Civil War after 1917 1917

On Thursday 7 September, Channel Four broadcast a fascinating programme as part of its series Secret History, entitled Mutiny - the true story of Red October. This remarkable documentary for the first time gave us the true story behind the 1990 Hollywood movie The Hunt for Red October a film version of a 1984 novel by Tom Clancy.

The revolt on the armoured cruiser "Potemkin" was but one of the links in the long chain of the development of the first Russian Revolution—the Revolution of 1905. This revolution was the first lesson, and a tremendous object lesson it was, in the study of the struggle, for the broad masses of workers and peasants.

Lev Davidovich Trotsky was, alongside Lenin, one of the two greatest Marxists of the twentieth century. His whole life was entirely devoted to the cause of the working class and international socialism. And what a life!

7 November is the anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which altered the entire course of human history. The below article by Alan Woods 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 analysisreading guidesvideos and much more about this momentous event.

On March 21st, 1919, the Hungarian Soviet Republic was proclaimed. On the 1st of August, 133 days later, this heroic chapter in the history of the Hungarian working class was brought to a close with the entry of the White Rumanian army into Budapest. Had the Hungarian proletariat succeeded, the isolation of the Russian Workers' Republic would have been brought to an end.

The events that unfolded towards the end of 1956 in Hungary shook all the Communist Parties of the world. The official line of the Communist Parties was that what was taking place in Hungary was a Fascist counter-revolution! Not all the ranks of the CPs were fooled. Many could see that the workers of Hungary had risen up against the bureaucratic elite in power. This could be no counter-revolution. 

To commemorate the 65th anniversary of the death of Leon Trotsky, we publish this piece by Natalia Sedova Trotsky about the assassination of her husband. (November, 1940)

"The revolutionary power gave women the right to abortion, which in conditions of want and family distress, whatever may be said upon this subject by the eunuchs and old maids of both sexes, is one of her most important civil, political and cultural rights"

In 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.

"If one understands by “family” a compulsory union based on marriage contract, the blessing of the church, property rights, and the single passport, then Bolshevism has destroyed this policed family from the roots up."

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.

"Lenin was prepared for his struggle on an international scale not only by his profound knowledge of Marxism and his experience of the revolutionary party organization in Russia, but also by his intimate acquaintance with the workers’ movement throughout the world."

"But the spell is broken. In the book of life
We will write the story of your victory.
March boldly, woman worker. Let your path
Be light with the torch of liberty."

The essence of Marxism consists in this, that it approaches society concretely, as a subject for objective research, and analyzes human history as one would a colossal laboratory record. Marxism appraises ideology as a subordinate integral element of the material social structure. Marxism examines the class structure of society as a historically conditioned form of the development of the productive forces.

We are reprinting on this 29th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution, Trotsky‘s brief sketch of the great Sverdlov, the incomparable Bolshevik organizer. It is well to acquaint our readers with this heroic figure, who epitomized the type of revolutionist who made possible the 1917 revolution and the subsequent victory over the counter-revolution.

We are publishing a short work of Clara Zetkin which she wrote on the basis of her conversations with Lenin on the women's question. It was first published in 1925. Zetkin explains that Comrade Lenin frequently spoke to her about the women's question. Social equality for women was, of course, a principle needing no discussion for communists. It was in Lenin's large study in the Kremlin in the autumn of 1920 that she had her first long conversation with Lenin on the subject.

"Lenin is no more, but Leninism endures. The immortal in Lenin, his doctrine, his work, his method, his example, lives in us, lives in the party that he founded, lives in the first workmen’s State whose head he was and which he guided."

This is an essay by Trotsky, taken from Chapter 4 of Literature and Revolution published in 1924, in which he looks at the development of the Futurist trend in art, looking in particular at its Russian variant, but also touching on the Italian.

Originally published by Trotsky in 1924 these essays constitute a significant contribution to the then ongoing debate in the USSR over culture and art in a Workers State. It foreshadowed a later debate over the Stalinist conception of “Socialist Realism” in the later part of the decade. This book was suppressed by the bureaucracy after Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1928.

The aim of Lessons of October was to expose how the faction within the Communist International was politically responsible for the missed opportunity and failure of the German Revolution of 1923, by bringing out the essential lessons of the October Revolution. Here Trotsky's seminal work is presented in full.