National Sections of the L5I:

History

Russian Revolution of 1917

Russia on the eve of 1917 was a country dominated by the Tsar and a feudal aristocracy.
In 1914, the Russian empire, allied with France which was its main source of the huge loans keeping its creaking system afloat, entered the First World War against Germany and Austria-Hungary. France had high hopes that the Tsar’s huge peasant army, “the Russian steamroller”, would crush the German armies in the east, enabling it to break through in the west. Read more...

When women set Russia ablaze

The specific role of women workers in the February revolution occurred because of the very acute way the war had affected them. The mobilisation of soldiers and production for the war effort led to enormous deprivation in the cities and villages of Russia. As early as April 1915 there were riots by women demanding bread, and these continued sporadically right through to 1917. Read more...

Parliament: Bolsheviks in the Duma

How should revolutionary socialists act in parliament? Should we risk legitimising powerless legislative bodies? And how do we stop the workers’ MPs from being corrupted in the bosses’ parliaments? These were some of the problems faced by the Bolsheviks before the First World War. Read more...

Rosa Luxemburg - Revolutionary fighter

"In Rosa Luxemburg the socialist idea was a dominating and powerful passion of both heart and brain, a truly creative passion which burned ceaselessly. The great task and the over-powering ambition of this astonishing woman was to prepare the way for social revolution, to clear the path of history for socialism. To experience the revolution, to fight its battles, that was the highest happiness for her. With a will, determination, selflessness and devotion for which words are too weak, she consecrated her whole like and her whole being to socialism, not only in her tragic death, but throughout her whole like, daily and hourly, through the struggles of many years. She was the sharp sword, the living flame of the revolution." Clara Zetkin. Read more...

The April theses: Lenin re-arms the party

The explosion of anger that swept aside the Tsarist regime in February 1917 led to a profoundly contradictory situation at the level of state power. Conservative and liberal politicians declared themselves the Provisional Government, although they had not participated in, let alone led, the uprising. They were deeply fearful of where the mass mobilisations and the workers’ and soldiers’ councils – the soviets that mushroomed – would lead. The revolution had given the soviets power. Now it had to be stopped. Read more...

The July Days

In the spring and early summer of 1917, it became more and more clear that the Provisional Government would not address any of Russia’s crying needs. The war-weary soldiers’ yearning for peace, the cry for bread from the workers of the cities, the peasants’ calls for the aristocrats land to be distributed to them – all were met with delay and diversion. The government made the continuation of the war its overriding priority. A government of the imperialist bourgeoisie, mortgaged to Anglo-French imperialism and with its own designs on the Turkish Empire and Eastern Europe, could not seriously contemplate a separate peace. Read more...

Whatever happened to the anticapitalist movement?

“After the disappointment that was Nairobi, many long-standing participants in the [World Social] Forum are asking themselves: Is the WSF still the most appropriate vehicle for the new stage in the struggle of the global justice and peace movement? Or, having fulfilled its historic function of aggregating and linking the diverse counter-movements spawned by global capitalism, is it time for the WSF to fold up its tent and give way to new modes of global organisation of resistance and transformation?” The Forum at the Crossroads, Walden Bello, May 4, 2007 Read more...

1974: The Portuguese revolution

In April 1974 rebel army units, under the leadership of the Armed Forces Movement (MFA), over threw the 44 year old Portuguese fascist dictatorship. The fascist regime of Caetano had few friends left, and as the rebel tanks moved through the streets they met little resistance. The workers of Lisbon welcomed the soldiers as liberators, placing carnations in the muzzles of their rifles. Read more...

1922: Mussolinis march on Rome

Fascism came to power in Italy at the point when the real revolutionary period in Italy between 1920 and 1922 (the “biennio rosso”) had begun to wane. Under the centrist leadership of Antonio Gramsci and Amedeo Bordiga, Italian workers had not forged an alliance with the peasants and land workers and were unable to take the post-war factory occupations and control of production beyond the point of dual power. Read more...

The slave trade: unceasing resistance and revolt

Official celebrations credit William Wilberforce for the abolition of the Slave Trade. Marcus Chamoun looks at the slave rebellions that really forced Britain's hand Read more...