Russian Communist 1917 Revolution: A Celebration

they have a public policy well thanks for a much cat I will do my best to measure up to both these starts talking about the significance of the Russian Revolution the Russian Revolution itself and also giving a report back from the from a meeting this year is the 90th anniversary of the Russian Revolution and it was also the year of which the annual meeting of the International Conference of communist workers parties was held on the territory of the former Soviet Union's unavailability so the Russian Revolution Russian Revolution was the first successful socialist revolution in the sense of leading to a long-term overthrow of capitalist State Park and it replaced that state power by the mass organized power of working people through the delegates of the work of Soviets the workers and soldiers Soviets which was the basis of a new state power that represented the interests of ordinary people so it was of epic significance if anybody wants to get the feel of that revolution extraordinarily difficult at this length of time to do that read John Rietz ten days that shook the world an American journalist who was there at the time and who picks up I think probably because he was a socialist campaigner and agitator himself the essence of that revolution which was that it was being made by ordinary people ordinary people knew what was going on knew what the sides were at a time when maybe the intelligentsia the educated classes were floating about they didn't know what the score was but the soldiers report and be butchered in the trenches who were in mutiny for peace and the ordinary workers in the factories who had seen their liberties and their wages suppressed by the authoritarian regime during the period of the war and they've seen all that and they developed their organisation they knew what was going on they knew the significance of the slogans of the revolution peace land and John Reid picks those up so that was the first successful overthrow of capitalist State Park he was also important to say that the first short term of Israel capitalistic power was 40 years before in 1871 in the Paris Commune at that time the working class exercise state power within the French capital for almost two months since occupied the space vacated by the French ruling class and Marx when it failed was suppressed an immense bloodshed Marx drew lessons for failure in civil war lessons from what it achieved in terms of the creative power of working people in terms of the heroism shown by the women and men of Paris their innovative ability to solve problems that had remained unsolved for essentially in terms of poverty and housing just by taking simple administrative methods that people knew who face these problems would give a solution but also drawing other lessons as to why it failed failed to build an alliance with the peasantry in the surrounding area it enabled Paris to be encircled by the counter-revolution the forces of the bourgeois Republic and also it lacked the degree of determination and centralized leadership that was necessary to defend that revolution it almost lacked the it had an almost charitable attitude towards those who rose as they did the officer corps in Paris when the workers at power the officer corps and the generals are given it and they attacked the government positions and what did the Paris Commune decide to do it arrests the rest of them all after their being overcome disarmed them and then they sent them back across the boundary to the other side to the counter revolutionaries didn't execute them it did that while on the other hand when the commune was suppressed overthrown after a series of bloody battles through the streets of Paris went on for the best part of three weeks there were eight thousand prisoners of war which captured and then in the following days machine gunned by the Ottawa forces in cold blood that's spoke about that in a famous quote that I'll come back to later but the important thing was that Marx and others drew the lessons of that revolution which was defeated in a sense today communists will ask period communists have had to draw the lessons of what happened to the Soviet Union it existed up to 1991 but then disintegrated and it is vitally important that we do assess those lessons for two reasons one unless we do so unless we do hard so ourselves we will not be able to repudiate and throw back the propaganda of the ruling class because the failure as they term it with the Soviet Union is the principal weapon they throw it any attempt to raise the banner of socialism today it was pride it failed it will never work we have to show that that is not true but secondly as communists for our own purposes for the purposes of humanity seeking liberation we have to work out what did go wrong why the Soviet Union after those three generations then disintegrated because unless we can learn those lessons we will not be able to apply a correct understanding of human development to the next attempts to develop associates and it will only be communists who will draw those lessons because others the ruling class side or obviously have to try and draw conclusions that are totally country to socialism while others may be from a Trotskyite tradition will simply write the whole thing off as mistakes with Starla's which is to dismiss a rich and very important history we have to understand as Congress and I think as Jay said and I think it's been quoted more recently after being slight reversed in terms of the elections in Venezuela you will learn more from a defeat than you do from the victory lessons the defeat our party debated those lessons at lengths through the early nineteen nineties the conclusions are summed up in our party program though the debate itself should and does continue I think the key weakness that was identified in defied by ourselves but it was said by most other parties was the slow loss of a revolutionary class consciousness by working people across this Lobby didn't happen all at once and there was a failure to regenerate redevelop in subsequent generations the commitment and the understanding of the revolutionary generations those of the nineteen tens and twenties thirties and forties at least to do so effective there was the loss of the effective organizing power of the Soviets of the workers committees those bodies that were symbolized the power of the working class the state plan were staple were the power of the working class in the revolution in 1970 and the subsequent years that loss of effective power took place in the course of the 1920s 30s and was as a result of a highly centralized structure of political control and economic time that developed probably developed in the circumstances at the time in a way that was probably inevitable but nonetheless led then to abuses of centralized power and the turning of the Soviets into a still existed let's not had a function but still at the level of debate and discussion at that level this will form the basis of Soviet democracy of Elections and one shouldn't dismiss them but they no longer represented living active power and I think that is also one of the key lessons drawn not just by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation after the disintegration of the Soviet Union but also by people like Yuri Andropov who was the general secretary of the party in 1981-82 who wrote a very important document on how to redevelop the dynamics of working-class democracy in the Soviet Union followed would have led to a very different outcome actually see now that is the rough like gnosis it's very crudely but very shortly put that I think that is roughly the diagnosis of our party and it's a diagnosis that's easy to make but not easy to in a sense provide antidotes for in the circumstances of carrying forward a socialist revolution because every socialist revolution will meet fierce opposition internal it will meet blockade from outside that will meet sabotage it will find different groups and classes vacillating and changing sides in fact we've had a vivid illustration of that in the last week as i already mentioned in terms of what has happened in venezuela where previous allies of the revolutionary process of switch size and the result was a very very narrow defeat for the forces that wanted to deepen and carry forward both the working class democracy and the socialist objectives of the process of change in venezuela so that is going to happen in all any circumstance and in almost any circumstance you're going to have to have centralized leadership that is one of the lessons drawn by marx in 1871 1872 when he wrote the civil war in france and that was a lesson that was certainly carried forward by lenin in his understanding of what had to be done and the kind of revolutionary party needed to create a revolution in russia so all these things are going to be necessary and probably also you're going to need centralized economic in any process of socialist change that doesn't mean that inevitably must override the democracy of working people but ways have to be found to ensure that both are combined yes so that's I think is what I wanted to say about our past is principled Nestle and we need to do many communist needs much more analysis to carry instrument it is also important to rebut the propaganda of the capitalist class that is very powerful some of our comrades stand every Saturday at the stall in the chemistry chemistry and have the hammer and sickle flying and they are encountered every every minute by people wandering up from the well-heeled suburbs of Bearsden from strange outlying places challenging them and saying you are the people who are apologizing for the millions upon millions upon millions of deaths inflicted on humanity by the terrible scourge of communism and they get very upset when people like Alan and Scots you are the people who have lived off the profits of the British Empire and the slave trade and the deaths of millions of millions of people and they scurry away back to bare stare and avoid the chemistry and the Saturday in future but there is the issue in the propaganda it's around its alleged that thirty million people died as a result of communist rule in the Soviet Union there was a motion that went before the Council of Europe and was debated last year that talked about these deaths and the need to commemorate the best thing to read about it I think is the pamphlet that's recently been produced giving the articles written for market for communist review by Kenny Coyle and it takes two bits these claims and it's amazing just how widespread they are entertained I looked at the educational website of the Scottish Socialist Party and there's a lot of good material there but it also said he had two books on the history of the Soviet Union one was Robert conquest which is examined in that country Robert conquest was one of the propagandists and was a whole host of Acts employed by the academic taxman except they are employed by the British establishment through the information research department which was a department of the home office between 1947 and 1977 conquest was a leading one and his book on Soviet Union is analyzed and the sources that he takes the deaths from are in fact in completely unobscured fashion the same text written by the Nazi propagandists in Germany in the 1930s and in the 1940s their collaborators in occupied Russia in Ukraine and elsewhere it's the actual publications that he quotes that were produced by the Nazis or their collaborators and published by the Nazis and that's where these figures come from there has been much detailed research now done in the archives in Moscow and yes the work many deaths many unjustice but they weren't 30 million by any matter of minutes and of the first two million deaths that occurred in the Soviet Union they were the direct responsibility of the British in particular because the Russian Revolution was itself virtually bloodless 1970 but the British sent an expeditionary force first in the winter of 1918 and then it was reinforced by hundreds of thousands around the troops by early 1919 and the impact of those armies which eventually occupied something like 70% of the territory what is became Soviet was to create the deaths either directly or through starvation and famine of something like 2 million people so if you're talking about these deaths you need to start with those that were the direct responsibility of our British rule in class who saw the defeat of the nascent Soviet Union not just as crucially important for snuffing out Bolshevism but also regaining all the resources that their bankers and finances owned the oil the Caucasus the factories around Moscow on which they lost in the course of evolution so read that book there were probably something like 700,000 people who died as the result of the purges of opposition to collective