To All the Peoples: September to October 1917

  • Robert Service


The evaluation of Lenin as a party leader and national politician also entails consideration of factors of general significance. The specific characteristics of Bolshevik party life in 1917 must not be ignored, but certain phenomena are common to nearly all modern political parties operating in multi-party systems. Few parties have central decision-making bodies possessing complete harmony among their members. Nor do all committee members and activists at lower levels always agree with their central bodies. Local committees may well agree on a range of policies (and this is far from being a universal phenomenon) while giving an idiosyncratic twist to particular policies. No central leadership, even if disciplinary sanctions are employable, is wise to alienate perpetually most of its activists. Prudence calls for some ambiguity in pronouncements on policy. Parties which seriously seek popular support, moreover, have to develop an attractive political programme. Ordinary party members are seldom acquainted with the details of their respective party’s policies as closely as are party officials, and the mass of the electorate characteristically has even smaller knowledge. Hence there arises a stimulus to simplify the contents of policy, to accentuate those ideas with the greatest appeal to supporters, and to play down ideas which might alienate them.


Political Life Central Committee Socialist Revolution October Revolution Disciplinary Sanction 
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Copyright information

© Robert Service 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Service
    • 1
  1. 1.LondonUK

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