What do We Really Want?

While it may seem like the Occupy Wall Street movement is original and wants to bring about a change in society, it also reflects something that we have seen before. Of course, I am talking about the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, sometimes referred to as the October Revolution. Before the revolution shook tsarist Russia, there was turmoil among the Russian people in regards to social, economic, and political relations. The cost of living had dramatically risen, workers wages fell 50% from 1913, the Russian national debt was 50 billion rubles. By the time of the revolution, there had been several thousand uprisings against landowners by the peasants. However, while the revolution in Russia was seen as welcome at the time by a majority of the proletariat, the upper classes and those who belonged to the Menshevik group protested the rise to power of the Bolsheviiks, who were led by Vladimir Lenin. The peasants redistributed the land seized by the Tsar, and Russia officially became the Soviet Union. Not to make any major accusations, but the OWS does seem to be heading in this direction. They are protesting the social, economic, and political relations in the US, as well as the national debt and the huge class gap. Do they really want to make everything equal for everyone, in the sense that everyone lives in a communal lifestyle? Look how well that worked out for Russia in the 20th century. Also, the Soviet government first started out being run by Vladimir Lenin, who was supported for the most part by the Bolsheviks and many other groups in Russia. During the Russian Civil War, the Red Army was supported by the people. However, after Lenin’s death, Stalin came to power and changed the whole dynamic of the Soviet government. Stalin changed the policy of equality and communal living to that of fear and obedience. What if the OWS movement became a less radicalized Bolshevik movement? Do we really want to tear down the institutions that we have now and replace them with more socialist institutions? Lenin was seen as a true nationalist, which seems like a positive thing to be called. Is it? Is the OWS movement heading down the same path as the Bolshevik Revolution? I don’t have the answer. Any thoughts?

-Erin

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3 responses to “What do We Really Want?

  1. “Do they really want to make everything equal for everyone, in the sense that everyone lives in a communal lifestyle? Look how well that worked out for Russia in the 20th century.”
    “Do we really want to tear down the institutions that we have now and replace them with more socialist institutions?”

    Forgive me, Erin, but I have to take issue with these quotes. The problem with the USSR was that in reality, not everybody lived according to the principles of true communism (from each according to his ability, to each according to his need). The Bolshevik government was structured more along the lines of socialism, true, but that was also flawed because Party leaders hoarded goods instead of acting honorably. Stalinism had the same (or worse) problem, and then after that the political system was irretrievably corrupted.

    While you raise good points about the potency of sloganeering – look at the use of “patriot” in today’s culture – I think it’s something of a stretch to worry that OWS is headed towards Stalinism. If a definitive leader emerges, well, then that will be worth watching!

    CVC

  2. coffeeshoprhino

    CVC makes a good point. The USSR was a far different situtation from OWS. Making such a broad overarching comparision between the two is not a strong argument. Can you show where the comparison is valid (and not so valid) with clearly defined evidence to support it? Success is in the details with this comparison.

  3. Pingback: What is Occupy Wall Street? | Occupy Wall Street Analysis

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