On Saturday 7 November 2009, the CPGB-ML organised a lively, militant and spirited rally and social to celebrate the 92nd anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. The fact that this year’s celebration fell on the actual anniversary of this, the greatest event in human history, added a special lustre to the gathering, with more than 100 comrades crowding Saklatvala Hall in Southall, west London.
The formal part of the proceedings began with the playing of a recording of the Soviet national anthem, beautifully sung by Paul Robeson, the great African-American communist, staunch friend of the Soviet Union, and outstanding artist and athlete.
The meeting was then treated to a priceless piece of historical documentary – the film of Comrade Stalin addressing the military parade held in Moscow on the 24th anniversary of the October Revolution in 1941. With the German fascist army at the very gates of the city, this speech played an indispensable role in rallying the Soviet people to fight back against the Nazis and ultimately prevail. The troops who participated left straight from the parade to the front, with the inspiring words of J V Stalin still ringing in their ears.
Chairing the meeting, Comrade Zane Carpenter, CPGBML General Secretary, welcomed the main speakers to the platform and also presented apologies from the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Party, Comrades Harpal Brar and Ella Rule, who were both overseas on party business, as well as from veteran communist Comrade Jack Shapiro, who was ill, and Comrade Bob Crow, General Secretary of the RMT trade union, who had another engagement.
Greetings from socialist countries
He then introduced Comrade Keith Bennett, who presented the messages of solidarity sent to the meeting by the embassies of socialist countries.
Comrade Jang Song Chol, from the embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), wrote in part:
“I would like to send the warmest congratulations and militant greetings to the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and all the members and supporters celebrating this anniversary.
“I would also like to have this opportunity to thank the CPGB-ML and its members for their profound support and solidarity to the just cause of revolution and independent reunification of Korea and to my Embassy.
“The anniversary of the Great October Revolution is very important not only to you British communists but also to us and all revolutionaries and progressive people who are fighting for socialism and communism throughout the world.
“Today, the Workers’ Party of Korea continues to carry out the just cause and spirit of the October Revolution by ceaselessly safeguarding and advancing socialism against all the hostile acts of imperialism, and opportunistic and revisionist odds, and will do so in the future too.
“We will stand shoulder to shoulder with comrades of the CPGB-ML in our common struggle for the new world in which the popular masses are the masters of everything.”
Comrade Luis Marron Oroza from the embassy of Cuba wrote in part:
“Ninety two years ago the Great October Revolution put an end to centuries of exploitation and oppression of the Russian people by the feudal and capitalist regimes, overthrowing the ruling yoke of the landlords and the bourgeoisie, and gave the Russian working class the power to realise their dreams and aspirations of building a new, better society.
“This historical event opened up a new alternative also for all the world and signified the beginning of a new era of changes and transformations in the political, economic, social and spiritual life of humankind. Revolutionaries all over the world never ceased to receive the support and encouragement of the Soviet communists.
“I can certainly say that since October 1917 all new generations of revolutionaries were educated on the ideas, spirit and principles of the Great October Revolution.
“For Cuba and for our revolution, it was an immense source of inspiration and we will never forget, and shall always be grateful, for the support and solidarity that we always received from our Soviet comrades.
“I would like to use this opportunity to express my sincerest gratitude for the support and solidarity that we have received from the CPGB-ML.”
Greetings to the meeting were also received from Comrade Wang Yingchun of the Chinese embassy and Comrade He Dalong of the Xinhua News Agency.
Unity of international communist movement
Speaking next, a comrade from the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Turkey and Northern Kurdistan (MLKP) said that the October Revolution continues to guide the struggles of the working class and oppressed nations throughout the world. It had shown that imperialism was not almighty and it was possible to defeat it.
The October Revolution, the comrade continued, is the laboratory for the creation of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Before the October Revolution, Marxism had only existed as a theory. The revolution had turned it into a material force. Throughout the world, the comrade continued, the bourgeoisie fears new Octobers. “And the fear is not unreasonable.”
