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Mainstream, VOL LV No 49 New Delhi November 25, 2017

Relevance of the teachings of October Revolution

Sunday 26 November 2017

by Jayanta Kumar Ghosal

The toiling and oppressed mankind all over the world are observing the centenary of the epoch making ‘Ten Days that Shook the World’ in October (November) 1917. The event was in many respects unique in the history of mankind. Guided by the Marxist ideology, the revolution had a clear vision of creating a society free from class exploitation led by workers, peasants and other exploited sections. It left a lasting effect on the minds of humanity as the scenario changed a lot in the post-revolutionary period. The national liberation movements in the world got huge momentum and the post-October revolutionary society in the USSR became a model for the oppressed nations all over the world. The revolution awakened the human conscience and invigorated the revolutionary forces to struggle for the emancipation of the oppressed and toiling masses from colonial domination, exploi-tation and slavery through-out the world in general and colonial countries of Asia and Africa in particular.

A new dawn in world history started with the October Revolution of 1917. It was different from the revolutions which took place before it. Its emancipatory content had a universal impact and the success of the revolution spurred the working class movements. It must be admitted that the impact of the socialist measures taken by the Soviet Government compelled Western Europe’s capitalist governments to take welfare measures for their own people specially after World War II.

The global situation in this century, in the centenary year of the revolution is totally different. Strong Right-wing forces and ideas are now dominating all over the earth (with very few exceptions). The fall of the Soviet Union and the socialist bloc has led to the dominance of capitalism and imperialism. In this century neo-liberal capitalism has witnessed the world sharply divided between a narrow stratum of the rich and the vast masses of people affected by poverty, unemployment and hunger with a sharp rise in inequalities.

The Communist Parties all over the earth have either ‘withered away’ or are in a most dismal position. But the gap between the rich and poor and the division between social groups or classes with divergent interests continue to exist. Class struggle therefore also continues. Imperialist forces, led by the USA, continue their aggressive pursuit for global hegemony and through military interventions have unleashed destructive conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya.

It is also to be admitted that the former Communist and Workers Parties of different countries have failed to build effective resistance to the imperialist onslaughts. In India too, the manifold attacks upon the toiling masses have sharpened. The corporate-designed pattern of development has brought only miseries to millions of Indians. Here also the traditional Communist Parties have failed to put up any effective resistance. But the people’s struggles against the corporate aggression are growing. In different parts of our motherland people have launched tooth and nail fight against it. Toiling people all over the world are also doing same. They have come down to the streets and are expressing their anger and dissatisfaction against corporatisation, neo-liberal offensive, imperialist subjugation and austerity measures. New forms of people’s movements have come to the forefront drawing inspiration from the October Revolution for establishing a social system free from all sorts of exploitation.

Howard Fast, the eminent literary figure, said in the fifties, nearly seven decades ago, that with change of time the role of the Communist Parties may end, but the struggle of the toiling and oppressed throughout the world is eternal. All these forces are striving everywhere drawing inspiration from the message of the October Revolution about the future of mankind.

The author is a social activist associated with the literacy movement.

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