On 8 November 2008, over 100 members and guests of the communist party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) gathered in Saklatvala Hall, Southall, to celebrate the 91st anniversary of the Great Socialist October Revolution. The meeting opened with a moving translation of the Soviet National Anthem, recorded by that late great father of the American civil rights movement, singer, actor, sportsman and activist, Paul Robeson. Videos from the event can be seen on the CPGB-ML YouTube page.
Comrade Harpal Brar, chairman of the CPGB-ML, then set the scene and introduced a panel of speakers representing nations, peoples and parties who’s deep knowledge and genuine experience of anti-imperialist struggle was able to shed light on, and bring to life, the ongoing significance of October.
Comrades Nguyện Chỉnh Phong and Song Chol Jang from the Embassies of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea addressed the meeting, as did comrades from the Marxist Leninist Communist Party of Turkey and Northern Kurdistan (MLKP), Taimur Rahman from the Communist Workers and Peasants Party of Pakistan (CMKP), and Mohammed Hassan from the Workers Party of Belgium (PTB). Solidarity messages were also sent by Comrades Luis Marrón of the Cuban Embassy (reproduced in full below), the Nicaraguan Embassy, the New China (Xinhua) News Agency, and the Chinese embassy. Mohamed Arif of BAASO delivered a brief solidarity message. Comrades Jack Shapiro (Honorary president of the CPGB-ML, and veteran communist of the 1930s CPGB), Joti Brar and Giles Shorter spoke on behalf of the party.
Those attending the meeting were universally in agreement that the event was not only a great success, but an inspiration, celebrating the history and achievements of the international working class, and drawing from these heroic struggles the necessary lessons to point out the path to a bright socialist future for humanity, in these turbulent times.
The meeting closed with a militant rendition of the battle hymn of the proletariat, The International, after which participants enjoyed a memorable social event with excellent food, drink, discussion and festivities.
Many of the contributions are available on the CPGB-MLs YouTube video journal: www.youtube.com/user/ProletarianCPGBML, in 5-10 minute clips, which have already been viewed several thousand times. Some excerpts from speeches and contributions follow. A full transcript is also available on the CPGB-ML blog.
Solidarity message from the Cuban Embassy
Mindful of the approaching 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, the packed hall enthusiastically welcomed the following message from Cde Luis Marrón of the Cuban Embassy, delivered by Cde Ella Rule, International Secretary and Central committee member of the CPGB-ML:
“Dear Comrade Harpal and other comrades in the CPGB-ML
“It is with great pleasure that I send you this message to salute the event organised by the CPGB-ML in order to commemorate the 91st anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.
“On November 7th, 1917, the Russian working class shook the conscience of workers all over the world, who, for the first time, understood that it was possible to overcome the bourgeois regime and build a more dignified future for the oppressed masses. This turning point opened up a new alternative for all the Russian people and the world and signified the beginning of a new era of changes and transformations in the political, economic, social and spiritual life of humankind. Without the Great October Socialist Revolution, the end of colonialism and the liberation of many peoples in all continents would not have been possible.
“It was certainly a great inspiration for Cuba and for our revolution and we will never forget and shall always be grateful for the immense support and solidarity that we always received from our Soviet comrades.
“As we join you in the celebration, allow me to use this opportunity also to convey our deep gratitude and appreciation for the solidarity and support that Cuba, our people and our revolution, which next year marks its 50th anniversary, have always received from your party and from many of its individual members.
Luis Marrón Oroza, Embassy of Cuba
Message of Solidarity from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Cde Nguyên Chỉnh Phong, of the Vietnamese Embassy, delivered a message of greeting, and report on the economic strides being made by the people of Vietnam since they expelled successively, the French, Japanese and US imperialists.
“We are very happy to have a meeting with our beloved comrades today. This is the first time that I have joined a meeting like this in London. I’ve stayed in London for three years, but we didn’t have much chance to get in touch with each other, so I’m very happy to be here with all of you. [Applause]…
“The October Revolution was, as Harpal just said, a unique revolution in the world. It opened a new era for the working class. Every year in our country, we always organise celebrations of the October Revolution and working people join in, in order to remember that very special revolution that opened a new era for our time; that opened the way for the working class to grow up and take the power and to build up an ideal society all over the world.”
He received a rousing reception from the assembled comrades, and Cde Harpal Brar gave an emotional speech of thanks to him.
Solidarity message from the MLKP – October is the Future of Humanity!
“It’s a great honour to be with you today delivering the message of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Turkey and Northern Kurdistan.