To remember the October Revolution in its 92nd year, in the view of the MLKP, “means to put an end to the organisational fragmentation of the international communist movement and to fight for its organisational unity”, as well as to fight for the organisational unity of the global anti-imperialist struggle.
Following the contribution by the Turkish comrade, Comrade Zane Carpenter spoke of the global reverberations of the October Revolution, and of how the bourgeoisie had resorted to all manner of tricks to minimise and obviate its impact, a major weapon in their armoury being social democracy, which had drowned in blood the German revolution in 1919, betrayed the 1926 General Strike of the British working class, and so on.
Labour, continued Comrade Carpenter, has always been a party of imperialism, yet parties in this country such as the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) and the New Communist Party (NCP) still called on workers to vote for it. In place of this, we need to unite the communist movement on a programme of changing the whole system, not getting this or that Labour dignitary elected.
Following these remarks, one of our guests of honour, Comrade Ganesh Vikaria from the embassy of Nepal extended his greetings to the meeting and saluted the 92nd anniversary of the October Revolution.
Comrade Michael Chant brought greetings to the meeting from the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) (RCPBML). Thanking the CPGB-ML for its invitation, he continued:
“The path opened up by the October Revolution, establishing the first workers’ state, is the path to the progress of humanity …
“The October Revolution opened up this path as capitalism developed into its final stage, imperialism, and the act of revolution of the workers and peasants of Russia constituted a defining moment, so that our era is characterised not simply as the era of imperialism, but that of imperialism and proletarian revolution.
“This confirms that the era of mass industrial production, of the most savage inter-imperialist wars, of parasitism, also brings with it a continuous and severe economic crisis, owing to the contradiction between the socialised character of production, on a national and international scale, and the private ownership and control of the means of production, which leads to the concentration of capital in the hands of an increasingly tiny elite.
“The Great October Revolution shows that history is made by the working class emerging as the main class at the head of the exploited in resolving this contradiction, in leading the way out of this crisis to new social relations through revolution.
“The communist parties are the advanced detachment of this class. They take up the task of providing the working class and people with the consciousness and organisation needed to resolve this contradiction, to unblock the progress of society and to create the subjective conditions for revolution.
“The path of the October Revolution demonstrates to humankind that there is an alternative, that there is a different way of organising and running society so that the concerns of human beings are put at the centre of considerations and not the concerns of the owners of capital. It demonstrates the crucial role played by the state in this regard, and that in order to make changes of a fundamental character, the issue is not to bring parties to power, but that the question of supreme power in the state is fundamental.
“The October Revolution brought Leninism to the workers, which when grasped in the course of the struggles of the working class and people, and elaborated and enriched and made conscious in this struggle, becomes a theoretical guide to action, so that the workers are not left politically and ideologically disarmed, so that Marxism Leninism is put into their hands, so that they can sum up their experience, not just of today or yesterday, but of the whole historical period of capitalism, particularly monopoly capitalism.”
Comrade Chant continued: “It is particularly important in this 70th anniversary year of the outbreak of World War II to oppose the falsifiers of history. The reactionary bourgeoisie and their hired hacks are falsifying this history with a number of reasons, but one of the most crucial is to equate communism and fascism, so that the working people are left without a scientific guide to achieving the victory of their struggles, both in the immediate and long-term.
“In this respect, it is of utmost importance in our view to underscore in the hearts and minds of the workers the importance of the October Revolution, as part of their collective history and collective memory. This is particularly so because, once again, the bourgeoisie and the monopoly media are going into overdrive over the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and its so-called significance, once again in order to disorientate the working class and oppressed people in their struggles and in their aspirations, and to attempt to get them to deny their own life experience and their ability to sum this up.”
Revolution sweeping Latin America
Another guest of honour, Comrade Giselle Morales from the embassy of Nicaragua, said that the October Revolution was the inspiration for the revolution in Latin America.
