Vladimir Lenin

When the Weekly Worker Group ("CPGB") Backed Imperialism in Afghanistan. A series of articles.(2004)

A series of articles written in 2004 that analyse in detail the record of the Weekly Worker Group as ardent supporters of Russia's bloody attempt to annex Afghanistan to the Stalinist Empirempire.

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Socialists and press advertising

Solidarity 299 reprinted an interesting article from 1917 in which Lenin argued for public control over advertising in the press as a main means to win a “freedom of the press” accessible to the working class and not just to the rich.

In an article from 1917, Lenin argued for public control over advertising in the press as a main means to win a “freedom of the press” accessible to the working class and not just to the rich. Eduard Bernstein’s Ferdinand Lassalle as Social Reformer, written while Bernstein was still a revolutionary Marxist, argues against public control over press advertising. Was Lenin or Bernstein wrong?

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The Price of Isolation for the Russian Workers and their Revolution

The world is paying dearly for the isolation of the Russian
Revolution, paying in blood and sweat, and tears and in car-
nage and destruction such as history records nowhere else.

Max Shachtman, writing on the Twenty-fourth Anniversary of the Great Russian Revolution, in Labor Action 17 November 1941

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The Price of Isolation for the Russian Workers and their Revolution

The world is paying dearly for the isolation of the Russian
Revolution, paying in blood and sweat, and tears and in car-
nage and destruction such as history records nowhere else.

Max Shachtman on the Twenty-fourth Anniversary of the Great Russian Revolution

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Making the press really free

The Privy Council — an unelected body of medieval origin — will meet on Wednesday 30 October to see if it can modify the proposals for press regulation backed by the three big political parties and placate the big newspapers, most of whom backed a rival scheme already rejected by the Privy Council.

The press lords want to retain the right to smear and lie without redress. Britain’s libel laws already do much to protect the rich from criticism. The socialist alternative was explained by the Russian revolutionary Lenin in this article shortly before the workers’ revolution of October 1917.

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The German workers' revolution of 1918/19 and why it was defeated

In January 1919 Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, the two most prominent leaders of the German revolutionary movement, were savagely murdered in Berlin. Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were victims of a wave of terror unleashed by the leaders of German Social Democracy in order to crush working-class revolution.

In January 1919 Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, the two most prominent leaders of the German revolutionary movement, were savagely murdered in Berlin.

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Remaking Socialism: From Socialism's Collapse in 1914 to the Foundation of the Communist International in March 1919

THE ECLIPSE OF THE INTERNATIONAL

This account of socialism's eclipse and re-emergence is by Boris Souvarine, a participant in these events and a founder and leader of the French Communist Party.

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The SWP and the Iran-Iraq war: the sudden shift to super-anti-imperialism

In 1988 the SWP suddenly became very 'anti-imperialist'. It became a loud cheerleader for what it sees as progressive or revolutionary nationalisms.

It still talks of socialism and class struggle, but now these are proposed as merely the best means to secure the greater nationalist end. It fiercely supports Iraq in the Gulf War. It insists fanatically that it is not even worth thinking about an appeal to the Israeli working class, that Israel must be destroyed, and that a 'two-state' solution in Palestine is worthless even as an interim measure.

How the SWP shifted drastically on "anti-imperialism" in 1987-8.

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The Origins and Rise of the SWP

How did the Trotskyist left in Britain come to be scattered and divided into hostile and competing groups? At the root the divisions are a product of the repeated defeats and the continuing marginalisation of revolutionary socialism.

Abridged introduction to a pamphlet, "A tragedy of the left", published in December 1991 to mark the 20th anniversary of the separation of what is now called AWL and the SWP, and now out of print.

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How Stalin destroyed communism

70 years ago, on 22 May 1943, Stalin announced the formal shutting-down of the Communist International, the association of revolutionary socialist parties across the world set up after the Russian Revolution.

70 years ago, on 22 May 1943, Stalin announced the formal shutting-down of the Communist International, the association of revolutionary socialist parties across the world set up after the Russian Revolution.

Although Moscow retained close control of the Communist Parties until the 1960s, the shutting-down was a symbolic disavowal of socialist revolution. This is how socialists commented at the time.


He long ago destroyed it as an instrument of socialism!

