On Saturday 26th May, Socialist Party members from Leeds and Huddersfield came together for a day school to discuss the lessons of the Russian Revolution. Despite the subsequent degeneration fo the revolution under Stalin due to the low level of the economy and international isolation, initially the revolution led to huge advances in social rights, culture as well as economically, led by workers democracy of the Soviets. Therefore Marxists view it as the greatest moment in human history so far and teeming with things to learn for today.
Iain Dalton, Leeds North West Socialist Party
Mick Whale, from Hull Socialist Party, was our guest speaker. He set the scene for the revolution describing how the country was dominated by landlords and foreign capital and only the workers movement, allied with the poorest sections of the peasantry, could take it forward. He described the initiative of the masses in forming the Soviets (workers council) which allowed for a wide participation of the working masses as well as thousands of workers who struggled to learn to read so they could play a more active part in the struggle.
The role of the Bolsheviks was discussed as well, and Mick explained that how the Bolsheviks formulated their policy and slogans in daily contact with the masses and over the course of the revolution they ‘merged’ with the working class, going from 8,000 members in February to 125,000 or more in October. Ultimately, it was the correct strategy and tactics put forward by this process that led to the succesful taking of power by the working class in October.
We also had several commissions after this exploring the events of particular periods of the revolution in more depth, with many comparisons during the course of these being drawn with other events, particularly the revolutionary upheavals that have taken place in North Africa in the last year.
We hope to hold further day schools over the course of the rest of the year, as well as an upcoming regional school on the State and Revolution next month.