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2017 will be the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.

ikosmos
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Joined: May 8 2001

2017 will be the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution (GOSR) - known in the West as the Russian Revolution of 1917 - and the passing of a century seems an important time to assess its significance, etc.

The Russian CP noted the following ...

CPRF wrote:
Next year the CPRF, together with all the fraternal parties and movements, will mark the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. The victory of the proletarian revolution in Russia in October 1917 was the key event of the ХХ century. It radically changed the course of humanity’s development. Thanks to the Great October Revolution the world’s first socialist state came into being. It provided an inspiring example for the working people of all countries who rose to fight the yoke of capital. The October Revolution found its continuation in the deeds of the builders of Socialism, in the heroism of anti-Fascists, in the defeat of Hitler’s Germany and militarist Japan, in the collapse of the colonial system, the inspiring Cuban Revolution, the courage of Che Guevara, Salvador Allende and Hugo Chavez and today’s successes of China and Vietnam.

Even the conservative President of Russia, V. V. Putin, noted the importance of this recently ...

TASS: Putin calls for honest assessment of 1917 revolution in Russia

Quote:
"We all know what consequences the so-called great upheavals usually have. Unfortunately, our country had to face many such upheavals in the past century. 2017 will mark the 100th anniversary of the February Revolution and the October Revolution. On this occasion we could once again asses the causes and the essence of Russian revolutions. Not only historians, but the entire Russian society needs an honest, deep assessment of those events," the president said.

Related: More than $3 million allocated for repairs of Aurora cruiser — symbol of 1917 revolution

Quote:
The Aurora was first used as a war ship in the Battle of Tsushima during the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese war. During WWI it took part in military operations in the Baltic area.

But the ship went down in world history after it fired a historic cannon shot in St. Petersburg in 1917 which heralded the beginning of the 1917 October armed uprising followed by a storm of the emperor's Winter Palace in St.Petersburg.

After the socialist revolution the Aurora was used as a training ship. During WWII the Aurora crews fought against Nazis who besieged Leningrad.

In 1948 the ship was moored at the Petrograd embankment on the Neva. It had been used since as a training base of the Nakhimov naval school until 1956 when the ship was turned into a museum.

Naturally, Russians will form their own conclusions about the historic events of 1917. But it's also a topic of general interest.

 

 


Comments

6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

Of course, an interesting parallel to current events is the role played by the German high command in sending Lenin across the border in the hopes that he would destabilize their enemies.

As the article says, Churchill often had the best lines:

Quote:

Full allowance must be made for the desperate tasks to which the German war leaders were already committed… Nevertheless it was with a sense of awe that they turned upon Russia the most grisly of weapons. They transported Lenin in a sealed truck like a plague bacillus from Switzerland to Russia.

http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/10/lenins-long-train-ride-into-history/

 


lagatta
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We remember that Churchill was deeply reactionary, imperialist, racist and antisemitic. It is just that the Austrian fellow was worse...

The revolutionary fervor also saw a great blossoming of the arts, despite the difficult circumstances.

Anyone else remember Expo, and the Soviet Pavillion commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Revolution?


6079_Smith_W
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I was there. It was amazing. I also remember being amazed that they disassembled the entire building and hauled it away again.

It wasn't too many years after that that they sent over a collection of space hardware - Soyuz and landers - that was equally impressive. I assume it went across Canada, but it did come to Winnipeg.

And in capturing the German perspective, Churchill was absolutely right. That was their intent, and that is what happened. Of course Lenin was not the only factor, and of course sending him in it did a good deal more than just end the war.

Of course there is also the story of how Trotsky got back there, which some also blamed on the Germans, and some conspiracists even blamed on the illuminati.

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/na0712-trotsky

 

 


Sean in Ottawa
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lagatta wrote:

We remember that Churchill was deeply reactionary, imperialist, racist and antisemitic. It is just that the Austrian fellow was worse...

The revolutionary fervor also saw a great blossoming of the arts, despite the difficult circumstances.

Anyone else remember Expo, and the Soviet Pavillion commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Revolution?

Apparently the building is in very bad condition and now falling apart.


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

No, that one is gone. They disassembled it at took it away.

https://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/expo/0533020213_e.html

 


ygtbk
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Joined: Jul 16 2009

You've got admit that it was pure marketing genius to call the smaller faction of the RSDLP "the Bolsheviks".

http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/bolshevik-menshevik-split


kropotkin1951
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lagatta wrote:

Anyone else remember Expo, and the Soviet Pavillion commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Revolution?