ization and of the forced movement of potentially hostile populations that occurred during the war against fascism at 700 deaths that were too many but against that we have to ask since the death of starving 53 how many people have died as a result of the actions of the Americans in Korea in vet Nam in Indonesia with half a million people in Iraq and many other countries it's far more than seven times and that was done in the interests simply than making imperiously and how many died in the defense of Britain's Empire defensively were killed by attempts to prevent colonial liberation again hundreds of thousands in the 20th century so those are the facts that they had quite a plan that leaves aside all the people who have died in the creation of that Empire and the slave traders so I think we need to repudiate that pod again and the other thing I think we need to repudiate is the accusation that the Soviet Union failed economically it did fail to yield its full economic potential for working people that's definitely the case but it didn't fail you can I for the first 40 years of his existence it achieved a growth rate in the nineteen twenties thirties forties and early fifties that outpaced that of any capitalist country subsequently that growth rate slowed but the effectiveness of that industrialization was demonstrated during the Second World War had it not been effective we almost certainly would have been living under fascism the Soviet Union was able to defeat Germany the strongest industrial power in Europe in what was a war based on industrial warfare industrial strength a war based upon the existence of hundreds of thousands of Tanks thousands of aeroplanes which was a wall that was fought out in terms of the industrial potential of the two sides and it was the ability of the Soviet Union not just to wage that war but in fact to take up all its industry which had been mainly in the western part of the country and rebuild it and redevelop it and then we developed its armors the ability of the Soviet Union to do that between 1942 effectively in 1943 when it started to roll back the Nazi honors that enabled the liberation ultimately of Europe and the defeat of the viruses it is the most fun delight that would've happened without that might of industrial and posthuman strength exerted by the Soviet Union then you come to the 1980s which was a period when the Soviet Union's growth did slow slow down to two or three percent a year to some extent works but we have to remember the circumstances and agility slow down there were circumstances in which the Soviet Union was spending 20 percent of its GDP on armaments the Soviet Union in terms of size was about a fifth of the industrial potential of the NATO powers the strategy of Reagan and Thatcher and the military intelligence of the NATO forces from 1979 onwards was to divert Star Wars as a project which would enable a first strike against the Soviet Union to be conducted without retaliation and the Soviet Union in order to prevent what they saw and the leadership was of course a leadership that had been through the period of the Second World War and had seen what happened then to prevent that happening decided that they were going to spend what was necessary in order to meet that challenge while America and Britain were only spending five or six percent of the engine the the Soviet Union has spent 20% but at the same time as doing that and anybody who went to the Soviet Union and the 1980s converters they were not just supplying crucial subsidies to Cuba Rebecca Nam to liberation movements throughout the world they are also supply a massive welfare state virtually free transport virtually free heating lighting water housing to the population the social wage to the people of Russia there was applying for education health services and they were able to continue this and not just that they are able to provide an immensely high level of culture whereby Russians read more books than any other nation in Europe attended more ballast attended more theaters because there were theatres and ballet companies in every city and access to them was very very cheap they provided all of that so that system was operating and functioning right up to 1989 1990 when decisions were taken at a certain level within the Soviet Communist Party Central Committee to end central plan to change the whole basis of the economic system and that I think is the key thing that you have to examine is what how that could come about how it was within a centralized system but opportunists could penetrate and active agents of external forces can penetrate and at the same time when that happened there was not sufficient resistance on the ground by either the working class all by the members of the Communist Party to be able to prevent it were attempts were attempts in 1991 but they were unsuccessful so the Soviet Union was not a failure economically nor in the sense was it a failure politically and so far as still in 1991 in March there was a referendum conducted in three conditions as to whether people wanted to remain in the Soviet and 70% of the population voted yes it's only as a result of the developments in the summer of 1991 and then the Yeltsin coup that matters changed so that's some lesson some things about the Soviet Union which we could probably discuss and debate there are no easy solutions but if we do identify what some of the system systemic issues and problems are that any revolution has to face then we are somewhere along the path to being able to work out how we can safeguard the future revolutions from similar events the term general crisis emerged as a key phrase of Marxist analysis in the nineteen twenties and it referred to the new crisis of capitalism that was then mercury not just the crisis monopolization of the export of capital of imperialism of rivalry between the imperialist countries of war all of which were analyzed by Lenin or of the deep divisions developing within the capitalist class between the monopolist and the petty bourgeoisie but also what happened to capitalism when working people across the world could see that there was a viable alternative to capitalism which nobody had seen before that there was a socialist state in which working people ruled and which was taken back to those countries by books like John reads ten days day-trippers and which in terms of the British working class led to in Glasgow a maiden in 1918 with a hundred