The 1917 Russian revolution was the greatest event in political history so far – the first time working class people took political power and held it for a decade. Yet the real history is buried under myths. Many Western academic accounts portray 1917 as a mutiny of peasant soldiers leading ultimately to a coup d’état, led by a small group of fanatics who established a Stalinist totalitarian state.
Worse, the mirror image of 1917 became the foundation myth of the Stalinist state: the 1917 revolution was used both in Russia and across the world by ‘Communist’ parties to glorify the terrible Stalinist regime that endured after workers’ self-rule was extinguished in the twenties. The original, liberatory working class essence of the original revolution was lost.
Since the 1960s – and especially since the opening of archives in Russia from the 1990s, much more is known about the Russian revolution and the events of October 1917. This book aims to bring original Marxist perspectives together with a wide range of scholarship. It is written from what Lenin and Trotsky called the ‘third camp’ independent working class socialist perspective.
This book explains some irreplaceable ideas developed a century ago – uneven and combined development, permanent revolution, democratic centralism, soviets (councils), workers’ control, consistent democracy, socialist feminism, transitional demands, the united front and the workers’ government. These ideas are highly relevant to students and activists in today’s struggles.