The Great Debate between Revolutionary China and the Revisionist Soviet Union

Mao Tse-tung and Enver Hoxha

Mao Tse-tung and Enver Hoxha

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The Great Debate between Revolutionary China and the Revisionist Soviet Union

In just under three years after the death of Joseph Stalin (in March 1953) the Soviet Revisionists, under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev, had enough confidence in their strength to be able to denounce Stalin (but basically all the revolutionary developments in Soviet society since the October Revolution of 1917) at a closed session of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union held in February 1956.

The calculated manner in which this denunciation was planned caused confusion in the International Communist Movement (obviously the aim) and allowed those cowards and social democrats who had been allowed to wheedle themselves into Communist Parties throughout the world to throw their hands up in horror and create even more confusion – with the result that the movement was weakened worldwide.

Khrushchev’s speech was just the start of the attack upon revolutionary Socialism, Marxism-Leninism and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. The lack lustre defence of those principles by the majority of the Communist and Workers Parties throughout the world (or at least in the majority of their leadership and a not inconsiderable number of the members) only served to encourage the Soviet revisionists to go further in their destruction of socialism and the restoration of capitalism in the first workers and peasants socialist state. One of the victims of that development was Khrushchev himself who was thrown out when he had done what was needed at the time. He quickly reached his sell by date.

Only two parties in the position of holding state power were united on the struggle against the revisionists – the Communist Party of China and the Party of Labour of Albania. Below are pamphlets produced by the Chinese Party which record what was to become known as the ‘International Polemic’ – an ideological battle between revolutionaries and revisionists which pleased capitalism and imperialism but which, ultimately, made revolutionary forces throughout the world stronger in that the issues of what separated revolutionaries from the rest were clearly delineated.

In China this ideological struggle was further developed during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of 1966-76 – initiated by Chairman Mao Tse-tung as the only opportunity for the workers and peasants to remain in control of the society they had been building since 1949. This debate was also carried on in the pages of the magazines produced at the time, principally the weekly political and informative magazine Peking Review but also in China Reconstructs and China Pictorial.

The standpoint of the Party of Labour of Albania can be read in the many documents they produced from the 1950s onwards (into the 1980s) as well as the pages of the monthly, theoretical magazine Albania Today and the writings of the Albanian leader, Enver Hoxha.

Prelude

More on the Historical Experience of the Proletarian Dictatorship, a summary of a discussion at an enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China focusing on the question of Stalin, which appeared in Renmin Ribao [People’s Daily] on December 29, 1956. (London: CPGB, 1957), 32 pages.

Collections of Early Documents

In Refutation of Modern Revisionism, 7 major editorials and articles from May-June 1958. (Peking: FLP, 1958), 102 pages. Consists of the following documents:

  • Resolution on the Moscow Meetings of Representatives of Communist and Workers’ Parties, adopted May 23, 1958 by the 2nd Session of the 8th National Congress of the CCP.
  • Modern Revisionism Must Be Repudiated, Renmin Ribao [People’s Daily] editorial of May 5, 1958.
  • Modern Revisionism Must Be Fought To The End, Renmin Ribao [People’s Daily] editorial of June 4, 1958.
  • Yugoslav Revisionism — Product of Imperialist Policy, by Chen Po-ta, Hongqi [Red Flag], June 1, 1958 issue.
  • Yugoslav Revisionism Is Just What U.S. Imperialism Needs, by Kang Sheng, Renmin Ribao, June 14, 1958. In Refutation of Modern Revisionism’s Reactionary Theory of the State, by Wang Chia-hsiang, Hongqi, June 16, 1958 issue.
  • The More They Try to Hide, the More They are Exposed — On Tito’s Speech of June 15, by Renmin Ribao Commentator, June 26, 1958.

Whence the Differences? a large book containing most of the early English language articles and pamphlets in the condemnation of revisionism that were published in China. [This new title is on the photographic reprint of the volume done by New Era publishers in Bath, England around 1970. The original edition published in China is entitled Workers of All Countries, Unite, Oppose Our Common Enemy! (Peking: FLP, 1963)], 402 pages. Consists of the following documents:

Workers of All Countries, Unite, Oppose our Common Enemy!, Renmin Ribao [People’s Daily] editorial, Dec. 15, 1962.

