Vol. XLI No. 46 November 12, 2017

Centenary Celebrations of October Revolution in Russia

M A Baby

THE centenary celebrations of the Great October Socialist Revolution concluded in Moscow with a rally on November 7. It was attended by not only comrades from Moscow but also leaders of over 100 communist and workers parties from across the world, as the 19th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties (IMCWP) was held in Russia. In the morning, on November 7, there was a military parade at the Red Square in front of the Kremlin, marking the 76th anniversary of the Red Army Parade at the time of preparing for countering the Nazi invasion of the USSR. The centenary celebrations of the Great October Socialist Revolution commenced in its main theatre at St. Petersburg on November 1.

The Working Group, which met on November 1, has evolved the agenda for the 19th session of IMCWP. It was also decided that the 20th session of the IMCWP would be held in Athens, Greece. It will mark the 20th anniversary of the first meeting held under the initiative of the Communist Party of Greece, deriving inspiration from the international seminar organised by the CPI(M) in Kolkata in 1993 on “Contemporary World Situation and Validity of Marxism” to commemorate the 175th birth anniversary of Karl Marx.

The IMCWP was held in the historic building where the first meeting of Russian Parliament, Duma, had its deliberations in St. Petersburg. As many as 103 communist and workers parties had registered to participate. However, a few could not turn up owing to different reasons.

The participants spoke about the revolutionary change that the Great October Revolution brought into the history of humanity. The lofty idea of establishing an egalitarian society remained a dream for many centuries. The Great October Socialist Revolution carried out by the Bolsheviks under the leadership of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, for the first time, proved that this beautiful dream was realisable. It is true that there was a similar effort 46 years before the Russian Revolution, the Paris Commune, which lasted only for two months. However, the scientific analysis as to why the Paris Commune was short lived also helped the Bolshevik Revolution to sustain and show to the world that the theory of scientific socialism can be practised.

The first decree on peace and land to the peasants proved the qualitative difference of the proletarian State under Lenin. The fact that developed capitalist countries like USA, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Japan gave women the democratic right to participate in the election process only after the Russian Revolution granted this fundamental right, is not noticed by many bourgeois scholars. The Bolshevik Revolution proved that democracy can be practised in the economic life of the people. Land reforms and workers’ right to run factories broke the backbones of kulaks (landlords) and capitalists.

The importance given to literacy, education, scientific research, sports and culture brought in miracles in Russian society which was appreciated by Rabindranath Tagore, Albert Einstein, Romain Rolland, Jawaharlal Nehru and so on. The impetus it gave to national liberation struggles in colonial countries is also well-known. Progressive and Communist movements have been formed in different corners of the globe taking inspiration from the Bolshevik Revolution. It was on October 17, 1920, a group of Indian revolutionaries formed the first unit of the Communists from India in Tashkent. The formation of Chinese Communist party was also inspired by the Russian Revolution. Mao Zedong stated that the salvos fired by the October Revolution brought Marxism-Leninism to China. The role of the Red Army in the defeat of fascism is an undisputed fact, that kept the world away from any major war for decades.

Today, the world is faced with unilateral military, economic, political and cultural interventions of the US imperialism. In different parts of the globe, the absence of the USSR is the main reason for this unilateralism. The presence of Communist, Left and progressive forces in the world and resistance movements based on political positions, as well as massive struggles on livelihood issues against imperialist-prescribed economic policies aimed at establishing the unbridled rule of capital, acts as a check to imperialist unilateralism.

This year also marks over quarter of a century of the dismantling of the USSR and its socialist experiment. While trying to take inspiration from the great achievements of the USSR, we must also learn valuable lessons from the aberrations, shortcomings and grave mistakes that led to the fall. Only then, the socialist forces will be able to stage a comeback with renewed vigour.

The Plenary Session of the IMCWP decided to include the Communist Party of China, the Workers Party of Korea and the Hungarian Workers Party into the Working Group. An appeal was also unanimously adopted. The communiqué called upon all Communist and Workers Parties to intensify coordination and to take up joint actions. Efforts should be made to make objective assessment of the ongoing socio-political processes in the light of the need to step up struggle against anti-Communism. It has also been decided to organise scientific research and exchange of opinions on the causes that led to the counter-revolution in the USSR and the dissolution of the socialist camp. It was also decided that the 100th anniversary of the seminal work of Lenin, “The State and Revolution”, would be observed in a systematic manner. The communiqué noted that 2018 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx and there needs to be appropriate efforts to discuss the contributions of Karl Marx. The IMCWP communiqué called for widespread discussion about the ideas contained in the Communist Manifesto which was published 170 years ago. It has been decided to build joint efforts in protecting the rights and democratic freedom, fighting racism and fascism, using for this purpose the anniversary of the victory over Nazi fascism (May 9, 1945) and the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Battle of Stalingrad (February 2, 1943). The communiqué also called for focused activity targeting the youth as they are being misled by reactionary forces in every country. The communiqué expressed solidarity with the people of Cuba, Palestine, Syria, Venezuela and DPR Korea.

The participants were taken to historic places associated with the October Revolution such as the Winter Palace, Cruise Aurora (the gunshot from the ship signalled the storming of the Winter Palace), Smolny Institute from where the first days of the revolutionary government under Lenin functioned. The participants moved to Moscow on November 4. The next day, the participants paid tributes to Lenin at Lenin Mausoleum, Joseph Stalin and other leaders of the revolution, including the hundreds of unknown soldiers and martyrs.

On November 6, a special session of international forum of Left forces was held in Hotel Reminiscences on “October 1917: Breakthrough towards Socialism”.  Apart from leaders of Communist and Workers Parties, leaders of other Leftists and non-Left parties also spoke in the session. Among those who spoke included representatives of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

On November 7, all delegates were taken to the Kremlin to witness an official parade. Here, soldiers enacted many scenes of wars in which Russia fought including the war against Napoleon Bonaparte and the fascist Germany. The world-famous Heritage Museum in the Winter Palace had a special section on the centenary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.

In the inaugural session of the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution held in St. Petersburg, renowned scientist and Nobel laureate Zhores Alferov was present along with eminent people from different walks of life. I had the privilege of receiving Prof Zhores in Kerala as part of an educational project, Erudite, which provided teachers and students to interact with renowned scholars regarding  research and studies.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, and Polit Bureau member and head of the International Department of the CPI(M), M A Baby represented the Party in the event.