Today – November 7, 2017 – is the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution of 1917. In February of that year, the working class and peasantry – along with the soldiers – overthrew the Tsar’s regime. That October (November in our calendar), led by the Bolshevik party, the workers and peasants completed their social revolution by overthrowing the conciliatory government of the bourgeoisie led by Alexander Kerensky. Lenin, who had returned to Russia from exile, saw that behind Kerensky’s government was ‘merely a screen for the counterrevolutionary Cadets and the military clique, which is in power at present’ and of the foreign imperialists. They had to be overthrown. That is what the Petrograd Soviet did.
But the Soviet Century was truncated. It lasted for just over seven decades. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1989. Its departure inflicted a heavy penalty on socialism around the world.
What do we celebrate, then, when we look back at 1917?
Insurrection is an Art
Do we marvel at the work of the tiny left-wing parties who made deep connections with the Russian working-class and sections of the peasantry in the terrible years of the Great War?
In 1914, the international socialist movement crumbled before the prospect of war, with most established parties – led by the most important Marxist party, which was in Germany – voted on behalf of the war. A small minority decided that this was not a war of the people, but a war against the people, an imperialist war. At Zimmerwald, Switzerland in 1915, this anti-imperialist left gathered to regroup. From Russia came a wide spectrum of leaders, from Lenin to Martov, from Trotsky to Radek. Pacifism was not their method. ‘The slogan of peace is not at all revolutionary. It can only take a revolutionary character when it is linked to our argument for a revolutionary tactic, when it goes along with a call for revolution’. Lenin’s 1902 book, What is to be Done?, provided a guide to many socialists: it counselled the cadre to build an organisation to prepare for a change of circumstances. When the spontaneous strikes broke out in the St. Petersburg factories in 1896, Lenin argued, the ‘revolutionaries lagged behind this upsurge, both in their theories and in their activity; they failed to establish a constant and continuous organization capable of leading the whole movement’. This lag had to be rectified.
America has the greatest inequalities, highest mortality rate,
most regressive taxes, and largest public subsidies for bankers and
billionaires of any developed capitalist country.
In this essay we will discuss the socio-economic roots of
inequalities and the relation between the concentration of wealth and the
downward mobility of the working and salaried classes.
Donald Trump’s speech at the UN General Assembly poses a serious threat to global peace
The Tudeh Party of Iran believes that global peace hinges on the efforts of all peace-loving and progressive forces across the world to work for the resolution of all conflicts and disputes through negotiation and within the framework of the UN Charter.
The first speech of US President Donald Trump at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday September 19, 2017, exhibited to the world’s public the deeply reactionary, interventionist, and warmongering nature of the US administration, and the grave risks that thus threaten world peace.
Donald Trump’s speech on the first day of the UN General Assembly – after the opening address of António Guterres, the UN Secretary General – unprecedentedly consisted not only of a threat to “totally destroy” another member state, but also threats and hostile positions towards countries that support other ideological systems and, as such, exposed the inherent disbelief of Trump and his administration in the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, representing a clear threat against the sovereignty of countries across the globe. In his speech, Trump directly and bleakly attacked the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and threatened to “totally destroy” that nation and in fact targeted and threatened all countries in the world that do not accept the political, military, and economic dominance of the US. The threatening words of Trump against Cuba and Venezuela reflect the reactionary position and ideological aggression of the leaders of US Imperialism on the rights of nations, as well as the serious threat they pose to humanity.
The South African Communist Party (SACP) and Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) held a bilateral session today, 18 September 2017. The strategic meeting was attended by the national officials and office bearers of the two working class organisations. The meeting discussed a wide range of issues, including the state of the economy and our alliance. South Africa has just come out of a technical recession, but thousands of workers in various sectors are facing retrenchment as capitalist bosses intensify restructuring to secure and maximise profit without regard to the plight of the workers. The intensified offensive by the bosses has capitalised on the weaknesses facing our alliance.
