The UCLU Marxist society honoured the 96th anniversary of the Russian Revolution (Nov 7th, Oct 25th in the old Russian calendar) with a discussion on Lenin: The Man and his ideas. Invited guest speaker was Rob Sewell, editor of Socialist Appeal. The society was also joined by Yassin Benserghin, a representative of the union Unison at UCL. He spoke to the society about the struggle of staff on campus, including a short video raising the issues in the fight of the workers. He also thanked the UCLU Marxists for all their financial, and most importantly, moral support on the picket line last Thursday, as well as joining Unison workers in solidarity with the Fire Brigades Union strike the day after. See below for the link to Yassin's speech and the video he showed.

Following this Rob Sewell talked on the political ideas of Lenin, tracing his development from the beginning of Russian Marxism up until the revolution of 1917 and afterwards. Rob dealt with the distortions of Lenin, particularly the attempts to identify Lenin with the counter-revolutionary rise of the bureaucracy under Stalin. He explained that this is a feature of every ruling class, from Spartacus to Cromwell and later the Jacobins, that they must not only defeat the revolution, but bury its memory too.

Afterwards an interesting discussion followed, where such questions as what would have happened if the Bolsheviks had been overthrown were raised, which was answered very well by a Hungarian comrade who raised the example of the White Terror following the fall of the Hungarian Soviet republic; and Lenin's last struggle - in a bloc with Trotsky against Stalin.

At the end of the meeting the UCLU Marxists celebrated with a "special Russian drink" and a toast to Lenin and the Bolshevik revolution of 1917.

Yassin Benserghin speaks to UCLU Marxists

Video: UNISON Higher Education ballot: Vote YES to strike action:

The UCLU Marxist society again attracted a large audience of over 65 to hear Alan Woods, leading member of the International Marxist Tendency, speak at the first official meeting of the Autumn Programme on the question 'What is Marxism?'

Alan concentrated on the philosophical basis of Marxism: dialectical materialism. The Marxist Student Federation believes that the student movement must ally itself with the labour movement and build stronger links with the workers. In that respect a collection was held, where £60 was raised the local CWU's (Communication Workers' Union, representing the postal workers) strike fund, who are currently taking industrial action against the government's attempt to privatize Royal Mail.

Marxism is not just politics, it covers a vast expanse of philosophy, history, economics art and culture. But it is not just an interesting way of looking at the world, as Karl Marx said, "the philosophers have only interpreted the world, the point is to change it".

Click below to listen to the lead-off:

What is Marxism? - Introduction

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