Sunday, October 31, 2010

Celebrating Revolutions; Celebrating Revolutionaries!

Memories and realities often have their separate ways. There are times when it appears as if revolutions and revolutionaries are fading away from the popular memory. That is never the case with reality. It can never forget that it has been shaped and reshaped in fundamental ways by revolutions and revolutionaries; that they have become an integral part of its existence and its flow in time. When this flow hits difficult passages, there is groundswell once again for fundamental changes, for radical transformations. History once again summons the memories of revolutions and revolutionaries. Dreams of a new world arise afresh to reshape reality.
Twentieth century was inaugurated by revolutions. Imperialism was challenged by socialism and by national liberation struggles. Lenin led the glorious October Revolution that laid the foundation for building socialism. Bhagat Singh and Che Guevara, in their respective historical settings, became symbols of fearless and uncompromising war on imperialism. They inspired the 'wretched of the earth' to storm the heavens; they inspired the oppressed and exploited humanity to liberate itself from colonialism, feudalism and capitalism; they inspired the workers of the world to create a new future for the world where all exploitation and oppression would come to an end, where socialism would march ahead and humanity would scale ever ascending heights of equality and freedom.

Dreams turn into reality through revolutions, but the flow of reality often lags behind the dreams. Socialism was a dream that became reality through the October Revolution. It had glorious successes. It ended the oppressive old order in Russia, rescued the Russian society from a deep crisis, turned it into a modern industrial society and became an inspiration for all other models of socialism in the twentieth century. But, in the end, the twentieth century socialism could not escape the limitations of the times and the societies in which it was born. The 'wretched of the earth' did storm the heavens successfully; they did succeed in liberating themselves from colonialism and feudalism; and they did challenge capitalism by starting on the epoch-making project of building socialism. But this socialism turned out to be a socialism of backward societies and of emergency conditions. It was successful in rescuing these societies from the deep crises of the old order and it was victorious in the difficult conditions of wars and civil wars. But it could not inflict a final, world historic defeat on capitalism. It could not become such a model of creativity, prosperity, democracy, equality and freedom that would inspire the workers of the entire capitalist world to overthrow capitalism and build socialism. Eventually twentieth century socialism ended with the end of the twentieth century. 

The capitalist and the imperialist world would like to think that socialism itself has ended. It likes to boast that there is no alternative to capitalism. It likes to proclaim that history has found its final resting place in the lap of capitalism. It is incapable of feeling the groundswell underneath; it is incapable of seeing the gathering storm above. It refuses to look at what it is doing to the humanity and to the world. 

Under capitalism, a handful of billionaire and multi-millionaire capitalists are appropriating the immense wealth created by the labour and creativity of workers. While there are shameless boasts of the dollar billionaires in India and of having the richest family in the world, one third of Indians go to bed hungry, eighty percent do not have any social security, do not have access to proper health, education and clean water and live on "less than a dollar a day". Despite all proclamations of modernity, equality and democracy, women continue to suffer under both the modern and pre-modern forms of patriarchy, Dalits face inhuman social oppression and discrimination and other minorities and indigenous peoples live as aliens in their own land. Conditions are no better in rest of the third world and in fact much worse in Africa and in many other countries of Asia. Even in the advanced capitalist countries most of the wealth is appropriated by a handful at the top, working and living conditions are deteriorating, social security is shrinking, salary differentials are one to a thousand or more. 

By winning over a section of the workers who look upon themselves as professionals, managers and intellectuals, capitalism projects itself as the most productive, innovative and creative system. It does not realize that all creativity belongs to those who work and create. It does not look at the growing potentials of the 'wretched of the earth' fusing with the 'workers of the world' to overthrow the system of capitalist exploitation and all structures of social oppression. 

Revolutions never repeat themselves in the old forms. They appear with new visions, new strategies, new forces. Revolutionaries never expect to be remembered in rituals of anniversaries and centenaries, nor do they expect to be mechanically imitated by the posterity. They expect that their memories would become inspirations for future revolutions.

Humanity stands at the threshold of a new era. New revolutions are appearing on the horizons of world history. For the first time they would take place under conditions of capitalism and directly against capitalism. This time workers will be ready to fuse with all the oppressed to overthrow the old order. This time they will be ready to win over all sections of their class to build socialism that will be an inspiring model of democracy, equality and freedom as well as of productivity, creativity and prosperity. This time they will be ready to inflict the world historic defeat on capitalism.

We celebrate past revolutions and revolutionaries in this spirit and anticipation. We celebrate them to prepare for the coming revolutions. We celebrate them to commit ourselves to the dreams of a new socialist era.

*Long Live Revolution! On to a New Era of Socialism!!*
Note: This was a pamphlet issued by Progressive Students' Union, Pragatisheel Yuva Sangathan and Stree Adhikar Sangathan on 6th November, 2007 on the occasion of "90 years of October Revolution; 100 years of Comrade Bhagat Singh's birth; and 40 years of Che Guevara's Martyrdom" !!!


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