57 years after the Russian Revolution

This article was written to commemorate the Russian Revolution on its 57th anniversary in 1974, when Brezhnev was in power. At a time when many of the Communist Parties around the world were still defining the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and China as countries where socialism had been "realised", Ted Grant explains clearly the deformed nature of these regimes where power was in the hands of a privileged elite.

Ted was confidently predicting a movement of the working class in the Soviet Union that would lead to the collapse of the Stalinist regime. At that time there was a massive move to the left all over the world. Capitalism was in the middle of the first serious recession since the 1930s. Revolutionary or pre-revolutionary situations were unfolding in countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. The United States were facing defeat in Vietnam and in a whole series of former colonial countries left wing guerrilla movements were coming to power. The balance of forces internationally was hugely weighted in favour of the working class. Thus with a deep economic crisis of capitalism and a massive shift to the left the prospects for the Soviet Union were those of the political revolution, i.e. the workers taking political power out of the hands of the bureaucracy and re-establishing the genuine workers’ democracy that had emerged just after the 1917 revolution.

Unfortunately the defeat of the movements of the late 1960s and 1970s (the responsibility for which lies entirely on the shoulders of the leaders of the Socialist and Communist parties), followed by an economic upturn changed the whole of the world scenario. When the Stalinist regimes finally collapsed at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s capitalism was in a boom and the class struggle in the West was at a low ebb. These were important factors in determining the turn of events in the Stalinist regimes at that time. For a more up to date analysis of these events we suggest a reading of Ted Grant’s book, Russia from Revolution to Counter-Revolution. (November 7, 2002)

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