the transition from the first stage of the revolution, which gave power to the bourgeoisie as a result of the insufficient con- sciousness and organization of the proletariat, to its second stage, which should give the power into the hands of the proletariat and poorest strata of the peasantry.” The present regime would never end the war, implement reform, and restore economic life. Anew state was needed: “Not a parlia- mentary republic—a return to that from the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies would be a step backward—but a republic of Soviets of Workers’, Poor Peasants’, and Peasants’ Deputies throughout the country, growing from below upwards.” The economy would be reorganized by nationalizing land, converting large estates into model farms, creating a single national bank, and taking production and distribution into soviet control. This would ignite revolutions in the advanced capitalist countries of western Europe. Bolsheviks should campaign for this among the workers until a Soviet majority was secured. An insurrection to seize power could then be
Lenin’s audience listened in
By June–July, popular frustration was turning into class anger. The July Days provided frenetic impetus: the first real crackdown against popular militancy also loosened upper-class inhibitions, exciting popular fears of a counterrevolution—an anxiety soon vindicated by Kornilov’s abortive coup. The economy deteriorated to nearly systemic collapse. Workers ex- perienced this as inflation-driven pressure on real wages, factory shut- downs, shortages, and government ineffectuality—which they increasingly attributed to “bourgeois” interests. Over the summer, economic crises be- came linked in the popular imagination to capitalist “sabotage.” Employ- ers’ impatience with revolutionary militancy gave grist to this mill. Ano- torious statement to the Trade and Industrial Society on 3 August by the leading Moscow financier and industrialist Pavel Riabushinskii brought class enmity to a head: “It will take the bony hand of hunger and national destitution to grasp at the throat of these false friends of the people, these members of various committees and soviets, before they will come to their senses.”7
For socialists advocating national unity, social polarization had disas- trous effects. But as
the only group untainted by the Provisional Govern-
Congress of Soviets convened in early June, Bolsheviks were still weaker than Mensheviks
and 245, in a
total of 822). But June–July worked compellingly in their favor. Kornilov’s
passing quickly under Bolshevik control. The party’s membership con- firmed this ascent: in February, it numbered
25 October 1917, proved relatively simple. MENSHEVISM IN 1917: REVOLUTION BY THE BOOK
Russian events exercised decisive influence on the Left elsewhere, stamping its image of what a socialist revolution should be, positively or negatively. One view saw the pathology of backwardness. Tsarism suffered beneath the contradictions of modernization and collapsed from the added strains of war. In the resulting chaos, power fell to the group ruthless enough to impose its will. In anti-Communist versions, centralism became the logical expression of Bolshevik ideology, with Lenin as villain-in-chief. It de- scended from the Jacobin dictatorship via the insurrectionary vanguardism of nineteenth-century conspiratorial traditions. That lineage, severed by
Western social democracy, had a second life under Russian conditions. The key to Bolshevik success, accordingly, was the model of the tightly disci- plined party of professional revolutionaries Lenin presented in What Is to Be Done (1902), allowing manipulation of the masses via superior orga- nization.9 Russian backwardness plus Bolshevik centralism fundamentally distinguished the situation from the West.10
In certain respects, Russian circumstances followed the West. Despite the unaltered
The real test of
1914 gave the tsar a
program of national unity. This requested minimal liberalizing of the cabinet: clemency for political and religious offenders; relaxing of police measures; Jewish emancipation; concessions to Poles, Ukrainians, and
towards social consensus. The Petrograd War Industries Committee also had limited
dilemmas of participation for the Left, compounded by the continued il- legality of
Unattainable under tsarism, democracy to strengthen working-class rights was the Menshevik goal for the revolution. The February Revolution conformed exactly to Menshevik theory: tsarism collapsing from its own immobility, via rising popular pressure and upper-class exasperation. “So- ciety”—public institutions, bureaucratic and capitalist modernizers, the forces of the Progressive Bloc—had invited the tsar to broaden the autoc- racy’s base; he refused; so prewar polarization of state and society resumed. Political revolution became essential to free the way for modernizing. For Mensheviks, this would liberate the potential for capitalism, with all the liberal reforms—constitutional, legal, social, economic—connoting capital- ism’s rise in the West. The Left would be the democratic watchdog in this
bourgeois revolution. It could not, in the minds of most Mensheviks, push forward to socialism.
