13 December, 2019

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Centenary Of The October Revolution: 1917–2017

By Nipuli Gajanayake –

Nipuli Gajanayake

Collapses in political systems and rises of new political systems have been a significant trend in the Great Russian political history. In such scenarios, “Revolution” marked as a driving mode for those substantial transformations. The series of Russian revolutions dated back to1905 and were aroused against the Russian empire’s imperial rule. However it is important to mention that, the 1905 revolution did not start with the peasantry or the industrial working class but started with the middle class and professional people. The demand for political reform in 1903-4 became a reason to open-up a revolutionary front against the Tsarist rule. Union of Liberation was the forerunner of the revolutionary front and their agenda designed to end the Tsarist autocracy. The agenda included with establishment of constitutional form of government, self-determination for the nationalities of the empire, and bring out economic and social reforms. Although 1905 revolution brought no actual transform to the social, economic, and political setting of Russia, the Revolution of 1905 set the background for the revolutions of 1917.

V.I. Lenin: The revolutionary Legend

Vladimir Lenin a communist revolutionary politician emerged as a notable personality during the Russian revolutionary phase. Lenin had studied law and had taken participation in revolutionary Marxist circles. In 1895, he helped organize Marxist groups in the capital into the “Union for the Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class,” The effort had attempted to attract workers to the Marxist ideology. In December 1895, Lenin and the other leaders of the Union were arrested due to revolutionary Marxist ideologies, and it resulted to exile Lenin to Siberia for a term of three years. During his exile Lenin co-founded the newspaper Iskra (spark’ that ignites the flame of communism), the newspaper of Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. Lenin was an active member at the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP) and paid much attention to centralization approach. In 1903 the RSDLP split into two fractions of Bolshevik (Majority) and Mensheviks (Minority). Bolsheviks concerned on centralization and Mensheviks favored to a democratic approach. However, after finishing his exile period in 1900, he went to Western Europe from Siberia and “published a pamphlet entitled What Is to Be Done?. [It] argued that only a disciplined party of professional revolutionaries could bring socialism to Russia”. In 1907 he moved to Finland and then continued to travel throughout Europe. Throughout this journey Lenin participated in many socialist meetings and activities, including the Prague Party Conference of 1912 and the Zimmerwald Conference of 1915.

Lenin

Lenin’s deep acceptance of Marxism had sharpened the displeasure against the Tsarist rule. This disappointment had spontaneously made Lenin to emerge as an active personality among proletariats, suppressed professionals, intellectuals, and within Communist scholarly circles. “Not only in the scholarly circles of the former Soviet Union but even among many non-Communist scholars, he has been regarded as both the greatest revolutionary leader and revolutionary statesman in history, as well as the greatest revolutionary thinker since Marx.”

Lenin believed in revolution to achieve the ultimate goal of establishing the Communist state under a Socialist rule. A Communist society which characterized by classlessness, statelessness, elimination of labor exploitation and common ownership of the means of production have mainly considered within this Communist state. 

Revolutions of 1917: The February Revolution

Russia involved to the first Word War in 1914 with the hope of supporting for its Serbs, French, and British allies against the German Empire. However, the supportive involvement had created a disastrous environment within the Russian Empire and spontaneously made peasant workers’ living condition more worsen. With the Empire’s costly war effort, the situation led to produce social and economic problems at large scale. The economy disordered by the costly war effort, and consequently riots and strikes broke out in Petrograd (today St. Petersburg). Industrial and cultural backwardness of Russia had toppled the living condition for working class people and created a social disaster throughout the Empire. This harsh condition thus led to outbreak the February revolution in 1917. It is important to mention that the revolution started on 8, March 1917 but known as ‘February revolution’ as the Russian Empire used Julian calendar at that time.

However, workers’ strikes broke out in Petrograd within worsen economic and social environment. Among disturbed problems, the shortage of food became the major one to outbreak riots and strikes against the Tsar rule. As a result of the revolutionary riots and strikes, the abduction of Tsar, ending of the Empire and creation of both Russian Provisional Government and Russian Republic can be identified as outcomes.

The Great October Revolution

With the end of the February Revolution, Lenin traveled back to Russia from Switzerland on April 16, 1917 and played a significant role within the Bolshevik movement. Opposition for the newly created Provisional Government had been the most important factor to outbreak the October revolution. The power within rich and influential elite’ class had suppressed the workers hence creating an environment with poor living conditions under shortage of food.

