Democratic centralism: Further fortunes of a formula

While the emphasis inevitably shifted according to circumstances, writes Lars T Lih, for the Bolsheviks democracy was just as vital as centralism

A couple of months ago, I wrote an essay entitled ‘Fortunes of a formula’,1 in which I presented some new documentary material that threw a surprising light on the famous formula of ‘democratic centralism’. Material from Lenin’s writings and from the Bolshevik activist and party historian Vladimir Nevsky made it clear that ‘democratic centralism’ was not a defining feature of Bolshevism. In fact, the formula was part of the party lexicon in only two, sharply distinct periods: in 1906-07, when political conditions were more free in tsarist Russia than ever before or since; and after 1920, when the Bolsheviks were faced with the unforeseen tasks of administering a large country.

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Letters

Matriarchy myth; Scarcely heard; LU goer; Cult fetish; No coup; Cursory; Kafkaland

Delta resigns: Now the rest should follow

The resignation of Martin Smith was long overdue, argues Peter Manson

Progressive sentiments amidst reactionary illusions

Gilbert Achcar has strongly objected to being described as a ‘social-imperialist’ in the Weekly Worker. So what is the truth about him? Yassamine Mather investigates

Turing: Calculated pardon

The Alan Turing case exposes both the flexibility of the political establishment and its hypocrisy, argues Eddie Ford

Overachieving at last

The British have been surprised by a series of sporting successes. Harley Filben considers sport’s relationship to nationalism

Socialist Party Ireland: Not for the public domain

Craig Murphy, a member of the Socialist Party in Ireland, reports on the resignation of four prominent comrades and the dishonest response of the leadership

Israel - Palestine: Déjà vu all over again

Moshé Machover finds the recent 'peace process' talk oddly familiar

Summer Offensive: Frippery

The royal baby reminds Mark Fischer of the reality of the far-left's economism on the state during his SO update

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