The meeting expressed deep concern about the state of the ANC-headed alliance. Alliance Secretariat and Political Council meetings have collapsed. In the process, divisions in our broader movement have intensified. People are increasingly turning to the courts, the mechanism of the last resort, as an alternative for relief in the midst of glaring leadership failures. Killings in our movement have increased and continue unabated. Provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) have become the glaring example of this painful experience reminiscent of apartheid sponsored killings.
The Press Office of the CC of the KKE in its statement on the dangerous developments in the Korean Peninsular mentions that:
“The KKE expresses its intense concern about the dangerous situation in the Korean Peninsular. The developments reflect the escalation of the economic and military competition and inter-imperialist contradictions in the entire Asia and Pacific region between powerful capitalist states and business interests, at an international and regional level. It is not the result of choices of the allegedly “crazy” leaders of the USA and North Korea, as is being deliberately cultivated by the mass media in order to conceal the real causes of the confrontation.
These antagonisms between the USA, Japan, China, Russia etc. are related in particular to the new division of the markets, the exploitation of the energy resources, which are to be found in regions such as the Korean Peninsular, the South and East China Sea, the Arctic and elsewhere. All this results in the constant intensification of the dangerous arms race and even the possibility of a military conflict. The USA is also paving the way for the increase of the sales of modern armaments to Japan and South Korea, while maintaining powerful military forces (28,000 troops) and military hardware in their bases in South Korea. It is constantly conducting major military exercises with provocative scenarios for the invasion of North Korea.
It is no accident that from the very first moment, the new US administration of Trump, together with the goal of renegotiating large scale economic agreements, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), turned its attention to this specific region, which is in the under-belly of China and Russia and is considered by China to be a region vital to its interests, as well as other regions of Asia that are on the “Silk Route”.All the above, together with USA’s large trade deficits in relation to China, influence the formation of an aggressive political line in order to defend the US monopolies.
The fall of 2017 will witness the most brutal assault on working and middle class living standards since the end of World War II. Three presidents and their congressional allies will ‘revise’ labor legislation, progressive income tax laws and regulations and effectively end the mixed economy in France, the US and Brazil.
Throughout the summer, public opinion has been diverted by US threats to launch new overseas wars, France’s rhetoric about forming a post-Brexit, Berlin-Paris pact, which will remake the European Union, and Brazil’s President Michel Temer’s corruption and crime scandals.
These superficial controversies will be overwhelmed by fundamental class conflicts, which promise to alter the present and future structural relations within Western capitalism.
The cheapest currency in the US is the award of ‘hero’. At a time noted for its pervasive corruption, moral slack, and self-regard, the shapers of opinion search far and wide for acts of atypical goodness that can be heralded as heroic, acts that might paint an inspired picture in these sordid times.
The bar for doing-good has been set so low that simply doing what you do or are supposed to do earns hero status: a fireman rescues a dog and becomes a media hero; a dog rescues a fireman and also becomes a hero.
In more heroic times, the standard set for hero status was much higher.
A hero should be someone who stands up for those whose voices are not heard; a hero ought to be a person casting personal interest aside to confront a bully.
I thought about this question when I saw a picture of a young African American couple mourning the loss of Heather Heyer, the victim of a brutal attack in Charlottesville, Virginia. Because she was standing against the forces of injustice when her life was taken, isn’t she a hero by any standard?
A coalition of community groups, students, clergy and environmentalists joined with labor to attempt to unionize the Nissan auto plant in Canton, Mississippi. “Despite having only a narrow majority of Nissan workers signing cards, the union decided it was time to call an election.” But Nissan won this time with more than 60 percent of the vote.
“Nissan, You Made Us Mad”: Union Promises to Fight Mississippi Defeat
by Mike Elk
This article previously appeared in The Guardian and Portside.
Resolution of the Political Council of ALBA-TCP congratulating Venezuela for successful Constituent Assembly elections
6th EXTRAORDINARY MEETING OF THE
ALBA-TCP POLITICAL COUNCIL
Caracas, August 8th, 2017
The Foreign Ministers of the member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Peoples’ Trade Treaty (ALBA–TCP), gathered at the 6th Extraordinary Meeting of the ALBA–TCP Political Council, held in Caracas, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, on August 8th, 2017.