In July 1917, workers and soldiers started demonstrations by demanding Provisional Government’s power be given to the Soviets (Worker’s Council). However, with the support of Socialist Revolutionary Party (Menshevik) leaders, the Provisional Government ordered an armed attack against the demonstrators. On 25 October (7 November in Gregorian calendar) 1917, Bolsheviks led their armed forces against the Provisional Government in the city of Petrograd. Significantly, demoralized military units of the city also joined with the Bolshevik uprising. In September and October 1917, mass demonstrations and strikes took part by workers, miners, metalworkers, oil workers, textile workers, and railroad workers throughout Moscow and Petrograd. Corollary, such workers controlled the production and distribution of production in many factories and plants at large. Gradually, Provisional Government was unable to resist the Bolshevik’s revolutionary storm and became more helpless when Red Army seized the control over key centers throughout the city.  Moreover, Bolsheviks were able to capture important places and facilities (like communication) belonged to the Provisional Government.

However, as the salient outcomes of the October revolution, the ending of Russian Provisional Government and Russian Republic, creation of Soviet Russia, nationalization of all private property, nationalization of all Russian banks, control of the factories given to Soviets, fixed the wages at higher rate and introducing eight hour working duration can be mentioned.

Relevance of the Revolution on today’s Societies

The Bolshevik revolution merely not only a class struggle of working class but a political effort to seek independence from capitalist politics capitalist state power. Nevertheless, the revolution was able to provide practical decrees for economical, cultural, and national issues. As examples possibility for self-determination, promotion of social solidarity, equality and sustainable development can be identified. Furthermore, the Soviet government abolished all discriminatory laws against women, gender discrimination, and racism. Establishment of a system of free education and health care can also be named. Humanity is another major factor that encouraged through the revolution. Artists, writers, musicians, and scientists were given freedom and space to express every form of social, cultural, and scientific ideas to sharpen the humanity. According to Dr. Douglas Levesque the United Nations sustainable development is a redefinition of global communism. In other words, world communism and sustainable development is a same thing.  Moreover Dr Levesque stated that, the UN’s sustainable goals are republishing of the Communist Manifesto.

However it is to mention that, thankful to the October revolution, all the working people in the world gained work rights, pension, overtime payments, and fair wage and salary systems similarly. Through an unsuppressed working condition, every society would be able to achieve the social justice, economic development, peace, and prosperity successfully.

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Latest comments

  • 4
    1

    Soviet Communism is long dead but due to the pragmatism of Deng Xiaopieing, Communism in China is alive and well.

    • 3
      0

      My take on the October Revolution:
      Romanov family Tsar Wannabees = Defeated, corrupt Rajapassa clan
      Provisional Government = Scheming, back-stabbing, spineless Yahapalana monkeys
      Sri Lanka’s Bolsheviks! Your time has come.
      WHERE ARE YOU?

    • 4
      0

      “Soviet Communism is long dead”

      I believe the French Revolution, ……….. especially its aftermath paving the way for the emergence of Napoleon had far greater significance in redefining the political landscape of Europe irrevocably than the Russian revolution. Although it lacked the ideological razzmatazz of the Russian shindig.

    • 0
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      Taraki

      “Soviet Communism is long dead but due to the pragmatism of Deng Xiaopieing, Communism in China is alive and well.”

      Isn’t it like Rohana’s JVP communism is long dead but due to the pragmatism/parasitism of Wimal Sangili Weerawan’s greedy Communism is alive and well.

    • 0
      0

      Taraki

      “Soviet Communism is long dead but due to the pragmatism of Deng Xiaopieing, Communism in China is alive and well.”

      Isn’t it like Rohana’s JVP communism is long dead but due to the pragmatism/parasitism of Wimal Sangili Weerawan’s greedy opportunism is alive and well.

  • 4
    1

    The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a monumental event that blazed a trail for all oppressed peoples not only in Russia but of the world to be free from want
    hunger, disease,ignorance and poverty.
    It provided the will, determination and direction to the allied to defeat Nazi Hitler’s Germany, Mao to liberate the people of China, Ho Chi Min to vanquish US in Vietnam , Castro and Che to liberate and protect the people of Cuba by their daring efforts , Nelson Mandela to cause defeat of apartheid in South Africa.
    It has given the will and determination of the people of Palestine to resist the aggression and occupation of their land by Israel.
    The task to achieve objectives visioned by Lenin for the defeated, the disposed and the unfree could be long and difficult requiring much blood,tears,sweat, toil and bleached bones but the first step to obtain that objective has already been taken. The time has come for good to triumph evil.

