Perspectives on the Russian Revolution (1917), Socialism and Contemporary Revolutions

Global Research News Hour Summer Series Part 2

As discussed on a previous installment of the Global Research News Hour, the Russian Revolution of 1917 proved to be a pivotal moment in history, not only delivering the world’s first constitutional socialist state, but inspired revolts and revolutions to come.


Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

And yet, in the current historical moment, the stage is being set for more revolutions. Consider the growing economic inequality, unprecedented refugee streams, popular revolts expressing themselves through BREXIT, permanently unemployed youth, assertions of Indigenous sovereignty, and the growing awareness of the climate change predicament and the failure of rulers to meaningfully confront it.

Could the next big revolution(s) be on the way?

In order to address that question, close scrutiny of past revolutions would seem to be in order. Are there common structural or other currents running through all revolutions? What makes for a successful revolution? How can a grand moment of possibility be capitalized on without inviting hazards that could lead to an even greater deterioration of the society?

At the University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a special conference was set up to confront these and related questions on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. The U of M based Geopolitical Economy Research Group organized the event, and brought in scholars, writers and other notable guests to present their papers. Responses covered a broad range of topics and angles from the concept of permanent counter-revolution, to the 19th century slave rebellions, to Marxism and anti-Communism in Latin America, to reviving Socialist populism in North America to Indigenous challenges to colonial structures.

On this week’s Global Research News Hour radio program, as part of our annual summer series of programs, we bring you two presentations from the Revolutions conference.

In the first half hour, speaker Roger Annis notes misconceptions about the Russian Revolution and its aftermath that seems to divide self-described Marxists, and anarchists and others who derive inspiration from it. He indicates that new class alliances need to be forged to tackle the climate change emergency, and he emphasizes revolution and its role in resisting imperial domination.

In the final half hour of the show, Alan Freeman, one of the event planners, tackles the topic of revolutions and political parties. While political parties are often associated with revolutions, to what extent do parties create revolutions, and to what extent do revolutions create parties? Freeman takes the audience through a condensed historical analysis, invoking the particular examples of the Jacobin and Bolshevik revolutionary movements.

Roger Annis is a Vancouver-based writer, trade union activist, retired aerospace worker, and self-described socialist. He is one of the editors of the news and analysis site and also publishes his own website, a Socialist in Canada.

Alan Freeman is the Winnipeg-based co-director of the Geopolitical Economy Research Group, which put on the Revolutions Conference. He is a former economist at the Greater London Authority and edits the ‘Future of World Capitalism’ book series at Manchester University Press and the Future of World Capitalism book series with Pluto Press.


Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

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Articles by: Michael Welch and Roger Annis

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