thousand people taking part and with all platforms calling for the withdrawal and British Expeditionary troops that are already while they were still fighting the Germans been sent to the Arctic Circle to invade Soviet Russia calling for solidarity with the Russian Revolution or the election in Glasgow in 1918 when you had socialist candidates standing on a platform of hands-off Russia and solidarity with the Soviet brothers in some constituencies being elected government for instance McClane was elected dominantly Neal McLane was elected on that platform and then the following month January 1919 you had the attempt to enforce a 40-hour week by the working people of Scotland that formed a bridge of solidarity with workers in Belfast the miners and which so frightened the ruling class but they sent tanks up to Glasgow in order to forestall what they saw as being a Bolshevik rising these things all happened they happened Britain but they happened across Europe produced a revolution in Hungary Finland and Germany short lived in most cases that nonetheless a transformation of attitudes by workers that continued through the 1920s and the 1930s and 40s and gave the organization of the working class a new determination and force that it didn't exist before while absurd that is of course fascism first introduced in Hungary where the British intervened with military force one with the French in store Admiralty to suppress the Hungarian Socialist Republic in 1919 but then in Italy Germany and Spain and then after the defeat of fascism in Marxism or a new response in terms of social democracy the balance of power changed in Asia and in Europe the only way they could see the way forward and you can see in this in the written documents of British ruling class the only way to avoid socialist revolution in this country said the President of the FBI in 1942 is to introduce social democratic reforms so in the 1940s we saw that transformation across Europe that again would not have been possible without the existence of the Soviet Union and a strength so the general crisis rolled forward run forward again in the nineteen sixties with Cuba and with further transformations in terms of socialist forces across across the world and colonial liberation but conversely at the same time we have the consequence of what happened in 1990 with the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the socialist world forces and I think we can see almost conversely the weight exercised by the Soviet Union with that disintegration because in 1991 and the period since we've seen the chlorine back of all the concessions with Social Democratic concessions in Europe and their re imposition of a new level of exploitation across the world we've seen a global shift of capital to exploit new areas that were not available to the capitalist exploitation before and that of course goes by the name of globalization which is really a further phase in appearance all these things have happened as a result of the disintegration of the Soviet which for all its weaknesses invitations up to 1991 nonetheless at that force was able to sustain anti colonial and liberation treatments across Africa and Asia he was able to provide that balance to a unipolar world but maintained a rule peace in the world or at least of two generations but that was 1991 the contradictions of course remained and they had worsened because capitalism can't get rid of its contradictions get rid of it's over accumulation of capital but it's declining rate of profit but it's need continually to raise the rate of exploitation you see that graphically at the moment where they have manufactured vast quantities of fictitious capital that is bringing the financial system to the urge of crisis and which can only be covered by increasing the rate of exploitation the extraction of surplus value out of a people and that is why you have an income policy to tell you why the police are only being given a 2% increase other public servants are being given a 2% increase less than the rate of inflation in order to be able to increase the rate of exploitation while you've got workers striking across Europe against the taking away of pensions and other rights while you've got struggles in Latin America Asia and Africa against to intensify exploitation so the general crisis continues and it continues also in terms of the vigor and strength of the International communist movement and also to that matter with all the weaknesses and limitations of the existence of continued existence of socialist countries very different kinds from China to Vietnam to Cuba to Belarus all following different paths at different levels of problem different levels of working class activity and emancipation but nonetheless still to some extent acting as a counter and a very powerful country in some ways to the United States and working a highlight of that memory was of course the demonstration in Moscow the biggest demonstration they've had in that city for 15 years where something please put the estimate of those taking part of the 15,000 which is a figure that is important both for what it tells you of the reviving strength of commitment in them in Russia but also measured against the size of the population muscle yourself you've got a population 12 million we've seen demonstrations of a million London and how many in Glasgow in 2003 or something like what if 200,000 gets the war it was massive anyway there was something of that order 50,000 so it shows some of the limitations but it also shows to some extent the impact of the trauma of the disintegration of Soviet Union on the people of Russia where the actual length of life for men has declined by 10 years where all the social benefits that they previously have have been if not taken away in Thailand have been massively limited where there is an enormous level of poverty the level of disparity of income between the top 10% of the population in the bottom 10% under the Soviet Union was one for for people who say that was far too much but it was won't afford to take in Russia it is one 260 and the bottom third of the population live in the condition of absolute poverty and two-thirds live in a condition of deprivation only ten percent could be said to be lived in any way that was comfortable and it is a population that has also been through trauma brought home to me I met the widow of the previous one previous correspondence of the morning star might