November 7, 1917
106th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution
A Watershed Moment Still in the Making
November 7 marks the 106th anniversary of the 1917 Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia. In “ten days that shook the world,” the first ever socialist workers’ state was created. The architect of that revolution, the great V.I. Lenin, spoke to its significance saying that this revolution undertook the task of completing the democratic revolution that got underway in England in the 1660s. Old forms of governance based on liberal democracy and a bourgeois civil society were replaced with new ones. This created a socialist civil society with full employment, free education, health care and housing for all and no taxes. It provided political equality before the law, full democracy to elect and be elected, no class privileges and no exploiting classes. It affirmed that peace, prosperity, freedom and fraternal unity of the peoples are not merely a utopia, a pipe dream. They are attainable and the necessity of our times.
Today, the dregs of the deposed ruling classes of that time are consumed with a spectre of communism which haunts them every time they engage in practices which go against the people’s interests. They have created a stereotype of socialism which is a figment of their deranged imaginations, dominated by morbid preoccupation with their own demise.
Such is the case in the United States during the unfolding campaign for the 2024 presidential election with candidate and former president Donald Trump, who is facing several federal charges, claiming that U.S. President Joe Biden, “together with a band of his closest thugs, misfits and Marxists, tried to destroy American democracy.” He added, “If the communists get away with this, it won’t stop with me.” As well, in numerous campaign emails and social media posts in recent months, Trump is fond of claiming that under the Biden administration, the U.S. will become a “third world Marxist regime” or a “tyrannical Marxist nation.”
In like fashion, Biden refutes Trump’s accusations, and does so in a manner that also denigrates socialism. In defending various pay-the-rich schemes that others accuse of being socialist, he says things like “And, by the way, I’m a capitalist. I’m not a socialist.” On another occasion, he referred to those who make such accusations against him as “idiots.”
Such is also the case in the defamatory imperialist propaganda against countries like China or Russia that are fighting for their right to be, which are called authoritarian regimes that must be brought to heel by following the constitutional order espoused in the United States, Britain, Canada and other countries. This constitutional order is a Westminster-style democracy based on the 17th century Covenant Thesis, which was given rise to after the English Civil War in the 1660s. Though outdated and not in sync with the needs of the 21st century, the rule through ministerial prerogative powers is said to be the paradigm of democracy. The so-called rules-based international order these powers espouse is in fact the paradigm of authoritarian rule. Nonetheless, accusations are hurled against those who are seen to be rivals over control of the sources of cheap resources, labour, markets for the export of capital and zones of influence. All of it is used to divert the attention of the workers and peoples of the world from how decision-making takes place, and how to create a system which is able to effectively channel all the human and material resources of their countries in a manner which favours them. This is something which cannot be done by imposing governments of police powers as the U.S. imperialists and their allies, including Canada, are doing.
In celebrating the achievements of the Great October Revolution, it is important to appreciate how the revolutionaries led by V.I. Lenin solved the problem of vesting the decision-making power in the working class and working masses. Where the decision-making power lies must be acknowledged if a system is to be devised which puts it into the hands of the people. It is important to study the achievements of the Soviet Union and the people’s democracies on this front, including the difficulties they faced, their cause and the means taken to deal with them. Lenin in his time and under the conditions which prevailed at that time, undertook crucial work to complete the democratic revolution which had gotten under way after the English civil war in the 1660s. Leninism provided the theoretical foundation and modern definitions of democracy which constituted Soviet power.
Today also, theoretical work is required to provide modern definitions for democracy, people’s power, majority rule, public interest and all other related affairs, to make sure a system of rule is brought into being which gives the crucial role to the working class and people to resolve the problem they and their society face. These solutions must activate the human factor/social consciousness to humanize the natural and social environment so as to provide society with an aim which puts human beings and rights by virtue of being human at the centre of its concerns. In the absence of this work, the ruling circles will continue to usurp the political power and wield it against the interest of the working class and people, causing massive damage to the social and natural environment and the danger of greater disasters because they activate the anti-human factor/anti-social consciousness.
In fact, the more the counterrevolution launched since the fall of the former Soviet Union deepens, the more the significance of the Great October Revolution to human history increases. It was the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union which led to its collapse in the 1989-91 period. It was not a failure of socialism but of capitalism. Since then, the consequences of the U.S.-led brutal neo-liberal anti-social offensive and the wars it has unleashed to achieve regime change and domination continue to cause tremendous damage to the peoples of the world and planet earth. The crimes the U.S. and its allies, including Israel, are causing today are unprecedented and it is only the people’s striving for their own empowerment which will bring this state of affairs to an end.
In the conditions of the retreat of revolution, the world is now waking up to take stock of what it means to have a society such as the one which came into being in 1917 when Soviet Russia was established and Soviet power created a new society where the workers decided all matters in a manner which favoured their interests.
The conditions of the present are forcing all concerned to look at the most important events of the past from the vantage point of the needs of the present, to assist in securing the future. All over the world, the peoples are striving to bring new forms into being, based on democratic principles which vest sovereign decision-making power in the people in a manner which is consistent with the needs of the 21st century.
The October Revolution brought to power those forces which lay dormant in the bosom of the old society. The workers, peasants and the intelligentsia and other working people established a power which favoured them for the first time in human history. Not only did the October Revolution bring an entirely new class to power – the working class – it also inspired the workers and oppressed of all lands to embark on the same path.
The crisis created out of the First World War was resolved in favour of the people when the October Revolution ended that bloodiest war in history up to that time, a war fought between the imperialist powers for the redivision of the world.
This was the first revolution that created an entirely new society. Socialism appeared on the world historical scene, as predicted by Karl Marx. The practice of the proletarian revolution ushered in an entirely new period, the period of ending the exploitation of persons by persons and of creating a society based on the working class constituting the nation and building it in its own image.
The founder and leader of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), Hardial Bains, emphasized that during the entire period which has followed the October Revolution, “people have been profoundly imbued with change. Everything points to a great upheaval in the making for the renewal of the society again at this time. Workers cannot but draw the conclusion that prejudices and dogmas are no substitute for a clear conscience and scientific analysis, on the basis of which the crisis in the sphere of ideas can be overcome and cognition can take place in favour of the people and that this is the necessary ideological preparation for renewal.”
“This period in history is increasingly bringing forth the necessity to look at all events in history with an open mind, by depending on the body of knowledge and experience of life itself to come to pertinent conclusions. A grasp of the present, a strong handle on what is going on in front of one’s eyes, has become vital to ward off that blindness which presents events in history as the work of some evil forces, instead of recognizing them as important milestones on the high road of civilization,” Hardial Bains added.
The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) hails the Great October Revolution with a great deal of revolutionary optimism, by always keeping in mind that the historic mission of the working class is to constitute the nation and vest sovereignty in the people. The working class and working people are to decide their future themselves. It is their stubborn persistence to bring about the renewal of the world today which reinforces the Party’s resolve to answer the call of history.
1. TML Daily, Vol. 22, No. 27, November 7, 1992.
2. TML Weekly, Vol. 48, No. 38, November 3, 2018.