Across its centenary the historic November Revolution which heralded a new civilization remains as the ever-glowing beacon for emancipation of exploited people. The world still recalls with great reverence how its architect, the great leader of the proletariat Comrade Lenin and the Bolshevik Party he led, guided the working class of Russia with the peasants and other toiling masses of the country as its allies with firmness, innovative and revolutionary audacity to astound the world. The ten days — from 7 to 17 November 1917—shook the entire world which the reactionaries, the bourgeoisie, the monarchs or the feudal landlords had been ruling over for centuries. They were shell-shocked to see their counterpart in Russia dethroned by the so-called ignorant workers, peasants, illiterate toilers, who, they had hitherto thought were nasty crumbs of society, living simply to be exploited and oppressed by them and their henchmen with the help of coercive state machinery they possessed. With wide eyes they found that this entire mass of exploited and oppressed people rose up under the leadership of the Communist Party of Soviet Union (Bolsheviks), reared and steered by great Lenin, having been transformed into a mighty power, ideologically fortified with the noble scientific ideology of Marxism-Leninism, firmly bound into steel-strong organizations down to the grass-roots level of the Soviets of workers-peasants and other sections of toiling people and imbued with the revolutionary culture that pulled them above self to stand unwavering for the revolutionary struggle, for the revolutionary party calling for insurrection. The shrewd and cunning of the reactionaries got it right to guess wherein lay the root of this gigantic people’s power and their massive upheaval which signalled crumbling of capitalist-imperialist empire. So all along they unleashed relentless slanderous tirade against the architects of the revolution, the great leaders, first Lenin and then, after his death, Stalin, his worthy disciple and continuer. All along the bourgeoisie and its bootlickers trained their guns against the revolutionary ideology of Marxism-Leninism which great Lenin and then great Stalin brought into the concrete practice of accomplishing a revolutionary task of overthrowing a powerful oppressive state power. But even with all their resources world capitalism possessed and with incessant spewing of venom against the first socialist state in the world, they could not erase this enormous creation of people’s power, correctly led and properly organized. The November Revolution shines in human history with all its brightness having ushered in a new era on this land of earth, the era of proletarian revolution standing on the edifice of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism.
It thus did not end within the national bounds of Russia alone. It released a tremendous force of people’s revolutionary struggle, notwithstanding its different concrete forms in this or that country. The imperialist-capitalist rulers took utmost pains to crush this glorious instance of human endeavour. They attempted assassination, albeit in vain, of its architects, the great leaders, first Lenin and then Stalin. Ferociously they pounced upon the new-born state to wipe it out from the surface of this earth. Nazi Germany led the attack, the other Anglo-American- French imperialists from behind their cloak of anti-fascist allies of the USSR waited in the wings to see the fascists annihilating the USSR. But again, the people armed with Marxism-Leninism and under the brilliant leadership of Stalin, defended the USSR, their own creation, even after losing around twenty-five millions of their countrymen at the hands of the fascists. The USSR not just continued to exist. In the victory celebration even the allied imperialist powers were forced to hand over the Sword of Honour to the great leader Joseph Stalin for saving the world from the fascist axis of Germany-Italy-Japan. In just three decades, notwithstanding all attacks from within and outside by the capitalist-imperialist forces, the USSR became the second most powerful country in the world and the leader of the mighty world socialist camp, encompassing nearly a third of this globe, as well as the beacon to the multitudes of colonial countries fighting for their independence from imperialist clutches. The freedom-loving people, the exploited masses of the world could recall that it was the November Revolution led by Lenin that initiated the process, giving a concrete shape to the inexorable law of social changes which pointed at scientifically law-governed transition from capitalism to communism via intermediary phase of socialism that the great leaders like Marx and Engels had already envisaged and made mankind acquainted with.
