The Great October Socialist Revolution took place on October 25, 1917. Led by an entirely different type of proletarian party i.e. the Leninist Party that put into practice the concept of a communist party as the general headquarter of the armies of the proletariat fighting to overthrow the rule of exploitation by capital, the October Revolution had shaken the very foundation of world capitalism, though ostensibly, it broke out just on the question of peace, bread and land. Equipped with the knowledge and practice of revolutionary wars and having command over the laws as well as the dynamics of a true people’s revolution, the Bolshevik party was able to ride on the crest of people’s anger and unrest at the right time by providing accurate (well measured) tactics and appropriate slogans as well as showing exemplary flexibility in all these and became able to lead the majority with the help of a well organised, disciplined and centralised party, though very small in size as compared to Germans. It is clear that without the prolonged training of centralised function under the Bolshevik party, that truly proved to be the general headquarter of the proletariat, such success would in no way have been possible. How to become a majority party from a minority party without losing revolutionary direction and without succumbing to bourgeois means and tactics and through constant ideological-political struggle while waging class struggles was a riddle, said Rosa Luxemburg, that was finally solved by the Bolshevik Party led by Lenin who taught how to utilize and ride on the crest of a revolutionary situation, which is bound to develop in a capitalist system, when masses are on the move by themselves, spontaneously.
On this day, October 25, 1917, the day of the victory of October Revolution, Lenin had addressed the citizens of Russia with these words – “The cause for which the people have fought, namely, the immediate offer of a democratic peace, the abolition of landed proprietorship, workers’ control over production and the establishment of Soviet Power – this cause has been secured. Long live the revolution of workers, soldiers and peasants!” (Lenin on behalf of Revolutionary Military Committee of the Petrograd Soviet at 10 a.m. on October 25, 1917)
Lenin has also taught us that ‘given a revolutionary Marxist party, the working class can overthrow the bourgeoisie and launch a successful construction of socialism even if it comprises a minority of the population, provided it possesses a high degree of political consciousness and organisation and is able to lead the majority of the working people and other exploited as well as oppressed classes. In Lenin’s own words, ‘We must, therefore, win over to our side not only the majority of working class, but also the majority of the working and exploited rural population.’
Lenin has emphasized many times and at many places in his works (for example, especially in his work The Immediate Tasks of The Soviet Government) the magnitude of the creative tasks done by the Bolshevik party before the October Revolution. As distinct from any other past revolutions including bourgeois revolutions, the main task of the October Socialist Revolution and for that matter, of any socialist revolution, is a creative and positive one, that of reshaping the lives of millions of people along new lines i.e. socialist lines. Lenin wrote – “Our revolution differs from all previous revolutions in having aroused among the masses a desire to build and create.” (Collected works of Lenin, Vol 27, page 27).
We know a new socialist system was born out of the October Revolution. It brought into play immense and great creative forces that ensured the highest rates of economic and cultural development of the working masses in the erstwhile USSR. Such high rates were never seen in history before this. It was unprecedented. The creative forces were such that ensured greatest initiatives of millions of working masses because they had become the masters of their country and acquired a direct vested interest in developing its economic might. It had also ensured both the moral and political unity of all members of the Soviet Society as they all were inspired by the great goals of construction of a communist society.
The October Revolution wasn’t an ordinary revolution. It was an epoch changing revolution that brought about fundamental changes in the course of world history in many ways. Stalin wrote – “The October Revolution is not merely a revolution “within national bounds,” but, primarily, a revolution of an international, world order; for it signifies a radical turn in the world history of mankind from the old to the new.”
What is it in the October Revolution that “signifies a radical turn?” What was new in this revolution? Stalin wrote – “Revolutions in the past usually ended by one group of exploiters at the helm of government being replaced by another group of exploiters. The exploiters changed, exploitation remained. Such was the case during the revolutions of the slaves, the revolutions of the serfs, the revolutions of the commercial and industrial bourgeoisie. The October Revolution differs from these revolutions in principle. Its aim is not to replace one form of exploitation by another form of exploitation, one group of exploiters by another group of exploiters, but to abolish all exploitation of man by man, to overthrow all groups of exploiters.”
But the most important thing is that the October Revolution brought in reality the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the most revolutionary and most organised of all exploited classes. Stalin writes that ‘precisely for this reason the victory of the October Revolution signifies a radical turn in economics and politics, in the manner of life, customs, habits and traditions, in the culture and in the whole spiritual complexion of the exploited masses throughout the world. That is the basic reason why the oppressed classes in all countries entertain the greatest sympathy for the October Revolution, which they regard as the pledge of their own emancipation.’
But it will be wrong to think that the October Revolution only changed the course of history. This is just one aspect of its international character. So, to limit ourselves to this will not be a complete understanding of the international character of the October Revolution. As Lenin had defined the essence of the modern epoch (one after the victory of the October Revolution) as the epoch of downfall of the capitalist system and imperialism and also the triumph of socialism and communism throughout the world, we must carefully notice what exactly Lenin says about it while discussing the international character of the October Revolution. Lenin teaches us that ‘its international importance consists not only in its impact on the course of world history, but also in the inevitable repetition of its law-governed regularities, its strategy and tactical principles elsewhere.‘
The Leninist concept of Party is one such example of the big lesson of the October Revolution that the communist parties of all country are supposed to follow and adopt in practice, if at all they want to accomplish revolution. It has been proved by history that if we do not apply the Leninist concept of a Communist Party, revolution cannot be achieved and completed.
