"Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you." – William Blake (1757-1827) from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Tuesday 7 November 2017

The Enduring Legacy of the Great October Socialist Revolution, 100 Years On

Commemorations being held across the world to mark the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution bear testimony to the important regard that these events are held, not just in the hearts and minds of millions but, indeed, in the history of humankind, representing what, for the time, was a vital stepping stone in stages by which human beings seek to transform their way of life and mode of living. Such celebrations confirm that the transformations given rise to by events of over 100 years ago are now firmly stitched into the very fabric of our social being, at all levels and can only be undone by the tearing of that society asunder – a useless folly that, nevertheless, some still entertain, for reasons of fanatical delusion or cold, calculating, self-serving interest.

The fact that these events are not being officially commemorated in the country (Russia) that gave rise to them, nor even, the fact that the country (the Union or Soviet Socialist Republics or USSR) that came into being as a result no longer exists, has no bearing on the significance of this legacy to today's context. The Great October Socialist Revolution brought forward the most profound, ongoing social transformations that the world has yet experienced. Its tremors are still being felt; its lessons remain invaluable.

From the beginning, the transformations that the Great October Socialist Revolution gave rise to were recognised for the worldwide significance and vitally important opportunity that they represented. Their origins lie, not merely in the events that took place on this day in 1917, in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) and other cities of the Russia Empire. Nevertheless, these events represent a certain watershed moment, sending out a call around the world that was answered by millions around the world. They constituted the opening salvo, ushering in of the new era (the era that is still upon us) – that of imperialism and proletarian revolution.

Assemblée du soviet de Petrograd en 1917
By User Kristallstadt on en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Of course, like all great revolutions (and even some not so great), the October Socialist Revolution also gave rise to counter-currents, enlisting to their side those most entrenched and reactionary forces, opposed (quite violently, in many cases) to the revolutionary current, seeking to halt and even turn back the very necessary process of social transformation now unleashed.

Eastern Phoebe nest / Brown-headed Cowbird egg
By Galawebdesign
(Own work by uploader
[CC BY 3.0],
via Wikimedia Commons
At this juncture in history, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, we can say definitively that it represents the singular event of the 20th century: the event that heeded the demands of the time, allowing for their realisation. Even if the fullest transformation has yet to be achieved, those transformations that have been achieved may now be regarded as complete and irrevocable from an historical perspective. This is evidenced, not least, in the manner that those forces and counter-currents who were and are opposed to these trends, now seek to take credit for the advances and gains that have been made, even so daring as to wallow and luxuriate in them. In this sense, imperialism can be observed in the same light as a brood parasite – the cuckoo that lays its eggs in the nests of the unsuspecting; its offspring waiting for the moment to reveal its true nature, before devouring every thing and one around.

Reed warbler cuckoo
By Per Harald Olsen (Own work)
[GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0],
via Wikimedia Commons
The process of social transformation that took its first steps 100 years ago today is far from extinguished. As has been pointed out before, it can only be extinguished through the common ruin of all contending classes and the destruction of all human society. It stands to reason therefore, that now it must continue on its path, towards the full realisation and completion of its goals, in all spheres, culminating in the dawning of an entirely new era, hitherto unknown (unfathomable perhaps, by reference to today's standards) in human history.

Sunday 9 April 2017

Whither Britain? The Brexit Debate. What's it all about, Alfie?

'Brexit means Brexit', as we are now so used to hearing but what does Brexit actually mean?

The full interview with Roberto Saviano (European Leaders Won't Admit to Mafia) is available from Euronews Channel.

Wednesday 8 March 2017

The Revolutionary Legacy – No Coincidence!

March 8th is the date traditionally celebrated, throughout the world, as International Women's Day. In 2017, it coincides with the 100th anniversary of the February Revolution in Russia: an event that overthrew feudal autocracy in that country but also proved the harbinger of much greater revolutions, that were not just international but worldwide in scope. This coincidence is not entirely coincidental however!

Nőnap - Petrográd, 1917.03.08
Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The origins of International Women's Day, as a day of celebration, can be freely researched, though it raises many interesting questions in the process, such that the wider significance might be easily overlooked:
The earliest Women's Day observance was held on February 28, 1909, in New York and organized by the Socialist Party of America. A Women's Day demonstration on March 8, 1917 in Petrograd sparked the Russian Revolution. Declared a national holiday in the Soviet Russia in 1917, it was predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1977 by the United Nations.Wikipedia

Most accounts of the February Revolution of 1917 describe the key events as those that took place between 8th to 16th March 1917 (23 February to March 3 according to the Julian calendar still in use in Russia at the time, which was 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar, first proposed in 1582, that had been adopted elsewhere and most commonly used today):
On February 18, 1917, a strike broke out at the Putilov Works in Petrograd. On February 22 the workers of most of the big factories were on strike. On International Women's Day, February 23 (March 8), at the call of the Petrograd Bolshevik Committee, working women came out in the streets to demonstrate against starvation, war and tsardom. The Petrograd workers supported the demonstration of the working women by a city-wide strike movement. The political strike began to grow into a general political demonstration against the tsarist system. - from History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union 'Bolsheviks' (short course), 1938

The History... goes further however, recounting events both preceding and following on from the Russian Revolution of February 1917, even if it is only a 'short course'.

This is a theme that we will be returning too in the course of this 'year of centenaries' that lies ahead – and not just as a historical retrospective.

Демонстрация работниц Путиловского завода в первый день Февральской революции 1917
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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