I was there the last week Expo was open and indeed I remember it.  I was sixteen at the time so the most memorable part of the fair for me was spending closing night in the Bavarian Beer Gardens "restaurant" with my older brother and our cousins from Montreal. Best October Fest ever.


lagatta
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Joined: Apr 17 2002

Yes, we also remember that Trotsky was a (left) Menshevik. at the time averse to Lenin's conception of the party.

Of course he became "more Catholic than the Pope" for a while, or more Leninist than Lenin...

Kropotkin, I was younger than you, and still managed to get some drink there. No, I didn't get drunk; it was more a matter of being able to do so.

Hmm, you have an OAP now? While I'm in no hurry to get any older (and thus, closer to the inevitable) I'd sure like to have that security.

Back to Cuba, at what age to they get their OAP? So many countries have raised the age in recent years.


kropotkin1951
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lagatta wrote:

Kropotkin, I was younger than you, and still managed to get some drink there. No, I didn't get drunk; it was more a matter of being able to do so.

Hmm, you have an OAP now? While I'm in no hurry to get any older (and thus, closer to the inevitable) I'd sure like to have that security.

Back to Cuba, at what age to they get their OAP? So many countries have raised the age in recent years.

I remember at the time that the Montreal police seemed to leave it up to the host countries to set the rules. So I guess the Germans figured since their are no age restrictions in Germany why should they need them in Canada.  I looked on line and it was the largest of the "restaurants" with 750 seats, strangely it always seemed to be full at night. The place was wall to wall on closing night with people literally dancing on the tables to the oompah band. 

Indeed the OAS was the best birthday present I got this year. Its the gift that keeps on giviing every month. 

What little I have read tells me that their pension scheme is more like our CPP and is a type of defined benefit plan.  I am not sure what the current ages of retirement are although they used to be low.


jjuares
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Too bad it didn't work out with the Gulag and all. On the other hand the price for beating the Nazis was largely paid in Soviet blood, something that seems to be virtually unknown in the west. So for that we all owe a debt to the Soviets.

sherpa-finn
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Joined: Jun 20 2012

On the tangent that is the Cuba pension question: 

1. One of the first pieces of Raul's economic reform package back in 2008 was to raise the retirement / pension age by 5 years, - to 60 for women and 65 for men.

2. FWIW, one of the best sites for tracking social benefits around the world is maintained by the US Gov't. Here is the Cuba page with the details of their pension and other social benefit plans (dated 2011):

https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/progdesc/ssptw/2010-2011/americas/cuba.html

3. Its been over a year since I have been in Cuba but I think it is fair to say that all people on wholly or relatively fixed incomes seem to be struggling to deal with the inflationary trends inevitable in a more open market, particularly given the 'distortions' of the two-currency system. A relatively accurate picture (IMHO) is painted in this article from NACLA which is a generally progressive information source on the Americas. http://nacla.org/news/2014/11/10/cuba%E2%80%99s-retired-population-strug...

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming ....


KenS
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Joined: Aug 6 2001

Now I know I'm getting old. No, I dont remember the October Revolution.

But I gave a speech at the 100th May Day- was pretty seasoned then. And here we are already- another 100 year milestone.

How do we like the glorious march so far?


KenS
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Joined: Aug 6 2001

ikosmos wrote:

2017 will be the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution (GOSR) - known in the West as the Russian Revolution of 1917 - and the passing of a century seems an important time to assess its significance, etc.

The Russian CP noted the following ... 

I am guessing that is a reference to a Russian Communist Party.

Fancy that, who knew there still was one.


ikosmos
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Joined: May 8 2001

KenS wrote:
I am guessing that is a reference to a Russian Communist Party.

Fancy that, who knew there still was one.

The CPRF is the 2nd largest party in the Russian Duma or Parliament. That makes the Russian "left" a great deal larger than our own "left" in the Canadian Parliament: the latter being a left that censors expressions of solidarity with the just struggle of the Palestinians, acts as a horrific apologist for the brutal Israeli regime, is too cowardly to identify with the dreaded "working class", and was recently trounced in an election by a Liberal Party that out manoeuvered them by campaigning to the left of this "left" party. So left? uh, no. 

