October Observance

Education Policy of the Soviets

At the Congress of Public Instruction held in Moscow in 1918, Comrades Lunacharski and Nadezhda Krupskaya delivered two important speeches, explaining, in general lines, the policy of the Soviets towards education. Lunacharski was the People’s Commissar for Education; Krupskaya was Deputy Minister for Education, 1929-39 and wife of V I Lenin.

LUNACHARSKI’S SPEECH

Decrees on Nationalisation of Banks and Setting up of Consumer Societies

The Revolutionary Government with the Council of Commissars set about establishing the basis of a socialist system. Among the steps taken were the nationalisation of banks, universal labour conscription and the setting up of consumer societies. As Lenin declared: “Workers and peasants, working and exploited people! The land, the banks and the factories have now become the property of the entire people!

Draft Decree on the Right of Recall

The revolutionary state had to have a new democratic system which represented the will of the people. Lenin wanted an electoral system of proportional representation with the right of recall of elected representatives. Lenin presented a report on the Right of Recall at a meeting dated, November 21 (December 4), 1917 in which he said: “The question of re-election is one of actually implementing the democratic principle. It is the accepted practice in all leading countries that only the elected are entitled to speak in the language of state legislation.

Alliance between the Workers and Exploited Peasants

An important feature of the October Revolution was the forging of a worker-peasant alliance.  Lenin had set out this strategic alliance as essential for the completion of the democratic revolution and for advancing towards socialism.  It is in keeping with this worker-peasant alliance that Lenin gave the slogan of the revolutionary dictatorship of the workers and peasants.

On the land question, the Bolshevik party programme called for “Nationalisation of all lands in the country, the land to be disposed off by the local Soviets of Agricultural Labourers and Peasant’s Deputies”. 

May Day, 1919

Below we publish Lenin’s speech delivered in Red Square on the May Day, 1919

LENIN’S appearance among the demonstrators was greeted with a lengthy ovation. After greeting the Moscow and world proletariat, Lenin compared the May Day celebrations of the previous year with the present celebrations. In the course of the year, he said, the political situation had changed considerably in favour of Soviet power. On May the First the year before they had been threatened by German imperialism, it had been routed and dispersed.

The First Steps Towards The Protection of Motherhood

Alexandra Kollantai, was a prominent leader of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, who joined the Bolsheviks.  She became a member of the Central Committee in 1917. After the October Revolution, she became the Commissar for Social Welfare in the revolutionary government. She made her mark in bringing women to revolutionary politics. Below we publish the excerpts of an article written by her in 1918.

Education, literacy, and the Russian Revolution

All Russia was learning to read, and reading – politics, economics, history – because the people wanted to know. . . . In every city, in most towns, along the Front, each political faction had its newspaper – sometimes several. Hundreds of thousands of pamphlets were distributed by thousands of organisations, and poured into the armies, the villages, the factories, the streets. The thirst for education, so long thwarted, burst with the Revolution into a frenzy of expression.

Make Way for the Women

THE question of women’s rights in the Soviet Union was resolved through a fundamental restructuring of the old society with the active participation of the women themselves. The Bolshevik Party founded by Lenin, which guided the October Revolution and consolidated the new social system, viewed the question of women’s rights as one of the most important social problems that the triumphant Revolution had to solve.

Draft Regulations on Workers’ Control

After the October Revolution, the Revolutionary government passed a decree which established workers control over factories.  This was the first ever step for workers control in any country.  Lenin prepared the draft Regulations on Workers Control soon after the Revolution on October 26 or 27 (November 8 or 9) in 1917.  The draft was subsequently placed before the Council of People’s Commissars, after which detailed draft Regulations on Workers Control was drawn up.

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