This is the message of greetings sent to the Ray O. Light Group on the Meeting Held in New York City to Celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.
The celebration of the 90th Anniversary of the Great Socialist October Revolution in New York, in the very heart of the citadel of United States imperialism, is a matter of prime significance and we consider it a matter of great honour to send a fraternal message of greetings on this occasion on behalf of the journal Revolutionary Democracy.
Marx pointed out that the revolutions of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were not English and French revolutions but were revolutions of a European pattern in which the victory of the bourgeoisie represented the victory of a new order, the victory of a new order of society, the victory of bourgeois property over feudal property relations. The victory of the Russian Revolution in October 1917 witnessed the victory of the new proletarian order and the victory of socialist property relations over bourgeois property relations: it was a revolution on a world pattern, as was underlined by the formation of the democratic camp alongside the socialist USSR as a result of the establishment of the People’s Democracies of Central and South-East Europe and the People’s Republic of China such that one-third of humanity was liberated from the yoke of capital.
The Russian Revolution survived the attempts of world imperialism to strangle the Workers’ Republic at birth and achieved victory against external and internal reaction in the civil war and rapidly brought back the productive forces to the level of 1913. Thereafter followed one of the most extraordinary periods of world history which saw the industrialisation of the USSR in successive Five-Year Plans so that the workers’ state became the premier industrial state in Europe and the establishment of the collective farms of the poor and middle peasants. These victories were preceded by the political victories led by Stalin, the great continuator of the work of Lenin, against the ‘left’ and right oppositions. The ‘left’ opposition headed by Trotsky and Preobrazhensky desired to prematurely ‘super-industrialise’ Soviet Russia in the very beginnings of the New Economic Policy even before industrial production had returned to the levels of the tsarist period on the basis of capital extracted from the exploitation of the peasantry, a measure which would have fatally weakened the worker-peasant alliance. The right opposition headed by Bukharin outlined a policy of light industrialisation founded on the expansion of the wealth of a rich peasant market. Stalin carried out a policy of industrialisation, focused on the construction of the heavy engineering industry and financed primarily by the new values created in Soviet industry by the working class itself. The establishment of the new socialist agrarian relations corresponded precisely to the views of Marx who argued that: the means of production should be owned by society as a whole rather than by the collective farms as was done by the establishment of the Machine Tractor Stations; that the collective farms should be formed of the poor and middle peasantry to the exclusion of the rich peasantry whom Lenin termed the last capitalist class. These colossal achievements were made possible by the labour enthusiasm of the masses through the Stakhanov movement and the campaigns of socialist emulation. By 1936 Stalin was able to announce that the USSR was a society which had laid the foundations of socialist society in which exploiting classes no longer existed. The socialist economy was the material basis for the cementing of the voluntary union of nations and nationalities founded on the right to secession that lay at the basis of the Soviet Union. It lay at the basis, too, of the emancipation of Soviet women who now enjoyed unparalleled facilities under conditions of socialism. Before the outbreak of the Second World War Stalin was to argue that the new tasks of the working class were to complete the construction of socialist society and begin the transition to communism. Soviet society achieved renown throughout the world through the formation of the new socialist realist culture associated with the names Gorky, Mayakovsky, Fadayev, Ostrovsky, Deinika, Vera Mukhina, Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Shostakovich, Khachaturian, Ivanov, Koretsky and Kukrinsky
The economic achievements of the USSR, the political defeat of the oppositions and the elimination of the fifth column in Soviet society through the treason trials were the essential pre-conditions for the victory over fascism which cost the country 27 million dead. The victory of the Red Army in the Great Patriotic War laid the basis for the establishment of the new democracies in East and South-East Europe and Asia. The Soviet Union very rapidly re-established the productive forces to the pre-war levels and by 1950 they were double that of 1940. The plans to lay the foundations of communist society again came to the fore in the USSR while the CPSU (b) supported the people’s democracies of east and west on to the path of advance towards socialism.
After the death of Stalin the revolution in the Soviet Union and the majority of the people’s democracies entered its descendent phase. Already in 1948-49 Yugoslavia under Tito began the liquidation of its people’s democracy and the formation of a market economy. It was the precursor of what lay in store for the Soviet Union and the people’s democracies, with the exception of Albania. The legacy of the Great October Socialist Revolution was liquidated in the USSR in 1954-58 with the end of directive planning for the establishment of communist society, the circulation of the means of production as commodities within the state sector and the concomitant transformation of the free associated labour of socialist society into a situation where labour-power became a commodity, while profit now became the criterion of efficiency of the enterprises. The Twentieth Congress of the CPSU and the elimination of the communists Molotov and Kaganovich from the party leadership in June 1957 through a police-military coup led by Serov and Zhukov were the necessary corollaries of the neo-liberal counter-revolution.
On the 90th anniversary of the October Revolution we must learn from the achievements of Soviet Union and also the lessons which emerge from its destruction. As imperialism and particularly United States imperialism goes on a rampage throughout the world it is clear more than ever that the path of democracy and socialism is the only way forward for the emancipation of the peoples of the world.
We wish your celebration of the 90th anniversary of the October Revolution every success.Long Live the Great October Socialist Revolution!
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