This also undermines the endless lying narrative, mostly spouted by conservatives and other right-wingers (including right-wing NDPers), that the current conservative (actually classical liberal would be a better description) Russian President is some nefarious, can't-help-himself, subterranean Communist.

If Putin was a Communist then he'd have an enormous and well-represented CP to join. Which he ain't about to do.

eta: I would argue, and I have argued here on babble, that the remarkable foreign policy under this conservative President owes a great deal to the enduring legacy of the "evil" Soviet regime in terms of support for developing countries that are oriented in an anti-imperialist way. This conservative is, in terms of much of Russia's foreign policy, to the left of the party we call "left" here in Canada.

Does that make him "left" ? Not really. But it does reflect rather badly on "our" left.

 


radiorahim
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Joined: Jun 17 2002

You'll find a more critical (although a bit dated) view of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation by Russian Marxist Boris Kagarlitsky in Green Left Weekly here.

 


lagatta4
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Joined: May 9 2013

Indeed. I'd love to see an update to that.


ikosmos
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Joined: May 8 2001

lagatta4 wrote:
Indeed. I'd love to see an update to that.

Kagarlitsky is pretty prolific. A quick review finds some denouncing him as a Kremlin stooge but, since anyone who criticizes US foreign policy is viewed in some quarters as such, I don't put much stock in claims like that that are poorly backed up. 

I didn't find much from him on the Russian CP lately, but I did find an interesting piece or two from him at the Valdai Discussion Club.

Valdai Paper #13: Marxism in the Post-Globalization Era from Valdai 2015

A good piece, if a little light on more details, on the enduring usefulness of Marxism that is applied properly to social life. 13 pages.

Where have all the robots gone? Globalization and labor relations

 

 


radiorahim
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Joined: Jun 17 2002

I got a kick out of Kagarlitsky's article  "Crimea Annexes Russia"

Particularly:

Quote:
The liberal press is now setting out to frighten the public with the threat of economic sanctions on the part of the West, but the main danger to our economy stems precisely from the fact that there will be no such sanctions. If the West were in fact to impose serious sanctions, this would open up enormous opportunities, creating the preconditions for a growth of employment, for wage increases and for creating new jobs. Suspending Russia’s membership in the World Trade Organization would be a gift to our industry. Placing a blockade on technology transfers would make it necessary to revive Russian enterprises.

We are in acute need of sanctions, since they would provide a chance for us to restore our industry, to diversify production, to wage a struggle against capital flight and to conquer our own internal market. But the ruling layers in the US and European Union have no intention of aiding Russia, so there will be no serious sanctions, merely symbolic acts aimed at calming public opinion in the USA and Europe and at giving moral support to the “patriotic” pretensions of the Russian elite.


lagatta4
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Thanks, radiorahim. Green Left Weekly wouldn't publish a "Kremlin Stooge" (or a Wall Street one). Those articles look very interesting.


Ken Burch
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Here's what I would say we should take from the October Revolution:

The original transformative spirit of 1917, the example of the "popular organization" and the initial emphasis on workers' control are the main things of value, coupled with the original support of freedom of expression and artistic innovation.

After 1921 and the suppression of the Kronstadt Uprising, everything turned towards bureaucracy, reaction, repression, anti-intellectualism and the replacement of the original internationalist vision with Great Russian Nationalism.

While we can hail the heroism of the Red Army in the Great Patriotic War, everything else that happened in the USSR after 1921 was a betrayal and should be discarded by any future socialist revolution.

Yes, the Revolution was under external and internal threat.  But were repression, centralization, closed borders and "preserving the leading role of the party" the only way to protect it from overthrow?

And was it absolutely necessary to force every CP in the rest of the world to unquestioningly defend everything the USSR did, including the purge trials and the executions?  And to reduce the defense of the Revolution to preserving a regime for the sake of preserving the regime?

The need is to get back to the original Bolshevik vision...and discard most of what was done after 1921.  That is the only way make anything of value from the legacy of October.

 


Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

October means two things for me:

1. Removing Russia from the genocidal slaughter of World War I.

2. Defeating the Nazis and their allies.

 


6079_Smith_W
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Ken Burch wrote:

While we can hail the heroism of the Red Army in the Great Patriotic War, everything else that happened in the USSR after 1921 was a betrayal and should be discarded by any future socialist revolution.

