"Tareeq Al-Shaab" (Central organ of the Iraqi Communist Party)
November, 2007 / 7
On the 90th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution
Ten Days that Shook the World .. and Changed it!
Ninety years ago, in 1917, the workers, peasants and intelligentsia of Russia rose up, under the leadership of the Bolshevik party and its leader Lenin. They ousted the oppressive Tsarist rule and embarked on building the first socialist system in the history of humanity. These were stormy ten days that shook the whole world, marking a turning point in the history of mankind and a first step towards fulfilling its dream of a human society free of oppression and the exploitation of man by man. The ray of the Revolution spread to the corners of the world, despite frantic attempts to stifle it, thereby fuelling the hope of freedom and independence among oppressed peoples, winning their right to self-determination, and stimulating the desire for a better future.
During a historically short period of time, there were enormous achievements, in spite of the serious difficulties and challenges that were encountered as a result of the historical circumstances that prepared the ground for the revolution and surrounded it in 1917. These achievements were made despite the contradictions and complexities surrounding its subsequent development, and in the face of the errors and failures that accompanied its path. It began with passing the Decree on Peace and the Decree on Land, and achieved significant gains both in the economy and society. It also contributed to the creation of favourable conditions for the struggle of national liberation movements and dismantling the colonial system. It offered support for the peoples of developing countries, including our Iraqi people, in their aspirations for freedom and social progress. It inflicted a historic humiliating defeat on Nazism and fascism in the Second World War, preserved world peace and pre! vented imperialism from implementing many of its aggressive schemes. The new world balance of forces also created favourable conditions for the peoples of advanced capitalist countries and the struggles of their workers to achieve more social and economic gains.
The experience, despite its painful end with the collapse of the Soviet Union, provides rich lessons for all aspirants to an alternative to capitalism and its evils, and to the historic social dilemmas that capitalism has failed, and will continue to fail, to resolve. Foremost among these lessons is that building socialism is impossible without the broadest political democracy and achieving social justice. It has to based on the society s national, ethnic and cultural characteristics. It is essential to uphold the values and ideals of socialism, and to reject anything inconsistent with such values, for instance the personality cult and bureaucracy. It has also become evident fulfilling the conditions for achieving the socialist option is a long-term process of struggle. We must take advantage of the development in various countries of the world, their progress and material and spiritual achievements. It is essential to raise the level of the material and human productive for! ces, deal properly with the environment, and achieve the most advanced forms of social organization and consciousness. At the same time, there should be no illusion that the defect was restricted only to the practice of socialism. The lessons drawn from experience indicate the need to free Marxism from stagnation so that it can regain its scientific vitality and effectiveness as a theoretical tool to study and analyse the movement of reality and to change it. Many other questions also remain open about the experience. Therefore, their answers are still in the formative stage and require further research and scrutiny.
But what should also be emphasized, as we remember the October Revolution and reflect on the significance of this great event and its implications, for the present and future of humanity, is an important set of facts and lessons; first and foremost that capitalism is not the final horizon for mankind. Also, the failure of the project of building socialism in a number of countries does not mean the death of the idea itself as prophesised by the ideologues of capitalism and the promoters of the "end of history" and other similar theories which quickly crumbled. On the other hand, after a temporary retreat of the forces of the Left and social progress, and following the exposure of the negative and destructive consequences of the policies of "neo-liberalism" and unrestrained market economy, the scope of social struggles, peace movements, and anti-globalisation movements has expanded. This process has been coupled with the search for a humanitarian alternative and an option whic! h meets the aspiration for real democracy, freedom, justice, equality and progress; these are the principal values of socialism.
The October Revolution demonstrated the ability of human beings, aspiring to be free and to live in a different society not based on exploitative relations, to undertake the first difficult step in this direction. It also demonstrated that socialism, as a project for human emancipation, will only develop as a culmination and completion of the struggles and experiences that had preceded it, along the path to human emancipation; the path that had been opened up by the French Revolution in modern times and was enriched, qualitatively, by the October Revolution.
Today, 16 years after the emergence of the unipolar system on the global level, the dilemma of unrestrained capitalism is becoming increasingly evident, and in a stark manner, with deepening economic and social disparity, unprecedented exploitation, and the squandering of the enormous potential offered by the achievements of science and technological progress. Iraq, which had been plagued with dictatorship and its crimes for decades, has become a testing ground for the "new" world order and its slogans. While the focus of our struggle in the current stage is to attain the goals that are of national and democratic character, by achieving full national sovereignty and the desired democratic alternative, we continue to uphold the socialist option for building society in future, based on the realization that capitalist development will not resolve the comprehensive structural crisis that has afflicted our country for long decades, since this pattern of development is replete wit! h social and political contradictions and conflicts, and polarization.
Along this path, and with us all those struggling for the freedom of their homelands and the progress of their peoples, the feats of the October Revolution and the lessons of its march, with its successes and failures, will remain an inexhaustible source and a guide for humanity in its yearning for a bright and better future.