This Menshevik reading was perfectly consistent with the Second Inter- national’s main traditions and indeed mirrored reactions to the February Revolution in the social democratic parties of northern Europe. Second International Marxism reflected powerfully deterministic readings of capi- talist accumulation and crisis, after all: capitalism would experience esca- lating structural crises via its own laws of development, reaching a final moment of revolutionary collapse. This encouraged social democrats into both fatalism and certainty. Their parties sought maximum democracy in the existing system, for both short-term reforms and the best positioning when capitalism fell. Like the evolutionist determinism, this parliamentary model implied a peaceful transition to socialism, not barricade revolutions like 1789 or 1848. The pre-1914 tradition stressed building the movement by national organization. Where capitalist societies acquired parliamentary and local government institutions, parties should use them for legal prop- aganda and practical work.
This was the politics Mensheviks pursued. If the 1917 revolution was
a bourgeois revolution, then a
broadly based legal labor movement was needed, with political and trade union arms, and the social and cultural resources to
The Left should facilitate conditions for socialist possibilities to ripen— uprooting backwardness and traditionalism, while preparing the ground for capitalism. When Russian capitalism had matured, perhaps several gen- erations later, the working class could seize its inheritance.
Principled and realistic as an assessment of Russia’s existing develop- mental resources, this strategy remained doctrinaire, abysmally fitted for the popular mobilization of 1917. The one, Menshevik sense of responsi- bility before History, militated directly against the other, Menshevik re- sponsiveness to popular radicalism. Mensheviks found themselves con- stantly trying to hold popular hopes back, within the bourgeois revolution’s normative limits. This applied par excellence to the Soviet. In theory, dual power allowed socialists both to pursue immediate working-class interests and to toughen the bourgeoisie’s resolution, but without overstepping the revolution’s structural limits. But in practice, the working-class movement could never confine itself to a watchdog role. It was drawn ineluctably into
ever greater responsibility for the government per se, not least because lib- eral failures were so dire.
This trapped Mensheviks into a debilitating logic of incorporation. Na- tional defensism was a disastrous policy, because the masses were demand- ing peace. The economy ensnared Mensheviks in the same way. In the factories, city administrations, and economy at large, working-class lead- erships in the soviets, unions, and factory committees were drawn ever further into managing the chaos. In 1917, strengthening the working class under capitalism meant taking responsibility for capitalism’s problems, and this carried working-class hopes past the limits Mensheviks set for the rev- olution. The way out was a countervailing logic of popular democratic leadership, where the Left took full responsibility by ditching the liberals and forming an exclusively socialist government. But this was the leap most Mensheviks would never make. It was the soviets and factory councils— an emergent infrastructure of working-class self-administration—that were assuming the tasks of social organization and economic management in
1917. Willy-nilly, the Mensheviks acknowledged this by accepting respon- sibility for government between April and October. But they never drew the further conclusions. They continued substituting for the social force— the liberal bourgeoisie—they believed the rightful bearer of the revolution.14
BOLSHEVISM: MAKING THE REVOLUTION
For Bolshevism in 1917, social polarization was the key. This was a dual process: the autocracy’s political isolation was increasingly overburdened by a deepening social gap inside the antitsarist camp between “privileged” and “unprivileged,” the “propertied” and the “people.” Even as political society coalesced into an antitsarist opposition, the working class pulled away from the privileged sectors into generalized confrontation with re- spectable society. Moreover, the new militancy’s “workerist” mentalities threatened to maroon moderate socialists on the wrong pole of this devel- oping confrontation. This made 1912–14 very different from the buildup to the 1905 revolution, when a broad front of the intelligentsia embracing liberals, Marxists, and Populists alike had spoken for the people. By 1914, working-class militancy disordered the simplicity of that earlier antitsarist confrontation.15
Initially, workers seemed open
day, factory committees, and the Central Conciliation Board, drawn equally from
“cartings-out” from the workplace, petitions, demonstrations, and attacks on unpopular officials were aimed more at rectifying abuses and affirming
community values than at stopping production or questioning managerial prerogatives.16 It was the failure to end the war that prevented this modus vivendi, and by extension the politics of coalition, from stabilizing. Bitterly frustrated antiwar feelings undermined the prospects, not least through the mass presence of a vocal and discontented soldiery, numbering a quarter of a million in Petrograd alone.
In April–October 1917, a graduated radicalization occurred in the scale, forms, and content of working-class unrest. The July Days marked the transition from the politics of revolutionary unity to a more class-divided discourse, in which the government’s priorities lurched toward law and order, while employers and workers resumed their mutual suspicions. In the Trade-Industrialist conference of 3 August, its president Riabushinskii denounced the socialists in the government as “a pack of charlatans” hin- dering the politics of bourgeois stabilization; and by October, after the Kornilov fiasco, amidst ever-worsening economic disintegration, and with the Petrograd and Moscow Soviets now under militant control, workers responded in kind. In September–October they struck in vast numbers with far more violence, arresting and abusing managers and owners, blocking the movement of materials and goods, forming Red Guards, and seizing factories. Street actions over food shortages escalated.17 The politics of so- cial polarization had resumed.
