1917

Acest an marchează aniversarea a 100 de ani de la revoluția din octombrie. Apologeții capitalismului, împreună cu răsunarea lor loială din mișcarea muncitorească, încearcă să se consoleze cu ideea colapsului URSS-ului semnificând decesul socialismului. Însă ceea ce a eșuat în Rusia nu a fost socialismul, dar o caricatură a socialismului. Contrar defăimărilor des repetate, regimul Stalinist a fost în antiteză cu regimul democrat stabilit de către bolșevici în 1917.

R.H. Bruce Lockhart was a British Government agent in Russia before and after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. He met all the main leaders of the Tsarist regime, the Provisional Government as well as the Soviet leaders, Lenin and Trotsky. His first-hand experiences and lucid observations were published in his remarkable book entitled Memoirs of a British Agent in 1932. It became an instant best-seller in Britain and America. Although it presents things from the standpoint of a staunch supporter of the British establishment, it is nevertheless a fascinating account.

One hundred years ago, Leon Trotsky, the great Russian revolutionary and leader of the October Revolution in 1917, left the Amherst concentration camp in Nova Scotia where he had been detained for almost a month. The story of the time that Trotsky spent in Canada, while not that well known, is a very interesting episode in Trotsky's road to revolutionary Russia, where he would aid the Russian working class in taking power later that year.

When the Russian Revolution broke out in early 1917, Vladimir Ilych Ulyanov – better known as Lenin – the leader of the Bolshevik faction of the RSDLP, was exiled in Zurich, Switzerland. As the first reports arrived of these extraordinary events, Lenin’s excitement was coupled with exasperation that he himself was separated from them by thousands of miles. “I am beside myself that I cannot go to Scandinavia!!” he complained bitterly, in a letter to his friend Inessa Armand. “I will not forgive myself for not risking the journey in 1915!”

The Russian Revolution of 1917 had a massive impact throughout the world. Bolshevik ideas inspired workers all over Europe and across the Atlantic in the Unites States. The events of October 1917 were the spark that ignited American communism, while also setting the stage for decades of oppressive anti-communist propaganda and 'witch-hunts' by the ruling class.

The February Revolution:On February 23rd the revolution begins as strikes and protests in Petrograd erupt into a mass movement involving hundreds of thousands of workers; within 5 days the hated and seemingly omnipotent Tsarist Monarchy is overthrown.

Every year on March 8th, International Women’s Day is celebrated all over the world. Today, it has become what is essentially a day to raise awareness about the oppression of women. This year, it has particular significance because it is also the anniversary of the beginning of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Most people are not aware of the fact that on March 8th 1917 it was actually women who started the events that created the revolution. This began a revolutionary process that brought the working class to power, allowing for spectacular advancements for women.

In the first part of our Russian Revolution video diary, Alan Woods examines the events of the February Revolution, when the masses entered onto the scene of history to overthrow the hated Tsarist monarchy.

On the morning of 30 December 1916, the people of Petrograd woke up to the news that the infamous priest Gregori Rasputin had been killed with poison. Rasputin was a charlatan, drunkard and serial-womaniser of upper class wives and daughters, but most importantly he was the closest adviser to the royal couple.

Using a wealth of primary sources, Alan Woods reveals the real evolution of Bolshevism as a living struggle to apply the method of Marxism to the peculiarities of Russia. Woods traces this evolution from the birth of Russian Marxism, and its ideological struggle against the Narodniks and the trend of economism, through the struggle between the two strands of Menshevism and Bolshevism, and up to the eventual seizure of power. 'Bolshevism: The Road to Revolution' is a comprehensive history of the Bolshevik Party, from its early beginnings through to the seizure of power in October 1917.

The First World War was becoming a catastrophe for Russia. From the front line there was news of defeat after defeat. The breakdown of the economy produced a shortage of bread. Crowds of half-starved and desperate women queued outside shops for bread that never arrived. But at the top of Russian society things were very different.

A feature appeared recently in the London Evening Standard (10th February, 2017) by a certain Victor Sebestyen about the exhibition Russian Art 1917-1932 at the Royal Academy.

In the second of a series of videos celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, Alan Woods - editor of In Defence of Marxism, www.marxist.com - examines the lies and slanders used to attack the Revolution, the Bolsheviks, and the ideas of Lenin and Trotsky.

1917 was the year the Russian revolution changed the course of world history. But before the masses took to the stage, a whole period had prepared the fall of Tsarism. While the reign of Nicholas II appeared strong on the surface it was rotten to the core.

The centenary of the Russian Revolution has opened in an appropriately explosive fashion, with Donald Trump’s first raft of vile executive orders provoking international protest on a gargantuan scale. It is fair to say that tensions are high, and widespread anger is the order of the day.

In the beginning of a series of videos celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, Alan Woods - editor of In Defence of Marxism, www.marxist.com - examines the lies and slanders used to attack the Revolution, the Bolsheviks, and the ideas of Lenin and Trotsky. In this first part "in Defence of the Russian Revolution", Alan looks at the gains made by the October Revolution and the planned economy in terms of science, industry, and culture.

The International Marxist Tendency is proud to present the In defence of October website - www.bolshevik.info - a new page dedicated to the Russian Revolution, with videos, reading guides, biographies, timelines and much more for all those who wish to study the Revolution and the ideas of Bolshevism.

One hundred years ago the Russian Revolution shook the capitalist world order to its foundations. Here for the first time ever, the Russian workers, led by Lenin and the Bolshevik party, took power into their own hands. The ruling classes have never forgiven this.

