Russia 1905

This series of articles published in the International Review charts the course of the Russian revolution of 1905, and asks what lessons it has left the workers' movement 100 years on.

The debate in the revolutionary vanguard on the implication of the 1905 revolution

The emergence of the soviets was inseparable from the mass strike, which appeared as the means for struggling against capitalism when partial reforms and palliatives were no longer attainable. Like the soviets, it arose from the needs of the class as a whole and not only drew the working class together but developed its class consciousness.

100 years ago: the Russian revolution of 1905 and the Soviet of workers' deputies

In this issue, we continue the article begun in International Review n°122, where we highlighted the change in period which formed the backdrop to the events of 1905 in Russia, as capitalism entered the watershed between its ascendant and decadent periods. We also described the conditions that had favoured the radicalisation of the struggle in Russia: the existence of a modern, concentrated and highly conscious working class confronted by the attacks of a capitalism whose situation had been worsened by the disastrous effects of the war with Japan. The working class was thus led into a direct confrontation with the state in order to defend its living conditions, and organised in soviets to undertake this new historic phase in its struggle. The first part of this article recounted how the first workers’ councils were formed, and what needs they answered. This second part analyses in more detail how the soviets were formed, how they were linked to the movement of the whole working class, and their relationship with the trades unions. In fact, the unions – which already in 1905 no longer corresponded to the organisational needs of the working class in the new period, only played a positive role inasmuch as they were pulled along by the movement’s dynamic, in the wake of the soviets and under their authority.

1905: The soviets open a new period in the history of the class struggle

The revolution of 1905 arose as capitalism began to enter its period of decline. The working class found itself confronted not with a struggle for reforms within capitalism but with a political struggle against capitalism and for its overthrow, in which the question of power rather than economic concessions was central. The proletariat responded to this challenge by creating the weapons of its political struggle: the mass strike and the soviets.

100 years ago: the 1905 revolution in Russia

One hundred years ago, the proletariat in Russia embarked on the first revolutionary movement of the 20th century, known today as the Russian revolution of 1905... 1905 is much closer to us politically than might be supposed and the generation of revolutionaries of today and tomorrow need to re-appropriate the basic lessons of this first Russian revolution.
Subscribe to RSS - Russia 1905