By Albert Gates (Al Glotzer)

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In memory of the Commune

Forty years have passed since the proclamation of the Paris Commune. In accordance with tradition, the French workers paid homage to the memory of the men and women of the revolution of March 18, 1871, by meetings and demonstrations. At the end of May they will again place wreaths on the graves of the Communards who were shot, the victims of the terrible “May Week”, and over their graves they will once more vow to fight untiringly until their ideas have triumphed and the cause they bequeathed has been fully achieved.

Lenin on the Paris Commune of 1871.

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The Marxists on oppression

The fourth part of a review article looking at the themes of John Riddell’s new book of documents from the early communist movement.

The week Paul Hampton looks at how they debated women’s liberation and other issues of oppression.


The early Communist International’s focus was on working class self-liberation and this was reflected in the time spent on discussions on party building, work to transform the labour movement and on the specifics of class struggle strategy.

The fourth part of a review of John Riddell’s new book of documents from the early communist movement looks at how it debated women’s liberation and other issues of oppression.

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The SWP and "Leninism"

The Central Committee (CC) of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) has changed its line. For the first while after the SWP's unhappy conference on 4-6 January, the CC said that the conference had decided the controversial issues. The case was closed, SWP members were instructed to think and talk about other things, and, as for non-SWPers, it was none of their business.

A response to Alex Callinicos's blast against the SWP opposition, "Is Leninism finished?"

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Three giants of the socialist revolution

January marks the anniversaries of the deaths of three giants of revolutionary socialism — Liebknecht, Luxemburg, and Lenin.

January marks the anniversaries of the deaths of three giants of revolutionary socialism — Liebknecht, Luxemburg, and Lenin.

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Marx and Lenin on press freedom

Marx analysed the problem of a free press thoroughly in two long essays which are to be found in the first volume of the collected edition of his works.

Marx regarded freedom of the press as indispensable.

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AWL South London study group - The State and Revolution

Date: 

24 October, 2012 - 12:00 to 13:00

Location: 

London Bridge

Description: 

Overview session

Course notes: http://www.workersliberty.org/system/files/stateandrevolution.pdf
Text: http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/staterev/

1. What makes the state in capitalist society a capitalist state?
2. If the state is directly a committee for the protection of the interests of capital, how are those phases in the history of bourgeois society to be explained in which ‘the state’ apparently acts independently of or against the interests of capital?
3. If the state is understood as an instrument of class domination, how then do we interpret measures which are implemented through or by means of the state in favour of the working class?
4. Do political victories of the working class (e.g. in elections) change the quality of the state as class state? Can the bourgeois state undergo a change in function and become the instrument of social change in favour of the dominated classes?
5. In an earlier article, Our Tasks and the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies, (2-4 November 1905), Lenin asked what he called “the highly important” question of “how to divide, and how to combine, the tasks of the Soviet and those of the Russian Social-Democratic Party”? (LCW 10, 1965 p.19) How does he answer this question in The State and Revolution?
6. How is the separation of ‘politics’ and ‘economics’ in bourgeois society to be understood?
7. The Bolshevik legal theorist Pashukanis posed a series of key questions on the state in 1923. He wrote: “Why does the dominance of a class not continue to be that which it is – that is to say, the subordination in fact of one part of the population to another part? Why does it take the form of official state domination? Or, which is the same thing, why is not the mechanism of state constraint created as the private mechanism of the dominant class? Why is it dissociated from the dominant class-taking the form of an impersonal mechanism of public authority isolated from society?” (The general theory of law and Marxism, in J. Hazard (ed.), Soviet Legal Philosophy, 1951, p.185)

Contact Bob on 07843 945 005 or bobsutton1917@gmail.com

Marxist Theory and History: 

AWL South London study group - The State and Revolution

Date: 

17 October, 2012 - 12:00 to 13:00

Location: 

London Bridge

Description: 

Chapter VI: The Vulgarisation of Marxism by Opportunists

Course notes: http://www.workersliberty.org/system/files/stateandrevolution.pdf
Text: http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/staterev/

1. What’s wrong with Plekhanov’s critique of anarchism?
2. What does Lenin criticise Kautsky for?
3. What arguments did Pannekoek use against Kautsky?
4. What’s wrong with Kautsky’s replies?
5. The main theorists of the Second International all held that the state was not neutral but a capitalist class state; a revolution was necessary; and under socialism the state would wither away. So where did they go wrong?