“October is the future of humanity. … humanity today needs socialism more than ever. [Applause]
“Look at the world today: imperialism’s financial crisis; wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; hunger, poverty and death in Africa; racism in Europe. Alongside this, we see mass unemployment all over the world. Capitalism is unable to solve these problems.
“Through looking at the successes of the October Revolution, we can understand why humanity needs socialism, but looking at the countries of the destroyed Soviet bloc – Russia, Romania, East Germany, Poland – will give us the same result. We have all seen how the mafia, unlawful living and working, sex slavery, begging, homelessness and national conflicts have rapidly grown and are continuing to grow in these countries.
“October is the future of humanity. The October Revolution clearly shows that the bourgeoisie is extra in this world; it is a weight on the shoulders of humanity; it is unneeded. October showed us that we can get rid of it.
“The bourgeoisie has a wide propaganda about the violence of the October Revolution and Soviet socialism.
“Violence and barbarism are both caused by the bourgeoisie. The violence of October against its class enemies was very innocent compared with the violence and barbarism of the bourgeoisie against the oppressed people. [Applause]
“Another world is possible. A world free from wars, occupation, imperialist plunder, racism, and all else that humanity wants to get rid of. This world will be socialism. October is the future of humanity. We salute this event of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and look forward to working together for another world.”
Solidarity message from Cde Song Chol Jang of the DPRK embassy
“Thank you, Harpal, for your wonderful and inspiring speech about the October Revolution and our Korean achievements.
“As always, on behalf of my ambassador, Ja Song Nam, and all the other staff, I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the members and activists of the CPGB-ML on your support for our Korean revolution and the solidarity you’ve shown in our difficult times. Thank you very much.
“On this occasion, also, I would like to congratulate all the members of the CPGB-ML on this very auspicious occasion of the [anniversary of the] October Revolution.
“The great October Revolution in Russia, nearly a century ago, opened a new age for revolutionaries, for the working-class and progressive people all over the world, and gave them a bright hope. I think we can still hear the guns and cheers and see the red flags flying in the sky and feel the enchanted moment of that day, November 7th, 1917.
“The great October Revolution proved that the working class, when guided by correct and just ideology, and the wise leadership of their outstanding leader, could defeat the reactionaries of history – anti-revolutionaries – and thus build a new society and a new world.
“The justness and vitality of the October Revolution has been proven throughout history. Comrade Harpal explained that very well in his speech: the socialist revolution and construction of socialist society in the Soviet Union, the defeat of fascism in World War II and the consequent victories of the socialist and people’s democratic revolutions and anti-imperialist national-liberation struggles throughout the world – Asia, Latin America, Europe and Africa.
“And the Workers’ Party of Korea and the DPR of Korea have always regarded the October Revolution as an immortal achievement of not only the Russian communists and revolutionaries, but also of the Korean and world progressives and revolutionaries. [Applause]
“Our party and government does continually safeguard the spirit and the principles of the October Revolution, through ups and downs, and, I think, will do the same in the future too.”
Comrade Jang concluded his speech by reading an excerpt from Comrade Kim Jong Il’s celebrated work of 1996 entitled ‘Respecting the forerunners of the revolution is a noble moral obligation of revolutionaries.’
“Our party and people respect Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin as the leaders of the working class and speak highly of their distinguished services. Reflecting the demands and aspirations of the working class, Marx and Engels, the first leaders of the working class, developed socialism from a utopian concept to a science and started the socialist and communist movement.
“Lenin inherited and developed Marxism to meet the change in the times and won the victory of the October Socialist Revolution by organising and mobilising the working class.
“Stalin, succeeding to the cause of Lenin, built the first young socialist state into a world power and defended the socialist fatherland from the fascist invasion, leading the army and the people. In their days, Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin represented the aspirations and demands of the exploited working masses, and the cause of socialism was inseparably linked with their names.
“The fact that imperialists and the traitors to the revolution viciously defame the leaders of the working class and abuse their leadership as ‘dictatorship’ or ‘infringement on human rights’ only proves that the leaders of the working class were zealous champions of the people’s interests and enjoyed their trust and support.” [Applause]
“Although the opportunists and the socialist renegades defaced the honour of the leaders of the working class and the revolutionary pioneers, they can never wipe out their names and their worthy achievements from history.
“Just as socialism is alive in people’s minds and is opening up the path to a new victory in spite of temporary twists and turns, so the honour and accomplishments of the leaders of the working class and the revolutionary forefathers be respected forever by the people as the socialist movement advances.
“Our party and people treasure friendship and solidarity with the peoples of various countries around the world and have given active support and encouragement to people who are fighting for socialism and for the cause of anti-imperialist independence.