I wouldn't say that, any more than I would say that you can boil the west down to capitalist exploitation, or that the French rrevolution was nothing but the Terror. It is completely untrue.

I don't think that revolution was the most important event of the 20th century, because it was not the only example of that kind of reform, and in the long run it was not the most successful. As for what came after, like all other societies, Russia was far more complex than its hierarchy, or even the one totalitarian leader it had the misfortune to suffer under. And despite the way things went so terribly wrong there, they did challenge things, and make lasting changes that other societies did not. 

In fact, the success of the revolution very much parallelled the success of the war. Both were a case of what happens when things get as bad as they can possibly be. Both were less a case of a brilliant plan than the only thing they could possibly do to survive.

 

 


radiorahim
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Joined: Jun 17 2002

Quote:
October means two things for me:

1. Removing Russia from the genocidal slaughter of World War I.

2. Defeating the Nazis and their allies.

 

I would add a third thing.   For the most part, (when not sucked in to proxy wars with the U.S.) the USSR supported national liberation struggles in the third world in the post colonial era.


jjuares
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The surprise for me was the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union. I felt at the time that now the left would flourish because it would no longer be burdened by a negative image of socialism associated with the USSR. I also felt that we could not spend as much on armaments because we would have friendlier relations with the Russian successor state. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Unionist
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radiorahim wrote:

Quote:
October means two things for me:

1. Removing Russia from the genocidal slaughter of World War I.

2. Defeating the Nazis and their allies.

 

I would add a third thing.   For the most part, (when not sucked in to proxy wars with the U.S.) the USSR supported national liberation struggles in the third world in the post colonial era.

I agree.

6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

Though that in itself was a form of proxy war, just as it was for the U.S.

Of course empires seem friendly and helpful when they are trying to make a foothold, or upset someone else. Even Hitler played that game, in India. China is doing it right now in southern Africa.

And of course they bring some good things, and fight bad things until they have a degree of influence.

What is telling is not Ethiopia, Angola, or Cuba, but places a bit closer to home, like Spain, Greece, and Afghanistan.

So while I'd agree the Soviets brought some good things to the rest of the world, well they all bring some good things, and none of it is free. I don't see this as one of the things that sets them apart as a better example because they easily abandoned that principle when it suited them.

 


6079_Smith_W
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I think their greatest legacy has less to do with any national alliances or struggles (especially reducing it to just a battle with the U.S.) than how they changed global perception because they were some alternative to the major European powers. I think it is very significant that they showed someone else could build a world power, coming from a place of grinding poverty, and without corporate control.

Even though in practice it was just as much a sham as American "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness", they did show that some utopian ideals could be put into practice - challenging corporate, royal and church power, and to a lesser degree equality for all, including workers and women (though unfortunately other cultures, and particularly the people they colonized, became the scapegoats and suffered genocide).

The French revolution burned out much faster, and was followed by dictatorship, but still left legal, political and philosophical differences that last to this day. I think it is hard to see clearly what the Soviet legacy will be because of how things currently are, but I see it as having at least as much influence, if not more.

Their biggest shortcoming? That they insisted on framing it as a war. Wars need enemies. I'd be really curious what might have been had they not set the stage for someone like Stalin. Lenin did, after all, ask for him to be removed.


radiorahim
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Quote:
The surprise for me was the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union. I felt at the time that now the left would flourish because it would no longer be burdened by a negative image of socialism associated with the USSR. I also felt that we could not spend as much on armaments because we would have friendlier relations with the Russian successor state. I couldn't have been more wrong.

For about a week there was talk of a "peace dividend".    Still waiting for it to be paid a quarter century later.

Instead the world got neo-liberal capitalist "shock therapy".


6079_Smith_W
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radiorahim wrote:

For about a week there was talk of a "peace dividend".    Still waiting for it to be paid a quarter century later.

Instead the world got neo-liberal capitalist "shock therapy".

Yeah, I think the clearest way that played out was in Germany, where the takeover was just assumed, and ultimately bribed with deutschmarks being traded at par, and later, former East German politicians were targetted because of presumed bias.

Kind of ironic that the mantle of leader of the western world has fallen to someone who grew up in the east.

And ironic that neo-fascist politics has its strongest foothold in the land where people were taught most to fight it.

 

 


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

x

 


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