London Public Meeting



Our first public meeting post-lockdown will be a launch of the CWO's new book – Russia: Revolution and Counter-Revolution, 1905-1924 - A View from the Communist Left – followed by a discussion.

The Russian Revolution remains a landmark event in history. For the bourgeois historians, the October Revolution is thought to be a tragedy that set back the achievements of the “democratic” February Revolution, and allowed the Bolsheviks to wreak havoc on their citizens and the world. For the Stalinists, the events of 1917 paved the way for the birth of the USSR, which they point to as a prototypical example of “socialism in one country”.

In reality, the February and October Revolutions were both part of the same proletarian revolution. The whole of 1917 was a struggle of the working class to prevent their revolution from being stolen by a series of unelected Provisional Governments. The October Revolution finally smashed the capitalist state and put power into the hands of the soviets (workers’ councils). But this world-historic achievement couldn’t last forever, if the revolution of the working class was to survive, it needed to become an international revolution. As the proletariat failed to gain power in Europe, the Bolsheviks found themselves needing to build up their own state power to defend the revolution in a civil war. When the civil war was finally over, the soviets had withered to barely anything.

The Bolsheviks, for their part, had been vital in bringing down the bourgeois Provisional Government, but by the time of the Kronstadt Revolt in March 1921, they held all the power in Russia and were about to capitulate to the peasantry via the New Economic Policy. The revolution had died and the Communist International adopted the strategy of a united front with the same Social Democrats who had been behind the murders of so many workers across Europe.

But, while the Russian Revolution failed to build an international communist society, it did not just leave a negative legacy. The revolution was the work of the proletariat, and in the workers’ councils they found an instrument to ensure the running of their own affairs. Once we have smashed the capitalist state globally, and abolished exploitation and wage labour for good, the workers’ councils will be the foundation through which the international working class will create a society based on the satisfaction of the needs of the many, rather than the accumulated wealth of a few.

When: Saturday, 11 September 2021, at 2:30pm

Where: Calthorpe Arms, 252 Grays Inn Rd, London, WC1X 8JR

Communist Workers' Organisation