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By Tom Bramble and Mick Armstrong
The Russian Revolution of 1917 announced to the world that a new era had dawned. For the first time workers had succeeded in taking power. The fight was now on for the loyalty of the workers' movement internationally - between the established social democratic leaders who had betrayed their followers by backing the imperialist slaughter of World War I and the new communist parties, organised in the Communist International, dedicated to bringing down the capitalist system.
The battle for leadership took place in the context of a massive upsurge of working class struggle where the formation of workers' councils put the question of workers' power on the agenda in country after country. Tragically, the revolutionary wave was defeated and the, now isolated, Russian workers' state was smashed by a rising bureaucracy led by Stalin. The new Russian dictator proceeded to turn the Communist International - formed as a weapon to fight class war against the capitalists - into a counter-revolutionary weapon in the hands of the new ruling class in Moscow. This book tells the story of the rise and fall of the Communist International and the lessons it has for us today.