October Observance

February 1917, A Prelude to October 1917

FEBRUARY Revolution 1917 is one of the three most important milestones in the history of the successful Great October Socialist Revolution 1917. The first significant marker is the 1905 Revolution, which is usually called as the dress rehearsal for the socialist revolution. The second is the February Revolution in 1917, with the final one being the successful October Revolution. While the 1905 Revolution did not succeed, the February Revolution 1917 was a successful bourgeois-democratic revolution, which provided the stepping stone for the successful socialist revolution in October.

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.

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