Civil War after 1917 1917

During the first two months of 1917 Russia was still a Romanov monarchy. Eight months later the Bolsheviks stood at the helm. They were little know to anybody when the year began, and their leaders were still under indictment for state treason when they came to power. You will not find another such sharp turn in history – especially if you remember that it involves a nation of 150 million people. It is clear that the events of 1917, whatever you think of them, deserve study. Originally published 1930.

On 27 November 1932, Leon Trotsky delivered a speech in Copenhagen (Denmark). It was the 15th anniversary of the revolution. In defending the October revolution he set the record straight on the real processes that unfolded in Russia 1917, as opposed to the doctored version presented by the Stalinists.

The Russian Revolution (of 1905) came unexpectedly to everybody but the Social Democrats. Marxism long ago predicted the inevitability of the Russian Revolution, which was bound to break out as a result of the conflict between capitalist development and the forces of ossified absolutism. Marxism estimated in advance the social character of the coming revolution. In calling it a bourgeois revolution, Marxism thereby pointed out that the immediate objective tasks of the revolution consisted in the creation of “normal conditions for the development of bourgeois society as a whole.

20 August will mark the 80th anniversary of the assassination of Leon Trotsky. To commemorate his life and works, the International Marxist Tendency will organise an online rally, with talks, video and discussion about this revolutionary titan (full details here). In the run up to this event, we will be republishing materials by and about Trotsky on marxist.com, starting with this pamphlet by Alan Woods (originally published in 2000).

The history of Bolshevism from the very early days right up to the Russian revolution contains a wealth of lessons on how it is the class struggle that provides the final answer to the women’s question. In this article Marie Frederiksen looks at the approach of the Bolshevik Party to the women’s question from its early days, right through to the revolution and after taking power. Originally published 8 March 2017.

7 November is the anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which altered the entire course of human history. The below article by Alan Woods (originally published in 1992) gives an excellent overview of the revolution as well as highlighting its main lessons. If you want to learn even more, check out our special page www.bolshevik.info for detailed analysis, reading guides, videos and much more about this momentous event.

Trotsky, a recent Netflix series produced by Russian state television, is a scandalous misrepresentation of both Trotsky’s life and the October Revolution. Alan Woods and Josh Holroyd respond to this insulting portrayal of Trotsky and the Bolsheviks’ legacy.

In drawing up a balance sheet of 1918, the first and most important point is that, against all the odds, the Russian Revolution of October 1917 survived. Lenin held a small celebration when the revolution outlasted the three months or so of the Paris Commune. He had thought the survival of the revolution would be touch and go, as it was. But in early February 1918, when the Paris Commune milestone was passed, the forces of reaction were still gathering.

The last few months of 1918 were no less tumultuous than the earlier part of the year. The civil war dominated all aspects of life, intensifying on several fronts. The pressures of counter-revolution at home also increased, with attempted assassinations of leading Bolsheviks and countless plots by Cadets, SRs, Anarchists and Mensheviks.

Whilst the broad mass of the working class continued to give their support to the Bolshevik Party, activists within the party were often split on crucial issues. The issue of whether or not to wage a revolutionary war against Germany and its forces of occupation proved one of the more divisive questions that very nearly led to a complete split in the party.

The Russian Revolution took place during World War One: war and peace were critical issues. The overthrow of the Tsar and the establishment of a democratic government in February 1917 were regarded by the Provisional Government, and by the SR and Menshevik majority in the Petrograd Soviet, as a justification for continuing the support of the war effort in the name of the defence of the revolution.

It is not the task of this article to go into any detail of the seizure of power in October 1917. Leon Trotsky has brilliantly captured this event in his History of the Russian Revolution, John Reed in Ten Days that Shook the World and many other pieces, including recent articles from In Defence of Marxism. The fact of the matter is that the resounding slogan of the Bolshevik Party, "All Power to the Soviets!” received an immediate and overwhelming endorsement from the soldiers and working class in virtually every town and city throughout the Russian Empire.

100 years ago, the world was shaken by the October Revolution. We rightly celebrate this heroic act as the first instance of workers’ power in history. But how exactly did the Bolsheviks and the working class exercise a power never-before wielded by the proletariat? What problems did they face – economic, administrative, political and military, from within and outside Russia – and how did they meet them? Derek Gunby provides an analysis and balance sheet of 1918: the first year of the Russian Revolution.

Fyodor Fyodorovich Raskolnikov was a key Bolshevik activist and a principal organiser amongst the Kronstadt Sailors, who would prove so pivotal in the Bolsheviks' seizure of power. In these remarkable memoirs, which cover the period between the February and October Revolutions in 1917, Raskolnikov gives a first-hand account of how the Bolsheviks built their forces in the navy, describes the setbacks of the July Days (during which he, alongside Trotsky, was imprisoned by Kerensky's Provisional Government), and paints a vivid picture of the October insurrection and its immediate aftermath.

We republish a pamphlet (first released in 1987, during the twilight of the Soviet regime), which serves as an invaluable introduction to the events from the October Revolution to the rise of Stalinism in Russia ‒ from which innumerable lessons can be drawn for the class struggle today. It was written by George Collins, then a member of the South African section of the Committee for a Workers’ International.

Este año es el 97º aniversario de la ofensiva de Kiev de 1920 por el ejército polaco y la derrota decisiva de las tropas soviéticas en la Batalla de Varsovia: un acontecimiento de gran importancia histórica que marcó un punto de inflexión en el curso de la revolución europea. Este frente de la Guerra Civil rusa fue una prueba grave e importante para el partido bolchevique, que provocó un debate sostenido e intenso entre sus filas.

The October Revolution was an earthquake that sent shockwaves throughout the world. The idea that workers could take power into their own hands and run society without the need for kings, queens and capitalists had a big impact amongst the working masses throughout the world. For this reason, the ruling classes of all countries united in an effort to crush the new workers state in its infancy.

We publish here a series of essential texts on the subject of women and the Russian Revolution by the likes of Lenin, Trotsky and leading female Bolsheviks like Krupskaya and Kollontai.

As expected, the centenary of the October 1917 Revolution has been greeted with a cacophony of distortions and slanders, especially against Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Hundreds of newspaper articles, books as well as TV and radio documentaries, have been produced with this express purpose in mind, all of which talk of coups and the Bolsheviks being German agents.