Civil War after 1917 1917

Today is the 91st anniversary of the October Revolution, quite possibly the greatest moment in human history. For the first time the working class took control of both the state machinery and the means of production. In one bold move the old feudalistic mode of production was swept aside and the bourgeoisie, too weak to take control or play a productive role, were defeated also.


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Lenin is probably the most slandered individual of the 20th century. As leader of the Russian Revolution of 1917, he has been attacked by bourgeois academics, Tory, Labour and Liberal politicians as well as Establishment figures internationally. So what did Lenin really stand for? And are his ideas still relevant today?

Sunday August 20th is the 66th anniversary of Trotsky's assassination by a Stalinist agent. On this occasion we republish Ted Grant's text Trotsky's Relevance Today, written in 1990.

This article written in 1945 analyses the relationship between the Soviet state and the Russian Orthodox Church. There was a clear dividing line between Lenin’s approach to this question and the zig-zag policy later adopted by Stalin. First published in Workers International News, October 1945.

Yesterday marked the 65th anniversary of the death of Leon Trotsky. He had been brutally struck down on August 20, 1940 by the hand of an assassin, an agent of Joseph Stalin, and rushed to hospital where he died at 7.25 p.m. the following day. He was sixty years old. On this commemoration, Rob Sewell takes a look at Trotsky’s life.

Lenin stated that the October Revolution of 1917 could never have taken place without the previous experience of the Revolution of 1905. A study of this remarkable event is therefore of great importance for anyone who wishes to understand the dynamics of revolution in general, and not just in the particular case. We publish here Alan Woods’ introduction to the forthcoming Spanish edition of Trotsky’s 1905.

On March 22 and 29, in two parts, the British Channel Five TV showed a documentary on the Russian Revolution entitled The Russian Revolution in Colour. Far from being an objective account of the events that took place in 1917, it belongs to that long series of cheap misrepresentation of historical fact. Its purpose is to present the revolution as a cunning plot of Lenin and the Bolsheviks intent on imposing a bloody dictatorship on the Russian masses. But as Lenin always said, "the truth is always concrete". Nadim al-Mahjoub looks at the distortions and lies and puts the record straight.

We remember all those thousands of genuine Communists who perished in Stalin’s camps, butchered simply for defending the ideas of Lenin and Trotsky. Old Bolsheviks like Zinoviev, Kamenev and Bukharin were forced to confess to crimes they had not committed. These famous victims were only the tip of the iceberg. Not remembered are the thousands of Trotskyists who languished in brutal concentration camps. They were brave and defiant to the end.

As the old Soviet archives are opened up and studied, more material is being made available about what happened in Russia immediately after the revolution. Myths have been created about events like the Kronstadt “rebellion”, the peasant revolts, the anarchists, etc. The new material available confirms what Lenin and Trotsky explained about  these events. In spite of all attempts to slander the Bolsheviks, the truth is always concrete.

An article by Israel Shamir, La saga de Woods, appeared on October 15, on the Spanish language web site Rebelión. Shamir brings out all his Stalinist venom against genuine Marxism – i.e. Trotskyism – but he also adds some of his own novel ideas. Alan Woods, basing himself on the classical writings of Marx, Engels and in particular Lenin, shows how Stalinism and Marxism are opposites.

As part of our commemoration of the centenary of Lenin's death, we are publishing a series of articles about his life and ideas. Lenin not only led the first succesful socialist revolution, but he also made an enourmous contribution to Marxist theory. The present article deals with the important contribution he made on the national question, and how such a correct stand on this issue guaranteed the success of the Bolshevik Party in October 1917.

Today, March 8, is International Working Women's Day. To celebrate this important day we are publishing an article on women and the Russian Revolution. It shows how that single event did more for women than any other struggle that had come before it and indeed after as well. First published (July 18, 2002) in issue Number 5 of 'In difesa del marxismo', the theoretical magazine of the Italian Marxist journal FalceMartello.

Eighty years ago, on 21st January 1924, Vladimir Illyich Ulyanov, the leader of the Russian Soviet state and Communist International died after a prolonged illness. He was fifty-three years of age. His life covers years of profound upheaval, crisis and transformation - the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the first quarter of the twentieth century - crowned by the First World War and the Russian Revolution of 1917. He was without doubt the greatest revolutionary of his time, a giant of a man, whose actions changed the course of history in the 20th Century. [This article was originally written in 2004]

Fifty years ago today the world heard the news of the death of Stalin. For decades the Stalinist propaganda machine had assiduously encouraged the myth of Stalin as "the Lenin of today", who was supposed to have led the Bolshevik Party together with Lenin. But all this was merely a construction to justify the usurpation of power by a tyrant who destroyed Lenin's party, liquidated the political conquests of October and wrecked the Communist International.

This article was originally published in 1974, on the 57th anniversary of the Russian Revolution) in answer to a member of the Labour Party Young Socialists [the youth section of the Labour Party at the time], Frank Tippin, who wrote to Ted Grant posing a series of questions.

The year 1927 marked a decisive turning point in the struggle of Leon Trotsky and the Left Opposition to defend the ideas of Marx and Lenin inside the Russian Communist Party. On the Tenth anniversary of the October revolution, almost to the day, the co-leader of that most momentous event was expelled from the party. Soon after the creator of the Red Army was expelled from the country.

The Revolution Betrayed is one of the most important Marxist texts of all time. It is the only serious Marxist analysis of what happened to the Russian Revolution after the death of Lenin. Without a thorough knowledge of this work, it is impossible to understand the reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union and the events of the last ten years in Russia and on a world scale. For Marxists, the October Revolution of 1917 was the greatest single event in human history. If we exclude the brief but glorious episode of the Paris Commune, for the first time the working class succeeded in overthrowing its oppressors and at least began the task of the socialist transformation of society.

Art is important to people. It has always been so from the earliest human societies, when it was indissolubly linked to magic — that is, to the first primitive attempts of men and women to understand and gain control over the world in which they live. However, in class society art is so designed as to exclude the masses, and relegate them to an impoverished existence, not only in a material but in a spiritual sense.