In November, 1917, the Bolshevik Party, which a few months before had been a handful of conspirators and agitators, seized power in Russia. Lenin and his followers were so impractically extremist that the whole world was sure they could not long wield the power of the Tsars; in days or weeks they must be toppled, like the Paris Commune of 1871, bloodily liquidated as soon as the forces of order could take action.
The Bolsheviks were as radical as they had promised. A decree immediately abolished private ownership of land; thereafter, industry was gradually nationalized, and the government proclaimed, though ineffectively, the socialization of all commerce. Wages were nearly equalized and were paid mostly in rations. There was talk of abolishing money in preparation for the extinction of the state itself. There was an unprecedented attack on religion and "bourgeois" morals. But the acme of the Revolution was the commune, wherein "All belongs to all," in the words of an official enactment. In it, as nowhere else, the ideals of the Revolution were incarnated: brotherly living and working together in equality, and sharing all things freely without greed or envy, as in the communal societies dreamed by utopians of all times.
The Soviet State has grown strong under the rule of a Party call-