This year the working class and the oppressed classes of the whole world are celebrating the centenary of the great October socialist revolution.
There may be people who imagine that as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 there is nothing to celebrate, but that would be a profound error.
The October Revolution, not-withstanding the reverses suffered by the working-class movement over the last 2-3 decades, changed the world forever – and changed it in favour of the proletariat and the oppressed peoples of the world. The road to worldwide victory over capitalism is a road fraught with battles, some that are won and some that are lost; but the laws of history guarantee that so long as the proletariat is willing to keep up the struggle in the end victory is theirs alone.
It is a victory for which we must strive most urgently – not only in order to free the world of the poverty and incessant inhuman wars that it is suffering at present, with the threat of a third world war hanging over us, but also to rescue the planet itself that the capitalists in pursuit of profit at whatever price are despoliating and destroying.
The October Revolution is our great hope – it is the hope we need to communicate to the proletariat as well as the super-exploited and oppressed peoples – proof that there does exist a solution to the horrendous problems of the world, and that we have the power to put it into effect. And when we say solutions can be put into effect, we don’t mean merely that we are able from time to time to exact concessions and reforms within capitalism but to do away with capitalism for once and for all, just as the Soviets did. Moreover, we have the power to build an alternative society, one that is just and peaceful, with our own hands on the basis of economic planning, producing not to enhance the profits of the rich but to satisfy the growing needs of the people, while at the same time ensuring that each year the level of production can be increased until society arrives at a time when all society’s material and cultural needs can be met.
Of course, thanks to the fact that the Soviet Union was surrounded by capitalist and imperialist enemies determined to wipe out its socialist system that was setting such an infectious example to the proletariat and oppressed peoples of the world, it was always necessary to allocate significant resources to defence – just as North Korea is forced to do today. Nevertheless, in spite of this, the Soviet Union was able to make prodigious advances in production and the wellbeing of the people. For example, during the capitalist crisis of overproduction in the 1930s,while GDP was falling precipitately in all the capitalist countries, in the Soviet Union it was rising exponentially. And this was happening despite the huge efforts of counter-revolutionaries backed by imperialism to sabotage the Soviet economy. What was produced was not only material goods but also cultural needs – universal free education, health provision, as well as a great expansion of science and art – orchestras, cinema, theatre, ballet – all accessible for the first time to everyone, not just the well off.
The October Revolution proved that is it possible to live without exploiters. The victories of the Red Army in the Second World War over the German army, the most powerful that had ever existed, thus saving all humanity from Nazi fascism, threatened to undermine capitalism everywhere. They had such a powerful effect that the governments of imperialist countries felt obliged to introduce some of the benefits that the Soviet people had been enjoying for decades, i.e., free education and healthcare. However, since the sad demise of the Soviet Union, the international bourgeoisie has felt confident enough bit by bit to withdraw the benefits that it had previously been forced to grant through fear of revolution.
Thinking about the Second World War, how was it possible for the Soviet Union to beat such a powerful army as the German one, which had conquered France, for example, in just a couple of weeks?
The bourgeoisie always avers that it was General Winter which defeated the Germans, and there may be people who believe these tales. But it is obvious that Winter would have been just as much a problem for Soviet soldiers as it was for the Germans. No, victory was only possible on the basis of industrialisation and collectivisation of agriculture which had taken place during the 1930s, and fraternity, unity and unshakeable friendship of the peoples and nations inhabiting the USSR – that unique and wonderful product of the October Revolution.
In 1931 Stalin warned that the enemies of the Soviet Union were some 100 years in advance of the USSR, and that the Soviets had only 10 years in which to catch up or else they would be crushed. How right he was! What remarkable foresight!
In any event, in 10 years it was possible for the Soviets to catch up with the industrial production of the imperialists – a true miracle that without socialist central economic planning would have been completely impossible.
There are those who complain that it was only possible for the Soviet Union to make these advances on the basis that the working class had to labour like beasts of burden, while at the same time being kept short of consumer goods. Of course one can well understand why the bourgeoisie says these things, since they want to give the impression to the working class that it’s not worth while making a revolution to overthrow capitalism as they will probably find themselves worse off under socialism than under capitalism. Trotskyites, who act as the ‘leftist’ voice of the bourgeoisie within the working-class movement, repeat these demoralising claims constantly.
