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Friday 2:15pm

Marxism 101 - What would a workers' revolution look like?

Marxism 101

Introduced by socialist activist, filmmaker and lecturer at RMIT university, Liam Ward.

In 2019, mass popular rebellion returned to much of the world, shaking powerful regimes and even forcing entrenched rulers from power. But these historic and inspirational events are just a glimpse of what’s needed. Capitalism is a system of class rule and class struggle, and only a workers revolution can smash their power and bring capitalism to an end. Only a workers revolution can begin the process of liberating all humanity, of ending oppression, exploitation, war and alienation. That’s why workers revolution is the core of Marxism. But what does a workers revolution look like? History gives us answers. Of the many revolutions over the last hundred years, a number ripened so much that despite eventually being defeated they still demonstrate clearly what is involved in a workers revolution. In this session, we’ll be drawing on that history to see not just what a workers revolution looks like, but how it can win.


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Bloodworth, Sandra (ed.), Workers Revolutions of the 20th Century, Socialist Alternative, Melbourne, 2005

Bloodworth, Sandra, How Workers Took Power: the 1917 Russian Revolution, Socialist Alternative, Melbourne, 2008

Bloodworth, Sandra, ‘Russia 1917 A radical workers’ democracy comes to life’, Red Flag, 14 March 2017, https://redflag.org.au/index.php/node/5723

Broué, Pierre, ‘The May Days of 1937 in Barcelona’, Revolutionary History magazine, Vol.1 No.2, Summer, 1988 https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/document/spain/spain04.htm

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Kuhn Gabriel (ed. and translator), All Power to the Councils: A Documentary History of the German Revolution of 1918-1919, PM Press, Oakland, 2012

Marshall, Phil, Revolution and Counter-revolution in Iran, Bookmarks, London, 1988

Murphy, Kevin, Chapter 2: ‘Revolution and Collective Action, Civil War and Personal Survival’, Revolution and Counter-revolution: Class Struggle in a Moscow Metal Factory, Haymarket Books, Chicago, 2007, pp.43–81

Nagy, Balázs (1961), ‘Budapest 1956: The Central Workers’ Council’, International Socialism, No.18, Autumn 1964, pp.24-31 [Translated and edited by Olivia McMahon and Colin Barker], https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/isj/1964/no018/nagy.htm

Ngô Văn, Part 2, Chapter 7: ‘Caught in a Crossfire’, In The Crossfire: Adventures of a Vietnamese Revolutionary, AK Press, Oakland, 2010, pp.119–139

Smith, Steve A., Chapter 11: ‘The Surge in Labor Organization, 1927’ and Chapter 12: ‘The Climax of the National Revolution, March – April 1927’, Like Cattle and Horses: Nationalism and Labor in Shanghai, 1895–1927, Duke University Press, Durham an London, 2002, pp. 214–256

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