Th. Rothstein 1919

The Power of the Russian Revolution

Source: The Call, 17 July 1919, p. 2 (Originally written under his pseudonym John Bryan)
Transcribed: Ted Crawford
HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

July 20th and 21st 1919 will go down in the annals of history as a red-letter day of the highest significance. On these dates for the first time since the beginning of the modern labour movement, the international working class has discovered and proclaimed to the world its moral unity. It is no longer the formal and mechanical unity of former days when the advance guards, the Socialists, turned out into the streets to perform the rite of simultaneous processions and meetings with no more thought of the ideal purpose underlying the actions and no deeper consciousness of the motives which inspired it than usually go with the performance of rites. On these historical days it is the masses themselves, moved by the same thought and the same emotions, who will throughout the world proclaim their solidarity with the one and the same cause now clothed with flesh and blood, and merge their individual identity in the moral ones of the class of which they have hitherto been disjointed members. In short the two days, July 29th and 21st will mark the constitution of the international working class hitherto more a concept than a reality, as a living entity, almost an organism with a common sensitiveness and common consciousness. The dream, the expectation, the scientific prognosis of the great founders of modern Socialism, so long delayed, but all the while imperceptibly maturing in the womb of Time, has, with startling suddenness, on the morrow of an unparalleled period of mutual massacre and hate, become a vivid and vivifying reality. There is an international working class, there is a proletariat, the grave digger of the past, the builder of the future.

This miracle has been accomplished by the genius and daring of the Russian Bolshevik Revolution which has now, for more than eighteen months, been transforming the world of ideas, the world of action, in a way never paralleled by any event, by any movement in previous history. Who but a Goethe felt the immediate effect of the great French Revolution at the battle of Valmy in 1792, that is, three years after its beginning? And was any contemporary in the least conscious of the effect of the teaching—we shall not say of semi-mythical Jesus and his insignificant handful of followers—but of St Paul the real founder of Christianity as a world religion? Yet here, less than two years after the accomplishment of a revolution in a far distant and almost unknown country, in spite of the immense amount of force of counter-influences, in spite of an almost impenetrable material and moral blockade erected by its enemies, in spite of an almost opaque atmosphere of poisonous gases, created by the lies calumnies and distortions of these same enemies—in spite of all this, the whole world of Labour is already feeling and responding to its stimulus, so that even in its most backward sections, those of this country can longer restrain their emotions, and have decided to come out into the streets to demonstrate them? If, verily, it seems as if Time had long been pregnant with the new ideas, and had only been waiting for the bold Caesarean stroke of the revolutionary lancet to give birth to them.

The Bolsheviks of Russia, under the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky, have, by the courage of their act performed the necessary operation, and every day that passes and brings with it the continuation of their rule sees the further and wider penetration of the revolutionary proletarian ideas which are inscribed on their glorious banner. And within every such new day we feel that their rule is going to continue and to gather strength inside and outside, all the efforts of the enemy, internal and external, notwithstanding. The artificial famine created in Russia by the Allies and their Tsarist clients by their blockade and occupation and devastation of the corn-bearing and mining districts, the constant and abundant supply of tanks, guns aeroplanes, poison gases and other diabolical engines of destruction to the Koltchaks and Denikins, the spread of false news and the suppression of true news, zealously practised by the enemies of Bolshevism—all these and numerous other means employed by the capitalist world to strangle the great proletarian revolution of Russia seem to be powerless to achieve anything but the consolidation and the ever-spreading popularity of the Soviet régime. In fact, they merely help to convince the labouring masses, both inside and outside Russia that the Soviet régime is firmly rooted in the consciousness of the people, and, conversely, that the salvation of the latter, both inside and outside Russia, after the unparalleled capitalist barbarity of the war and the perfidy of the peace, lies in the maintenance and universal adoption of the Soviet régime, the régime of the working class in power. And it is because of this growing and ever-spreading two-fold consciousness that the proletariat of the world will, on July 20th and 21st, turn out into the streets and loudly proclaim: “Down with the capitalist and Imperialist intervention! Long live the Soviet Republic”!