1917 - Russian Revolution

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.

October 1917, beginning of the proletarian revolution (part 2)

The first part of this article attempted to show how the nature of the Russian Revolution was determined, not by the particular char­acteristics of Russia at the time of the revolution, but by the overall development of world capitalism, whose passage into its epoch of historic decline was marked by the imperialist war in 1914. The objective conditions for the proletarian revolution existed internationally, and the Russian Revolution could only be part of this world revolution.

The Communist Left in Russia, 1918-1930, Part 1

When one talks about the revolutionary opposition to the degeneration of the revolution in Russia, or of the Communist International, it is generally assumed that one is referring to the Left Opposition led by Trotsky and other Bolshevik leaders. The wholly inadequate criticisms of the degeneration made after much delay by those who had played an active part in that degeneration are taken to be the be all and end all of communist opposition inside Russia or the International. The much deeper and more consistent critique elaborated by the ‘left wing communists' long before the Left Opposition came into existence in 1923 is either ignored or dismissed as the ravings of sectarian lunatics cut off from the ‘real world'. This distortion of the past is simply an expression of the long ascendancy of the counter-revolution since the years of the revolutionary struggle ended in the 1920s. It is always in the interests of the capitalist counter-revolution to hide or distort the genuinely revolutionary history of the working class and its communist minorities, because only in this way can the bourgeoisie hope to obscure the historic nature of the proletariat as the class that is destined to lead mankind into the reign of freedom.

Problems of the Period of Transition (April 1975)

The seizure of power by the working class immediately posed a whole new series of problems: how, by what practical measures, could the workers begin to dismantle the whole apparatus of bourgeois power and to improve the material situation of the workers and labouring masses themselves?

Inevitably, the new proletarian power found itself in a contradictory situation: it was confronted with an all-out resistance by the defeated bourgeois class, ranging from military intervention to sabotage; it was necessary to maintain production and distribution on an immediate basis in order to feed the population; and at the same time to take whatever steps were possible towards the transformation of the whole basis of society.

This question was addressed right at the beginning of the ICC’s existence, as this article shows.


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