In Cuba, there had been a socialist revolution at the heart of imperialism and today, in a second wave, there was a force in Latin America and the Caribbean that cannot be stopped – the people are constructing their own future on the basis of sovereignty, independence and self-determination.
“This is why imperialism is panicking” – there is an ongoing revolution in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, “and it’s going to go further”.
Comrade Morales recalled that, in the first phase of the Nicaraguan revolution, the Sandinista government had been able to give free health care, education and food to those who had never had them before. When the Sandinistas had lost the elections, 17 years of neo-liberalism had followed, in which illiteracy increased from 12 percent to 25 percent.
From the imperialist point of view, the comrade continued, the deepening of the peoples’ struggles in Latin America has to be beaten as it challenges their hegemony. “They don’t want us to struggle against poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition; in favour of those people who have been historically excluded; and they want to continue imposing their economic model.”
The present stage of the revolution aims at creating a Latin American model of socialism – “and the efforts of the governments committed to this revolution are sowing seeds on fertile ground”. However, “imperialism is doing everything possible to destabilise the revolutionary, progressive and nationalist governments of Latin America”, which are working so hard to ensure a better future for their peoples. The coup in Honduras is an example of this, as is the attempt to set up new US bases in Colombia.
“However,” Comrade Morales concluded, “we firmly believe that our peoples will continue to resist and win. They have stood up and they have spoken!”
A comrade from the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP) spoke of how, when you fuse the struggle for civil rights and black power with the class struggle of the workers, you get socialism.
African revolutionaries were inspired by such historic personalities as Amilcar Cabral, Kwame Nkrumah, Ahmed Sekou Toure and Samora Machel, who, to a considerable extent, were inspired and guided by Marxism Leninism.
The comrade spoke in some detail about how the Soviet Union had assisted the African liberation struggle and said that his party considered the 20th century to have been the century of socialism and that the 21st century would be even better for socialism.
Solidarity messages were also given to the meeting by Comrade Wilf Dixon from the Co-ordination Committee of Revolutionary Communists of Britain and Comrade Mohammed Arif from the British Afro-Asian Solidarity Organisation (BAASO).
Comrade Dixon spoke about the correct leadership given to the great struggle against modern revisionism by Comrade Mao Zedong and acclaimed what he described as a “second wave” of the world proletarian revolution, with Maoist parties leading important struggles and winning inspiring victories in Nepal, India, the Philippines and other countries.
Comrade Arif noted that the October Revolution had not only inspired the liberation movements of Asia, Africa and Latin America – even the concessions won by the working class in the advanced capitalist countries, at one point, in terms of a national health service, old-age pensions, free education, and so on, had been largely instituted in an attempt to ward off the threat of new Octobers.
Great achievements of the USSR
The main speaker was Comrade Ranjeet Brar for the Central Committee of the CPGBML, who said:
“There are still people who talk of revolution in our movement today, and many more people in Britain who talk of socialism, but there are lamentably few who remember the meaning of those words as understood by Lenin and the Bolsheviks.
“There are lamentably few who understand that as long as the capitalist economic system limps on, it will continue to heap misery upon the working people of all countries; that socialism means nothing if it is not designed to put power in the hands of working people, and to abolish commodity production for once and for all; to elevate and educate working people; to equip them with the knowledge and skills to become the ruling class and thus enable them to solve humanity’s pressing problems …
“We need, in short, mass participation in a movement that sets itself the lofty goal of overturning capitalist imperialism, and placing power in the hands of the working masses.
“We need working people to wield this power of a new kind for the collective benefit of humanity. The government brought into being by the October Revolution was just such an exemplary system: a state that was at once a state and not a state, since it was not a special apparatus of force used by a minority to subjugate the majority, as had been all previous states; it was, in fact, the masses themselves, armed, educated and organised, politically, and militarily, to defend their interests …
“Only power in the hands of working people will enable us to use the wealth that we create through our labour to solve our pressing needs.
