Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 06-27-2004, 10:32 PM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Fayettenam
Posts: 7,278
What Does 'Bolshevism' Mean?

I read someone's comments who made reference to 'Bolshevism' to describe a certain group of someone's desire to 'transform' Iraqi society.

Unfortunately, I as of yet lack sufficient breadth and epth of knowledge to appreciate teh worth of this comparison.

I've only a glimmering of an idea as to what Bolshevism entails. I"ve Googled of course. But I've the trouble of too much info.

Anyone so inclined is invited to provide a cogent summary.
  #2  
Old 06-27-2004, 10:37 PM
Triskadecamus Triskadecamus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: I'm coming back, now.
Posts: 7,419
The philosophy of the Bolsheviks.

It pretty much means willing to justify any means to reach the ends of a socialist power structure, supposedly for the benefit of all the people. Generally it refers to a fairly bankrupt perversion of the Communist Ideal, causing the accrual of all power to a party elite.

One of the great pitfalls of Communism.

Tris
  #3  
Old 06-27-2004, 10:42 PM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 58,797
Quite often people just use "Bolshevik" or "Bolshevism" to mean "commie" or "pinko."
  #4  
Old 06-27-2004, 10:48 PM
Reeder Reeder is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Lexington NC
Posts: 7,153
You mean it doesn't mean love of the Bolshoi???

Oh..that would be Bolshoivism.

Where was my mind.

My bad.
  #5  
Old 06-27-2004, 11:31 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 51,305
And the word "bolshoi" simply means "large", or "many".

To put it VERY simply, the communists in Russia split into two groups-the Bolsheviks and the Menshiviks. The Bolsheviks took the name to imply that they were the "majority" (although this was not true-more stuck with the Menshiviks, IIRC).
__________________
Itís not you, itís your sports team.
  #6  
Old 06-28-2004, 07:24 AM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 41,096
The Bolsheviks took their name because they were in the majority on one particular important party vote. They were not usually the majority of the Russian Comunist Party.

The strict definition would be a follower of Lenin. Lenin did have a distinct philosophy, but that was secondary to his leadership.

The more general meaning is "communist."
__________________
"If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country'd be full of rich men and good-looking women. Too bad it isn't that easy.... In short, when someone else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer... not before."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.
  #7  
Old 06-28-2004, 07:40 AM
pyrrthon1 pyrrthon1 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: 30th Ave & 33rd Street.
Posts: 160
Lenin, the head of the Bolsheviks, believed that the Revolution would only come about as the result of the actions of a small, highly motivated, ideologically triained cadre that would spare nothing to push their program through. This is probably the reference to Bolshevism you read. It sounds the article you read is talking about the neo-conservatives nea the President.
  #8  
Old 06-28-2004, 08:28 AM
PatriotX PatriotX is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Fayettenam
Posts: 7,278
Quote:
Originally Posted by pyrrthon1
Lenin, the head of the Bolsheviks, believed that the Revolution would only come about as the result of the actions of a small, highly motivated, ideologically triained cadre that would spare nothing to push their program through. This is probably the reference to Bolshevism you read. It sounds the article you read is talking about the neo-conservatives nea the President.
So it's a reference to the Bolshevism's concept of change from the top down?

Is that a fair charge to make of Bolshevism?
  #9  
Old 06-28-2004, 08:35 AM
pyrrthon1 pyrrthon1 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: 30th Ave & 33rd Street.
Posts: 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonX
So it's a reference to the Bolshevism's concept of change from the top down?

Is that a fair charge to make of Bolshevism?
It's not the top down part that's essential. It's the tight knittedness and ideological fidelity that I'm talking about. I don't know for a fact that that's what your author was talking about.

Can you give us some context as to what you were reading? A link or a quote will help.
  #10  
Old 06-28-2004, 09:19 AM
Olentzero Olentzero is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 7,601
Perhaps an actual Bolshevik can shed some light on the matter.

Bolshevism, as has been noted, is a tendency rooted in the revolutionary socialist tradition. It got its start just over a century ago as a result of heated debates in a congress of exiled Russian revolutionaries over the nature of membership and participation in the revolutionary party they were trying to form. The two main conflicting definitions were proposed by Julius Martov and Lenin, whose definition was the stricter of the two. Though his proposal lost the vote, Lenin's group came to be called the Bolsheviks ("members of the majority") - possibly as a joke - and the name stuck, mostly because Lenin's group wore it proudly.

Lenin's concept of party membership was indeed strict, but not unnecessarily so. It required a higher level of political discipline than Martov's - members were expected to abide by party decisions and act accordingly - but those decisions were not handed down from on high by a central committee held unaccountable to the general membership. Decisions had to be argued out as thoroughly as possible within the entire party before they were voted upon, and even then further debate - as well as alterations or even reversal - were not precluded further down the road as events developed and results could be assessed. But while decisions were in force, members were expected to adhere to them.

This quite democratic view of party activity extended to their politics regarding the revolution as well. The Bolsheviks were thoroughgoing Marxists and understood completely that revolutionary social change could not come about through the actions of a small party placing itself at the top of society but through the actions of classes as a whole - in other words, from the bottom up. It is true that the Bolsheviks, like other revolutionary groups of various stripes, sought to gain leadership of the working-class movement, but for them that was not the ultimate goal. They argued (and correctly, IMO) that their politics were those that would best guarantee the success of the socialist revolution in Russia and they therefore worked hard to make sure those politics informed and influenced the movement towards the revolution.

So no, I don't think the charge of being entirely "top down" in their perspective is anywhere close to fair.

reviews thread

I think that's covered the main points of the discussion; now to the original question. Given the scant context of the OP, my assumption is that the commentator used the label of Bolshevism in much the same way as some radicals label the Bush administration "fascist" - that is, a knee-jerk opposition to a viewpoint coupled with either partial or total ignorace of what the word actually means. It's a rhetorical shortcut to saying "I don't agree with this viewpoint and neither should you" without actually taking the time to examine and rebut the argument presented.
  #11  
Old 06-28-2004, 09:30 AM
Ca3799 Ca3799 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Tejas
Posts: 4,317
I thought "Bolshevic" and "Manshevic" were analogous to "Right" and "Left" (in that order).
  #12  
Old 06-28-2004, 09:58 AM
Olentzero Olentzero is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 7,601
No, not really. Mensheviks, at least at the time of the original 'split' in 1903, considered themselves revolutionary. They did turn rightward over the ensuing years to the point where they opposed the October Revolution, however.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:22 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017