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 and much more for all those who wish to study the Revolution and the ideas of Bolshevism.
100 years after the Russian Revolution, the lessons of that great event are more valuable than ever before. In 1917, the Russian workers and peasants led by Lenin and the Bolshevik party, overthrew the rule of the Tsar, the landlords, bankers and industrialists and took the first steps toward the socialist transformation of society.
Precisely because of this reason, year after year countless books, articles and documentaries are produced to bury under a heap of lies and distortions the real history and the lessons of the year 1917. The October revolution is presented as a coup and Lenin as a ruthless, blood-thirsty dictator, but all these so-called historical accounts conveniently forget to tell the story of the horrors the Russian masses had to suffer for centuries under the Romanov dynasty and the ferocity of the reactionary white armies who aimed to restore Tsarist rule after the Revolution.
The revolutions of 1917 were not carried out by a small group of conspirators, but by the vast majority of the masses who were tired of war, hunger, poverty and brutal absolutism, while the ruling class was living in conditions of opulence. This situation had not been created by the Bolsheviks, but by semi-feudal Tsarist Russia - a regime which the liberal bourgeoisie of Russia, supported by British and French imperialism, did everything they could to save right up to the last minute.
The liberals who came to power after the February revolution, were incapable of solving any of the major problems facing the masses. In fact, every democratic concession, even the abdication of the Tsar, was won by the masses against the resistance of the liberals. When the hour of truth came, the representatives of bourgeois liberalism, so often hailed as those who could have secured Russia a “democratic” path along the lines of western Europe, proved to be the most determined defenders of Absolutism.
The Bolsheviks exposed this hypocrisy and led the working masses, organised in the soviets, to take power into their own hands. The ruling class has never forgiven them for this.
The significance of all this is that today we are entering an epoch similar to the one that preceded 1917, an epoch of extreme turbulence and instability - of wars, revolutions and counter-revolutions. Capitalism is at an impasse everywhere. From the phenomenon of Donald Trump, to Brexit and the crisis in the Middle East, the ruling class is stumbling from one crisis into another. At the same time it is carrying out the most vicious attacks against living standards in decades.
This explains why among the mass of youth and workers there is ferment and discontent. In a time when humanity's productive capacity and technological abilities have never been higher, living standards are being ruthlessly pushed down.
Everywhere one looks, “the molecular process of revolution” is preparing the conditions for the big events of the future. The ruling class is aware of this and is doubling its efforts to distort and slander the memory of the Russian Revolution. Their aim is to render revolution less palatable for the workers and youth of today. They understand the danger that the ideas of Marxism pose for their own system which is in a state of decline.
For revolutionaries, on the other hand, a thorough study of the 1917 events is crucial. As Lenin said, “there can be no revolutionary movement, without revolutionary theory”. It is an urgent task for all those who want to change the world to study the past struggles of the working class and to assimilate their lessons in order to prepare for the future. The Russian Revolution and experience of the Bolshevik Party is perhaps the richest source and the most complete “laboratory experiment” for revolutionary Marxist theory. In this revolution all the main ideas, methods and traditions of the workers’ movement were put to the ultimate test and revealed their inner essence.
That is why the International Marxist Tendency has launched the In Defence of October campaign of which this site is a key part. 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.
We hope that this page will become an essential tool for the education of a new generation of modern-day Bolsheviks. As the crisis of capitalism deepens, the working class will begin to move again, as it did in 1917. But it is only by learning the lessons of the past that we can prepare ourselves for the coming revolutionary upheavals, where this rotten capitalist system can be abolished once and for all along with all the misery and barbarism which it breeds. But it requires organisation and political education. This site is part of that.