The Differences Between Comrade Togliatti and Us, Renmin Ribao editorial, Dec. 31, 1962. Leninism and Modern Revisionism, Hongqi [Red Flag] editorial, No. 1, 1963.

Let Us Unite on the Basis of the Moscow Declaration and the Moscow Statement, Renmin Ribao editorial, Jan. 27, 1963.

Whence the Differences? — A Reply to Thorez and Other Comrades, Renmin Ribao editorial, Feb. 27, 1963.

More on the Differences Between Comrade Togliatti and Us, by the editorial department of Hongqi, Nos. 3-4, 1963.

  • I. Introduction
  • II. The nature of the present great debate among communists
  • III. Contradictions in the contemporary world
  • IV. War and peace
  • V. The state and revolution
  • VI. Despise the enemy strategically, take him seriously tactically
  • VII. A struggle on two fronts
  • VIII. Workers of all countries, unite!

A Comment on the Statement of the Communist Party of the U.S.A., Renmin Ribao editorial, March 8, 1963.

A Mirror for Revisionists, Renmin Ribao editorial, March 9, 1963.

Individual Early Pamphlets

Long Live Leninism, (Peking: FLP, 1960) Consists of three parts:

  • Long Live Leninism!, by the Editorial Department of Hongqi.
  • Forward Along the Path of the Great Lenin!, by the Editorial Department of Renmin Ribao.
  • Unite Under Lenin’s Revolutionary Banner, by Lu Ting-yi. 58 pages

The Struggle Between Two Lines at the Moscow World Congress of Women, six statements, articles and reports. (Peking: FLP, 1963), 70 pages. [Our apologies for the darkened paper in the copy scanned, though it is still quite legible.]

The Truth About How the Leaders of the CPSU have Allied Themselves with India against China, by the Editorial Department of Renimin Ribao [People’s Daily], Nov. 2, 1963, and including an article reprinted from Pravda as an appendix. (Peking: FLP, 1963), 60 pages.

Formal Inter-Party Letters

A Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement: The Letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in Reply to the Letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of March 30, 1963, June 14, 1963, (Peking: FLP, 1963), 124 pages. Includes as appendices 3 letters from the the CC of the CPSU (Feb. 21, 1963; March 9, 1963; and March 30, 1963). This is one of the most important and most famous documents in the entire history of the world Communist movement.

Seven Letters Exchanged Between the Central Committees of the Communist Party of China and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, (Peking: FLP, 1964), 84 pages. Includes 4 letters from the CC of the CCP in 1964 (Feb. 20; Feb. 27; Feb. 29; and May 7) and 3 letters from the CC of the CPSU (Nov. 29, 1963; Feb. 22, 1964; and March 7, 1964).

Letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in Reply to the Letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Dated June 15, 1964, July 28, 1964, (Peking: FLP, 1964), 60 pages. (Includes the CPSU letter being responded to.)

Letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in Reply to the Letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Dated July 30, 1964, August 30, 1964, (Peking: FLP, 1964), 24 pages. (Includes the CPSU letter being responded to.)

Letter of Reply Dated March 22, 1966 of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, (Peking: FLP, 1966), 16 pages. (Includes the CPSU letter of Feb. 24, 1966 being responded to.)

The Polemic on the General Line of the International Communist Movement

The Polemic on the General Line of the International Communist Movement published in Peking by the Foreign Languages Press in 1965, 604 pages.

Individual articles in this collection, most of which are Comments on the Open Letter of the Central Committee of the CPSU, and are jointly written by the editorial departments of Renmin Ribao and Hongqi, are also available here in individual pamphlet form:

Other Pamphlets from the Great Debate

A Comment on the March Moscow Meeting, by the editorial departments of Renmin Ribao and Hongqi, March 23, 1965, 42 pages.

A Great Victory for Leninism – In Commemoration of the 95th Anniversary of the Birth of Lenin, Hongqi [Red Flag] editorial, #4, 1965. (Peking: FLP, 1965), 19 pages.

