What is Stalinism?

The events of the Russian revolution were the greatest in all human history. For the first time, the exploited masses fought back and won. The revolution birthed the most progressive state the world had ever seen, with the Communist International — led by Lenin and Trotsky — becoming a beacon of internationalism, inspiring workers and poor everywhere.

And yet, within 10 years, the Soviet Union had degenerated into a bureaucratic and totalitarian regime. The Communist International went from a harbinger of world revolution to a tool for the narrow, national interests of the Soviet bureaucracy, with Stalin at its head.

How did this happen? Was bureaucratic degeneration inherent in Bolshevism, as many academics like to claim?

In this session, Rob Sewell will discuss the main processes that led to the degeneration of the Russian revolution, answering the question: What is Stalinism?

Recommended reading: The death of Stalin – and the disaster of Stalinism

Further reading: The Revolution Betrayed (Trotsky)

Recommended listening: