Communists and progressive forces marked the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution with two major conferences and a series of events in Russia that paid tribute to the 10 days that shook the world in 1917. It all began when the Bolsheviks led the revolution that overthrew the Kerensky regime in St Petersburg to build the world’s first workers’ and peasants’ state. And in the hallowed hall of the Tavrichesky Palace, where the Czarist parliament met and where Lenin spoke when it was briefly home to the Provisional Government and the Petersburg Soviet, hundreds of communists gathered for the 19th International Meeting of the Communist and Workers' Parties of the World.
The conference was opened on 2nd November by Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). He reminded delegates that a new stage in history was heralded 100 years ago with the words of Lenin, the genius of the Revolution, from Red Petrograd to the whole world and added that now is the time for the third Russian revolution, which will ensure the ultimate victory of socialism.
Referring to the symbolic meaning of the salvo from the cruiser Aurora that sparked off the uprising and the unforgettable days of October in the capital of the Russian Empire, Zyuganov recalled the historical stages the city hosted from the struggle for Soviet power to the heroic resistance against the Nazis.
Zyuganov also commented on the development of the meetings of the communist and workers’ parties, starting with the initiative of the Communist Party of Greece 20 years ago. He recalled that the main tasks of the meetings were the restoration of inter-party ties that had been interrupted after 1991 and exchange of information on their activities. Zyuganov stated that over the years, valuable experience in preparing and holding such meetings has been accumulated and the number of parties participating in them has been constantly growing.
Delegations from 103 parties, including the New Communist Party of Britain (NCP), took part in the conference. NCP leader Andy Brooks and Peter Hendy from the Central Committee joined 188 other comrades from all over the world, which included 60 Party leaders amongst the 188 delegates that filled the hall.
|Andy Brooks joking with Rob Griffiths of the CPB|
Conference agreed to add the Communist Party of China, the Workers Party of Korea and the Hungarian Workers Party to the Working Group, the steering committee of the international movement. Conference also unanimously adopted a statement calling upon all communist and workers’ parties to intensify coordination and to take up joint actions. It was also decided to organise scientific research and exchange of opinions on the causes that led to the counter-revolution in the USSR and the dissolution of the socialist camp. It was decided that the 100th anniversary of the seminal work of Lenin, The State and Revolution, would be observed in a systematic manner. The communiqué noted that 2018 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx and there needs to be appropriate efforts to discuss the contributions of Karl Marx and the Communist Manifesto. It was agreed to build joint efforts to protect the rights and democratic freedoms of working people and to fight racism and fascism. The communiqué also called for focused activity targeting the youth because they are being misled by reactionary forces in every country, and expressed solidarity with the peoples of Cuba, Palestine, Syria, Venezuela and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The two-day conference closed with solemn singing of the Internationale. The delegations then proceeded to join 4,000 Russian communists at the vast October Concert Hall for a rapturous concert dedicated to the spirit of the revolution. The following day international delegations were taken to the historic Smolny Institute, the home of the Soviet government before it moved to Moscow, and to the Aurora and a 1917 exhibition in the Hermitage museum.
The delegations then travelled by high-speed train to Moscow to take part in the even bigger Left Forum, which also included delegations from the Syrian Arab Socialist Renaissance Party (Baath) and other progressive forces from the Third World.
Delegates paid tribute to Lenin at Lenin Mausoleum, and the ashes of Joseph Stalin and other leaders of the revolution, including the hundreds of unknown soldiers and martyrs honoured along the Kremlin wall.
With numerous events, rallies and parades, thousands of people of every age celebrated the 100 years since the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia and other countries of the former USSR.
The centenary celebrations of the Great October Socialist Revolution concluded in Moscow with a rally on 7th November. It was attended by not only comrades from Moscow, but also leaders of over 100 communist and workers’ parties from across the world.
Delegates joined demonstrators led by the CPRF leaders in a march from Pushkin Square to Revolution Square, waving the flags of the Lenin Komsomol, portraits of Lenin and Stalin, and chanting communist slogans. A rally was then held in front of statue of Karl Marx in Revolution Square.
Large rallies, organised by the CPRF and the Russian Communist Workers Party (RCWP), took place in Moscow, St Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Omsk and other smaller cities. The celebrations took place despite a deliberate effort by the Putin government to distract public opinion away from the great anniversary. Major communist concerts in Moscow and St Petersburg were ignored by the Russian media, which chose instead to mark the centenary with the start of an eight-part series on Leon Trotsky!
Although President Vladimir Putin did send greetings to the international communist conference, the Russian government refused to hold any events in honour of the October Revolution, apart from a pageant in Red Square that was partly dedicated to the 1941 Red Army parade before leaving to the front against the Nazis. But this simply reflects the reactionary and anti-communist orientation of the Putin government that serves the interests the national bourgeoisie.
But as Gennady Zyuganov said: “7th November will always remain a celebration for us. Today’s Russia is a different place but they can’t take away our whole lives from us.”