Workers in power

Ernest Mandel, David Mandel, Leon Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg and Lenin

Introduced by Paul Le Blanc

Edited by Fred Leplat and Alex de Jong

Was October 1917 a coup d'état or a social revolution? Writing as both a historian and political activist, Ernest Mandel sets out to analyse the events and vigorously reasserts the deep legitimacy of the Russian Revolution. He considers the gains of the revolution, discusses the mistakes made by the Bolshevik leadership in 1917-21, and sets out lessons to be learnt for revolutionary Marxists today.

David Mandel's 'Workers Control and Factory Committees in the Russian Revolution 1917-18' draws on Russian-language archives to tell the story from below. Petrograd workers did not dream at first of 'socialist experiments'. Factory committees met fierce resistance from owners, they were driven to take management into their own hands and to seek the nationalisation of industries. Common conceptions about the 'utopian' and 'anarchistic' impulses supposedly behind the October Revolution are reassessed and refuted.

Paul Le Blanc's introduction evaluates the events one century on -- discussing recent scholarship and debates, new ways of comprehending class, the centrality of women and that of ethnicity, race and national identity. Le Blanc considers 'what went right' with this revolution, and 'what went wrong'. Were the Bolsheviks elitist, sectarian and authoritarian? What is still relevant today and what is not?

'These are gems that are worth reading and rereading for their scope, power and depth. Reading the words of these great anti-capitalist revolutionaries underlines their commitment to the self-emancipation of the working class and to a different future for humanity.' Counterfire

Ernest Mandel (1923-1995) was a Marxist economist and activist. Ernest Mandel published many articles and around 30 books during his life, which were translated into many languages. Among his most important publications are Marxist Economic Theory (1962) and Late Capitalism (1972). He was a leading member of the Fourth International and central to the founding of the International Institute for Research and Education.
David Mandel is a Canadian scholar, union and political activist. He teaches political science at the Université du Québec à Montréal and has been involved in labour education in the Ukraine for many years. He is an international expert on the post-Soviet labour movement and has written several works about the ex-USSR, including Labour after Communism (South End Press)
Paul Le Blanc is Professor of History at La Roche College (USA) and author of internationally acclaimed works on the labor and socialist movements, including Lenin and the Revolutionary Party, From Marx to Gramsci, and Leon Trotsky. An editor of the eight-volume International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest, he is currently helping to oversee the Verso Books edition of The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg.

Contents: Editors' remarks; Introduction: Making sense of October 1917, Paul Le Blanc; The stages of the 1917 revolution, François Vercammen; October 1917: coup d'état or social revolution? Ernest Mandel; Factory Committees in the Russian Revolution 1917-18, David Mandel; The historical legitimacy of the October Revolution, David Mandel; To the population, Lenin; The old mole, Rosa Luxemburg; Letter the American workers, Lenin; In Defence of October, Trotsky; Glossary; Bibliography.

ISBN 978-0-85036-727-0
xvi, 234 pages