I am still reading the Deutscher biography of Trotsky. It is excellent. We’re up to the Red Terror. This passage:
The words ‘we have made a modest beginning’ had an ominous ring. Having accomplished a revolution, the Bolsheviks could not renounce revolutionary terror; and the terror has its own momentum. Every revolutionary party at first imagines that its task is simple: it has to suppress a ‘handful’ of tyrants or exploiters. It is true that usually the tyrants and exploiters form an insignificant minority. But the old ruling class has not lived in isolation from the rest of society. In the course of its long domination it has surrounded itself by a network of institutions embracing groups and individuals of many classes; and it has brought to life many attachments and loyalties which even a revolution does not destroy altogether. The anatomy of society is never so simple that it is possible surgically to separate one of the limbs from the rest of the body. Every social class is connected with its immediate neighbour by many almost imperceptible gradations. The aristocracy shades off into the upper middle class; the latter into the lower layers of the bourgeoisie; the lower middle class branches off into the working class; and the proletariat, especially in Russia, is bound by innumerable filiations to the peasantry. The political parties are similarly interconnected. The revolution cannot deal a blow at the party most hostile and dangerous to it without forcing not only that party but its immediate neighbour to answer with a counterblow. The revolution therefore treats its enemy’s immediate neighbour as its enemy. When it hits this secondary enemy, the latter’s neighbour, too, is aroused and drawn into the struggle. The process goes on like a chain reaction until the party of the revolution arouses against itself and suppresses all the parties which until recently crowded the political scene.