Ninety-six years ago on Nov. 7, 1917, workers and peasants overthrew the capitalist government in Russia.
Sick of war and hunger, women textile workers in Petersburg went on strike on March 8, 1917, International Working Women’s Day. The holiday commemorates a 1908 march of women garment workers in New York City.
Five days later, czarism was overthrown. Workers, peasants and soldiers made that revolution, but capitalists controlled the new government.
For the next eight months Lenin’s Bolsheviks won millions of poor people to socialist revolution by demanding bread, peace and land. Despite Lenin and other leaders being forced underground, Bolsheviks won majorities in the soviets that sprung up everywhere.
These soviets overthrew capitalist politician Alexander Kerensky on Nov. 7 (Oct. 25 by the old Russian calendar). Many peoples, not just Russians, rose up to break their chains.
Peasants threw out their landlords. Bolsheviks exposed secret treaties among the imperialists that divided up colonies. This revolutionary energy helped overthrow Germany’s kaiser and end World War I in 1918.
Capitalist governments, including the U.S., then waged war against the Soviets on a dozen fronts. But the Red Army, organized and led by another Bolshevik leader, Leon Trotsky, was victorious.