On November 4 1918 the sailors of Kiel on the Baltic coast mutinied, refusing the order to engage in yet another futile naval battle. Within days armed workers’ and soldiers’ councils were springing up all over Germany. This revolt spelt the end of the imperialist slaughter: the bourgeoisies of the world, who had been at each others’ throats for four long years, now united to face a bigger threat: the extension of the proletarian revolution from Russia to the most industrialised countries in Europe.
A century after, the German revolution has almost been written out of history. It is still in the interests of our rulers to present the revolution in Russia as a purely Russian affair and to pretend that the world revolution was and is an idle dream. And yet the revolution in Germany showed that it was indeed a possibility, despite its failure. It is up to us to draw its principal lessons for future revolutionary movements of the working class, and this will be the main focus of the meeting.