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By John Spargo

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Certainly, in many cases, there was no authorization by any revolutionary body . In February, 1907, the elections for the Second Duma were held under a reign of terror . The bureaucracy was determined to have a "safe and sane" body this time, and resorted to every possible nefarious device to attain that end . Whole masses of electors whose right to vote had been established at the previous election were arbitrarily 54 BOLSHEVISM disfranchised. While every facility was given to candidates openly favoring the government, including the Octobrists, every possible obstacle was placed in the way of radical candidates, especially Socialists .

It was not easy to discern the underlying significance and purpose of some of the most important events. On every hand there were strikes and uprisings, many of them without any sort of leadership or plan . Strikes which began over questions of wages and hours became political demonstrations in favor of a Constituent Assembly . On the other hand, political demonstrations became transformed, without any conscious effort on the part of anybody, into strikes for immediate economic betterment . There was an intense class conflict going on in Russia, as the large number of strikes for increased wages and shorter hours proved, yet the larger political struggle dwarfed and obscured the class struggle .

Early in December the press censorship was abolished by decree, but that was of very little importance, for the radical press had thrown off all its restraints, simply ignoring the censorship. The government of Nicholas II was quite as helpless as it was tyrannical, corrupt, and inefficient . The army and navy, demoralized by the defeat suffered at the hands of Japan, and especially by knowledge of the corruption in high places which made that defeat inevitable, were no longer dependable . Tens of thousands of soldiers and marines had joined with the workmen in the 34 BOLSHEVISM cities in open rebellion .

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