Presentation given by Lars T. Lih at the London Communist Forum on November 14 2010. Introduction by Ben Lewis, CPGB.
Capitalism is in crisis. People talk of resistance; some of revolution. Our meeting did not simply celebrate the achievements of 1917, but searched for clarity on what exactly the people who led that epoch-making event actually thought:
* What strategy did Lenin and the Bolsheviks develop under tsarism in the late 1890s/early 1900s - and can it have any relevance for us in today's advanced capitalism?
* Did Lenin dump 'Old Bolshevism' in April 1917, with its emphasis on the centrality of political freedom and democracy? Or was the programme simply "modified" to fit the new political scene after the fall of the tsar in February 1917?
* Why did Lenin and his comrades spend so much effort and time on the question of programme and political strategy? Won't a mass revolutionary movement simply find its own way to revolution and socialism?