Theory History

We are very happy to share the recollections of a member of our French organisation (Révolution), who was born in Moscow in the 1960s, and later moved to Paris, joining the PCF (Communist Party of France) and eventually the IMT. There, he discovered Trotsky’s writings, which accurately reflected the comrade’s experiences of the bureaucratic regime in the USSR. This is a fascinating insight into what life was really like in the USSR (both good and bad),

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In the course of his life, Lenin made several visits to London. The first and longest took place in 1902, and lasted for over a year. He made other visits to attend the congresses of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) in 1903, 1905 and 1907, and he returned again in 1908 and 1911 to undertake studies at the British Museum. As of late, there has been a growing interest in retracing Lenin’s footsteps across the city. A fascinating ‘cottage industry’ has grown up around this subject, even encompassing Lenin Walks in the British capital.

Today marks one hundred years since French troops invaded the Ruhr. This occupation, combined with hyperinflation, sparked revolutionary convulsions across Germany. With crisis once again haunting Europe, Rob Sewell examines the lessons of 1923.

This year’s New Year edition of Der Spiegel features an interesting piece titled, “Was Marx right after all?” Full of astute observations about the state of capitalism, it’s a piece symptomatic of the anxiety of the ruling class. But the ‘solutions’ it proposes – reactionary and utopian ideas based on keeping capitalism intact, like ‘degrowth’ and Keynesianism – are really no solutions at all.

So-called left activists, even some self-described Marxists, often exclaim with despair and frustration: "look at how terrible things are, why hasn't there been a revolution yet?" As Alan Woods explains in this article, those who ask such questions have no understanding of the consciousness of the masses, nor of the dialectical method, which Marxists use to penetrate below the superficial surface appearance of society, to the growing tension underneath. This article, which originally appeared in issue 37 of In Defence of Marxism magazine in March 2022 (buy and subscribe here), provides an excellent analysis of the world situation, and

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Interest in the ideas of Leon Trotsky is growing, as workers and youth look for a revolutionary solution to capitalism’s crises. But some on the left have muddied the waters in regards to ‘Trotskyism’. It is important we set the record straight.

For a century, the ruling class has produced industrial quantities of lies and distortions about Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevik Party and of the October Revolution of 1917. This article, therefore, sheds an important light on the life of this revolutionary giant. Covering the formative years of Lenin’s life, the following article – first published in issue 36 of In defence of Marxism magazine, gives a portrait of Lenin in his youth: from his boyhood years, to his making as a revolutionary, the founding of Iskra up until the eve of the second congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, out of which the Bolshevik

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Forty-two years ago this week, South Korea was engulfed in the flames of class struggle. Amidst the fight by the masses for democracy and to bring down the military, a heroic episode took place in Gwangju – a city of nearly one million people. The workers beat back a vicious military, and for a few days the working class de facto took over the running of the city, which was briefly under the control of armed workers’ militias.

There are many myths surrounding Lenin and the Bolsheviks – particularly regarding the origins of the revolutionary party in Russia. Rob Sewell examines an important chapter from the history of Bolshevism, and the lessons for Marxists today.

The French Revolution initiated a decades-long phase of bourgeois revolutions across Europe and beyond that raised the flags of democracy, national liberation, and civil rights against the injustices of the feudal system. These political convulsions prepared the ground for the international ascendancy of the capitalist system in the nineteenth century. Yet in most countries, the democratic promises of the bourgeois revolution remained largely unfulfilled. The Greek war of independence that began over 200 years ago was no exception.

13 April 2022 marked 80 years since the Dutch revolutionary socialist Henk Sneevliet, along with six of his comrades, were executed by the Nazi German occupiers. Sneevliet devoted his whole life to fighting for the interests of the working class of the Netherlands, as well as the oppressed in Indonesia and China.

Fifty years ago, on 29 April 1972, violence between Hutus and Tutsis broke out in Burundi. This was the latest round of ethnic conflict in the African Great Lakes region, and marked the beginning of a genocide of up to 300,000 people. Western imperialism bears direct responsibility for the horrors of the spring of 1972. They didn’t lift a finger to stop it, and in some cases, they actively supported it. Today, while western imperialists cry crocodile tears over Ukraine, they bury the history of the far greater abominations they perpetrated just 50 years ago.

102 years ago, British workers struck in solidarity with the Russian Revolution. Conditions were ripe for revolution, though the opportunity was missed. Rob Sewell explains the revolutionary potential displayed by the working class in Britain, the errors of their leadership, and the lessons of these experiences for the class struggle today, at a time when war, crisis and chaos are similarly rampant. This article first appeared in issue 30 of In Defence of Marxism, the theoretical magazine of the International Marxist Tendency. Click here to subscribe and get the latest issue.

“The left needs a new narrative.” Such is the idea that has gripped the minds of many on the left around the world today, as attempts are made to build alternatives to the dominant, bourgeois parties. What is the substance behind this idea? And can it help take the working class forward in any way? As Yola Kipcak explains in this article, first published in issue 34 of In Defence of Marxism, playing around with words is no substitute for class struggle. Click here to subscribe and get the latest issue of In Defence of Marxism magazine.

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