In spite of all the attempts to slander the revolution and its achievements, however, the ruling class cannot hide the fact that capitalism today is in a deep crisis. Everything that was taken for granted a few years ago, from the right to free education, to healthcare, jobs, pensions and decent wages, is no longer guaranteed by the system. The relative stability of the past is gone, with wars and civil wars flaring up in different parts of the world. Poverty is growing everywhere, while the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few has never been greater. The world is pregnant with revolution, and bourgeois politicians and commentators are coming to realise that their system is at risk.

[Study the lessons of the Russian Revolution with our dedicated reading guide]

There is no solution to the present crisis within the limited confines of the capitalist system. It is the system itself, the “market economy” that is the cause of the crisis. The only real lasting solution is to uproot the system once and for all and replace it with a rational planned economy, an economy run by and in the interests of the working people. That system is called socialism.

The only time in history that the working class managed to take power into its own hands – albeit for a few brief years - was in the 1917 October Revolution. This was because at its head stood the Bolshevik Party, a revolutionary Marxist workers’ party painstakingly built up by Lenin in the previous decades. That party showed what needs to be done to successfully carry out a workers’ revolution, a socialist revolution.

That is why the bourgeois ever since have piled a mountain of lies upon that historical event. Their task was facilitated by the Stalinist degeneration of the Soviet Union, something which did not flow from the nature of the Bolshevik party, as they claim, but which developed as a consequence of the isolation of the revolution in one very backward country. That isolation was due to the defeats of many revolutions – from the German revolution in 1918, the Italian in 1920, the Chinese in 1926 and many others – that followed on from the Russian Revolution. Those defeats were not foregone conclusions, they were not inevitable, but were due to the betrayals and errors of the leaders of the labour movement in each country.

The bourgeois have no interest in historical truth. Their only interest is to hide the real meaning of the Russian Revolution from today’s generation of workers and youth that is struggling to find a way out of the present impasse. The lies go from the events of 1917, distorting what really happened, presenting the revolution as a “coup”, to conflating Bolshevism with Stalinism, claiming that one leads directly to the other.

The International Marxist Tendency is launching a campaign to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. This, however, is not just a remembrance; it is a gigantic task of answering the lies and slanders of the bourgeois and bringing out the truth, for the experience of the Russian Revolution is full of lessons that are not merely of historical interest but can be applied to today's’ situation.

[Click here and follow our day to day account of the Russian Revolution as it happened exactly 100 years ago]

Back in 1917 there was no lack of reformists who advised the working class not to take power, not to listen to the Bolsheviks, but to seek an accommodation with the so-called “democratic” or “progressive” elements within the capitalist class. They were justifying the capitalist system, just as today the labour and trade union leaders cling onto the coattails of the ruling class. Tony Blair, Francois Hollande and all the other leaders of the Social Democratic organisations, together with the leaders of the former Communist Parties, including leaders like Tsipras in Greece, are the true heirs of the reformists of 1917. They have spent their whole political careers in arguing that there can be no revolutionary change and that we must struggle only for what is “achievable”. The recent experience of Greece shows that what is “achievable” is austerity, austerity and more austerity.

The Bolsheviks in 1917 showed to the workers of the world that there is another road. A recent article in The Economist opened with the line, “The similarities to the world that produced the Russian revolution are too close for comfort…” Indeed they are! More and more bourgeois commentators are warning that unless something is done to alleviate the pain caused by the present crisis, then revolution will be the inevitable outcome. Opinion poll after opinion poll shows that a growing section of the population, in one country after another, sees revolution as the only way out.

We will be dedicating this year to bringing back to life the events of 1917, from the initial first steps of the working class, through all the subsequent events, the February revolution, the provisional government that followed, all the manoeuvres aimed at thwarting revolution and the final glorious days of October when the working class came to power.

The campaign has already set up a Facebook page, as well as a Twitter account which follows the year of the revolution day by day as it unfolded exactly 100 years ago. And finally we will also be organising meetings, schools and other events on this topic in dozens of countries. If you are interested in helping out with the campaign or learn more about how to get organised in the struggle for a socialist revolution please contact us.

This new site is that latest part of the campaign. It already hosts all the works of Lenin and Trotsky from 1917 as well as many other works by other authors. These have been organised thematically and chronologically, as well as in a serie of reading guides. Throughout the year we will expand the site, as well as adding new features. Please contact us if you have any suggestions or if you spot any errors.

Our task as Marxists is to tell the historical truth and build a force today capable of completing the task begun by the Bolsheviks, the socialist transformation of the world. Only then will we see an end to unemployment, poverty, wars and civil wars. Only thus can we avert the dangers facing humanity and the planet we live on, from climate change, to the widespread poisoning of the environment in the quest for profit. Only in this way can we defend the rights that generations of workers have fought for and which are now in danger of being destroyed.

That is what the International Marxist Tendency stands for and, if you agree, join us in the struggle for a better world, a socialist world!

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution. The apologists of capitalism, and their faithful echoes in the labour movement, try to comfort themselves with the thought that the collapse of the USSR signified the demise of socialism. But what failed in Russia was not socialism but a caricature of socialism. Contrary to the oft-repeated slanders, the Stalinist regime was the antithesis of the democratic regime established by the Bolsheviks in 1917.

Este año se conmemora el centenario de la Revolución Rusa, un acontecimiento que alteró el curso de la historia humana. Por primera vez –si excluimos el breve pero glorioso episodio de la Comuna de París– los obreros tomaron el poder en sus manos y comenzaron la gigantesca tarea de la reconstrucción socialista de la sociedad. Aquí publicamos un artículo escrito en 1992 por Alan Woods. El artículo da una excelente panorámica de la revolución y resalta sus principales lecciones.