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The Russian Revolution in October 1917, led by the Bolshevik Party, is the most important event in history for revolutionary socialists. For the first time, a revolution led by the working class won power in an entire country and began attempting to construct a socialist society based on the ideas of workers’ control and real democracy. For a brief period there was a glimpse of what such a society might look like, before the experiment was destroyed by civil war, foreign intervention, economic devastation, and—above all—the failure of revolutions to spread successfully to more economically advanced countries. This led by the late 1920s to the entrenchment of a bureaucratic dictatorship in the infant Soviet Union.
But despite its eventual defeat—indeed, partly because of it—the Russian Revolution remains a key event for all socialists to study. There are rich lessons to be learned concerning how it came about, its inspirational early successes, and why it eventually failed.
Join the Seattle ISO for a 3 part study series primarily using China Mieville’s book “October” to examine the history of the Russian Revolution and the lessons we can draw from it for today.
Recommended Reading from “October”:
October 17: Chapters 1-3
November 7: Chapters 4-7
November 28: Chapters 8-10