Today revolutionaries and the working-class from around the world join together to commemorate the anniversary and legacy of the October Revolution (October 25th on the Julian calendar, November 7th on the Gregorian calendar). This was a momentous event in the history of the international working-class movement. It swept away the reactionary provisional government, installed a dictatorship of the proletariat supported by the peasantry, completed the bourgeois-democratic revolution in the countryside by expropriating the land of the great landlords and turned it over to the peasants, and expropriated the large trusts, banks, and capitalists and put them in the hands of the proletariat. Furthermore, the October Revolution broke open the prison house of nations that was the Russian empire, finally allowing national self-determination for oppressed nations within the empire.
Internationally the significance of this revolution was recognized by the working-class and oppressed peoples as the opening salvo to the era of proletarian revolution and the decline of imperialism. From Korea, to China, to Ireland those oppressed by imperialism and capitalism finally saw the road out clearly for the first time. The October Revolution demonstrated in practice the general course for freeing the masses of workers, peasants, and oppressed peoples from domination and exploitation. It is this general course which has retained its importance today, and most importantly, the universality of the experience of the Bolsheviks and the workers and peasants of the Soviet Union in socialist construction should be remembered and studied today.
There are three primary lessons of the October Revolution that should be borne in mind by those struggling today, these are; the necessity of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the importance of the alliance between the proletariat and peasantry where applicable, and the recognition that our current era is the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution.
The first lesson, the necessity of the dictatorship of the proletariat, assumes primacy in our era. Without the political rule of the working-class all is illusion. There can be no qualitative transformation of the relations between working people and bosses, nor a change in property relations, i.e. what type of ownership dominates. While the October Revolution was the first to demonstrate this, the subsequent anti-colonial and socialist revolutions of the twentieth century further confirmed the absolute necessity of the proletarian dictatorship. In the United States it is also necessary to establish a dictatorship of the proletariat, without which the working-class cannot free itself from the exploitation of the capitalists, without which the New Afrikans, Latinx people, LGBTQ people, and other oppressed peoples cannot achieve true self-determination and freedom. No amount of reform, reparations, or separatism will change the conditions of the people, only revolution will do that. This revolution must unite all progressive and revolutionary struggles of the people into fighting organizations, under the leadership of a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist communist party, to defend and advance the interests of the masses, with the goal of seizing political power. This is the primary lesson that we must repeat on today’s occasion. We must tirelessly propagate it and explain it to the masses. To not insist on this, to pay lip service to it while in practice not working towards its realization, is opportunism rooted in deceit. Our knowledge, confirmed through practice, that a proletarian dictatorship is necessary to truly break the backs of the capitalists and imperialists serves as a clear line of demarcation between us and revisionist and reformist elements in the working-class movement. We stand in the legacy of the October Revolution unapologetically.
The importance of the alliance between the proletariat and peasantry should also be remembered. The Soviet experience demonstrated the power of this alliance for the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat. As Lenin, and later Mao, would stress the main force that the proletarian dictatorship rested on in the oppressed or economically backwards countries was the peasantry. The Soviets were the first to harness and strengthen the power of this alliance to move forward with the consolidation of the gains of the October Revolution. This necessity for an alliance between the proletariat and peasantry is still the guiding principle of our comrades making revolution in countries like India and the Philippines. The Communist Party of India (Maoist) and the Communist Party of the Philippines have persisted in their armed struggle and mass work because they have grasped at the root the experience and lessons of the October Revolution and applied them. There the proletariat is the leading force politically and ideologically, while the peasantry is the main force of the revolution that provides support and composes much of the people’s armies in both countries. These two revolutions compose the vanguard of the world socialist revolution and stand in the tradition of the October Revolution.
Lastly, it is key to recognize that the October Revolution ushered in the period of worldwide proletarian revolution and the intensification of the class struggle on a global scale. The October Revolution was simultaneously the result of the class struggle of the proletariat and peasantry in Russia, but also the result of the general world crisis of imperialism. Lenin pointed out that the era of capitalist-imperialism, our current era, is one rife with internal contradictions, that the general trend is towards war between the imperialists over resources and colonies, and an intensification of crises in the capitalist world system. To those of us in the United States this trend continues to be confirmed. The war drums continue to be sounded as the imperialist and representative of the big bourgeoisie Hillary Clinton pushes for war. The ongoing wars and bombings of Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria in the past fifteen years lays bare the nature of imperialism to the masses in the U.S. The recent financial and housing crisis further confirms the fractious nature of capitalism. The investors, bankers, CEOs, and capitalists got rich while the masses sunk deeper into poverty. The political system in the U.S. is paralyzed at all levels, incapable of providing even the most minor progressive reforms. The economic system continues to slump forward, adding more and more “Mcjobs” to mask the crisis of job loss and unemployment, while concurrently heightening the rate of exploitation of the working-class. Clearly reaction is on the march here at home, but we know that this is but a bend in the road, a bend that is being rounded rapidly.
If we wish to accelerate this development in a revolutionary direction we must study deeply the lessons of the October Revolution. We must remember it as the first blow to imperialism and capitalism worldwide, as an integral part of the liberation of millions of people. This revolution is no dead thing, it must be made a living and breathing guide to the present struggles in our country. We must take up the theory and practice of that great revolution and use it to clear the way for revolutionary struggle on a mass scale. We will show the reactionaries, the imperialists, and the bourgeoisie, that October isn’t dead. Our watchwords will be more mass organizations, more mobilization of the people, more class struggle, and more revolution. We have made our aims clear, they are based on over 150 years of proletarian struggle, both victories and defeats, and we will never cease fighting until total victory. Just as the oppressed and downtrodden of the world uphold the October Revolution, we hold October close to our hearts as well, as they continue to beat in sync to the rhythm of revolution.
LONG LIVE THE GREAT OCTOBER SOCIALIST REVOLUTION!
FOR A CENTURY OF OCTOBERS!
TAKE HOLD OF THE REVOLUTION TO MAKE REVOLUTION!