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.
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.