“Ah, Stukov, Bukharin, I’m glad you could make it.” Lenin’s raspy voice rang out clearly as eyes rose to follow the two Muscovian leaders. “As I was saying, we need a respite. I don’t think we should wholly give up on revolutionary war, but we can’t fight it like this. Our troops are disordered, supply lines are short. We need time if we are to fight the capitalist camp. We need out of the war. Either that or there has been a new development, the Entente want us on to continue fighting with them. They will send us weapons if we continue.” Mixed responses echoed through the large chamber. Murmurs of agreement were covered by angry voices and eyes flashing towards Bukharin and Stukov. Lenin too couldn’t help but glancing up at his friend. Bukharin was furiously shaking his head.
“Comrade Lenin would have us believe that we can somehow isolate the capitalist camps. That if we agree with some of them, we can then call upon the international proletariat to rise up against them. However, I do think he is right on one issue, we cannot continue to fight this war alone. We are weak, we cannot defeat the Germans. We can merely stall them, and if we continue the war perhaps they will arrive at our very gates. Perhaps they will take Petrograd and Moscow. But is the war lost comrades? If our cities fall, if our armies collapse and run, is the war lost?” Kolya’s quick voice silenced the room like a barrage of cannon fire. “I tell you no! This war, the war of revolution, the war on which all our hopes and dreams rest. It is not to be fought by raging swaths of gargantuan armies. It is not fought in the muddy trenches on the edge of marshlands. No, the war we fight is in the heart of the nation-state as we know it. A complete and utter victory can only be achieved in the factories, in the hearts of workers round the world. What unites us is our hate of the capitalist camp! If we compromise we confuse the very idea that will build a proletarian state.”
“State! Careful boy.” A gruff old voice growled out, breaking Kolya’s thoughts just long enough for Stalin to rise to his feet.
“Comrade Bukharin says the battle can be carried on if we lose our cities, but I ask him how? He himself wrote of the overpowering strength of the new menace of state capitalism. How are we to carry on a war if we have lost the war?” There was a loud roar of agreement as Stalin returned to his seat, flashing a glance up at his friend. Kolya could hear Ivan’s deep seething breaths in the background. Kolya held up his hand to relax his friend before putting them together and placing them to his lips.
“Comrade Stalin is correct in questioning my theory. It is, indeed, inherently flawed. And quite honestly I do not know how we are to continue the war. But this much I do know, with the creation of the new state capitalism, we need a world at war to weaken them enough to stand a chance. And I ask you, if the war ends, if we fight on the side of capitalists, how does Marx’s dream survive? Yes, we survive, but does it come at too high of a price?” Kolya sat down to complete silence. Not even Lenin moved. The room was frozen in time, but it would soon become a hive of activity again as the debate raged on, until finally, they ratified Lenin’s motion. Bukharin had been defeated.
But only just.
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