It is true that after the demise of Stalin, the rise of modern revisionism in the USSR and then in the international communist movement eroded increasingly the historic achievements from within, helping the imperialists-capitalists to succeed in orchestrating counter-revolution to cause setback, albeit temporarily, of the onward march of international communist movement. Though capitalist counter-revolution gripped one socialist country after another and dismantled the socialist camp, the genuine revolutionaries could not forget the warnings sounded time and again by the great architects of the November Revolution themselves that unless there is steadfast pursuit of the teachings of Marxism-Leninism, in addition to which Comrade Shibdas Ghosh also cautioned: ‘continuous development and enrichment of Marxian science in the context of newer problems emerging’, the defeated bourgeoisie would succeed in staging a comeback through counter-revolution in socialism. But this capitalist counter-revolution propelled by the defeated bourgeoisie from within and aided and abetted by imperialist conspiracy from outside, can in no way dilute the great achievements of the exploited people in accomplishing the historic November revolution, founding of the first socialist state of the world with all its great achievements, and the growth of the socialist camp along with liberation of the erstwhile colonies of Asia-Africa-Latin America. Certainly the absence of the socialist camp, has made the imperialists-capitalists led by the war-monger US imperialists infinitely more aggressive, cruel, arrogant and fiendish in their attempts throughout the world to expand their spheres of influence and keep the whole world under their feet. The entire Middle-East and various parts of Africa and Latin America bear eloquent testimony to that. But these have not been able to reverse the inexorable law of social changes. It goes on operating silently. The world capitalist-imperialist system has not only become decadent and moribund but turned utterly corrupt and thoroughly reactionary, breeding severe economic crisis endemic of the system, the entire burden of which is squarely passed onto the toiling masses. Alongside economic crisis, with a recession, a stagnation which it cannot avert despite all its efforts crises in the superstructure—the political-social-cultural spheres—are also taking an ugly shape wreaking havoc in people’s every sphere of life.
The inherent irreconcilable contradiction between labour and capital, between the exploiter and exploited classes goes on manifesting itself in one and every capitalist-imperialist country across the world and there are surging waves of people’s protest against the escalating gruelling capitalist exploitation.
On the eve of the 102nd anniversary of November Revolution, people’s movement make a significant comeback
In this background we stand today. We are on the eve of the 102nd anniversary of the November Revolution. The entire world is gripped by terrible all-out crisis of capitalism. The reactionary right-wing forces are dominating over so many countries. Yet a few years back, outbreak of powerful people’s movement in the shape of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement in the USA or the ‘Arab Spring’ movements in the Middle East- Northern Africa came up as a silver lining for the wretchedly exploited people of the capitalist world. In both the cases protesters even voiced slogans against the capitalist system. But all such powerful people’s protests, much to the dismay of the struggling masses, fizzled out into painful quiescence. Why was it so? People’s movements need a correct revolutionary leadership to take them to logical culmination. This was not there in either of these movements. Same was the case with the latest “Yellow Vest Movement’ which even raised slogans seeking downfall of capitalism. It originated in France and then spread in other European countries. Now, like the legendary Phoenix, people’s power is starting to rise once more in the eruption of the people’s movement with prospects and potentialities. This time it is coming particularly from two ends of the globe. At one end, there are the countries from Ecuador to Chile to Haiti and elsewhere in Latin America and Caribbean regions. At the other end, in Lebanon and Iraq, West Asian countries in the Middle East, hundreds of thousands of common people took to the streets crippling the countries. Everywhere mass protests rose to the height of uncontrollable wave of people’s upheaval.
Ecuador, Chile, Haiti
In Ecuador it began with massive protest against exorbitant increase (120%) in fuel prices at the dictate of the International Monetary Fund. Severely oppressed indigenous tribal communities in the Amazon and the Andes rushed in huge masses to the capital Quito to be joined there by the trade union organizations, students, sections of intelligentsia and civil society members as well as common people including housewives. They continued for twelve days braving all repressive measures from the government, losing twelve lives in police fire, even facing military wrath. The government had to temporarily shift the seat of government to a different city and ultimately annul fuel price hike on 14 October.
