Comrades from around the country came together on 5 November to mark the anniversary of the Great October Revolution of 1917. The purpose of the meeting, hosted by the CPGB-ML, was to celebrate the achievements of the October revolution and reinforce its vital significance today in the struggle against capital.
The meeting was addressed by Zane Carpenter, General Secretary of the CPGB-ML, who drew the connection between all those struggling against imperialism across the globe, and the importance for us, as revolutionaries, to show real solidarity and support for those struggles. Michael Chant, of the RCPB-ML, said that the October revolution had opened up the road to progress for all humanity and that communists needed to forge unity in the struggle against capital and fight for an independent political programme for the working class.
There was also a video message from Henry Metelmann, the former Nazi soldier, who became a communist after his experiences in the war. In his message, he welcomed the fact that people in the imperialist heartland recognised the importance of October, and said that it was clearly necessary at that time for the Russian working class to seize power. As long as capitalism exists, he said, this necessity will remain. Although he thought it unlikely in his lifetime (he is now over 80!), he was sure that another successful October revolution would arise.
The main speaker, Mohammed Hassan, a comrade from the Belgian Workers Party who participated in the Ethiopian revolutionary movement in the 60s and 70s, focused on the effect of October on imperialism.
Comrade Hassan outlined how the revolution sent shock waves around the globe and ignited unimaginable panic in the imperialist world. For example, prior to the revolution, in the colonies native languages were seen as inferior and never utilised, but after October 1917 the imperialists began broadcasting anti-Soviet propaganda in Farsi, Arabic, Swahili, Hausa, Hindi etc, directly to the vast masses of people under imperialist domination who saw the example of the Soviet Union as the model for ending a life of misery.
Furthermore, the administration of the colonies and neo-colonies became less harsh and bitterly oppressive to the people. Suddenly there was a need for ‘good governance’ so as to avoid igniting the spark of rebellion that might follow the example of October.
Although the communist movement is currently small and imperialism appears invincible, imperialism will always be vulnerable at its weakest link. Russia was that weakest link in 1917 and the relatively small Bolshevik Party was able to lead the revolution to overthrow its backward regime. Comrade Hassan went on to say that in his opinion the weakest link in the imperialist chain today is Iraq, where the national liberation struggle is inflicting deadly blows against imperialism. He also pointed to the rise in consciousness in the Arab world, which looks set to overthrow the Wahhabism of Saudi Arabia. Comrade Hassan emphasised our duty to support anti-imperialist movements, even if they do not have a proletarian ideology or character, so long as they are targeting and aiming bullets at the main enemy, imperialism. This is why the Soviet Union fully supported the Ethiopians fighting against the rampant fascism of Mussolini’s invading forces; the Soviet Union always demonstrated proletarian internationalism to the workers of the world.
He summed up by stating that our objective is to overthrow imperialism and establish a new civilisation, just as the Bolshevik revolution did 88 years ago.
Comrade Hassan’s contribution was followed by a standing ovation.
Lessons to be learned
Harpal Brar, Chair of the CPGB-ML, spoke of the despondency in the progressive camp that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, which, until its collapse, and even with the revisionist regime that had ensued after the death of Comrade Stalin, had been a mighty restraining factor on the ravages of imperialism.
While the Soviet Union existed, the condition of the working class in imperialist countries was at its peak, and for much the same reason, conditions were improved in the colonies, as Comrade Hassan had mentioned. The European bourgeoisie feared the prospect of the red flag flying in their countries, and to reduce the possibility of this happening they raised the social wage, through the creation of the welfare state. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, this has been under continual attack.
Furthermore, capitalism is delivering nothing to the oppressed people of the world; rather, it is continually waging war against them. Comrade Brar spoke of the huge incongruity created by imperialism, where 350 billionaires have more income than 30 percent of the world’s population; where half a dozen imperialist countries represent close to 80 percent of the world’s GDP; and where, every year, two and a half holocausts occur among the little children of the world’s poor without drawing so much as a mention in the bourgeois media.
Imperialism is exacerbating all the contradictions in the world; it is pushing people to the stark choice: either eke out a miserable existence and sink lower and lower each day or pick up the banner of Marxism Leninism and overthrow imperialism.
In order to succeed, three key elements must be understood:
1. the importance and significance of revolutionary theory – the science of Marxism being the scientific tool with which we can understand the system which we are fighting against as well as what we are fighting for;
2. the need for a powerful organisation of the working class – a proper communist party guided by revolutionary theory and inseparably linked with the working class;
3. the importance of fighting opportunism in the ranks of the working class. Unless and until it breaks with the Labour Party, which has always represented the interests of the bourgeoisie, the British working class will not come within striking distance of defeating the bourgeoisie.
Comrade Brar also emphasised the need to show real political support for the struggles the oppressed people are waging against imperialism. The October revolution opened the era of national liberation as a second front in the fight against imperialism; the oppressed peoples have now joined the workers of the world in fighting imperialism.
Finally, he spoke of how Blair’s government is bringing in laws in the name of democracy that are an attempt to intimidate people – laws to outlaw thinking. These laws must not stop us from speaking the truth; oppression breeds resistance, and people will find the most ingenious ways to resist.
Imperialism is on its death bed, while communism, even though bourgeois hacks are continually trying to tell us it is dead, is alive and well. As comrade Stalin said at the 17th party congress of the CPSU: “Marxism is the scientific expression of the fundamental interests of the working class. To destroy Marxism, the working class must first be destroyed.”
The occasion was rounded off with a variety of cultural performances that left the audience feeling politically motivated and inspired. The evening ended with the singing of The Internationale, the anthem that unites us all in the proletarian struggle for progressive humanity.
Long live the Great October Revolution!
Uphold the banner of communism!