But, knowing that this was the only way open to the Soviet proletariat to protect its new-found liberty, the Soviet proletariat gladly made the sacrifices that were necessary for victory over its imperialist enemies. The Soviet people worked hard knowing that they weren’t working to enhance the wealth of their class enemies but purely to defend the interests of their own class, to which end they felt any sacrifice was in order.
Other achievements of the October revolution which have had epoch-making ramifications include the following:
From the first day of the Revolution all the laws which put women below men were abolished, and they were given the same civic and family rights. But even more important was that nurseries, public dining rooms, laundries, etc., were set up with a view to liberating women from household tasks in order to enable them to take part on an equal basis with men in public life and social production, earning an independent wage allowing them to be financially independent, the same as men. It was in the Soviet Union that for the first time women got the opportunity to prove that they were absolutely capable of being doctors, engineers, professors, drivers of trains and buses, etc., etc., and that in fact there were very few things that men can do that women can’t (and vice versa).
National rights and equality
Another thing that the October Revolution demonstrated was that it was perfectly possible for people of different nationalities, religions, races and colours to live peacefully together once all exploitation is abolished and, with it, the basis for discrimination on the grounds of race, nationality or sex. Before the revolution there was a great deal of anti-semitism and pogroms against the Jews broke out with great regularity. It was said that this happened because of the low cultural level of the peasantry, but the truth was that these pogroms were incited by reactionary governments in order to divide and weaken the exploited classes in their struggles for emancipation. As long as the USSR existed there were no more pogroms, but the minute that it fell, anti-semitism reared its ugly head again, as did national strife, all as a result of the new capitalists finding themselves free to blame everyone except capitalism for the drop in the general standard of living of the Soviet masses consequent upon the fall of the socialist system and the restoration of capitalism.
Of course, another prediction made by Stalin which sadly has turned out also to be absolutely spot on was that there was not the slightest doubt that if the Soviet Republic were to be destroyed, what would follow would be an era of the most horrendous and savage reaction in all capitalist countries.
This is what we are experiencing today, although it must be realised that those who suffer most are the innocent populations of the countries where imperialism is seeking to save itself through war, intervening either themselves or through proxies such as the jihadis that have been trained by the CIA and other imperialist agencies.
The proletariat needs to rise up to put an end to all these dreadful injustices so dangerous for the future of humanity. It must, in the spirit of Bolshevik internationalism, side with the victims of the aggression of its own bourgeoisie. For this purpose communists of all countries must make serious efforts to build monolithic communist parties that are truly revolutionary, well trained in the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism, and also hugely courageous, which is what the people need and deserve.
The fall of the Soviet Union
Given all the extraordinary achievements of the October Revolution, how was it possible that the great and glorious Soviet Union should have fallen like a tree attacked by termites? The Soviet Union was not destroyed by imperialist enemies through frontal assault, but by hidden enemies within. Even then it took the enemies of socialism more than three decades to bring down the USSR, such was the strength of socialism.
The coming to power of these enemies within – the Khrushchite revisionists – at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, began the process of dismantling socialism, which culminated under the despicable Gorbachev in 1991.
During the time of Lenin and Stalin there was no fortress that the Bolsheviks could not storm. During those times, led as it was by a revolutionary leadership with a correct line and programme, the CPSU successfully built a mighty socialist Soviet Union through industrialisation and collectivisation, in the teeth of bitter opposition by the capitulationist Bukharinites and counter-revolutionary Trotskyites. Refusing to accept defeat, the oppositionists, in league with imperialism, went on to resort to sabotage and murder.
Many of these people were caught and put on trial in the famous Moscow Trials where they confessed their crimes and were duly punished.
As Stalin explained, under the dictatorship of the proletariat the class struggle does not die down but, on the contrary, sharpens the desperate dispossessed classes, seeing their paradise disappearing before their eyes, resorts to desperate measures to avert their impending doom. But they were all defeated. Their defeat and the building of socialism laid the basis for the glorious victory of the Soviet Union in the Second World War, albeit at a tremendous cost in human life and material destruction.
