Russia 1917

Russia 1917

In February 1917, Russia’s masses overthrew the Tsarist regime, a byword for everything reactionary and retrograde, and opened the way to the workers’ seizure of power in October of the same year. Today, the revolution has been safely relegated to the history books and TV documentaries, and this is where the ruling classes would like it to stay.

But in reality, the problem posed in 1917 remains the problem of our times. By plunging the world into a war of unimaginable barbarism, the capitalist class demonstrated that its continued rule had nothing to offer humanity but blood and horror. The Russian workers showed the way towards a world wide overthrow of capitalism, and this will be their undying merit.

In 1917 the question was posed: socialism or barbarism? When we look at the world today, who can doubt that this question remains the fundamental one of our times, even if its terms have changed? In this sense, the future still belongs to the Russian revolution.

Today’s proletariat bashes keyboards as much as metal. But it is more than ever an international class, associated in a world wide process of production. The Russian revolution of 1917 belonged to the proletariat of the day. The world revolution to come will be the work of its heirs, the world proletariat of the future.

1918: the revolution criticises its errors

The working class is still living with the heavy consequences of the defeat of the Russian revolution. Primarily because its defeat was really the defeat of the world revolution, of the first attempt by the international proletariat to overthrow capitalism, and the result of this failure was that humanity has since been subjected to the most tragic century in its entire history. But also because of the manner of its defeat: the Stalinist counter-revolution that stifled it assumed its mantle, the mantle of Lenin and Bolshevism. This has permitted the world bourgeoisie to get away with the immeasurable lie that Stalinism is communism. This has been a factor of profound confusion and demoralisation within the working class for decades, but never more so than after the final collapse of the Stalinist regimes at the end of the 1980s.

Manifesto on the October revolution, Russia 1917

In October 1917, after three years of unspeakable carnage on the battlefields, a beacon of hope in the fog of war: the Russian workers, having overthrown the Tsar in February, now deposed the bourgeois Provisional Government which had replaced him but which insisted on carrying on with the war “until victory”. The Soviets (workers’, soldiers’ and peasants’ councils), with the Bolshevik party at the fore, called for an immediate end to the war and appealed to the workers of the world to follow their revolutionary example.

80 years since the Russian Revolution: October 1917 - a victory for the working masses

The current year reminds us that history is not the affair of university professors, but a social, class question of vital importance for the proletariat. The main political goal the world bourgeoisie has set itself in 1997 is to impose on the working class its own reactionary, falsified version of the history of the 20th century. To this end it is highlighting the holocaust during World War II, and the October Revolution.

80 years since the Russian Revolution: The July Days and the vital role of the Party

The July Days of 1917 are one of the most important moments, not only in the Russian Revolution, but in the whole history of the workers' movement. In the space of three days, from July 3rd  to July 5th, one of the mightiest ever confrontations between bourgeoisie and proletariat, despite ending in a defeat for the working class, opened the road to the seizure of power four months later in October 1917.

70 years ago, the Russian Revolution: The most important experience of the world proletariat

The "Ten days that shook the world" were seventy years ago. The world media is celebrating the anniversary. Once more they are going to talk about the Russian Revolution. In their fashion that is, of the ruling class, with its lies, its deformations and with its stale old refrains: "the communist revolution can only lead to the Gulag or to suicide".

The Russian Revolution (part3): Isolation spells the death of the revolution

In International Reviews no 71 and 72 we published the first two articles in this series, in which we demonstrated how the proletarian revolution of October 1917 was the result of the conscious and massive action of the workers, of their political combat against the parties of the bourgeoisie (Mensheviks, Social Revolutionaries...) who tried to sabotage their struggle and ensnare them in the First World War.

The Russian Revolution (part 2): The Soviets take power

In the first part of this article (International Review 71), we saw how the Russian revolution was not, as the bourgeoisie's propaganda says, a ‘mere coup D'Etat', but constituted the most gigantic and conscious movements of the exploited masses in history - rich in experience, initiative and creativity.

The April Theses of 1917: signpost to the proletarian revolution

A favorite theme of today’s propaganda against the Russian revolution, is that of the power-hungry and ultra-disciplined Bolsheviks usurping the state power from the democratic masses by means of the October putsch.

The reality is very different. The Bolsheviks in April 1917 were in considerable confusion. The leadership (without Lenin who was still in exile in Zürich) were in favour of supporting the new bourgeois democracy and continuing the war. The mass of the Bolshevik rank-and-file militants was far to the left of the leadership, in favour of continuing the revolution until the workers seized power.

Lenin "April Theses" expressed this determination of the rank-and-file: "The masses must be made to see that the Soviets of Workers' Deputies are the only possible form of revolutionary government"

The Russian Revolution (part 1): The first massive and conscious revolution in history

February 1917 overthrew the Tsarist regime. The wave that led to October began in a massive protest against the misery and barbarity of the capitalist war.

The bourgeois democrats, forced almost against their will to take power, would have liked to stop there. But it was to prove impossible to satisfy the masses’ urgent demands – peace, bread, and land – without attacking the root causes of their ills: the capitalist system itself.

Subscribe to RSS - Russia 1917