100 years on: The significance of the Russian Revolution
100 years on: The significance of the Russian Revolution for today
Saturday 25 November
Yates Room, Onehunga Community Centre,
83 Church Street, Onehunga,
The Socialist Equality Group (NZ) is holding a public meeting in Auckland to mark the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution. The meeting is part of the world-wide commemorations of the historic events of 100 years ago by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), the world Trotskyist movement and publisher of the World Socialist Web Site.
In 1917, in answer to the horrors of World War I and capitalist oppression, the working class in Russia took political power and established the first workers’ state, as part of a conscious struggle for world socialism. The revolution was victorious due to the Marxist strategy and tactics provided by the Bolshevik Party, under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky.
The Russian Revolution was, as David North, the chairman of the WSWS international editorial board, stated in a lecture earlier this year, “the most important, consequential and progressive political event of the twentieth century.” To this day, it stands as irrefutable proof that the working class—providing it is guided by a genuine Marxist perspective and leadership—can overthrow the outmoded social relations of capitalism, ending the private ownership of the means of production by a tiny minority and abolishing reactionary national-state divisions.
For that reason, the defenders of capitalism are waging a concerted campaign to denigrate the Russian Revolution and insist it has no relevance in the 21st century. Universally, they resort to the historical lie that the betrayal of the working class and international socialism by a bureaucratic apparatus headed by Joseph Stalin was the inevitable outcome of Bolshevism and the revolution itself.
Sheila Fitzpatrick, a professor of Russian history at the University of Sydney, is just one example. She wrote in March: “Socialism is so much of a mirage that it seems kinder not to mention it. If there is a lesson to be drawn from the Russian Revolution, it is the depressing one that revolutions usually make things worse, all the more so in Russia, where it led to Stalinism.”
Even the upper house of the Australian
parliament has felt it necessary to condemn the Russian
Revolution. In October, the Senate passed a motion, moved by
extreme right-wing senator Cory Bernardi, which declared
that it “rejects any assertion that the teachings of Lenin
or Marx should be celebrated in a liberal
Such statements have an air of desperation about them, reflecting the fear of the capitalist ruling elite at the immense interest in the Russian Revolution. Far from socialism being viewed as a “mirage,” masses of workers and youth aspire to its goals of international unity and social equality.
The reason why they are attracted to
socialism is obvious. Capitalism, as a world system, has
manifestly failed. The international working class today
confronts all the conditions that motivated revolutionary
struggles by millions of workers in 1917 and the years that
followed: imperialist violence and war, staggering
inequality and deprivation, state repression and far-right
political reaction. The so-called “liberal democracy” to
which the resolution of the Australian Senate referred is
openly degenerating into an authoritarian police-state to
defend the wealth of a parasitic financial oligarchy.
A new era of social revolution has opened. The working class cannot and will not accept the barbaric future it is being offered by capitalism.
The essential task for all those
coming forward to fight for socialism is to study and
assimilate the immense lessons that have been derived by the
Marxist movement from the experiences of Bolshevism and the
The SEG meeting will be a contribution to that process. We urge you to promote it as widely as possible to your workmates, and your friends and family. Donate as generously as you can to assist our efforts to advertise the meeting through social media, posters and other media. Play your part in making this meeting on November 25 not only a celebration of the Russian Revolution, but the launching pad for an intensified struggle to build the ICFI as the revolutionary leadership of the international working class.
Admission to this
meeting is $5 or $3 (concession price)
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1852414498403410/