Trotsky on Revolutionary Culture

soviet union1


Revolutionary culture was a tool used by the Bolshevik Party during the early years of Soviet Russia to win over Russian citizens to the ideal of the Bolsheviks, mostly the working class. Trotsky’s ideas his work, “Vodka, The Church, and the Cinema.” on how to do this are two fold. ” The one is the advent of the eight-hour working day; the other, the prohibition of the sale of vodka.”

He explains that the eight-hour work day will allow the worker to work for eight, sleep for eight, and play for eight. This would be ” …making amusement a weapon of collective education…” and thus allow the working class to be more educated and accomplish more. Trotsky then explains that during the war, World War 1, the Czarist government banned the sale of vodka, seeing the revenue as making no big difference. The revolution then adopted this as fact, but Trotsky states that this “does not alter the fundamental fact that the abolition of the system by which the country encouraged people to drink is one of the iron assets of the revolution.” This would mean that the Bolsheviks could use this as a tool along with revolutionary culture to better bring in more support for the Bolshevik movement.

Another tool that Trotsky mentions that he thinks would be much more useful is cinema. He states that “in the daily life of capitalist towns, the cinema has become just such an integral part of life as the bath, the beer-hall, the church, and other indispensable institutions, commendable and otherwise.” As stated he believe that the cinema is the most powerful of them all, as it is everywhere in capitalist cultures and he doesn’t see why it shouldn’t be in soviet culture as well.


Vodka, The Church, and the Cinema


5 thoughts on “Trotsky on Revolutionary Culture

  1. The concept of the eight eight & eight for dividing up the days I found really interesting, and one that seemed to make sense. I found myself slightly confused with the vodka ban and the benefits and or cons of it, and would like to know more about it.


  2. I’m with Ethan — I want to hear more about the vodka ban — and why does Trotsky think vodka and religion are connected?
    “The cinema amuses, educates, strikes the imagination by images, and liberates you from the need of crossing the church door. The cinema is a great competitor not only of the tavern but also of the church. Here is an instrument which we must secure at all costs!”


  3. This was an interesting post, I think that the 8,8 &8 thing was an interesting concept in that it allowed the citizens to better compartmentalize their days.


  4. Eight eight and eight seems like a good pitch to the average worker, as it gives a good outline that brings optimism to the working class. As others said, you didn’t elaborate on why cinema was preferable to vodka, but I would guess that cinema would be a more useful mechanism for the state in influencing the population, while drinking is a more private, personally liberating experience.


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