Topic 6 – Lessons of the Russian Revolution

How the working class took power

Lenin addresses the masses in Red Square, October 1917

“During the first two months of 1917 Russia was still a … monarchy. Eight months later the Bolsheviks stood at the helm. They were little known to anybody when the year began, and their leaders were still under indictment for state treason when they came to power. You will not find another such sharp turn in history – especially if you remember that it involves a nation of 150 million people. It is clear that the events of 1917, whatever you think of them, deserve study.”

Leon Trotsky, History of the Russian Revolution, 1917


Reading 1: The Russian Revolution and the Rise of Stalinism (MWT)

(South Africa’s Impending Socialist Revolution, Chapter 2)


Reading 2: The Lessons of October (Trotsky)

Chapter 1 – We Must Study the October Revolution

Chapter 2 – The Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Peasantry – in February and October

Chapter 3 – The Struggle Against War and Defencism

Chapter 4 – The April Conference

Chapter 5 – The July Days; the Kornilov Episode; the Democratic Conference and the Pre-Parliament

Chapter 6 – On the Eve of the October Revolution; the Aftermath

Chapter 7 – The October Insurrection and Soviet ‘Legality’

Chapter 8 – Again, on the Soviets and the Party in a Proletarian Revolution



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