In Chile a 4 percent rise in mass transit (metro) fares triggered eruption of massive protests. In Santiago, the Chilean capital, when protesters fought barricade fight with the riot police on 18 October last, the government clamped emergency and sent tanks on the streets. But naked repression fell flat. According to official figures, 18 people were killed in a few days, hundreds wounded and at least 5,000 arrested along with reports of disappearances, torture of prisoners and sexual assaults against women detained in the protests. Despite those, about 424,000 people participated in 68 separate marches and demonstrations across the country on a single day of 23 October. There was a general strike the next day. On 26 October there was a more massive gathering with about a million participating.
Elsewhere in Latin America there were mass protests. For example months of protests including barricade fight with police in Haiti left more than 20 dead and the country paralysed.
In Lebanon a $6-a-month tax on WhatsApp messages, a stifling austerity measure dumped on people by the government to stave off the country’s deep economic crisis, was the triggering cause. People’s protests brought nearly a quarter of the country’s 6 million people into the streets of the capital Beirut, second city Tripoli and the southern port of Tyre, to bring life to a standstill and threatening the coalition government. The largest of the demonstrations was on 20 October. Attempts to use the army to break up protests here also only inflamed people’s anger. But unlike Ecuador and Chile, the government bent before people’s demand and instantaneously dropped the proposal of charging WhatsApp messages.
In both Chile and Lebanon, the masses on the streets dismissed their respective government’s statements of contrition and offers of minimal economic relief measures as cynical gestures too little and too late. They went to the extent of demanding the downfall of their existing regimes, not to speak of other vital demands of their life including salaries and pension.
In war-ravaged Iraq, another country of the Middle East with a US-backed puppet regime in power, people’s protest burst out in two phases. Abject failure of the present prime minister towards fulfilling his promises enraged people who on 1 October took to streets in hundreds of thousands against limitless poverty, mounting unemployment, administrative worthlessness and shameless corruption of governments, demanding reform of political system of the country including resignation of the prime minister. Remarkably, the protesters included large number of youth including students of schools and colleges. Protests continued for six days spreading fast from the capital Baghdad across the country. Demonstrations and road blockades were savagely attacked by the police who fired with clear intent to kill, the toll reaching the figure of 149 victims. Compelled by the pressure of people’s protest, the prime minister promised to dish out some cosmetic concessions. But when he again reneged on his promise, people of Iraq started fresh protest from 25 October, which reached its peak on 28 October. The government and the police also continued their ferocious atrocities on the protesting people. It hardly needs reiteration that the cruel aggression by the war-monger, profit-greedy US imperialism on the basis of the false allegation of Iraqi President possessing and using weapons of mass destruction, devastated a country which had been the seat of earliest human civilization. This horrendous aggression followed by totally illegal and inhuman deployment of US soldiers on the plea of containing the ISIS fundamentalist terror, nurtured if not created by the US imperialists themselves, and subsequent total anti-people misrule of the pliant governments brought Iraq to where more than 23% people are living below poverty level, more than 25% of youth are unemployed. These have driven people to desperation and from there to protest. In sympathy with the protesters, four members of the Iraqi legislative body have tendered their resignation. The prime minister has once more announced some relief projects and even agreed to resign.
