IT is a fact that at times of acute economic crisis in the world capitalist system the minds of bourgeois economists and commentators are drawn, much against their will, back to the Russian Revolution of 1917.
They have spent over a century dismissing it as a mere ‘unfortunate accident’ that can safely be consigned to the pages of history with no relevance to modern capitalism.
However, the 1917 Russian Revolution haunts the bourgeoisie today, while at the same time offering a colossal inspiration and example to the working class of the world.
This week one of Britain’s leading economists and writers, Roger Bootle, made a telling reference to the Russian Revolution in his latest economic column in the Telegraph newspaper.
The article in question, ‘European elections could be hugely significant for the economy’, refers to a suggestion he made previously that ‘in modern democratic states political disputes and their outcomes tend not to have much of an economic or financial market impact. That is because, on the whole, not much of substance changes.’
This is the deeply held belief by the capitalist class that it doesn’t matter who gets elected to govern the country, nothing much changes for the bankers and financial speculators, they will carry on making super-profits off the backs of workers regardless.
Bootle did suggest in his earlier article that a Corbyn-led government might be an exception to this rule, but this was obviously an extreme case and not much for the world bankers and stock markets to worry about.
This week’s EU crisis elections have however got Bootle rattled. Across Europe anti-EU parties are set to top the polls. Bootle points out this reflects the ‘widespread resentment against the EU as an institution’ across Europe. Recent polls in European countries record a majority who want to see the EU brought down.
British workers led the way in 2016 when they voted to leave the EU and inspired workers across Europe to take up the demand. This political meltdown of the old pro-EU parties has caused Bootle to issue a stern warning to the bosses and bankers.
He warns: ‘The markets are not all-seeing and all-knowing. They are best at evaluating the impact of reasonably certain, narrowly defined events occurring in the near future. In particular, with political events whose implications are highly uncertain, and stretch far into the future, the markets prefer to shrug them off and concentrate on the next American economic statistic.’
Drawing on the lessons of the 1917 February Revolution in Russia he continues: ‘In the month leading up to the first Russian revolution in February 1917, the St Petersburg stock market enjoyed a sharp rally. Investors must have been focusing on the prospects for capital gains on a wide array of shares. I suppose they thought they knew what they were doing. Subsequent events proved otherwise.’
In Russia in February 1917 a simple strike of women workers in St Petersburg in days spread throughout the country rapidly turning into general strikes and armed uprisings that overthrew the Tsar.
In just eight months, by October 1917, the world was turned upside down and changed for ever when the working class of Russia, under the leadership of Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolshevik Party seized the power in the first successful socialist revolution in the world, and smashed the Russian capitalist state and all parliamentary pretensions by imposing rule through workers’ soviets.
Such was the change that, just over a century later, more than half of the world is no longer under the rule of the capitalists and bankers.
The Russian Revolution holds invaluable lessons for workers and young people today, as the world crisis of capitalism places completing the world socialist revolution right at the top of the agenda for the working class.
It was the Bolshevik Party that made the colossal difference in 1917. Under Lenin’s leadership it went from a small group to the party that led the socialist revolution.
We urge workers and youth to join the WRP today and build parties of the International Committee of the Fourth International in every country, to lead the developing European and world socialist revolutions to victory, completing the Russian Revolution of 1917.