Carry the Struggle Against Khrushchov Revisionism Through to the End – On the Occasion of the Second Anniversary of the Publication of ‘A Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement’, by the editorial departments of Renmin Ribao (People’s Daily) and Hongqi [Red Flag], June 14, 1965, 24 pages. [Our apologies; we were unable to remove part of the underlining in this pamphlet.]

Refutation of the New Leaders of the CPSU on ‘United Action’, by the editorial departments of Renmin Ribao and Hongqi, Nov. 11, 1965, 44 pages.

The Leaders of the CPSU are Betrayers of the Declaration and Statement, by the editorial department of Renmin Ribao [People’s Daily], Dec. 20, 1965, 16 pages.

Confessions Concerning the Line of Soviet-U.S. Collaboration Pursued by the New Leaders of the CPSU, by Commentator in Hongqi [Red Flag], Feb. 11, 1966, (Peking: FLP, 1966), 24 pages.

Some Questions Concerning Modern Revisionist Literature in the Soviet Union, by Hsiang Hung and Wei Ning. Also includes Selected Statements by Sholokhov, the Renegade Author, compiled by Chang Chun, and The True Features of the Renegade Sholokhov, by Tsai Hui. (Peking: FLP, 1966), 72 pages.

Smash the Big U.S.-Soviet Conspiracy! by Observer of Renmin Ribao, Feb. 20, 1967, about collusion and joint attempts by the U.S. and the Soviet Union to end the revolutionary war in south Vietnam. (Peking: FLP, 1967), 22 pages.

Advance Along the Road Opened Up by the October Socialist Revolution: In Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, by the editorial departments of Renmin Ribao, Hongqi and Jiefangjun Bao [Liberation Army Daily], Nov. 6, 1967, 40 pages. Includes also Comrade Lin Piao’s Speech at the Peking Rally Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the October Revolution, Nov. 6, 1967.

How the Soviet Revisionists Carry Out All-Round Restoration of Capitalism in the U.S.S.R., reference material from articles in Renmin Ribao and from Hsinhua News Agency, (Peking: FLP, 1968), 88 pages.

Total Bankruptcy of Soviet Modern Revisionism, six articles including two speeches by Chou En-lai, August-September 1968. (Peking: FLP, 1968), 92 pages.

Ugly Performance of Self-Exposure, by Chung Jen, originally published in Chinese in Renmin Ribao, August 14, 1969. (Peking: FLP, 1969), 24 pages.

An Outspoken Revelation, Hsinhua News Agency, April 16, 1970 dispatch. (Peking: FLP, 1970),  22 pages.

Leninism or Social-Imperialism? – In Commemoration of the Centenary of the Birth of the Great Lenin, by the editorial departments of Renmin Ribao, Hongqi and Jiefangjun Bao, April 22, 1970, 78 pages.

Cheap Propaganda, 5 commentaries by Hsinhua Correspondent about hypocritical calls by the Soviet Union for disarmament, August-December 1973, 40 pages. (Peking: FLP, 1974)

Ghost of Confucius, Fond Dream of the New Tsars, 3 commentaries by mass criticism groups and by a Hsinhua correspondent. (Peking: FLP, 1974), 49 pages.

Ugly Features of Soviet Social-Imperialism, a collection of articles from 1973-1975 exposing the Soviet Union as an imperialist power and international exploiter. (Peking: FLP, 1976), 96 pages. Includes:

