One hundred years ago, give or take a few weeks, workers in Russia, in, of, by, and for themselves, re-established the bodies, the organic mechanism, capable of organizing the labor of social beings, capable of distributing the labor-time of society, on the basis of satisfying and expanding human needs in direct opposition to all previous mechanisms that subordinated need to the accumulation of value.
Those bodies were called soviets, councils. That organic mechanism was the government of soviets; the government of the councils of workers’ deputies.
Today we can, and should, qualify that development; apprehend the limitations, restrictions, deformities, and isolation that organic mechanism suffered in its confrontation with the limitations, restrictions, deformities of capitalism in Russia; limitations, restrictions, and deformities that provided the dark mirror, the picture to the Dorian Gray of the “advanced,” “developed,” “fully formed” capitalism that had engulfed the world, and engulfed it in blood and shrapnel. However messy, stunted, ugly the complications of the birth of soviet power, those cannot annul the importance of the creation itself.
The Russian Revolution of October 1917, the one that established the power to overthrow the bourgeoisie’s provisional government; the one that established the power to disperse the Constituent Assembly; the one that established the power to organize the defense of the revolution by and in military forces designed to suppress counter-revolution– none of that would have been possible without the organizations of the councils of workers’, of soldiers’ and sailors’, of peasants’, deputies…. even if in and because of the successful prosecution of that struggle, those same organizations bled out their social life.
The seizure of power in October 1917, projected the organization of society against value, beyond value. Against and beyond value means against and beyond national boundaries. The inability of the seizure of power to fulfill that promise on its own only confirms the October revolution as the most important event in human history.
September 4, 2017