What sort of political changes are possible when workers are a minority of the population? Neil Davidson looks at a question which has absorbed Marxists for over 100 years.
At the beginning of the last century a series of revolutions in Russia (1905), Turkey (1906), Persia (1909), Mexico (1910), China (1911) and Ireland (1916) announced that the inhabitants of the colonial world were not prepared to be passive spectators of the historical process. Yet beyond freeing themselves from the direct or indirect control of the great powers, the goals of these revolutionary movements were ambiguous, even contradictory. Were they to enable the newly liberated states to enter the world capitalist system?