Things only began to go badly after the accession of the Khrushchevits following the death of Stalin in 1953. While alive he had, on the basis of his enormous prestige, been able to frustrate the restorationists’ attempts to introduce bourgeois norms into the Soviet economy. In 1952 he wrote Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR precisely to deal with their insidious ideology which purported to improve the economy by adopting such bourgeois norms as the predominance of the law of value, and profit as the regulator of production.
All the measures that Stalin had denounced in his pamphlet were over time put into practice thus preparing step by step the eventual restoration of capitalism through the fraud of ‘market socialism’.
CPC criticisms of revisionism
The Chinese Communist Party correctly criticised the Khrushchevite distortions in questions of politics. It explained that Khrushchev aimed at disarming the proletariat with his theory that the Soviet Union, having got rid of capitalists, no longer needed the dictatorship of the proletariat – thus leaving the enemies of the proletariat free to do their worst. Khrushchev also said that the Communist Party no longer needed to be a proletarian party, but should henceforth be a party of the whole people – thereby decapitating the Soviet proletarian movement to prevent future advances.
At the international level, Khrushchev claimed that thanks to the existence of the Soviet Union, socialism in other countries could and should be brought about by peaceful means, through parliamentary elections because the world could no longer afford war because of the danger posed to the planet from the use of nuclear bombs. In other words, Khrushchev was demanding that the proletariat and oppressed peoples of the world should surrender and give up the fight for socialism, or even national liberation struggles against imperialism, in the hope that the day of liberation would come of its own accord via bourgeois elections.
Thanks to the great prestige of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, these treacherous opportunist theories were accepted by the majority of the communist parties of the world, who succumbed peacefully to social-democracy, content with what could be wrested from capitalism, content to live with capitalism, to commit to class collaboration.
The undermining of socialist planning
In the Soviet Union socialist planning began bit by bit to be undermined and then dismantled, with profitability rather than the needs of the people being put in command. Under socialism what is normal is that production should be to meet the needs of the people, regardless of whether or not this produces a profit, but this is of course contrary to the most basic principles of capitalism. The heads of Soviet enterprises that made profits were given high rewards. Unprofitable enterprises were abandoned. All of this left room for the springing up of a capitalistic black economy and the development of a new capitalist class.
Attack on Stalin
Besides all this, in order to demoralise and confuse the working class all over the world, Khrushchev mounted an attack on Stalin and his supposed personality cult, suggesting that Stalin had been a madman driven by vanity, incapable of accepting any criticism, and prone to kill anybody who disagreed with him about anything. In other words, he was a monster. This is what is of course taught in all bourgeois schools everywhere in the world, and it must be true, must it not, when the originator of the ‘information’ was the General Secretary of the most prestigious Communist Party in the world! Yet in actual fact Stalin deplored the cult of the personality and insisted that it was a device by which functionaries with little understanding of Marxism distracted attention from their own weaknesses and activities of downright sabotage.
We believe that the defence of Stalin is inseparable from defending the gains of October, for it was under his leadership that these earth-shattering advances were made. We must explain to the masses the reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union; we must explain that this was not a collapse of Marxism but as a result of departing from it in the fields of political economy, ideology, philosophy and class struggle.
The world proletariat needs to get back on the road of the October Revolution. It can only do this under the leadership of seasoned proletarian parties firmly based on Marxism-Leninism, which have learnt the necessary lessons of our proletarian history and will resist repeating past errors. Parties must be built with numerical strength, which implies that communists, while struggling for the correct line, while waging an uncompromising struggle against opportunism, must learn to live with differences of opinion among themselves. Those who demand absolute unity on everything before any work can be done are in practice sabotaging the building of a proletarian party. This is not to say that we should be uniting with social-democrats, Trotskyites and revisionists who effectively oppose proletarian revolution and/or the dictatorship of the proletariat. Such unity would tend to destroy the revolutionary movement, not enhance it. But small group mentality must be set aside so that a worthy party of the working class, the instrument that enables the proletariat to make revolution and establish its state power, can come into being and the proletariat can continue its march forward in history.
LONG LIVE THE GREAT OCTOBER SOCIALIST REVOLUTION !
LONG LIVE MARXISM-LENINISM !
LONG LIVE PROLETARIAN INTERNTATIONALISM !
DEATH TO IMPERIALISM !
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