Over the last one hundred and two years, the Great October Revolution in Russia has been celebrated and condemned, cherished and abhorred, epitomized as a struggle for emancipation and identified asa “coup by criminals”. It has been subjected to merciless criticism and skeptical scrutiny, by a part of the “left” and, of course, the entire right.
The one thing that has never been possible to do is to deny the Revolution. On its birth, attempts weremade to wipe it out; later,as it survived, campaigns after campaigns of misinformation and falsification have been directed towards it; finally, when its somewhat degenerated form crumbled, the world bourgeoisie took relief and jumped to erase it from our collective memory. Yet, the October Revolution continues to live in countless hearts and minds.
Two decades into the present century and almost three decades after the dissolutionof the Soviet Union, the capitalist world is encapsulated by crises — born of the inherent contradictions of capitalism — crisis in world economy as manifested by growing inequality and unending recession, crisis in bourgeois politics as manifested in the rise of the right around the world and sharpened military conflicts, crisis of human existence as manifested in climate crisis. These crises not only put earth and humanity at risk of annihilation, but they jeopardize capitalism’s inner mechanism, also. This existential crisis has made global monopoly-finance capital desperate, generating more desperate responses; thus, greater intensification of appropriation of labour and heightened conflict among competing factions of the bourgeoisie.
The global South stands at the center of this maelstrom. While it is being ravaged by the compradors, bourgeoisie, multilateral lending agencies and multinational corporations, its progressive political movements are at the crosshair of imperialist onslaught. The people of the global South are in the most vulnerable position, because they are at the frontline of all the aforementioned crises – the economic crisis, the political crisis and the climate crisis. The colonial past created deep rifts in the socio-economic development process of the global South, which have been deepened with neo-colonial expansions and neo-liberal regimes; rifts which have created a suitable void for reactionary and extreme rightwingpolitics and authoritarian regimes. Most of the global South is under the rule of immature bourgeoisie. Given these historical conditions and economies of plunder, a unique situation has emerged in the global South, whichremains a stronghold for the reactionary and counter-revolutionary politics, creating the immediate necessity for appropriate political fight and building up of organizations in appropriate forms by the progressive political force.
For historical reasons, according toa number of parameters, the people of the global North are in a positiondifferent from the global South, which may appear better to some observers. But, evidently, the situation in the global South will affect and, even now, continues to affect as it develops, the global North. The inter-relationship between the capital-intensive global North and labour-intensive global South is complex and has far-reaching political-economic impact on the global North. There is a reason that the “welfare” gains made by labour movements in the global North are being dismantled. The working classes in the global North are directly affected by the maneuvers of the monopoly finance capital and the consequent shocks in the bourgeoisie political structure – the enduring effects (both economic and political) of the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 bear evidence to that. The working class in the global North has just started to wake up to the advent of the so-called fourth industrial revolution, which, similar to its predecessors, would not radically change the fundamental relationship—antagonistic contradiction—between labour and capital. However, there is the urgent need to discuss in detail the way the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” would influence class struggle.
Thus, we see a symbiotic relationship between the crises in the global North and global South, as they fuel and strengthen each other with capitalism/imperialism being their common link. Even with the most efficient machines for manufacturing consent, each day capitalism/imperialism exposes itself – an inevitable consequence of its inescapable implosion. And, each day, this implosion generates violent spillovers, endangering life and ecology. The workers and peasants of the world, regardless of their historical,geo-political context, are at the most vulnerable position, not because of the present, but because of the uncertainties the future holds.
But the peasants and the proletariat would not leave the fate of the world at the whims and mercy of capital. An urge for radical change is taking its root among the peoples around the world. History has, quite harshly, bestowed upon us, the truth that there can be no reconciliation between the working classes and the capitalist class, there can be no “deal” between the despots and the systematically disenfranchised, there can be no alternative to class struggle.
The nature and form of this radical change,the way to achieve it and other relevant questions are being debated in progressive political quarters. Thus, more than ever, it has become important to analyze and understand the October Revolution. Re-examining its significance and revisiting its teachings have become essential for those looking for a way to organize the radical change.
The October Revolution was the first successful revolution of the proletariat. In human history of struggle for freedomand emancipation, the October Revolution, in its own right, remains the greatest achievement. There were many questions the Revolution resolved, but there are still many questions yet to be addressed. As inspiring as it is, the October Revolution is also a guiding beacon for the world proletariat.
It is only natural that those who are aspirant to change would look for directives in history. The uncharted path that lays ahead for those aspirants is complicated and perilous. There is no way to ease that travail, but the torch that can illuminate that path, that can empower those aspirants is history – the history of class struggle, the history of class-based human civilization. It is precisely in that connection that we need to study the October Revolution with the attention of a scientist who has no bias but objectivity. This book is an attempt to engage in that practice, quite an audacious attempt, nonetheless, since those in charge of editing are neither partisan intellectuals, nor professional academicians. Yet, we made this attempt as we found with regret that on the occasion of the centenary of the Great October Revolution, no notable literature or material for education has been published in Bangladesh. We do not claim to fill this void, neither is that possible; however, though late, this is a tribute to the great working class, who made the socialist revolution possible in the Russia of 1917. Perhaps, this book is also a testament to the stagnation that now dominates this delta.
This book aims to present to the reader contemporaneous analyses of the revolution by its leaders and close allies, as well as analyses of contemporary prominent Marxists. We hope this approach would enable the reader to see the revolution in retrospect, in connection with today’s global context. The essays have been presented in chronological order.
This book is for those who seek a better future for humanity, but find themselves troubled by injustice, inequality and tyranny that reign over the human civilization.
[Note: This is the preface to a just released book titled “100 YEARS OF THE GREAT OCTOBER REVOLUTION”, published by The Commoners.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org]