Russian Revolution 1917 in retrospect

The materials presented on this page were prepared in 2011 for a seminar of the Social Equality Leadership School, held in the Western Cape, South Africa. They may help in understanding the historical background and exceptional course of that revolution, why it succeeded initially, and why (over the course of seven decades) it ultimately failed.

The materials comprise a teaching module consisting of:

(1) Background reading: Leon Trotsky’s Three Concepts of the Russian Revolution (written in 1939).

(2) Film on Lenin and the Russian Revolution. This old and grainy 39-minute documentary containing rare archival footage has been spliced together from separate parts found on YouTube. While the picture quality is very poor, the soundtrack commentary is clear, precise and informative. The original source and date of the film are unknown. Nothing found in the original has been left out.

(3) Script of a talk to introduce the discussion, given by Rob Petersen following the film, and accompanied by slides.

Here are the accompanying slides, in PDF format.