  • 3
    1

    you have failed to mention that it was the german army that allowed lenin to return to Russia from Switzerland in a sealed train and provided significant amounts of money to the Bolsheviks who in return signed a peace agreement with the germans
    handing over Poland,the Baltic states, finland, and a part of Ukraine in the process

    however after stalin took over much of what lenin achieved was lost

  • 1
    1

    How about the story that Zar killed Lenin’s brother and that fueld his urge to topple Zar. Probably, Lenin’s brother also was against Zar. Read this; https://www.globalresearch.ca/history-of-the-russian-revolutions-and-civil-war/5460551

  • 3
    2

    Dear Nipuni,
    I don’t think you are old enough to personally remember the greatness or otherwise of the Soviet Union.
    “Russia involved to the first Word War in 1914 “
    That at least I agree with. Radio Moscow was such a fount of alternative disinformation.

  • 2
    5

    I hate this Marxim nonsense. I mean how can a hardworking Executive earn the same money as that of a Peon? Or how can a hardworking Fund Manager like myself earn the same money like a Store clerk and that’s exactly what would happen in a Socialist Marxist society.

    OTOH, I love Capitalism which allows the rich to get richer, keep poor people in their bloody place and pay less taxes (as a %) than poor people.

    These Marxist people got what they deserved during the Premadasa time. That was also a time when I was in the Army. I sent over 6 dozen Marxists to hell to go and meet Lenin, Karl Marx and the likes at the gates of hell.

    • 2
      0

      Reginald,
      ” Or how can a hardworking Fund Manager like myself earn the same money like a Store clerk “
      A hardworking Soviet Fund Manager? Now THAT would be something to see.

  • 3
    1

    Now look pretty Nipuli.
    When you talk of the Russian Revolution you have left out a Principal character- Rasputin!
    Lenin stood to gain in the role played by Rasputin,who had become close ,very close to the Tsar & Tsarina. As the fortunes of the Monk Rasputin rose, the popularity of the Tsar and Tsarina began to decline.Eventually, Rasputin, a peasant was done to death by a group of Aristocrats. But this was too late; Lenin had by now captured the hearts of the different layers of Russian society. Revolution had Come!

  • 0
    2

    We all know about all these events. There was a time and need for Leninist revolution. But do not forget the people first selected KERENSKY for a moderate government and then Lenin overthrew them.

    What you conveniently omit is the Gulags and the MILLIONS the Paranoid Fuck Dictator Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili more commonly known to you LSSP/CP clowns as Josif Stalin(did you know he was a Georgian not a Russian?) KILLEd and purged. Did you know how his peace treaty with Hitler was designed to carve up Poland? did you know Stalin refused to send Soviet troops to save the JWarsaw ewish Ghettoes when he was right there across the Vistula river when Germans were losing? Did you know the NKVD killed thousands ? Stalin did it deliberately in order to weaken Polish resistance to a Soviet occupation. Did you know they executed over 40,000 Polish Army officers in Katyn Forest in 1940 after the Hitler-Stalin treaty?

    Did you know when Hitler kicked that paranoid Communist’s arse, a lot of the top brains were executed? and they took a long time to recover and beat the Nazis back? You might have a fucking romanticized bullshit view of things we know better..Go to hell with Communism. THERE IS NO COUNTRY ON EARTH that has been successful with it inside a free society leave alone a repressive society. God Bless the USA and capitalism and capitalist democracy.

    • 0
      2

      <<

      Gob Bless Capitalism but not the USA. How can God Bless a country that practiced slavery, operates a for-profit prison system that mainly incarcerates Minorities and conducts warfare around the world?

      But then again God is a strange creature. If God worked for me, I would have fired him long time ago for not fulfilling his promises.

      • 2
        1

        Oh hello Retarded (Rtd) Late (Lt) donkey from the army, how are you?

        You are talking about the USA incarcerating its minorities. Sri Lanka did not jail innocent people? You dumb arse!!!!! I only wish I can see you on the street face to face you little army coolie.

      • 0
        2

        Ado coolie bugger Reginald Shemale Perehera, if someone gives you a toilet cleaner job in the USA, you will be the first person who would run up there and take it. Maybe your toilet cleaning experience in the army might come handy.

  • 2
    0

    The impact of the October Socialist Revolution cannot be confined to Russia or the Soviet Union.
    The quotation attributed to Zhou Enlai that it was ‘too early to comment on the French Revolution’ is historically accurate. The French revolution lives through its consequences, mainly the rise of democracy.
    If not for the Russian revolution, colonialism would have survived much longer.
    Much of the social welfare and other reforms in the West are in response to the events in the USSR.
    The USSR made the first constitution that declared gender equality.
    The list is long.

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