Lenin further says that ‘the October Revolution blazed the road to socialism and demonstrated the features and basic laws common to all countries embarking on the road.’ In Lenin’s own words, – “The Russian Model … reveals to all countries something – something highly very significant – of their near and inevitable future.”
So far as the political-ideological features are concerned, mainly four features are counted and quoted. Firstly, the October Revolution is regarded as the turn of attention from the rule of capitalism to the rule of communism. It is for this reason that the October Revolution is regarded as a breach of the world imperialist front. What does that really mean? It means that the October Revolution ushered the course of history in an entirely new era i.e. the era of proletarian revolutions and the dictatorship of the proletariat. In his synopsis of his future essay on ‘the international character of the October Revolution’ Stalin says – “Formerly, the point of departure was the French Revolution of the eighteenth century; its traditions were utilised and its order was implanted. Now the October Revolution is the point of departure. Formerly, France. Now, the U.S.S.R. Formerly, the “Jacobin” was the bogy of the entire bourgeoisie. Now, the Bolshevik is the bogy of the bourgeoisie. The era of “ordinary” bourgeois revolutions, when the proletariat was merely the shock force, while the exploiters reaped the fruits of revolution, has passed away. The era of proletarian revolutions in the capitalist countries has begun.”
From history, it was proved that the October Revolution also ushered in the era of ‘liberating revolutions in the colonial and dependent countries. It means the proletariat cannot emancipate itself unless it emancipates the people oppressed by imperialism.’ It brought about a ‘united front of proletarian revolutions in the metropolises and colonial revolutions in the dependent countries.’ This had ended ‘the era of tranquil exploitation’ of the colonies and dependent countries.’ It thus ushered in the era of awakening of the proletariat in those countries and the era of hegemony of the proletariat in the whole globe had begun.
We see that if a huge destruction of the productive forces in the Soviet Union and of the whole world, particularly of Europe, due to the World War II had not occurred and the land of the great October Revolution had not been lost due to the emergence and victory of Khrushchevite Revisionism in the USSR, in the Party as well as in the Soviet State, the October Revolution and Soviet socialism would have certainly struck world imperialism the last deadly blow and the world would have been turned Communist by now. The mortal blow the Soviet power hurled at imperialism till Stalin was alive was so encompassing and strong that world imperialism could not have recovered by simple means or economic competitions. Capitalism has for ever lost its superiority in terms of an economic system after that. Even after the death of Stalin, it was only for a short period that imperialism recovered. However, it never recovered to its historically possessed “equilibrium” and “stability” that it had before October Revolution. The era of the historical “stability” of capitalism has passed away since the October Revolution itself. This has been true even after the death of Stalin and after the historical defeat of socialism in the whole world. At present, it can be easily said that the era of final decline and collapse of capitalism has begun. The great teachings and significance of the great October Revolution has become alive more than ever before.
October Revolution also signifies the ideological victory of communism over Social-Democracy, revisionism, the victory of Marxism over reformism. Now at the present times, there is no such scope of reformism. Stalin writes, “formerly, before the victory of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the U.S.S.R., the Social-Democrats and reformists could flaunt the banner of Marxism, could coquet with Marx and Engels, etc., for that was not dangerous for the bourgeoisie, and people did not yet know what the victory of Marxism could lead to.”
“Now, after the victory of the proletarian dictatorship in the U.S.S.R., when everybody realises what Marxism leads to and what its victory may signify, the Social-Democrats and reformists, sensing the danger to the bourgeoisie of such flaunting and coquetting with Marxism, have preferred to dissociate themselves from Marxism. Henceforth, communism is the only shelter and bulwark of Marxism. Henceforth, the spirit of Marxism is abandoning Social-Democracy, just as Social-democracy earlier abandoned Marxism.”
Stalin correctly writes – “Now, after the victory of the October Revolution, only those can be Marxists who resolutely and devotedly support the first proletarian dictatorship in the world. What does supporting the first proletarian dictatorship in the world mean? It means taking the stand of direct struggle against one’s own bourgeoisie. As, however, the Social-Democrats do not want to fight their own bourgeoisie but prefer to adapt themselves to it, they, naturally, take the stand of fighting the first proletarian dictatorship in the world, the stand of restoring capitalism in the U.S.S.R. That is the twilight of Social-Democracy. October ushered in the era of triumph of world communism, which is the era of the twilight of Social-Democracy, of its final desertion to the camp of the bourgeoisie. October is the victory of Marxism in ideology.”
History of the last six decades has proved these profound words of Stalin wholly correct.
Today we are past a century of the October Revolution, but it is still our torch bearer. Now when the world is caught in unprecedented and permanent worldwide economic crisis and the threat of fascism is looming large over the horizon of the world humanity, it is only the October Revolution to which the working population and even the whole humanity is looking up for final liberation. It is time to hopefully turn our gaze to great Lenin’s home land, the land of October Revolution. The October Revolution had blazed the path of revolution, the next wave of socialist revolutions led by the proletariat in unity with toiling peasanty and other exploited and oppressed classes and people in the world, that are coming nearer and nearer with every passing and is being visible enough, will herald the final victory of socialism and communism. There is no doubt about it. The moment a Leninist Party is ready to take charge in these hard testing times, revolutions will successfully steer its course in no time. Let us take a pledge to fulfil this task. Without doing this, our every act of celebrating October Revolution will be of no avail.
Long Live the Memories of The Great October Revolution!
[Originally published as Editorial of The Truth: Platform for Radical Voices of The Working Class, Issue 7 / November 2020]