How the Russian Revolution was Lost

Socialism 2017

August 15, 2017
With Eric Kerl

Russia’s Marxists believed that Russia could begin a revolution, but that the low level of Russia’s economic development meant that socialism could not be built there unless the revolution spread elsewhere. The practical requirement for socialism is the existence of economic abundance and a working class capable of democratically transforming society. By 1920, Russia was a deeply impoverished society whose working class had been decimated by poverty and war. This session will examine the claims that the rise of a bureaucratic police state on the ruins of workers’ democracy was a process that took place because of the “original sin” of Lenin and other Russian revolutionaries—rather than because of Russia’s poverty, devastation by civil war and blockade, and the revolution’s failure to spread to more industrially developed economies.

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