Britain and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Study in the by Stephen White

By Stephen White

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We appeal therefore to British organized Labour to express the strongest condemnation of the participation of the British government in an act which constitutes a crime against national independence and against the Russian Revolution ... a crime which if persisted in will prove not only disastrous to Russia but to the cause of freedom and democracy throughout the world'. Snowden talked of a 'departure of momentous significance', a 'second Belgium'; while Sylvia Pankhurst, Walton Newbold and others urged 'Save the Revolution'J The response of official Labour was rather less forthcoming.

9' This perspective was articulated most clearly, perhaps, by the Prime Minister himself. There was already a change in Russia, he told the House of Commons, from the 'wild extravagant communism of a year or two years ago'. It was becoming accepted that that system was an 'impossible one' . All the time, he believed, 'we are simply converting them' through a 'gentlemanly process of instruction'. An opponent of the agreement, he assured the House, would find that Lenin was 'a man after his own heart if he has only a little patience, if he does a little business with him, a little trading, a little exchange of commodities.

Snowden talked of a 'departure of momentous significance', a 'second Belgium'; while Sylvia Pankhurst, Walton Newbold and others urged 'Save the Revolution'J The response of official Labour was rather less forthcoming. An Inter-Allied Conference of Labour and Socialist parties, which met in London from 17 to 20 September 1918, confined itself to an expression of the 'deepest sympathy' to the labour and socialist organisations of Russia which were continuing the struggle against German imperialism, and went on to condemn the treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

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