The October Revolution Online Lectures

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The International Committee of the Fourth International is continuing its commemoration of the centenary of the 1917 October Revolution with a second series of four weekly on-line lectures, beginning on October 14 and concluding on November 4.

The first group of lectures, held this past spring, examined the origins and outbreak of the Russian Revolution and the establishment of the bourgeois Provisional Government in February-March 1917.

This second series of lectures will examine the critical theoretical issues and political events that arose in the months and weeks leading up to the socialist revolution of October 1917, which established the first workers state in world history. The concluding lecture will focus on the historical legacy of the October Revolution.

The lectures will be streamed live on YouTube. They will be delivered by leading representatives of the ICFI and experts in the history of the Russian Revolution.



1. "Lenin's The State and Revolution" October 14, 2017, 5:00 pm EDT (21:00 UTC) [Time Zone Conversions]

The Provisional Government’s brutal suppression of the mass demonstrations of workers and soldiers in Petrograd (the “July Days”) drove the Bolshevik Party into illegality. In order to escape arrest and assassination, Lenin was compelled to flee Petrograd. Working in illegality, Lenin wrote one of his most important political tracts, The State and Revolution. This detailed exposition of the views of Marx and Engels on the historical origins and class significance of the state established, theoretically and politically, the necessity of the conquest of political power by the working class.

The lecturer will be Barry Grey, the US national editor of the World Socialist Web Site and member of the national committee of the Socialist Equality Party. He has been active in the Trotskyist movement for more than 45 years.

2. "On the Eve of Revolution: The Bolshevik Party, Factory Committees, and the Mass Movement of the Working Class" October 21, 2017, 5:00 pm EDT (21:00 UTC) [Time Zone Conversions]

Despite the repressive measures of the Provisional Government, the Bolshevik Party experienced an explosive growth in August-September 1917. Serious historical scholarship has documented the emergence of mass support for the Bolshevik’s demand for the transfer of power to the Soviets and the working class. The development of a nationwide network of rank-and-file factories provided a critical base for the growth of Bolshevik influence in the working class.

Tom Carter, a member of the SEP national committee, will be the lecturer. During the past year, Tom has served as the principal editor of the World Socialist Web Site’s on-going series, “This Week in the Russian Revolution”. He has translated from the original Russian many of the historical documents used in the preparation of the Chronology.

3. "Lessons of October: The Political Crisis Within the Bolshevik Party on the Eve of the Seizure of Power" October 28, 2017, 5:00 pm EDT (21:00 UTC) [Time Zone Conversions]

In 1924, seven years after the October Revolution, Leon Trotsky recalled the conflict that erupted within the Bolshevik Party on the very eve of the overthrow of the Provisional Government. “If tactical turns usually lead to internal friction in the party, how much deeper and fiercer must be the friction resulting from strategical turns.” Opposition within the central leadership of the Bolshevik Party to Lenin’s call for an insurrection against the Provisional Government threatened to derail the revolution.

The lecturer will be Chris Marsden, the national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party in Britain. Chris has been a leading member of the International Committee since 1985, and has served as the British SEP’s national secretary for the past 20 years.

4. "The Place of the October Revolution in World History and Contemporary Politics" November 4, 2017, 5:00 pm EDT (21:00 UTC) [Time Zone Conversions]

In the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, there emerged a new consensus among bourgeois academics that the Russian Revolution was little more than a political accident, an illegitimate and even criminal departure from the “normal” – i.e., capitalist – course of historical development. The monumental international political impact of the October Revolution and immense economic, social and cultural achievements of the Soviet Union were ignored and dismissed. And yet, despite these claims, the October Revolution will live in history as the most significant political event of the twentieth century. The study of this revolution is an essential prerequisite for finding an answer to the worldwide crisis of the twenty-first century.

David North, the chairperson of the international editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site, will be the lecturer.

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