The Russian Revolution and Workers Democracy
Publisher: Against the Current
Date Written: 01/05/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21593
The Russian Revolution of February and October 1917 opened up a new historical epoch, and was greeted with enthusiasm by workers around the world.
The soviets had made their first appearance in 1905, and were swiftly adopted as an organizing tool by workers around the globe as a higher form of political organization for the working class. Soviets were organized democratically, joined voluntarily, enjoyed freedom of speech and representation for various political currents and were hotbeds of revolutionary ferment.
The soviets became the workers' state in embryo, functioning as an alternative government, an organ of self-government and working-class power. This was an historic upheaval - and a significant step forward for concretizing democracy - because it meant that the parties had to compete for workers' allegiance in a common political arena. Russian workers developed their politics, their leaderships, and their power to fight the employers and the state at the same time.
The defeat of the revolution of 1905 initially threw the country into a period of deep reaction driven by counter-revolution. This period of political stasis and decline, however, was short-lived. Powered especially by the military buildup that reflected the intensification of inter-imperialist rivalry leading up to World War I, the spectacular growth of heavy industry led to a rapid and tumultuous expansion of the urban working class.