Nov. 28: Russian Revolution Study Series – China Mieville’s “October”

Tuesday, November 28
7:00 p.m.
Common Good Cafe
(Downstairs at the University Temple United Methodist Church)
1415 NE 43rd St.
Seattle, WA 98105

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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”: Chapters 8-10

If you want to read more for the meeting on the 7th, or if you haven’t yet picked up “October”, take a look at these additional readings:

Study questions:

  1. After the July Days, Lenin briefly called for dropping the slogan “All Power to the Soviets”. Why? Did the Bolsheviks adopt Lenin’s proposal? Did they carry it out? Was Lenin correct?
  2. The Kerensky government repressed the Bolshevik Party after the July Days. Yet the Bolsheviks opposed the overthrow of Kerensky by Kornilov’s military coup only weeks later. Why? Did the Bolsheviks give political support to Kerensky during this period? Who was involved in the United Front against Kornilov?
  3. Were Kerensky and Kornilov allies or enemies?
  4. From September on, Lenin agitated for the Bolsheviks to organize an insurrection. What role did this play in the timing of the insurrection?
  5. Lenin called for the Bolsheviks to take power in its own name rather than in the name of the Soviets. Was he correct?
  6. Trotsky called for the insurrection to coincide with the opening of the All Russian Congress of Soviets. Was this the correct call?
  7. What evidence do bourgeois historians have that the October Revolution was a coup, not a mass revolution?

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