7th November 2016 marks the 99th Anniversary of the Great Socialist October Revolution, and this profoundly significant event in human history, and the progressive calendar, was celebrated by CPGB-ML members and supporters this weekend, in Saklatvala Hall, Southall.
Our speakers and guests paid moving tribute to the world significance of the Bolsheviks’ struggle in Russia, and the Soviet Union, and the lasting impact it has had on our world – and their respective countries, revolutions and struggles.
In the words of Lenin: “The workers of the whole world greet us, applaud us for breaking the iron ring of imperialist ties … for raising the banner of peace, the banner of socialism for the whole world to see”
The October revolution marked the beginning of a new Era – the era of proletarian revolution, of the working class taking power – and despite all reverses suffered by our movement, it is clear that Socialism, as built in the USSR, remains the way forward to humanity’s sustainable and humane future, and the only way for curing the ills of capitalism which are wracking our planet.
The meeting was chaired by Comrade Harpal Brar, and messages of solidarity were given by Comrade Teresita Vicente, the Cuban Ambassador to the UK, Comrade Sayakane Sisouvong, Laos’ Ambassador to the UK, Comrade Kim Song Gi, Minister of the Korean Embassy, Comrade Marcus Garcia of the Venezuelan Embassy, and Comrade Dr Indunil Wijenaiaka, a prominent member of Sri-Lanka’s JVP.
The meeting opened by playing the Hymn of the Soviet Union, sung by Paul Robeson, and watching Comrade Stalin’s short but powerful November 7 Address given on the 24th anniversary of the October Revolution, in 1941, from the walls of the Kremlin, to the Soviet Military Parade in which he spoke to the assembled Red Army troops – as well as the nation and the world – before they marched to battle with the Nazi Hordes who were massed at the gates of the city, in the now legendary Battle of Moscow.
During her profound and moving contribution, Comrade Teresita Vicente, the Cuban Ambassador to the UK, said:
“You were right to introduce the meeting with that video of comrade Stalin – we all owe our freedom from fascism to the Soviet Union – not just in the East, in Europe and Asia, but in the Americas too!”
“The October Revolution changed the course of history and made it possible for small colonial countries like Cuba to defy imperialism. Without the Soviet Union, the Cuban revolution would not have been possible. The imperialists would have crushed the revolution without even the force of arms. The economic blockade failed because of the Soviet Union.”
“We feel a deep and eternal gratitude to the Soviet Union”
“The Imperialists anticipated that Cuba could not survive the collapse of the Soviet Union, but Cuba remains and will remain Socialist!”
Comrade Sayakane Sisouvong, Laos’ Ambassador to the UK, spoke movingly of the price his small country has paid and is still paying for daring to brake the iron ring of imperialist ties and win its own liberation – just as the USSR herself faced a terrible war of imperialist intervention, coming hard on the heels of WW1.
“The United States did not declare war openly on Laos. We are a small country. Although we have a land area similar to the UK, our population is just 3 million. But in their ‘secret’, undeclared war against our nation, the US dropped some 3 million tonnes of bombs – one tonne for every man, woman and child living in our country.”
That was the respect for human rights that the USA showed our country. That was their independence gift to us.
“Today there remain more than 800,000 unexploded pieces of ordonance, which act like land-mines, spread over one third the land area of our country, and every year hundreds of Laoation people continue to loose their lives and limbs due to these unexploded US bombs.”
Comrade Marcus Garcia of the Venezuelan Embassy thanked the CPGB-ML for “keeping alive values that seem to be forgotten in the world today.”
Speaking of the Bolivarian revolution, he noted that “If you want to organise revolution in your country, you need to know your own history and traditions, culture and people. You need to revive revolutionary traditions and use them to inspire the people” He sighted examples of Latin American anti-imperialist struggles from the Sandinistas to Cuba.
“The right wing across Latin America cannot compete in the sphere of ideology – they have nothing to offer. So they are trying to use their power to destroy the economy – as seen also in Argentina, Brazil and elsewhere. Reactionaries control 70% of the food distribution network in Venezuela for example”
“We are doing our best to fight the imperialists and show them that they cannot simply do as they please in our region.”
Comrade Gerry MacLochlainn, prominent Irish Republican soldier and politician, addressed the meeting in a personal capacity, focussing on the relationship between the October Revolution, the international workers’ liberation movement and the Easter Uprising of 1916, which was to herald the coming of an independent Ireland.
Speaking of his pleasure in addressing the meeting, he paid moving tribute to our comrades Iris Cremer and Godfrey Cremer, who gave themselves unstintingly to build our movement and Party, whom only death could prevent from being with us.
Remembering our long history of solidarity with the struggle of our Irish Republican comrades he said “You stood by us (Irish republicans) when it was hard to stand by us. And I have never forgotton – and am proud to be with you here tonight”
“The October Revolution and the Easter Rising were two of the most seismic events in humanity’s struggle for liberation.”
“Connolly, like Lenin, was one of only a handful of socialist leaders who stood firm to the pre-war position that socialists must oppose imperialist war and turn it into a civil war for socialism. The Irish Citizen Army was Europe’s first red army.”
“Connolly warned that the partition would lead to a carnival of reaction on both sides of the border. We have had to live with the consequences of that ever since.”
“We are still in struggle although it has changed its form. Ireland has the right to independence and Britain had never had any right to any part of Ireland.”
Comrade Ranjeet gave the main speech for the CPGB-ML, noting that “By applying Marxist theory to their conditions, the Russian revolutionaries were able to draw lessons that still stand for us today. They faced huge obstacles and had to deal with many of the same enemies within their movement as we do today.”
Speaking of the urgent need to rid the planet of the system of imperialism that has drenched the planet in blood to save its own exploitative system, he noted that “WW1 and WW2 alone exacted a blood toll of 100 million workers in order to preserve the capitalist system.”
And on the great lie that enriching capitalists serves the interests of the whole people he noted that “There’s not such thing as trickle-down economics. Under the present system wealth flows uphill from the labourers who produce it into the hands of a tiny collection of billionaires.”
Comrade Jackson, Red Youth and CPGB-ML member delivered a powerful revolutionary Chinese song – in Mandarin – to rapturous applause!
Comrades closed the meeting by singing the Internationale, their spirits lifted by the meeting and our message of hope for the future, before socialising over an excellent curry cooked by our revolutionary chefs.
Look out for the speeches which will be published over the coming days.
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