Bolshevism rose to power
shevik success is often
the disciplined, monolithic, highly centralist party of professional revolu-
tionaries ascribed to Lenin’s What Is to Be Done? of 1902.
disagreements, whether around Lenin’s April Theses, in the confusion of the July Days,
the seizure of power.18 This atmosphere of debate belies the stereotypical
Lenin’s belief that workers
hopelessly underdeveloped civil society and a
vast peasant majority. Because Russian
capital, rather than “organically” from indigenous enterprise,
So far, little separated this from Menshevism. Two factors allowed Lenin—and Trotsky, the argument’s earlier pioneer—to claim that workers themselves could seize power. First, the dynamics of working-class mobi- lization left the revolutionary party no choice; workers would always de- mand socialist measures, and any party seeking to hold them back would be swept aside. Second, the global process of uneven and combined devel- opment delivered the material conditions for this course. As Trotsky said:
“it is possible for the workers to come to power in an economically back- ward country sooner than in an advanced country.”19 The surrounding backwardness of Russian society and the bourgeoisie’s political weakness, plus Moscow’s and Petrograd’s disproportionate primacy as political, ad- ministrative, and cultural capitals where workers were also concentrated, gave the working class a political capacity beyond its numbers. Thus, “the numbers, the concentration, the culture, and the political importance of the industrial proletariat” determined its leading role. This was the theory of
Yet, however “advanced” in itself, the working class was still a minority in an overwhelmingly peasant country. For Lenin, revolution in the coun- tryside complemented workers’ mobilization in the towns. This meant not only commitment to land reform but also to its immediate implementation, which neither the Mensheviks nor Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs) could accept. This was the worst failure of the non-Bolshevik Left. Under a decree of 21 April 1917, land committees were preparing agrarian reform, but government intransigently deferred action. Bolsheviks demanded transfer- ing the land immediately to the peasants, without compensation, and with- out waiting for the Constituent Assembly. Lenin’s commitment to the poor peasant, formulated after 1905, was prominently displayed in the April Theses. It was voiced consistently during 1917. In late August, he took the
“model decree” of the SRs (compiled from 242 demands from the All- Russian Peasants’ Congress in May) and stitched it to the Bolsheviks’ an- ticapitalist program. He endorsed peasant land seizures, and the Bolshevik government’s first two acts on 26 October—the decree on peace, the decree on land—were a ringing validation of the previous nine months’ frustrated peasant aspirations.21
This propeasant orientation shouldn’t be overstated. Bolshevism had no members beyond the towns. It had no practical, visible presence in the countryside. Lenin’s own thinking on agrarian policy went through many turns, before and during 1917. However positive Bolshevik attitudes to the
peasantry were during the
seriously.22 Even more, Lenin grasped the dynamics of radicalism in the countryside. In
dition. Second International socialists rarely troubled themselves with
peasantry. Even when social democrats were supported by the peasantry, as
Given this blind spot, Lenin’s opening of Bolshevik politics to the agrarian question was crucial for the party’s popular legitimacy in 1917.
Bolsheviks also grasped the importance of soviets. Despite his critique of workers’ spontaneity in What Is to Be Done? Lenin saw immediately the Soviet’s significance in October 1905: on their own initiative, workers had fashioned a new revolutionary democracy. The soviet became the pri- mary arena for revolutionaries to intervene, and Lenin’s slogan of “All Power to the Soviets” identified Bolshevik strategy. Whatever Lenin’s per- sonal sincerity, it was in the soviets—and the factory councils, where Bol- sheviks won their earliest elections in 1917—that Bolshevism secured its democratic credentials. Crucially, the Petrograd Soviet’s newly created Mil- itary Revolutionary Committee also organized the seizure of power in Oc- tober, rather than the Bolsheviks acting in their own name. Soviet democ- racy provided the legitimacy that carried the Bolsheviks into power.
