2017 marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution, which in October 1917 changed the course of human history. Millions of people in the working class, the dispossessed class, and women, peasants and soldiers through their political and class consciousness decided to write history from their own point of view in favour of humanity. The overwhelming majority of oppressed people overthrew capitalism and successfully registered the first socialist revolution on earth. The Russian Revolution was the clearest proof that the claim by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels that capitalism is in decay and must be dismantled was correct.
Now, 100 years later, the crisis of capitalism has advanced even further as we see a world of imperialist wars and occupations, environmental degradation under capitalist exploitation of land and natural resources, the rights of poor and working people continuously coming under attack and the worst refugee crisis the world has ever seen due to the effects of imperialism. The gap between rich and poor has reached exorbitant levels, both within advanced capitalist countries and between these countries and oppressed nations. With all this in consideration, discussing the Russian socialist revolution and its relevancy for revolutionary movements today is as important as ever.
On December 2nd, Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice organized a teach-in in Vancouver titled “From the Russian Revolution to the Cuban Revolution: The Question of Leadership, Building the Socialist Project, and Where We are Today”. The event started out with a historical documentary film, outlining the factors for the failure of capitalism in Russia and the factors which led to the victory of the Russian Revolution, including the role of different layers of society and the leadership of the Bolshevik party within it.
The speakers for the evening were Tamara Hansen, Fire This Time editorial board member and coordinator of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba, and Alison Bodine, also a Fire This Time editorial board member and chair of Mobilization Against War and Occupation. Tamara and Alison broadened the discussion on the Russian Revolution, also highlighting the exceptional role that women held in advancing the Russian Revolution, and how the program of the Bolshevik Party advanced the rights of poor and working people, as well as for oppressed nationalities within Russia. The speakers also discussed the important factor of leadership in the Russian Revolution, particularly of the Bolshevik Party, which tied in to the question of leadership in socialist revolutions today – and how the Cuban Revolution and its leadership is the true continuity of the Russian Revolution today.
Following the speakers, the participants engaged in a dynamic discussion ranging from the historical aspects of the Russian Revolution, to the crisis of capitalism today and the role of the Cuban Revolution today. Through the pages of the Fire This Time newspaper and Fire This Time events, these are important discussions which will continue to develop, with the goal of creating a better and more just world!
Follow Janine Solanki on Twitter: @janinesolanki
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