  • The Superpower Label for Soviet Revisionism Cannot be Removed, by Fan Hsiao
  • The Brezhnev Clique is Following in Hitler’s Footsteps, commentary by Hsinhua Correspondent
  • A Black Line Running Through Two Dynasties — on the new tsars justifying old tsars’ aggression and expansion, commentary by Hsinhua Correspondent
  • Soviet Union — Superpower and Super-Exploiter, commentary by Hsinhua Correspondent
  • C.M.E.A. — Soviet Revisionism’s Instrument for Neo-Colonialism, commentary by Hsinhua Correspondent
  • Sinister Programme of Neo-Colonialism — Soviet revisionists’ vicious motives in peddling theory of ‘international division of labour’ in Third World, by Chai Chang
  • Honey on Lips, Murder in Heart — Social-imperialist nature of Soviet revisionists’ ‘military aid’ to Egypt exposed, by Fan Hsiu-chu and Chung Tung
  • Where is the ‘Dawn of Peace and Co-operation’?, by Mei Ou
  • Warsaw Treaty Organization — Soviet Social-Imperialism’s Tool for Aggression, by Ming Sung
  • Essence of Soviet Revisionists’ ‘All-Europe Economic Co-operation’, by Cheng Wei-min
  • Outright Deceit, Ulterior Motives — On Soviet revisionists peddling ‘Asian collective security system’ in Southeast Asia, commentary by Hsinhua Correspondent
  • Repulse Wolf at Front Gate, Guard Against Tiger at Back Door, by Jen Ku-ping

Social Imperialism: The Soviet Union Today, a collection of articles from Peking Review from 1975-1976, 148 pages. (Berkeley: Yenan Books, 1977).

The Soviet Union Under the New Tsars, by Wei Chi, 100 pages.

Documents from Parties and Individuals in Other Countries Critising Soviet Revisionism (Published in China)

Raise Higher the Revolutionary Banner of Marxism-Leninism, 3 articles by the Korean People’s Worker’s Party from 1962 and 1963 opposing revisionism, 44 pages. [Note: Our apologies for the condition of the pamphlet we scanned, which was literally falling apart. We scanned it in color to increase the contrast of the black print with the yellowed pages.] (Peking: FLP, 1963)

Certain International Questions Affecting Malaya, from the Malayan Monitor, Jan. 31, 1963. (Peking: FLP, 1963), 24 pages.

Reply to Khrushchov – Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Brazil, including the abridged text of the resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Brazil of July 27, 1963, and also the article The Great Theory of Marxism-Leninism is Bound to Triumph on Our Continent, by José Duarte, originally from the Brazilian journal A Classe Operária, Aug. 16-31, 1963. (Peking: FLP, 1964), 32 pages.

Statement of Ten Central Committee Members of the Ceylon Communist Party, October 27, 1963. Also includes To All Marxist-Leninists Inside the Ceylon Communist Party (Nov. 17, 1963). (Peking: FLP, 1964), 44 pages.

‘Theory’ and Practice of the Modern Revisionists, by Jacques Grippa, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Belgium, a speech delivered at the Higher Party School fo the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on June 10, 1964. (Peking: FLP, 1965), 60 pages. [Note: Although Grippa initially supported China during the Sino-Soviet Split, he then began to oppose China during the GPCR, and in 1968 actually gave a speech in support of Liu Shaoqi!]

Malayan People’s Experience Refutes Revisionist Fallacies – Sixteenth Anniversary of the Malayan People’s Armed Struggle, June 30, 1964, 24 pages. (Peking: FLP, 1965)

On the Intrinsic Nature of N.S. Khrushchov’s Peaceful Co-Existence Line, an article by Observer in Akahata, organ of the Communist Party of Japan, Nov. 22, 1964. (Peking: FLP, 1965), 62 pages.

On Interventions in and Subversive Activities Against the Democratic Movements of Our Country and Our Party by the CPSU Leadership and the Institutions and Organizations Under its Guidance, an article in Akahata, organ of the Communist Party of Japan, June 22, 1965. (Peking: FLP, 1966), 54 pages.

Border Disputes and Military Confrontations and Incidents Between China and the U.S.S.R.

Down With the New Tsars! a collection of statements and articles condemning the incursion of military forces of the revisionist Soviet Union onto China’s Chenpao Island in the Wusuli River in Heilungkiang Province. (Peking: FLP, 1969), 78 pages.

Down With the New Tsars! – Soviet Revisionists’ Anti-China Atrocities on the Heilung and Wusuli Rivers, photo-filled pamphlet, (Peking: FLP, 1969), 76 pages.

