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October Revolution Celebration in Melbourne

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Bill F.

At the invitation of the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) 80-90 people attended a celebration of the Russian October Revolution, held in the Maritime Union hall in West Melbourne.

There was enthusiasm for unity and respect by people from different Parties, many of whom had dedicated their lives to struggle for a better world.

An extensive exhibition of revolutionary posters and old pamphlets drew much interest and sparked conversations and discussion prior to the formal proceedings. Some of the Parties and groups that had cooperated in planning the event also had tables with their literature and other items to sell or hand out.
There was a fairly positive emphasis on linking the struggles of the past to the need to step up struggle in the current conditions.
Eisenstein's film, Ten Days that Shook the World, traced the Russian Revolution through the turbulent years from 1895 to 1920, showing the enthusiasm of the united working class when their leadership is honest, dedicated, courageous and far-sighted like Lenin and his Bolshevik comrades.
This was followed by a Sri Lankan dance group, prior to the open discussion session. The celebration concluded with the singing of the ILPS anthem and then The Internationale in 4 different languages. There was a toast and a multicultural supper.
Discussion and comment
In the discussion session, a comrade pointed out that the February and October Revolutions were not spontaneous mass outbreaks, but were the culmination of many years of organised, deep mass work by the revolutionary Bolsheviks; raising awareness and introducing revolutionary class consciousness, organising workers and peasants, leading struggles, listening and learning from the people, suffering defeats, enduring losses, and learning from experience.

​Armed with the principles of Marxism, Lenin and the Bolsheviks meticulously investigated and analysed specific conditions and class forces in Russia and the international situation.

​These, amongs many others, are important lessons that the revolutionary working class of Australia can learn from the legacy of the Great Russian October Revolution.
Another comrade offered a further contribution on “The factors which meant the working class were able to win this revolution …"

• An organised and disciplined Party with deep connections to the working class and working people

• The promotion of a revolutionary vision that a different society was possible, but this could only be achieved by replacing the old institutions and structures with new revolutionary forms

• The alliances built with the peasants – the main victims and cannon-fodder in the imperialist war1914-18 and also the soldiers and sailors at the front and the garrisons

• The courage and enthusiasm of the mobilised workers who had “nothing to lose but their chains” – who regarded the ruling class as discredited and bankrupt – who wanted Bread, Land and Peace, not war, famine and repression

• Finally, the inability of the ruling class to continue to govern in the old way: their decaying power in the face of the growing power and influence of the Soviets, the democratic working class bodies that carried the revolution forward. (Lenin’s Bolsheviks were not always in control. Only in the final months, after much struggle and harsh experience did the Bolshevik positions win out.)
“... the factors that meant the Bolsheviks were able to consolidate power and commence to build socialism…"

• The rapid formation of a Red Army to resist the counter-revolutionary White Guards and foreign imperialist armies which invaded Russia to crush the revolution

• The Brest-Litovsk Treaty that conceded land to Germany, but allowed the soldiers to return to bolster the Red Army and work in the factories and farms

• International support that frustrated the war plans of the imperialists – “Hands off Russia” campaigns, strikes, disruption of shipping, etc.

• And later, Lenin’s New Economic Policy that allowed a market economy to revive somewhat to provide greater food production and better distribution in the face of famine caused by years of war and counter-revolutionary sabotage – while the main industries continued to be nationalised

• And later still, Stalin’s Five-Year Plans which accelerated industrialisation, collectivisation and mechanisation of agriculture, set up the famous tractor stations, and smashed the hold of the kulaks over the rural communities”
Lenin fought on many fronts
At every stage – in the early years of Tsarist repression – in the complex political period of Dual Power in 1917 – and after the successful seizure of power in October, Lenin led the fight against opportunism and revisionism.
He resolutely condemned terrorism and the individualist tactics of the anarchists.
He struggled against the Mensheviks and class collaborators.
He fought against the betrayals of the Second International that supported national chauvinism and the imperialist war.
He stood against Trotsky’s positions on internationalist revolution and “neither peace nor war” at the Brest-Litovsk negotiations.
Lenin upheld the profound scientific teachings of Marx and Engels and led in the creation of a socialist reality that inspired workers all across the world. Our Party continues to honour his contribution to ideology and revolutionary practice and defines ourselves as Marxist-Leninist.


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