“Lenin, commenting in 1918 on the influence of the USSR upon the proletarians of all countries, said: ‘The example of the Soviet Republic will stand before them for a long time to come. Our Socialist Republic of Soviets will stand secure as a torch of international socialism and as an example to all the labouring masses. Over there – conflict, war, bloodshed, the sacrifice of millions of lives, capitalist exploitation; here – a genuine policy of peace and a Socialist Republic of Soviets.’
“And, until it was overturned by the Khrushchevite revisionists, there can be no doubt of the truth of these words.”
Among the countless achievements of Soviet socialism cited by Comrade Ranjeet were the following:
“In place of destructive and crisis-ridden capitalism, a socialist planned economy in which the satisfaction of the people’s needs superseded forced extraction of surplus labour as the sole motive force for production.
“Socialism transformed Russia from the ‘prison of nations’ it had been under tsarist rule, into a freely associated brotherhood of nations in which freedom and equality of language, culture and religion were guaranteed.
“While the capitalist world was reeling under the hammer blows of the great depression of the 1930s, the Soviet Union’s economy went from strength to strength. By 1935, the phenomenon of unemployment was unknown in the USSR.
“Through provision of crèches, kindergartens and communal facilities of all kinds, socialism in the USSR laid the basis for the liberation of women, not merely in words, but in deeds.
“The USSR, in the true spirit of proletarian internationalism, rendered every possible support to the revolutionary and national-liberation struggles of the downtrodden masses. Indeed, the October Revolution served as the direct inspiration for countless uprisings and actions throughout the world.”
Speaking of the Great Patriotic War, Comrade Ranjeet said: “Despite all the manoeuvrings of the western imperialist powers, who would have liked nothing better than to see the land of Soviets crushed under the jackboot of the Nazi-fascist war machine, it was the USSR that stemmed the tide of blitzkrieg, turned the tables on the allegedly invincible master race at Stalingrad and finally raised the Red Flag above the Reichstag!
“Ninety-five percent of German forces had been deployed on the eastern front and the vanquishing of such a tremendous force of destruction was only made possible by the rapid industrialisation that had taken place over the preceding decade, the firm leadership of the CPSU(B), and the confidence of the broad masses of workers and peasants in that leadership, which inspired them to such selfless acts of heroism.”
Having dealt with the consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the European socialist countries as a result of revisionist treachery, as well as the current capitalist crisis of overproduction, Comrade Ranjeet affirmed that:
“Socialism is the historical era of the revolutionary transformation of capitalism into a free and truly equal society.
“Despite all zigzags of history, we continue to live in the era of capitalism’s demise. Capitalism is daily creating its own gravediggers: the Nepalese revolution, the rise of progressive and socialist governments in South America, the continued survival and success of socialist countries like tiny but defiant Cuba and north Korea, and the massive strides forward of Socialist China, which has lifted some 400 million people out of poverty.
“All these struggles are the legacy of the October Revolution, and show us that far from being over, our liberation movement is poised for further and greater victories.
“Ho Chi Minh said that ‘Nothing is more precious than independence and freedom.’
“There can be no doubt that the Palestinian people in struggle, the resistance forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and all nations from Iran to Zimbabwe that refuse to bow to the will of finance capital, but steadfastly assert their right to independence, are at the cutting edge of anti-imperialist struggle.
“For the world is forever changed. If the Paris Commune of 1871 heralded the coming storm, October 1917 shook the moribund capitalist imperialist order to its foundations; and the genie cannot be put back into the bottle.
“No people will again submit to be ruled as colonial serfs. They will resist. The imperial colossus, for all its seeming might, has feet of clay.”
Following the speeches and messages of solidarity, a cultural programme of revolutionary songs and poetry in English and Punjabi was presented by Comrades Surinder Cheema, Godfrey Cremer and Mrs Sekhon, after which all present rose to sing the Internationale.
With the close of the formal part of the proceedings, as is customary at major events of our party, there followed informal discussions and socialising, accompanied by an excellent curry and drinks.