National Sections of the L5I:

Russia

Russia’s fast track to ruin

At the end of March IMF Director Michel Camdessus commended Yeltsin for his “bold and comprehensive economic reform programme” launched on 2 January. IMF membership is Russia’s prize. What reward the Russian peoples can expect from capitalism, Camdessus did not say. Keith Harvey surveys the restoration process and looks at the options for Yeltsin and his imperialist backers. Read more...

The failed coup in the USSR

The failed coup d’état of 19-21 August has deepened the pre-revolutionary situation in the USSR. It opens up a new phase in the history of the disintegration of the rule of the Soviet bureaucracy. As in Eastern Europe in the last quarter of 1989 it poses the question of political revolution or social counter-revolution. It is this question that the Soviet proletariat will face and must find a solution to in the coming months and years. On 19 August the clique of “hardliners” within the Council of Ministers, discovering hitherto unsuspected medical capabilities, diagnosed Mikhail Gorbachev as too sick to continue to wield the State Presidency. In his place stepped Gennadi Yanayev and behind him the real junta: Pugo, Yazov, Kryuchov and the uncertain prime minister Pavlov, representatives of the layer of bureaucratic conservatives in the military, heavy industry, interior ministry, KGB and armed forces. Read more...

The crisis of Stalinism and the theory of state capitalism

In 1917 Russian capitalism was forcibly overthrown and history bore witness to the first state and society in which the working class was the ruling class. Yet the revolution that gave birth to this state was a fragile flower. Its Bolshevik leaders understood that it could not survive in the harsh climate of external hostility and isolation. In time armed aggression by the imperialist nations would, they believed, deliver a fatal counter-revolutionary blow unless workers’ revolutions in the advanced European countries came to the assistance of the world’s first workers’ state. Read more...

The USSR at the crossroads

Since mid-November 1990 Mikhail Gorbachev has sponsored a creeping coup against his own policy of glasnost. Fragile and limited democratic rights have been conceded by the bureaucracy since 1985 and extended de facto by the struggles of the new workers’ movement and the revolt of the nationalities. They are all under attack. Read more...

MRCI Theses on Gorbachev

Adopted by the MRCI conference, July 1987

1. From the mid-1970s the Soviet economy has shown mounting signs of slowdown and stagnation. Initially, this effect was partially offset by the high world market price of Soviet raw material exports. That cushioning no longer exists. The Stalinist model of a centrally bureaucratically planned economy has increasingly become a drag on the development of the productive forces. Its initial achievements in the sphere of industrialisation cannot disguise its inherent historical limits. The reactionary doctrine of socialism in one country isolated the Soviet economy from the world division of labour and forced industrialisation to be based on the material and cultural backwardness of Russia. Read more...

Gorbachev and the Soviet working class

Mikhail Gorbachev, and those politically close to him, face a most daunting political prospect. He has staked his political future on reversing the tendency to stagnation and decline in the growth of the Soviet economy. But he has gone further than this. The means to that end promise a major attack on the economic privileges and political authority of a significant section of the state bureauracy. In order to deliver that blow Gorbachev is courting limited mobilisations of rank and file workers and party members against those who resist pressure for change. Read more...

From words to deeds by Leon Trotsky

Below appears the first published English translation of Trotsky’s article ‘From words to deeds’(1). Seventy years after its appearance in the paper Vpered (Forward) on 28 June 1917 (2) it remains a key document in the history of Trotsky’s convergence with Lenin’s party.

Vpered was the paper of the Inter-District Organisation of United Social Democrats, the so-called Mehraiontsi. This had been founded in 1913 by Yurenev and other members of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) who rejected the discipline of both Bolshevik and Menshevik wings of the party. As Yurenev wrote later: ‘In particular we refused to recognise the Bolshevik conference of 1912 as a conference of the entire RSDLP.’(3) Their initial project was to unify the Bolsheviks and the Left Mensheviks in a party of ‘United Internationalists’. Read more...

Party and Programme: Bolshevism Versus Opportunism 1903 - 1912 - Part 2

This article is devoted to the debate on the political and organisational heritage of Trotskyism and Leninism to which the Workers' Socialist League, the International Marxist Group and the International-Communist League contributed in the 1970s Read more...

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