This month marks 90 years since Lenin returned to Russia from exile. He immediately embarked on the task of convincing not only the mass of workers, but also the Bolshevik leadership, that the tasks of the revolution were socialist, that what was needed was for power to pass to the hands of the Soviets.

1917 was the year the Russian revolution changed the course of world history. But before the masses took to the stage, a whole period had prepared the fall of Tsarism. While the reign of Nicholas II appeared strong on the surface it was rotten to the core.

"No matter what one thinks of Bolshevism, it is undeniable that the Russian Revolution is one of the greatest events in human history, and the rule of the Bolsheviki a phenomenon of worldwide importance." John Reed, 1st January 1919. (J. Reed, Ten Days that Shook the World)

To mark the 134th anniversary of the death of Karl Marx – who died in London on 14th March 1883 - we are republishing here a revised version of an article by the late Phil Mitchinson. Here Phil outlines the life and contribution made by Marx to the building of the socialist movement and the development of the ideas of scientific socialism. Together with this we have included the text of Engels' marvellous speech which he gave at the grave of Karl Marx. “Philosophers have only interpreted the world in different ways. The point is, however, to change it.” (Marx)

Every year on March 8th, International Women’s Day is celebrated all over the world. Today, it has become what is essentially a day to raise awareness about the oppression of women. This year, it has particular significance because it is also the anniversary of the beginning of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Most people are not aware of the fact that on March 8th 1917 it was actually women who started the events that created the revolution. This began a revolutionary process that brought the working class to power, allowing for spectacular advancements for women.

To commemorate the centenary of the Russian Revolution, Alan Woods, editor of In Defence of Marxism, provides a timeline analysis of 1917.

The First World War was becoming a catastrophe for Russia. From the front line there was news of defeat after defeat. The breakdown of the economy produced a shortage of bread. Crowds of half-starved and desperate women queued outside shops for bread that never arrived. But at the top of Russian society things were very different.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution. The apologists of capitalism, and their faithful echoes in the labour movement, try to comfort themselves with the thought that the collapse of the USSR signified the demise of socialism. But what failed in Russia was not socialism but a caricature of socialism. Contrary to the oft-repeated slanders, the Stalinist regime was the antithesis of the democratic regime established by the Bolsheviks in 1917.

One hundred years ago the Russian Revolution shook the capitalist world order to its foundations. Here for the first time ever, the Russian workers, led by Lenin and the Bolshevik party, took power into their own hands. The ruling classes have never forgiven this.

“It is, therefore, from the history of nature and human society that the laws of dialectics are abstracted. For they are nothing but the most general laws of these two aspects of historical development, as well as of thought itself.” (Engels)

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