1917: The Grassroots Working-Class Revolution that Lenin Crushed

1917, International Women’s Day, Petrograd, Russia

Talk. Thursday 5 October, 7-9pm. Free.

Many left-wing accounts of the Russian Revolution – such as Neil Faulkner’s recent book A People’s History of the Russian Revolution – distort the course of the revolution. Anarchists tend to fall in with the mainstream picture of a coup by a tightly-controlled Bolshevik Party. Trotskyists such as Faulkner see the October Revolution as an ultra-democratic uprising of ‘the people’. Scholars such as Alexander Rabinowitch have built up quite a different, complicated picture of both the Bolshevik Party and the October Revolution.

In this event, Peace News editor Milan Rai, author of a new booklet on the Russian Revolution, will explain how the Bolsheviks rode to power on a wave of popular outrage (benefiting from crucial mistakes by their Menshevik and SR opponents) and then crushed the grassroots workers’ revolution that had been one of the most important engines of social transformation. They were aided in their work by the radical wings of the Mensheviks and the SRs, and by quite a few anarchists.

Milan Rai is an anarchist and radical activist, and the author of Chomsky’s Politics (Verso, 1995) and War Plan Iraq (Verso, 2002) among other books. He is working on The Anarchist Reader for Verso.

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