Statement of the Government of the People’s Republic of China (May 24, 1969), regarding the border dispute with the Soviet Union. Also includes the Note of the Hsinhua News Agency on the Publication of the Full Text of the Soviet Government’s Statement of March 29 (May 24, 1969). (Peking: FLP, 1969), 48 pages.

Statement of the Government of the People’s Republic of China (October 7, 1969), regarding the border dispute with the Soviet Union. Also includes the Document of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC—Refutation of the Soviet Government’s Statement of June 13, 1969 (Oct. 8, 1969), (Peking: FLP, 1974), 2nd printing, 40 pages.

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The Centenary of the October Revolution of 1917

Lenin, Stalin and Dzerzhinsky at the Smolny

Lenin, Stalin and Dzerzhinsky at the Smolny

The centenary of the most important event in the history of the world occurs on the 7th November 2017. On that day a hundred years ago the working class and peasantry of Russia took power into their own hands and attempted to build a new world order.

I have already looked at that event in another, earlier post, but as we live in a world that is obsessed with anniversaries (and I’m falling into that trap, being in Leningrad at the time of the centenary) perhaps it’s time to re-address the issues that were brought up by that tremendous, earth shattering event.

We can gauge the magnitude of the events in that year by the way capitalism did it’s best to destroy the nascent Soviet state.

Lenin – the leader of the Bolsheviks – together with James Connolly of the Irish Republican Army, were the only socialist leaders to condemn the slaughter of the First World War as soon as it started. Social democratic apologists for capitalism (such as the British Labour Party) reneged on their declarations against war (made at Stuttgart and Basel in 1907 and 1912 respectively) as soon as they were put to the test. Only the true Communists had kept to their principles and the imperialist countries knew they were dealing with a dangerous proletarian force when Lenin was at the head of the revolutionary party.

The capitalist countries saw red and realised that the Bolshevik Revolution was like no other that had preceded it. What the Parisian workers had attempted to achieve, in the Paris Commune of 1871, had been suppressed with the wholesale slaughter of tens of thousands of men, women and children. Capitalism would go to the same extremes to achieve a similar result in Russia. As the tools for this they used their pathetic, confused and ignorant workers (who had spent more four years killing each other for the benefit of their own oppressors) who were told to attack the first workers’ state. Like the sheep they had become they fed the resulting ‘Civil War’ when more people were killed than in the imperialist war itself.

The Revolution was celebrated by revolutionary workers all over the world as the harbinger of a new society, free from exploitation and oppression. A revolution ‘is not a dinner party’, as Chairman Mao said, and the ignorant, pusillanimous and forelock tugging workers and their collaborationist ‘Labour/Socialist’ parties have attacked and condemned the October Revolution for the necessary measures taken to defend, promote and develop the workers state on the road to build Socialism – and eventually Communism.

The road followed by the Soviet Union, alone, until joined by the People’s Republic of Albania in 1944, the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and much later, after an heroic battle against American Imperialism, the People’s Republic of Vietnam in 1975, was tortuous, long and hard.

Massive achievements were made – as well as mistakes. If a revolution is predictable it’s not a revolution. But what was achieved by the Soviet people, in the field of industrial production, the collectivisation of agriculture and the fearless, heroic and self-sacrifice that led to the defeat of the Nazi beast, was of immeasurable benefit to the people’s of the world – and a lesson which those exploited and oppressed of the world need to understand and emulate.

But those that inherit a revolution are not those who made it. They benefit from the achievements but want more – those ‘benefits’ of capitalism with which no socialist state can compete. And that’s things. Things like consumer goods, the fickle trinkets of mass production, that entice stupid people away from what is truly meaningful for a full and fruitful life – those necessities, like health, education and the ability to contribute to society through productive activity.

The revolution in the Soviet Union was lost in 1956 at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) where Nikita Khrushchev denounced Comrade Joseph Stalin and all the achievements of the previous 29 years and the period of Socialist construction in a sixth of the world’s land mass ended.

