This pamphlet brings together a series of four articles in The Socialist (paper of the Socialist Party, cwi in England and Wales) in 2007 to mark the 90th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. The intention was not just to explain the basic sequence of events that led to the greatest event in human history but also to show the relevance of the revolution to today’s international political scene. In particular, the shortcomings of the current leaders of the labour movement are graphically compared to the clarity of perspectives, strategy and tactics of the Bolsheviks headed by Lenin and Trotsky, which led to the building of a mass revolutionary party.
The detailed account of the revolution is told in Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution, which we would urge all socialists and Marxists to try to read. This socialist masterpiece gives the day-to-day development of the revolution, its ebbs and flows, the changes of pace and how the consciousness of the working class was transformed into realising the necessity to take power out of the hands of the landlords and capitalists, and into their own.
As a ‘bonus’, we have added an article from Socialism Today, which was a defence of the Russian Revolution against capitalist historians’ attempts to denigrate it. This was originally written in 1997 on the 80th anniversary of the revolution. Now, the capitalists themselves fear movements of the masses, as their system, beginning to be wracked by severe economic problems following the credit crunch of summer 2007 and after, lurches into crisis and further attacks the living standards and conditions of the working class.
Victor Mallet, the Asian editor of the Financial Times, recently wrote: “Revolutions happen. It is just difficult to predict when.” The capitalists internationally are now concerned that the failings of their system will lead to further movements like the ‘colour’ or ‘flower’ revolutions, that have taken place in recent years, but that they will take on a class character and challenge the capitalist system itself. For that to happen, the working class must turn to Marxist ideas, the ideas of the Bolsheviks, to ensure that such movements are successful like the Russian revolution 90 years ago.
1917 - the year that changed the world
Published November 2007 by Socialist Publications Ltd. 48 pages paperback.
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