Russian Revolution

Members of left-wing trade union federation Solidarity of Filipino Workers (BMP) and the socialist  Party of the Labouring Masses (PLM) held a public commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution on November 7 in Quezon City, Manila. Photo by Gregorio Bituin, Jr.

The 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, the first socialist revolution in world history, was marked on October 25 — the date the Bolsheviks led the revolutionary seizure of power by the soviets (elected councils of workers, peasants and soldiers).

One hundred years ago this month, workers, peasants and soldiers in Russia overthrew the corrupt government that had led the country into a disastrous war and established the Soviet Socialist Republic. 

It seemed that, for once, the people had won. Socialism had gone from theoretical possibility to practical reality.

The 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, the first socialist revolution in world history, was marked on October 25 — the date the Bolsheviks led the revolutionary seizure of power by the soviets (elected councils of workers, peasants and soldiers).

Socialists organised mass protest rallies in Petrograd (as Saint Petersburg was renamed after the outbreak of World War I in 1914) in February 1917. These protests took place on March 8 (February 23 according to the Russian calendar used at the time), International Women’s Day, rallying women workers to demand bread, peace, and liberty. But, as a contemporary police report stated, the women workers “got out of hand.”

They attracted the support of large numbers of male workers as well. The police proved unable to contain the growing and increasingly volatile protests. Soon 385,000 workers were on strike and many engaged in confrontations with the police in the streets.

The 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, the first socialist revolution in world history, is marked on October 25 — the date the Bolsheviks lead the revolutionary seizure of power by the soviets (councils of workers, peasants and soldiers).

Socialist activist and historian Paul Le Blanc has written a detailed overview of the revolution, from its background to its aftermath. Green Left Weekly is running it over four parts, with the first part here.

Born in 1872 to a wealthy land-owning family, Alexandra Kollontai was raised in both Russia and Finland, acquiring an early fluency in languages which served her well in her later revolutionary work. She began her political work in 1894, when she was a new mother, by teaching evening classes for workers in St Petersburg.

Through that activity she was drawn into public and clandestine work with the Political Red Cross, an organisation set up to help political prisoners. In 1895, she read August Bebel’s Woman and Socialism, which had a major influence on her ideas about the emancipation of women.

At Tsarskoe Selo, the Romanov monarchy’s palatial rural retreat where the former “Tsar of all Russia”, Nicholas II, was detained after being forced to abdicate by the February 1917 revolution, the once all-powerful autocrat found much to get annoyed about.

In particular, Nicholas disliked the military bands that serenaded him with rousing renditions of the anthem of liberation, The Marseillaise, and, with black humour, Chopin’s Funeral March.

Two articles and a video presentation looking at Russia's two revolutions in 1917, Marx and Engels on ecology and Lukacs' views on alienation and class consciousness

One hundred years ago in the aftermath of defeat of the July 16-20 [3-7 in New Style] protest movement by workers and soldiers, the Bolsheviks responded to the “July Days” setback by calling on the people to ignore provocations and expose rightist slander.

The wave of protests was repelled by military and police attacks, with hundreds of casualties, on the orders of the Provisional Government — the capitalist government that came to power after the February Revolution overthrew the Tsar and which was supported by the moderate socialists.

It was a key phase in the storm that swept Russia during 1917. This storm culminated in the October Revolution when, led by the Bolsheviks, the soviets (councils) of workers, soldiers and peasants took power, overthrowing the Provisional Government.

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