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:
We here publish the video footage of the debate between Alan Woods - editor of www.marxist.com and author of "Bolshevism: the Road to Revolution" - and Orlando Figes - Professor of History at Birkbeck University and author of "A People's Tragedy" - on the true nature of the Russian Revolution, and what it meant for the people of Russia and the class struggle internationally.
For Marxists and revolutionary socialists, the Russian Revolution of October 1917 was undoubtedly the single greatest event in human history. For the first time in history, the oppressed rose up against their oppressors and took control of their lives into their own hands.
For others, the Russian Revolution was nothing more than a Bolshevik coup, which could only succeed thanks to the "cult of personality" surrounding Lenin, and which sowed the seeds for the monstrosities of Stalinism.
Hear both sides of view at this special event, hosted by the ULU Marxist society, which sawtwo renowned authors on the Russian Revolution debate about the true nature of this important historical event.