Crisis-ridden capitalism has brought people to the brink
The question is what made such people’s movements spread out with enormity and militancy in different parts of the world, defying even military oppression and denying peace-call from the government. To recall, Latin American and Caribbean regions once became the eye of storm of anti-imperialist struggles, militant people’s movement, albeit with ups and downs. Even, leftist forces rose to act as bulwark of resistance forcing US imperialism and its stooges to backtrack on many occasions. In countries like Venezuela, people are still fighting against all heinous intrigues and conspiracies of the US imperialism to hold their ground. But it is also a reality that the spate of globalization-privatization-liberalization, a frantic drive by the tottering imperialism, led by their chieftain US imperialism, to come out of the escalated crisis created by the inherent laws of capitalism, did not only impoverish exploited people of different countries, including those of Latin America, but also, in their wake, engulfed all the spheres of life including the realm of culture-moral-ethics in an all-out crisis. The economic crisis has been so severe and so mounting that even a tiny section of the elite or upper middle class of these countries who apparently seemed to have been well-off, have, by the turn of a few years, slid down the slope of plummeting income. Recession and stagnation swamped all capitalist-imperialist countries not excluding the leader of their brigand, the US imperialism. The apparent growth and optimism across Latin America mainly fuelled by artificial stimulation of economy was brought to an abrupt end. Continued economic recession and industrial stagnation, over and above ruthless capitalist exploitation brought people to the brink of a disastrous future.
Thus in Chile, at a point considered as oasis of calm and prosperity, the richest 1 percent gobble up 33 percent of national income, according to World Bank data from 2017. Side by side, with the glittering financial district at the heart of Santiago studded with luxury apartments, private hospitals and private schools over a long stretch, the capital’s poverty has become pathetically evident in crumbling public hospitals, overcrowded schools, shanty towns that sit on the outskirts of the metropolis. And farther from Santiago are cities untouched by the recent boom. A protester gave vent to people’s view on this : “This is a country that is made for the rich. The people couldn’t take it anymore and exploded.” It is no different in Ecuador, where a protester lamented “We can’t make ends meet”. From Haiti came the same voice : “The government doesn’t do anything for us. We are left to literally live in shit.” Ceaseless and malignant growth of social inequality are also stark reality in Lebanon, long-considered the region’s “free enterprise” haven for capitalist investment. There the richest 1 percent monopolize 58 percent of the wealth, while the poorest 50 percent own less than 1 percent.
Over and above such growing economic disparity there has been a wave of corruption scandals among the traditional political elites, monopolists, corporate houses and brigades of their henchmen. Dying capitalism in its frantic bid to save itself wanted corruption to permeate to every level of society making the motto of life expressed as : Take what you can get. Squandering public money and tax avoidance attempts characterized the economic scene. To finance the shortfall in exchequer due to such tax evasion, fraud and misappropriation, the governments imposed heavy tax on the common toiling and poor people making them increasingly back-broken. That simply widened the gap between the few affluent and the multitudes of poor.
Seen in this backdrop, recent euphoria over the victory of so-called centre-left forces as the President and Vice-President in Argentina also appears like a bubble to burst soon. The outgoing President who had promised ‘zero poverty’ in his election campaign, has actually left the country with a plunging currency (peso), 56% per annum inflation rate and number of people below poverty line risen from 29 to 35%. The incoming President has already pledged to respect the $ 57 billion IMF loan, showing his inability to step out of the shoe left out for him by the earlier President.
Thus despite apparent and cosmetic affluence, these capitalist countries are miserably characterized by gulf of discrimination, acute unemployment, pinching poverty, shameless corruption, crippling inflation and all the inextricable maladies of the moribund capitalist system. This is true for Latin America, for Ecuador, Chile or elsewhere there, true for Lebanon, Iraq, as well as it is true for the USA or for that matter, for our own country of India. Capitalist exploitation knows no national boundary today; it grabs the entire world for globalized exploitation. Its antidote lies in proletarian internationalism, in surge of organized conscious struggle of the working class for emancipation which would find its true concrete expression in every concrete soil of one and every capitalist country.