Less appealing was Lenin’s belief in splitting—his drive for polemical clarification, brutally distancing his rivals. Accentuating differences typified his modus operandi, both in the original Bolshevik-Menshevik split of 1903 and the intense politicking of 1907–14.24 It also described Zimmerwald, where he aimed to split the Second International and create an alternative revolutionary center. It was a well-honed strategy by 1917, stressing non- cooperation with Mensheviks and SRs from the start, freeing Bolshevism’s revolutionary mandate in October from the government fiascos of the pre- vious six months. This was also Lenin’s willingness to exercise power given the chance, his absolute determination to seize the revolutionary moment. In contrast, Mensheviks made almost a virtue out of hesitancy. They held their imagination back, tethered to the limits of the bourgeois revolution. But when Tseretelli famously insisted at the All-Russian Soviet Congress in June 1917 that no party was willing to say: “Give the power into our hands, go away, we will take your place,” Lenin defiantly contradicted him from the hall.25 This was a powerful unity of conviction and action, the certainty that revolution could be made to happen. It made the Bolshevik Party’s accelerating popular momentum in July–October a magnet for all the revolution’s frustrated activism.
In Bolshevik internationalism, pragmatism met conviction. Lenin’s in- ternationalist imperative came from his analysis of capitalism in its mo- nopoly and imperialist phase—his belief that capitalism exhausted its pro- gressive potential by needing to expand on a world scale, with resulting exploitation of the underdeveloped world and sharpening of contradictions
in the metropolis. National liberation movements in underdeveloped coun- tries would upset the process of imperialist accumulation, he argued, un- dermine prosperity in the capitalist economies, and trigger renewed popular militancy. Capitalist concentration had meanwhile brought the productive forces to their fullest potential, leaving the economy’s commanding heights ripe for socialization. Finally, the war and the great powers’ intensified competition had accentuated all these conditions, with explosive conse- quences for any power that was defeated. As Lenin said, “the war has given an impetus to history which is now moving with the speed of a locomo- tive.”26 As “the weakest link in the imperialist chain,” tsarist Russia was especially vulnerable to the destabilizing effects, particularly as imperial society buckled under the war’s strain.
This internationalist perspective functioned in a particular way. It coun- tered Menshevik belief that Russian backwardness precluded the building of socialism. Such objections had long pedigrees among socialists, and when Lenin’s April Theses proposed moving directly to socialist revolution many Bolsheviks also balked. Socialism could not be built from scarcity, only from material abundance, once capitalism had released the forces of progress: “Whence will arise the sun of the socialist revolution? I think that with all existing conditions, with our standard of living, the initiation of the socialist revolution does not belong to us. We have not the strength, nor the objective conditions, for it.”27
Neither Lenin nor Trotsky
would not be economic so much—that is, the
isolation of the working class and the inevitable rupture with its peasant and petty-bourgeois allies.”28 But here, internationalism supplied a
These, then, were the main ingredients of Bolshevik success: a sharper grasp of specifically Russian conditions, embracing precocity as well as backwardness; advocacy for the peasantry; the Soviet’s institutional cen- trality; activist demarcation against the other Left parties; and a global analysis of the overall European situation, bringing confidence in the pros- pects of sympathetic revolution in the West. Other factors were important too, including the personalities of Lenin and Trotsky. But it was above all the combination of relentless activism and remarkable clarity of perspec-
tive, under conditions of soaring popular radicalism and extreme social polarization, that brought the Bolsheviks to power.
FROM DUAL POWER TO DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT
After the October Revolution, political concentration was rapid and ex- treme. Once the Bolsheviks seized power, their relations with other left groupings became crucial. The Mensheviks and SRs seceded from the Sec- ond All-Russian Soviet Congress on 25 October. They formed the All- Russian Committee for the Salvation of the Country and the Revolution, preparing a rising to join the expected attack on the capital by General Petr Krasnov and his Cossacks. Krasnov was easily beaten on 29–30 Oc- tober, but this gave the Bolsheviks grounds to sever talks and tighten dis- cipline in their own ranks. The Left SRs now broke decisively with their party, refused to join the walkout of 25 October, endorsed the Bolshevik seizure of power, and on 15 November joined the Bolsheviks in coalition. Conflicts hinged on the issue of legitimacy and the revolution’s funda- mental definition, “bourgeois-democratic” or “proletarian-socialist,” now centering on the soviets. The Bolshevik rising was deliberately timed for the opening of the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets, and once the original soviet leaders had gone, nothing could stop popular militancy flow- ing through this framework. As the Bolsheviks desired, political choices were being polarized. On one side was the formal legitimacy conferred by the imminent Constituent Assembly and the parliamentary system advo- cated by the Provisional Government; on the other was the new revolu- tionary legitimacy of the soviets. In ostentatiously leaving the Soviet Con- gress, the Mensheviks and Right SRs left no doubt where their allegiance lay. This destroyed all chances for giving the new regime a nonpartisan socialist basis. The Bolshevik rising commanded powerful support, espe- cially with militants in the army and factories. But, equally, there were strong unity sentiments for a coalition of all socialists, providing it was antibourgeois. This was the potential the Mensheviks and Right SRs fatally squandered. As the Menshevik Nikolai Sukhanov later conceded, “we com- pletely untied the Bolsheviks’ hands, making them masters of the entire
