Revolutionaries in Parliament? The Bolsheviks approach to elections

4:30pm Saturday 3 September

About this session

Revolutionary socialists believe that parliament cannot bring about a socialist society. Instead we need a revolutionary overthrow of the state based upon the mass struggle of the working class, and its replacement by new organs of workers’ power. However, this rejection of a parliamentary road to socialism has not precluded revolutionaries standing in parliamentary elections. Lenin and the Bolsheviks participated in elections for the Russian Parliament – the Duma – using positions as a platform to disseminate propaganda, skewer their political enemies, and to assist in the organization of struggle outside the Duma. This session will explore the Bolsheviks’ approach to parliamentary elections, how this connected to their revolutionary politics, and the contrast between revolutionary and reformist approaches to parliament.

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