The Russian Revolution is the greatest event in world history for Marxists. Studying this, and understanding why it degenerated into Stalinism, is vital.

The Russian Revolution is the greatest event in world history for Marxists. Studying this, and understanding why it degenerated into Stalinism, is vital.


The Soviet Union achieved much in terms of economic development and social gains, considering the backward economy it inherited from the past, but ultimately it failed and collapsed. Did it fail because socialism cannot work?

Marx explained that socialism builds on the most advanced developments of capitalism. But the Russian Revolution broke out in a country where the economy was still relatively backward. It could only have succeeded in the long run if it had become part of a worldwide change of society.

As the wave of revolution that swept the world after 1917 was held back and betrayed by the social democratic leaders – and later because of the mistakes of the Communist leaders – the Soviet Union was left isolated and with limited industrial development. In these conditions, the system degenerated with power being usurped by a privileged bureaucracy, which in turn built what at best could be described as a caricature of genuine socialism, in reality a monstrous totalitarian regime.

Here we provide a number of articles that deal with what the Russian Revolution really was, its subsequent degeneration, the role of Trotsky and the Left Opposition in combating the rising Stalinist bureaucracy; and we also answer the numerous distortions and slanders of bourgeois historians who attempt to depict Stalinism as the inevitable outcome of Lenin’s ideas.

See our specially dedicated site about the 1917 Russian Revolution, In Defence of October, with in depth material - including articles and videos - about all aspects of this pivotal point in human history.

Introductory articles

Stalin: Fifty Years After the Death of a Tyrant (Part One) - Alan Woods

Lenin's Last Struggle - Alan Woods

How Did Stalin Defeat the Opposition? - Leon Trotsky

Top 10 lies about the Bolshevik Revolution - Alex Grant


Longer articles

The Russian Revolution: the meaning of October - Alan Woods

The Russian Revolution: what is achieved and why it degenerated - Alan Woods

The Revolution Betrayed: A Marxist Masterpiece - Alan Woods

The Rise and Fall of the Communist International - Ted Grant

Zinoviev and the Stalinist degeneration of the Comintern - John Peterson

Stalinism and Bolshevism - Leon Trotsky

In Defence of October - Leon Trotsky


Marxist classics and books

Ten Days That Shook the World - John Reed

Bolshevism: The Road to Revolution - Alan Woods

Lenin and Trotsky: What They Really Stood For - Ted Grant and Alan Woods

Russia: From Revolution to Counter-Revolution - Ted Grant

The History of the Russian Revolution - Leon Trotsky

The Revolution Betrayed - Leon Trotsky

The Third International After Lenin - Leon Trotsky


Audios and videos

The Russian Revolution - Adam Booth

Bolshevism - Alan Woods

Rise and Fall of the Communist International - Marie Frederiksen

In Defence of Leon Trotsky - Alan Woods

Stalinism - Fred Weston

1917 Centenary Series: In Defence of the Russian Revolution - Alan Woods

The significance of the Russian Revolution - Alan Woods

The Russian Revolution: Triumph or Tragedy? - Alan Woods

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Stalinism - Marie Frederiksen

Socialist Appeal are proud to publish this education guide to help focus your studies of Marxist theory and practice. Visit the various tabs below to find links to introductory articles, classic texts, videos and audio talks for different topics. Read More
We present here Marxism 101: a series of responses and short video talks answering the most common myths and questions about Marxism, socialism, and revolution. Read More
Check out this selection of writings for an excellent introduction to many of the fundamentals of Marxist theory, providing a strong basis for those wishing to equip themselves with the ideas necessary in order to fight for socialism. Read More
Dialectical materialism is the philosophy or methodology of Marxism. We must seek to understand the laws of society and nature in order to change them. Read More
Historical materialism is the general theory of how and why society develops in the way it does. Each social system has its inherent laws of motion. If we want to overthrow capitalist society, we must understand how capitalism works. Read More
Marxist economics is the study of the laws of motion of capitalist society, allowing us to understand why capitalism perpetually goes into crisis, where inequality comes from, and what the alternative is. Read More
The Russian Revolution is the greatest event in world history for Marxists. Studying the events of 1917, and understanding why the Revolution degenerated into Stalinism, provides vital lessons for revolutionaries today. Read More
For Marxists, the state is not at all neutral. We must understand the state’s real basis and strip away its mysticism by treating it historically - taking in its origins, rise, and eventual fall. Read More
Anarchism is naturally attractive for those wanting to abolish capitalism. But only Marxist ideas can explain why bureaucracy and oppression exist - and how to overthrow the exploitative capitalist system. Read More
Marxists are irreconcilably opposed to the oppression of women and fight determinedly for liberation and against discrimination. We believe this will be achieved through the class struggle - to abolish the oppressive capitalist system. Read More
The madness of fascism expresses the historic crisis and dead-end of capitalism. But it could have been avoided if the working class had a united revolutionary leadership, prepared to take power. Read More
Nations have not always existed, nor will they always exist in the future. Marxists are internationalists, fighting for world socialist revolution as the only way forward for humanity and our planet. Read More
Wars represent the sharp extreme of capitalism’s impasse. Imperialism, Lenin said, was the "highest stage of capitalism". As long as the profit system exists, there will be wars over markets and spheres of influence. Read More
All written history, Marx stated, is the history of class struggle. Our task is to learn the lessons from history in order to prepare for the revolutionary events taking place today and in the future. Read More
Our aim is to spread the ideas of Marxism, in an organised fashion, amongst workers and youth. In order to do this, we must study the history and traditions of the working class. Read More
  • Educate Yourself
  • Marxism 101
  • Fundamentals of Marxism
  • Dialectical Materialism
  • Historical Materialism
  • Marxist Economics
  • Stalinism and the Soviet Union
  • The State
  • Anarchism
  • Identity and Oppression
  • Fascism
  • The National Question
  • Imperialism and War
  • Revolutionary History
  • Revolutionary Strategy