gathered off the people probably read in 1990 1 2 3 he was in the in the siege of the duma people remember the scenes of the tumour in 1993 some people will remember that but others if you want you will have probably be reminded perpetually every year on the anniversary of the tenements were massacred about that by the BBC but none of what happened in 1993 at the Russian tomb the Russian Duma at that point had achieved a majority that opposed Yeltsin and that was refusing to ratify his measures for the full privatization of the Russian economy the majority of Communists and nationalists yacht's in' decided to parole to suspend and dissolve the elected parliament it refused to go it mobilized around it a massive demonstration of the population yup s'en then turned his tanks about with the full backing of Western governments the minimum estimate those killed was 500 at Western press others said it was about a thousand now the maximum number of people who are known to have been killed and James whereas probably about 200 but you never hear the anniversary of the killing of people every year in BBC and I think that shows the degree of propaganda of bias but it also had an enormous dramatic effect on the population and that was the first demonstration she said of anything comparable sighs the one that took place three weeks ago in the school I think what we've seen since of the elections in a sense indicates the strengths and weaknesses of that situation in Moscow the election results it shows the limits of the mass consciousness shows on the one hand the collapse in the right wing liberal parties to cease the yearning for the past it seems a rallying for authoritarian solutions under Putin himself and to a good citizen of Soviet Russia I think again that shows all the problems that have gotta be faced in Russia today anyway just to say that I think the true strength of the International meeting was shown at the actual discussions that took place over two days previously and it was a strength revealed not by the numbers of parties later parties but in terms of the ability to analyze critically and creatively on the basis of real-life experience of mass parties conducting mass struggle in difficult circumstances across the globe just to mention a few of the Indian communists who are a nice party I think they've got 60 members of parliament reported on their success in preventing the Indian government from concluding its the nuclear technology agreement for the United States that is absolutely critical in terms of the balance of power in Asia they had by popular mobilization and the use of their power in Parliament frustrated that so that attempt at treaty is now null and void the Brazilian Communists talked about their struggle to turn the government in Brazil which they are part towards the left in Bolivia the Bolivian party which is again part of the government talked of deepening the democratic democratization process and the threats of counter-revolution in Bolivia masterminded by in Cuba they talked to building a Latin American alliance to thwart United States in circles and also talked about some of the achievements of the road in terms of the environment and energy in Venezuela the governor's party which is a leading force in Venezuela talked about consolidating the foundations of the new democratic power in terms of participate Rhian democracy the parties of Greece Italy Portugal talked about the alliances that were being developed to defend the Social Democratic gains of the post-war appeal and the mass strikes the particular place in those countries but also the reports parties operating illegally or facing any gallatin the Czech party where the ycl has already been banned is a criminal offense to be a member of the Czech ycl talked about its success in mobilizing a mass alliance against the footing of new Star Wars bases in their country and the degree to which they have now immobilized a majority alliance against us pursuing in Hungary where the entire leadership of the Communist Party has recently been on trial and given prison sentences suspended at the moment but nonetheless prison sentences where it is illegal to wear and we're starved currently the street it has things we talked about the fight in their country which they lead against the privatization of health services the general secretary of the Latvian party appeared for the first time to meeting after eight years in jail so you have the experiences of parties operating in all illegality the relevant parties of China and Vietnam Laos and Belarus where communists are ruling parties from very very different backgrounds with very different experiences complex problems developing economy and developing democracy in this case but in all it was a critical analysis was one that didn't back away from the real life problems because people were trying to lead Maspero and I think that is the strength of that Communist tradition based upon the tradition that stemmed from the socialist revolution of 1917 it's the legacy of Communists not an easy one but one on which I think I could say that the future of humanity without any kind of boastfulness at all but on learning those lessons the future of humanity the peace does depend on a ghost we took end with Marx his comics on the overthrown lady's suppression of the Condon written just in your office the soil out of which our communist movement grows is modern society itself it cannot be spanked out by any amount of carnage new many of the people have been executed by these prisoners by the French government to stand without the government's would have to stamp out the despotism of capital though Elena the conditions of their own parasitical existence the same could decide the terms of the continuing crisis of capitalism the legacy of the Russian Revolution

2 thoughts on “Russian Communist 1917 Revolution: A Celebration

  • Two main reasons why USSR collapsed were the Head of State and "Nomenklatura". Gorbachev was a bad ruler, too passionate with west. Nomenklatura had privileges over others. That created social segregation.
    I think that in peaceful times communist state should not have Head of State. Only Supreme Soviet(Council). In harsh times people can decide to call for elections of Head of the State (magister populi,dictator) to rule. Early Republican Rome is a good example.
    Everything above is my humble opinion.

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