For a further 24 years the ‘Revisionist’ version of Communism promoted by the CPSU spread like a virus throughout the world, creating confusion and division within the working class. This was the task that had been taken on board by Social Democracy, after it’s betrayal of the working class in 1914 (by calling upon the workers in their respective countries to kill each other for the benefit of capitalism) but the Soviet renegades sowed more confusion by continuing to call themselves Communists and claiming to follow the revolutionary ideology of Marxism-Leninism. Their pathetic demise in 1991 was too long in coming.

A hundred years after the magnificent event (the images of which are more influenced by those who have seen the film’ October’ by the revolutionary Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein than what actually happened) the situation is very different.

Capitalism has been re-introduce in tooth and claw. Instead of free health, education, secure employment, pensions and an infrastructure that benefits the majority everything has now been privatised. The collective wealth created by Socialist workers has been stolen by opportunist thieves. One of these scumbag ‘oligarchs’ has a boat sitting of the coast of Turkey which is bigger than the Cruiser ‘Aurora’ that signalled the start of the attack on the Winter Palace and the virtual beginning of the Socialist Revolution.

(Perhaps it’s a sign of our times that a grand, ancient name has been given to a bunch of opportunist thugs and common thieves.)

But that’s the problem for the people of Russia of today. They are not the brave and courageous innovators of the past. Revolution is not passed down through the genes. They are the submissive, afraid and confused that populate most countries, especially those in the ‘so-called’ civilized ‘west’, Europe, North America and certain parts of the South-eastern Asia.

Putin plays the nationalist card, courts the church – of whatever denomination – in an attempt to maintain his power. After Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Andropov, Gobshite, and the Vodka Soaked Drunk Yeltsin, Putin is just a greedy opportunist who prays on civil society. After this bunch of cretins how can anyone, with a modicum of sense, criticise Uncle Joe’s policy of purging the Party of opportunist elements?

So no real celebration of the most important event in the history of the world in the place where it occurred.

That’s good.

Leningrad (it will always have that name to me), the cradle of the revolution, has been renamed St Petersburg (the Germanic name that was used before the First World War, and not even the Russified version of Petrograd) was where it all started 100 years ago. If there’s any ‘official’ attempt to recognise the event this is manifested in museum gallery exhibitions that seek to denigrate the success of the Bolsheviks rather than celebrate it.

Re-writing of history is the name of the game.

Denigration of the Socialist past is almost at a fascist level. Having had to suffer the ‘impartiality’ of the British media for so long, it’s quite refreshing to see a total ideological war against the past.

The Russian state has not decided to ignore the past – that would be impossible even in the present circumstances – rather they have chosen to re-interpret it.

Exhibitions in both Moscow and Leningrad at the end of 2017 that relate to the events of 1917 are a propaganda attempt to undermine the Revolution. In an effort to denigrate the importance of both Lenin and Stalin (as well as other truly revolutionary leaders) they promote Trotsky – if anyone was unsure of his counter-revolutionary nature the adoption of him as a ‘revolutionary icon’ by Putin’s state should clarify matters. (There was even an advert on Russian TV about a mini series around Trotsky’s life. He was considered a capitalist agent in the times of Socialism and he is becoming a ‘revolutionary’ icon by those who have been restoring total capitalist control of the country.)

For some reason, which I don’t really understand, Voroshilov has been added to the ‘devils’ of the past alongside JV Stalin. There’s obviously an agenda there but I’m not sure what. As with the so-called ‘rehabilitation’ of the traitors and foreign agents of the 1930s those who have been chosen by the present, capitalist regime are chosen for a reason – they are symbols of their aspirations.

This has been taken to bizarre extremes at times. At an exhibition in Leningrad, for example, in a section about propaganda (I don’t see this word as necessarily having a negative connotation) during the building of Socialism the information cards declare that the Soviet State only sought to eliminate illiteracy because this would make more people susceptible to brain washing Soviet propaganda.

The perfidious Communists were trying to out-do the obsfucators of the past, in Britain for example, who used Latin in the church and the courts so that the ordinary people wouldn’t be able to understand what was being said. By actually teaching them to read and write the Soviet ‘propaganda machine’ could be more easily absorbed by the basically ignorant workers and peasants. The double thinking here is remarkable.

