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Kronstadt is three things to anyone who has ever attempted to grapple with Communism as a political program.
The First Kronstadt
Kronstadt is a naval port town about 20 miles away from Saint Petersburg, Russia. In October 1917, communist and socialist sailors revolted against their commanders and helped Vladimir Lenin complete the takeover by the Bolshevik Party. The lesson of this for the world was that communism only can succeed when the organized military is on your side. Generations of students in military colleges have studied this event and its implications on how well you treat your soldiers. At the time, the Provisional Government, following the Tsar, was running the Russian military into the ground, fighting a war that no one understood or wanted to join in. The military subsisted on rations of moldy bread and little else, and soldiers were openly deserting en masse from the trenches. As such, Lenin found himself quickly elevated not by the working class but by the very military machine he spent so much time trying to destroy.
The Second Kronstadt
In 1921, the Revolution was not delivering on the promises of 'Peace, Land, Bread, and All Power To The Soviets'. Between a treaty which ceded major Russian territories to the Germans in exchange for dis-engagement from the war, an ongoing civil war that was ripping the nation apart, and ongoing shortages of essential goods, it was quickly becoming evident that 'The Revolution' was not really going far enough. As such, Stepan Petrichenko, an anarchist sailor, helped organize the sailors into a commune and issued a list of demands to Lenin. They called for:
Lenin, not really in the condition to do anything but continue having strokes, insisted on sending Red Army leader Leon Trotsky in to take care of things, which he did without any mercy. Years later, while running from Joseph Stalin, Emma Goldman would write that Trotsky really had no room to complain about purging dissidents, as he was the one who really had helped make this mess in the first place.
The Third Kronstadt
By 1949, the Cold War was getting nice and hot. Stalin and Harry S. Truman were at each other throats while the issue of Soviet spying was becoming a major harping point for conservatives who saw the Democrats as being soft on Stalin. Richard Crossman that year published an anthology, featuring contributions by Louis Fischer, André Gide, Arthur Koestler, Ignazio Silone, Stephen Spender, and Richard Wright, about how they had gone the full circle, from loyal members of the Communist Party or sympathetic fellow travelers to outright anti-Stalinist capitalists. Fischer's contribution to this volume, 'The God That Failed', is remembered most for his formulation of the 'Kronstadt Moment', a sort of epiphany when a communist recognized that Stalinist Russia was nothing but a dictatorship in the worst sort of way, and thus became an anti-communist.