situation and yielding to them the whole arena of the revolution.”29
Thus the Constituent Assembly was already delegitimized even before the elections of 12 November 1917. In those elections, returns were good for the SRs—410 seats out of 707, as against the Bolsheviks’ 175. But the Bolsheviks’ other rivals were erased. Bolsheviks carried the towns, with 36 percent of the vote in provincial capitals, as against 23 percent for Kadets, the sole surviving bourgeois party, and 14 percent for SRs. The political alignment, with urban allegiances concentrated around Bolsheviks and Ka- dets, now directly registered the social polarization. While SRs held some
ground, it was paltry compared with the summer, and the Mensheviks were completely wiped out.30
As the Left’s dominant party in the cities, the Bolsheviks throve on the still evolving urban radicalization. The gap between Bolshevik leadership in the soviets and their weaker standing in the Constituent Assembly left them undismayed. When the Assembly convened on 5 January 1918, they corrected the imbalance by dissolving it. This was consistent with the slo- gan “All Power to the Soviets” and the logic of urban popular loyalties. To legitimize the closing of the Constituent Assembly, the Bolsheviks called not only a third All-Russian Congress of Soviets (after those in June and October 1917) but also an All-Russian Congress of Peasants’ Deputies, for mid-January 1918. The founding document was its “Declaration of Rights of the Toiling and Exploited Peoples,” drafted on 3 January, adopted by the All-Russian Soviet Congress on 15 January, and inscribed in the new Constitution in July. The worker-peasant axis was central here, but the self-presentation of the Bolsheviks themselves—the revolutionary e´lan of Bolshevik political culture—was unambiguously proletarian. Adapting this self-understanding to the needs of a worker-peasant alliance became a cru- cial issue in the further course of the revolution.
Other problems were looming. How to institutionalize the direct de- mocracy of the Soviets and factory committees was one. Pluralism—how to deal with organized opposition—was another. The question of nation- alities, flagged in the Declaration of the Rights of the Toiling and Exploited Peoples, was still another. Each goes to the heart of the relationship of socialism and democracy. The salient theme was the turn from parliamen- tary to soviet democracy, a decisive break, whose only forerunner in the social democratic tradition of the first two Internationals was the Paris Commune. To the previous ideal of the democratically elected parliamen- tary majority, Bolshevism counterposed the ominous-sounding formula of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Something important had clearly changed. The All-Russian Soviet Congress greeted the suppression of the Constituent Assembly by singing the Marseillaise (the anthem of the French Revolution) as well as the Internationale (the anthem of the workers’ in- ternational), so that the transition from the epoch of the bourgeois to that of the proletarian revolution would be marked.31
r ussian extremes created chances for the
social will.” Russian backwardness was no problem: “The revolutionaries themselves will create the conditions needed for the total achievement of their goal.” Revolution was the crucible of opportunity.1
Yet, when the imagination was recalled from the frontier to more pro- saic tasks by the uneven stabilization of 1921–23, the landscape was fun- damentally transformed. In much of Mediterranean and eastern Europe— in Hungary, Italy, Bulgaria, Spain—stabilization took authoritarian forms, leaving strong radical movements of town and country defeated and un- derground. But in the prewar central and north European “social demo- cratic core,” comprising Austria, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, and Scandinavia, together with France, the Low Countries and Britain, the Left was far stronger than before. While in some cases improvement fol- lowed the collapse of old imperial regimes amidst revolutionary turbulence and in all others there were large-scale popular pressures, this was no spe- cifically socialist advance. Instead it brought a strengthening of parliamen- tary democracy, an expansion of workers’ rights under the law, further union recognition, the growth of civil liberties, and the beginnings of a welfare state. The enhancement of the public sphere—in parliamentarian, publicistic, and cultural terms—was also a big gain, especially in countries where public freedoms were cramped and harassed before.
To judge the revolutionary years 1917–23 we have to bring this whole picture into view, assessing the limits as well as the strengths of the new politics, precisely what had and had not been achieved. This means assess- ing the reformist as well as the revolutionary chances—the slow, uneven, and reversible gains of the Left, not just the dramatic bursts of willed rev- olutionary action.
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