Celebrating 50 years of Politics at Otago
100 years since the Russian Revolution:
A Panel Discussion of its Legacy and Contemporary Relevance
Hosted by: Dr Rosemary Overell, University of Otago
Associate Professor Brian Roper, University of Otago
Dr James Headley, University of Otago
Dr David Neilson, University of Waikato
Andrew Tait, Journalist, union activist and International Socialist Organisation member
6 pm – 7.30 pm
Thursday 5 October
Burns 1 Lecture Theatre
This panel will debate and discuss the legacy of 1917 on the hundredth anniversary of the Russian Revolution. The October Revolution of 1917 was of world historic significance because for the first and only time in history a popular movement of workers and peasants overthrew an absolutist monarchy and attempted to build a socialist society. Tragically the revolution degenerated into an authoritarian regime of terror as Stalin took power and then moved to systematically eliminate all opposition, including the bulk of the Bolsheviks who played leading roles in the October Revolution.
The legacy of 1917 remains contested and continues to generate debate between conservative and liberal defenders of the capitalist status quo, social democrats who accept the status quo but push for reforms within the capitalist system, and revolutionary socialists who reject the status quo altogether and argue for a democratic and socialist alternative to neoliberal capitalism. Within these debates, the October Revolution is either an historical experience that shows why it is neither feasible nor desirable to attempt to create a socialist alternative to capitalism or a continuing source of inspiration for those advocating a socialist alternative in the 21st Century.
The panel will explore the legacy of the October Revolution of 1917 with reference to the making of the Russian Revolution, the Stalinist degeneration of the Revolution, Russia under Putin, Antonio Gramsci’s analysis of the differences between capitalist hegemony in Russia and Western Europe, and the relevance of the October Revolution for the Left in Aotearoa in the 21st Century.