Contact Bob on 07843 945 005 or bobsutton1917@gmail.com

Marxist Theory and History: 

AWL South London study group - The State and Revolution

Date: 

10 October, 2012 - 12:00 to 13:00

Location: 

London Bridge

Description: 

Chapter V: The Economic Basis of the Withering Away of the State

Course notes: http://www.workersliberty.org/system/files/stateandrevolution.pdf
Text: http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/staterev/

1. What does Lenin mean by a “political transition period”?
2. Why do Marxists distinguish between two phases after the socialist revolution?
3. Can society be run on the principle of “from each according to their ability and to each according to their needs”?

Contact Bob on 07843 945 005 or bobsutton1917@gmail.com

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AWL South London study group - The State and Revolution

Date: 

3 October, 2012 - 12:00 to 13:00

Location: 

London Bridge

Description: 

Chapter IV: Supplementary Explanations by Engels

Course notes: http://www.workersliberty.org/system/files/stateandrevolution.pdf
Text: http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/staterev/

1. How would a working class government immediately tackle social needs?
2. How does the Marxist view of the state differ from anarchism?
3. Does it make sense for Engels to call a democratic republic the specific form of the dictatorship of the proletariat?
4. What democratic measures would prevent the bureaucratisation of a workers’ state?

Contact Bob on 07843 945 005 or bobsutton1917@gmail.com

Marxist Theory and History: 

AWL South London study group - The State and Revolution

Date: 

26 September, 2012 - 12:00 to 13:00

Location: 

London Bridge

Description: 

Chapter III: Experience of the Paris Commune of 1871. Marx's Analysis

Course notes: http://www.workersliberty.org/system/files/stateandrevolution.pdf
Text: http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/staterev/

1. How did Marx and Engels revise the Communist Manifesto?
2. What were the main measures taken by the Paris Commune?
3. What are the limits of bourgeois democracy and representative institutions generally?
4. Why does Lenin argue that the bureaucracy can’t be abolished immediately?
5. Why was the Paris Commune a “workers’ government”?

Contact Bob on 07843 945 005 or bobsutton1917@gmail.com

Marxist Theory and History: 

AWL South London study group - The State and Revolution

Date: 

19 September, 2012 - 12:00 to 13:00

Location: 

London Bridge

Description: 

Chapter II: The Experience of 1848-51

Course notes: http://www.workersliberty.org/system/files/stateandrevolution.pdf
Text: http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/staterev/

1. Why does the working class have to become a ruling class?
2. What does “the dictatorship of the proletariat” mean?
3. What are the core institutions of the bourgeois state?

Contact Bob on 07843 945 005 or bobsutton1917@gmail.com

Marxist Theory and History: 

AWL South London study group - The State and Revolution

Date: 

12 September, 2012 - 12:00 to 13:00

Location: 

London Bridge

Description: 

Chapter 1: Class Society and the State

Course notes: http://www.workersliberty.org/system/files/stateandrevolution.pdf
Text: http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/staterev/

1. How do Marxists define the state? How does this differ from other “common sense” views of the state?
2. How can even a "perfect" democratic republic serve bourgeois class rule?
3. Why in practice do all bourgeois states retain undemocratic guarantees such as the monarchy and House of Lords in Britain, presidency in France and USA, etc?
4. Why does believe that the democratic republic can be the best form of state (or “political shell”) for the proletariat under capitalism?
5. Why does the state wither away? When?

Contact Bob on 07843 945 005 or bobsutton1917@gmail.com

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Yakov Sverdlov: “The best type of Bolshevik”

Yakov Mikhaylovich Sverdlov (1885-1919) was a leading Bolshevik organiser and, as chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, was the first de facto president of the Russian Soviet Republic.

It would only be a small exaggeration to say that a biography of Sverdlov is in large measure a history of the birth, development and eventual triumph of the Bolsheviks, so involved was he in every crucial stage in the party's life until 1919.

Yakov Mikhaylovich Sverdlov (1885-1919) was a leading Bolshevik organiser and, as chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, was the first de facto president of the Russian Soviet Republic.

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Liverpool AWL: The State and Revolution

Date: 

18 November, 2010 - 19:30 to 21:00

Location: 

Training Room, Liverpool Guild of Students, 160 Mount Pleasant, L3 5TR

Description: 

An indtroduction to the themes explored in Lenin's short pamphlet which tackles the question of how socialists relate to the state and remains invaluable in shaping how we view the government, the police, the army, the judiciary and all the other arms of the state in capitalist society.

Search 'ideas for freedom liverpool' for Facebook event.

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