Socialism goes contrary to all previous social systems based on class, exploitation and oppression. The most important aspect of the creation of a new kind of man and woman is the changing of the selfish mindset that is a close partner of class systems. This is the cultural revolution that all socialist societies have instituted in one form or another. Socialist values of collectivity and respect for all is an anathema to capitalism. Only an intellectually adept people are capable of building a society free from all the evils of the past.

Those in power in Russia today are quite happy to feed their population with the garbage that capitalism has to offer, from the likes of McDonald’s, KFC and Coca-Cola to the cheap, nasty and moronic TV shows copied from western Europe, the only difference being the language. Shit in,shit out.

If you placed these cretinous curators of exhibitions in a novel nobody would believe them credible.

But that’s not really an issue. The country has betrayed its revolutionary past. It has no right to claim the Revolution as its property as it’s people have rejected that revolution for a capitalist lifestyle – together with all the consequences of a capitalist society. If they complain about their present reality then they only have themselves to blame.

The present ‘Communist Party of the Russian Federation’ is more akin to the revisionist party that betrayed the Revolution than the Bolshevik Party of Lenin and Stalin. I wouldn’t trust them to change a light bulb let alone a country. They make token gestures to the event of a hundred years ago but chose to hold a meeting in Moscow at the exact time of the centenary. If nothing else they display no concept of history – something important for a revolutionary. If you don’t know, care or understand where you come from how can you know where to go in the future?

The people of St Petersburg walk the same streets as the revolutionaries but they don’t walk in their footsteps. The chances of them reversing the changes of the last 60 years are nil – unless the country has to confront another major crisis such as WWI. (But then they are no different from the workers of any other country where revolutions are only made when people are weak and in crisis rather than from positions of strength and stability.) If the lesson of the October Revolution is anything else it’s that we haven’t learnt the lessons of the October Revolution.

If the workers, peasants and poor of the world made a revolution when they wanted rather than waiting until it was a necessity then their future would be easier. They wait until the last moment and build the new from the literal ruins of the old rather than using the old as a foundation for the new.

Whether the centenary of the October Revolution will prompt the exploited and oppressed to look at their own situation anew is doubtful. But one thing is certain, for those who want to exert their own dignity the Great October Proletarian Revolution will remain a beacon which lights the future.

Long Live the Revolution of the 7th November 1917!

7th November – The October Revolution

Attack on the Winter Palace

Attack on the Winter Palace

Today is probably the most important day in the history of the international working class. Ninety seven years ago workers, sailors and soldiers under the organisation of the Russian Social Democrat Workers Party (Bolshevik) stormed the Winter Palace, the symbolic centre of Tsarism and latterly the headquarters of the ineffectual Provisional Government. That action took place on, and became known as, the 7th November – The October Revolution.

Some people are confused that the October Revolution in Russia took place in November. The simple answer is that the backwardness of the Russian society under the Tsars, an autocratic and theocratic state, was demonstrated not only by its almost feudal relations with the peasantry but also by the fact that the country was still using the Julian calendar which had been dropped by most other countries hundreds of years before. This meant that the day that saw the cruiser The Aurora fire the shot to signal the beginning of the attack on the palace was reckoned as the 25th October in Russia but the 7th November elsewhere. As soon as was practically possible the new Bolshevik government brought the country into the 20th century, at the end of January 1918, by adopting the more accurate Gregorian calendar.

Although this revolution was to change the course of history, as no other had done in the past, it was relatively bloodless on that chaotic morning. There used to be a ‘joke’ in revolutionary circles that there were more people injured in the making of Sergei Eisenstein’s 1928 film ‘October’ (recreating the events of just over a decade earlier) than the real event.

If reaction and oppression couldn’t stop the revolution at the time it did all it could in the next 4 to 5 years to strangle the nascent workers’ and peasants’ state. Those imperialist powers that had been slaughtering each other (or more exactly had convinced their own workers to kill fellow workers of different countries) for almost four years – the start of which is now being cynically and hypocritically commemorated at this moment – banded together against a common enemy, the working class.