“We have invariably been true to the internationalist principle and revolutionary obligation, both in the party and state relations with the socialist countries and in our relations with all the friendly countries and friendly people like Britain.
“We remember our revolutionary comrades-in-arms and fraternal people who gave our people unconditional help and support in the hard times of our revolution and construction of socialism, and also people of all countries who support and encourage the just cause of our national reunification. Thank you”. [Applause]
Comrade Jang concluded: “And one last anecdote to demonstrate this theory and principle. When our respected general visited Russia in 2001, he visited Red Square to pay a tribute to Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the Great Socialist October Revolution. I think this sums up the essence of his work and his ideology. Thank you very much.” [Applause]
Comrade Brar thanked Comrade Jang for his message, stating: “As you know, our party very much treasures the fraternal, comradely relationship that we have with the Workers’ Party of Korea and we’re very pleased that you, as a representative of the DPRK in this country, could come and deliver this message. Please convey our thanks, also, to his Excellency Ambassador Ja on this occasion.”
Mohammed Hassan of the PTB
“Thank you very much for inviting me. I am honoured and am very happy to be here, especially at a time when capitalism, imperialism, is in a serious general crisis.
“I remember the day the Soviet Union collapsed. The German chancellor, Helmut Kohl, appeared on the news with two books: in the left hand, Lenin’s Imperialism, and in the right hand, Das Kapital. He was laughing and triumphantly declared: ‘The day of Karl Marx and Lenin is finished!’
“I knew he was attacking me, he was trying to make me depressed, but I knew that capitalism cannot survive.
“But a lot of people believed it. It is very difficult to teach and to explain to young workers – every worker – women and men in the imperialist countries, about the Soviet Union.
“I would like to share with you one aspect which was not mentioned: the achievements of the Soviet Union that were realised after the October Revolution, particularly under the leadership of Lenin and specifically comrade Stalin.
“Stalin came from a very small, minute, nationality – Georgia. The Soviet Union had a huge number of different nationalities. The Tsar, Russian imperialism and colonialism had abused and colonised, killed, eliminated, destroyed a lot of colonised nationalities within the Russian empire. But the Soviet Union could build and solve, for the first time in the history of humanity, the equality, the fraternity of all nationalities to live under one home with a new civilisation, which is called the Soviet Union. [Applause] It never had been achieved [before]. The nationality issue, the equality of people, can only be solved under the Soviet type of system.
“After the Bolshevik revolution, the October Revolution, everybody ganged up on the Soviet Union. Fifteen countries, including the United States, invaded the Soviet Union, destroyed everything that had existed there, and killed 10 million Soviet people – and later, incidentally, as part of their anti-Soviet propaganda and drive to invade the Soviet Union, German Nazism and then US imperialism used footage from their murderous intervention as ‘evidence’ of the infamous alleged ‘Ukrainian Famine caused by Stalin’s collectivisation’.
“The introduction of the New Economic Policy, NEP, was a temporary strategic withdrawal in the aftermath of the devastating war of intervention. But some crazy ones, who are not really correct communists and Bolshevised in the party, believed that the NEP, was in fact the policy forever.
“After Italian fascism took over in 1923/24 and German Nazism was menacing, Comrade Stalin, said: If we don’t catch up, the gap between us and them is one hundred years, this beast will destroy us. Collectivisation and industrialisation, he said, were the only way out. It is to the credit of the Soviet Union that she closed that gap in less than 10 years.
“The Soviet people, they don’t exist anymore. Now they have become Chechens, Georgians, fighting one another – tribes. A bunch of thieves have taken over the old Soviet Union. The richest man in Belgium is not a Belgian today; he’s a thief from Kazakhstan. [Laughter]
“The war in Iraq is destroying US imperialism. The Afghan people’s resistance will destroy the unity of NATO provided the Pakistani people with the correct anti-imperialist leadership, stand up against those puppets who are trying to drag 140 million Pakistani people into a serious problem. Imperialism is seriously wounded.
“I wish I knew the Russian language to aid my study. The imperialist bourgeoisie have already had 18 years, with full access to the Soviet archives and territory, but with all their propaganda, they couldn’t even tell us where are their alleged 30 million victims of Stalin’s gulags?; they couldn’t produce even a film about it.
“They used to inculcate us day and night that there was a famine in Ukraine, a deliberate famine in which 10 million Ukrainians died. There is no evidence today of that.
“Young people in the imperialist countries have to be educated. We, the older ones, have to have the patience and we have to do the maximum to win our young generation to follow the path blazed by the October Revolution.” [Applause]