Bolshevik Party

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

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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

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We republish Leon Trotsky's 1938 pamphlet, Their Morals and Ours. Written while Trotsky was in exile in Mexico, the pamphlet answers critics of the Russian Revolution, who smeared the Bolsheviks as "amoral". Trotsky argues that morality is not fixed but reflects class interests in society. So-called common sense and "elementary moral precepts" against violence, for example, in reality serve the interests of the ruling class. Revolutionary morality – including the use of violence in

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We publish Rob Sewell's introduction to Lenin's 1902 pamphlet,What is to be Done? Rob (editor ofSocialist Appeal, the IMT's British paper) explains the importance of this text, in which Lenin rebuked reformist and opportunist trends in the Russian Social Democracy, and argued for building a committed party of professional revolutionaries to lead the working class to power. It bears huge relevance for Marxists striving for revolution today.

How can we reach the masses? This question has been at the center of revolutionary debate since the birth of the socialist movement. Revolutions are preceded by preparatory periods of ferment and debate, clarification of ideas, perspectives, and tasks, and shaking off the inertia of the previous epoch of stability and passivity. In these periods, there is a growing sense that society is at an impasse, while at the same time, history is accelerating and great events are coming. This pushes

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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

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That Lenin arrived in Petersburg and had come out against the war and against the Provisional Government at workers’ meetings, I learned from American newspapers at Amherst, a concentration camp for German prisoners in Canada. The interned German sailors began to take an immediate interest in Lenin, whose name they had come across for the first time in the news dispatches. These were all men avidly waiting for the war to end; it would open for them the gates of this prison camp. They

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"It stands to reason, a split would be highly deplorable. But an honest and open split would now be incomparably better than internal sabotage, the thwarting of our own decisions, disorganisation and prostration."

"The whole course of events, all economic and political conditions, everything that is happening in the armed forces, are increasingly paving the way for the successful winning of power by the working class, which will bring peace, bread and freedom and will hasten the victory of the proletarian revolution in other countries."

A Letter to the Central Committee and the Petrograd And Moscow Committees Of The R.S.D.L.P.(B.). 

"It will be a truly revolutionary government, the only one capable of showing the people that at a time when untold suffering is inflicted upon the masses it will not be awed and deterred by capitalist profits."