But under the leadership of the party that was to become the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolshevik) and its great leaders, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, the workers and peasants prevailed and started along the difficult and uncharted road towards Socialism.

The reason that the Party, having to surmount unimaginable obstacles and at a great human cost, was due to the Bolsheviks keeping their promise to the Russian people, downtrodden in both the countryside and the cities and tired of the slaughter that was the First World War. The very day after the revolution (26th October) a decree giving land to the peasants was passed and the following day (27th October) the Bolsheviks declared that they were not prepared to continue with the crime of worker killing worker.

Revolutions are not the same as dinner parties, as Chairman Mao said, and however well they are organised they rarely go to plan, there being too many variables and this happened to the intention to cease military action on the eastern front. Foolishly Lenin gave the task of the negotiations with the German High Command at the city of Brest-Litovsk to the recent ‘convert’ to Bolshevism Leon Trotsky.

Playing a role that his followers have played in the intervening years Trotsky went against the instructions of the Central Committee of the Party and dragged out the negotiations, thereby acting as the tool for those nations fighting against the German alliance (who wanted Russians to die and keep a large percentage of German troops away from the western front), causing the needless death of thousands of Russian workers and peasants and finally making an agreement that was more disadvantageous to the new Soviet State than it would have been if he had followed orders. (The erroneous ‘theories’ of Trotskyism, demonstrated by this approach, having failed to lead a successful revolution anywhere in the world in the last, almost, hundred years.)

Attempts at revolution in Hungary and German came to nought and the other capitalist nations went through crises and economic depression without the workers following the lead of the Soviets, thereby weakening themselves and the first socialist state.

Being the first is always difficult. Mistakes, as well as many successes, were made but capitalism never tires in its aim to maintain the system of oppression and exploitation. Whilst it had failed in the intervention with the 14 nations in the Civil War it hoped that the Fascists in Europe would finish the job. Unfortunately for imperialism the dogs of war decided to go for the easy touch first and France, Belgium and the Netherlands capitulated at the first opportunity and the British had to scuttle back across the English Channel, a disorderly retreat which is now depicted as a victory.

But the megalomania of the Nazis knew no bounds and it was inevitable that they would seek to destroy socialism in the Soviet Union. However, at a huge sacrifice in terms of human life and the material advances that had been made since the end of the Civil War (with industrialisation and collectivisation) the ‘Thousand Year Reich’ was utterly destroyed. The men and women of the Soviet Union had saved the world from Fascism.

Although defeated on the battlefield Fascism did have the effect of weakening the Soviet Union, the best and most committed communists being prepared to make the supreme sacrifice in order to save their revolutionary gains. This meant that when the revolution was attacked this time from the inside, following the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953, those revisionist elements within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union were able to move the country off the road of socialism.

The Soviet Union as an entity ceased to exist in 1991 but it ceased to be a socialist country long before that, the date being accepted by most Marxist-Leninist is that of the time of the 20th Congress of the CPSU in February 1956, when Khrushchev made his attack upon Stalin – but really on the whole concept of revolutionary socialism.

But in the same way that the October Revolution was made by the people so the defeat of that same revolution less that 40 years later was also the responsibility of the Soviet people. If they are treated as nothing more than pawns by their rulers then they have accepted that situation. If the working class is the class to move society to a higher level they can’t then cry that they are victims of forces beyond their control.

The slogan ‘ye are many, they are few’ is as valid today as it was when Shelley wrote the line almost 200 years ago.

Notwithstanding the fact that the Russian people have seen virtually all the advances made in those 40 years of socialism destroyed completely in the last 20 or so years, with gangsters and thieves using the natural wealth and the labour of the workers to buy football teams, huge yachts, a myriad of palaces and countless whores no one can take away from their grandfathers and grandmothers the achievements they made in the first half of the 20th century.

The men and women who make revolutions are rare and if a country can produce such a generation once in a millennium they are doing well. Despite the arrogance that oozes out of the capitalist propaganda machine that socialism is dead what those men and women started on 7th November 1917, the October Revolution, will forever be a beacon to the oppressed and exploited of the world.