The moot question
And here lies the moot question for the fighting people of Latin America or Lebanon, or for any of the capitalist countries. They must seek the answer to “ Then where to?” For that answer people will have to look at the beacon that shines even on its 102nd anniversary and is going to shine for years unknown. It is the November Revolution that has left the lessons for the exploited, downtrodden, oppressed and shackled toiling masses of the world. But these are not the lessons to copy on blind faith or being followed mechanically. Just as Comrade Lenin, the great leader of the proletariat, concretely applied the Marxian science in the then specific situation of Russia as also of the capitalist world, it requires for those aspiring for emancipation of people from the capitalist exploitation today, that they correctly and concretely judge the stark reality. When Lenin accomplished the November Revolution successfully and Stalin defended it staunchly in the following years, they had to fight capitalism that had already developed into its stage of decadence, that is the stage of imperialism. They also had to fight revisionism which was seeking to destabilize socialism and enfeeble communist movement by distorting Marxism. After demise of Stalin, treacherous modern revisionism reared its ugly head and not only paved the way for ultimate dismantling of socialism but also threw international communist movement into pathetic disarray. So, the capitalism-imperialism, which was once considerably cornered following onward victory march of international communist movement got a scope to exploit people at its free will in a unipolar world. By these years, capitalism-imperialism has grown more dangerous, more ferocious, viciously cunning and brutally inhuman. Hence for people’s movements to achieve victory fighting against such a demon it requires deeper realization. The instance of November Revolution demands this from the present day army for revolution who will liberate people. Founded and guided by the thoughts of Comrade Shibdas Ghosh , one of the fore-ranking Marxist thinkers of this era, SUCI (Communist), as the revolutionary party of India, realizes this particularly while preparing for revolution in a country like India, which is a highly consolidated, tremendously aggressive capitalist-imperialist state. As a Marxist-Leninist Party built upon the concept of proletarian internationalism, SUCI (C) recognizes its commitment to the cause of world proletarian revolution, including anti-imperialist anti-capitalist struggles going on anywhere in the world. Hence these few words at this critical hour, when people are starting to assert their power once more across the globe, who are now daring to say “They took away so much that they even took away our fear” as a Chilean protester asserted.
There is no doubt that so long as capitalism will exist, exploitation will go on becoming more intense, severer. At the same time, there will be people coming out to revolt against this exploitation. Surges of protest leading even to resistance will come up now and then giving vent to people’s resentment and anger they will aspire for a change, look ahead for emancipation from exploitation , will crave for a revolution. But however big and however militant the movements may be, changes will allure them, revolution will remain a myth , till they come upon several truths, the prerequisites for a revolution to mature. The November Revolution and its architect the great leader Comrade Lenin teach us that. The first precondition for the success of a revolution is that there must emerge before people’s movement , a genuine revolutionary party of the proletariat with adequate organizational strength and based on the edifice of lofty proletarian culture, to provide the movements leadership on the strength of a correct revolutionary theory, ideology and base political line of anti-capitalist anti-imperialist revolution. Speaking only of organizational strength, evading this basic issue and undermining the importance of the base political line, will only create confusion and ultimate frustration in reality. The second essential condition for revolution is the United Front be it the Front of democratic-minded, progressive, leftist forces to begin with, giving birth to the proletarian United Front, in course of higher stages of people’s movement, a front essential for the anti-capitalist revolution. Third, is the emergence of people’s own instrument of struggle, to develop through the united mass movements or joint struggles. These are not going to be mere showpiece committees at any level. These must grow into organizations developed through united struggle of the workers- peasants- middle class having the competence to accept or reject any programme, as also having the initiative and capability to apply them concretely and independently. Only on fulfilling these conditions, can fighting people find their dream come true, their efforts ending in fruition. Our party SUCI (C) submits these few words to the people struggling for emancipation in different countries, to ponder seriously on the eve of celebrating the 102nd anniversary of the November Revolution.
[Sources of information of global movements—The Statesman Kolkata, 11, 14, 20 October and 1 November 2019; Livemint 20 October 2019, World Socialist Web site—Published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) 25.10.2019, The Guardian 24.10.2019 and https://www.dw.com/en/opinion-latin-america-needs-solidarity/a-51038560 (25.10.19), https://www. foreign affairs. com/articles/central-america-caribbean/2019-10-29/why-latin-america-was-primed-explode ]