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David Mandel The Petrograd Workers and the Soviet Seizure of Power. From the July Days 1917 to July 1918. Collection: Studies in Soviet History and Society. London: The MacMillan Press Ltd., 1984, pp. 211 à 447. + 12 pp.
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The Petrograd Workers and the Soviet Seizure
To what extent can the October Insurrection be seen as a workers' revolution? How did Soviet democracy fare in the first eight months following the seizure of power? What lay behind the debate between the factory committees and the trade union leadership over workers' control? These are some of the questions this book seeks to answer approaching the Russian Revolution from the vantage point of the industrial workers of Petrograd, Russia's 'red capital'.
This volume completes the study, begun in the author's earlier work, The Petrograd Workers and the Fall of the Old Regime. It traces the evolution of the workers' political consciousness and activity, both on the shop floor and in the broader societal arena, from their temporary defeat in the July Days through their mobilisation against General Kornilov's abortive counterrevolution, the October Insurrection, the dispersal of the Constituent Assembly, the economic collapse, the 'obscene' treaty of Brest-Litovsk and finally to the outbreak of full-scale civil war in the early summer of 1918.
Making systematic use of the wealth of source materials now available, the author strives to let the workers speak for themselves, allowing the reader to enter into the atmosphere of the period and the mind of the actors. In doing so, he questions the widely-held view of the workers as anarchistically inclined masses whose unrealistic aspirations made them the prey of demagogic leaders. The workers appear here as conscious actors, certainly no less conscious than the more educated and privileged strata of society, and as the crucial social force in the revolution's development. At the same time, the author seeks to explain why the power, so bitterly and heroically contested, won and defended, began so soon to slip from the workers' hands.
David Mandel was born in Toronto in 1947. He took his BA at the Hebrew University and PhD at Columbia University, where he was appointed Senior Research Fellow in the Russian Institute (1977-8). In the course of his research for this book he spent a year in Leningrad as a Canada-USSR Exchange Scholar (1975). He has taught at the Centre for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Birmingham, the Department of Political Science at McGill University, the Department of Sociology at l'Université de Montréal, and is presently at the Department of Political Science at l'Université du Québec à Montréal. He is the author of several articles on the Russian revolutionary period and labour movement.
Dispersal and Transformation of the Petrograd Working Class
The 'Obscene Peace'
The Opposition – Growth and Failure CONCLUSION Selected Bibliography Index [N.B.: Page numbers in this edition do not correspond to page numbers in the paper book edition. MB]
Page-numbering in this book follows on consecutively from the companion volume, The Petrograd Workers and the Fall of the Old Regime.