Hermann Dworczak: What can the Left today learn from the OCTOBER-REVOLUTION- for above all in non-revolutionary situations? ( full text)

The Octoberrevolution abolished the tsarist state, created the first worker state, startet into the direction of a socialist planned economy . Even after the fall of the Sovietunion its importance is enormous. It showed that a socialist revolution is possible- even in a country where the economy is (relativly) backward .

All these fundamental historical experiences- which are well known in the left- I will NOT repeat here: many other comrades will speak about it.

I will concentrate on the question: what can the left learn from Red October, from the Bolshewiks TODAY- where in the vast majority of the countries there is NO revolutionary situation?

The main things in my opinion are:  total political and organizational indepedence from the bourgeoisie is necessary. Of course this was not a new thing. Marx and Engels wrote about it. It led to the foundation of independent trade unions (instead of „yellow“ ones) and worker parties.  But many of these parties „forgot“ this fundamental principle. More and more they cooperated with the bourgeosie and their parties, integrated themself into the bourgeois state-  finally they went together with „their“ bourgeosie into World War I (voted in favour of war credits etc).

In that sense the Bolshewiks „reintruced“ this fundamental principle of the workers movement of being independent from the bourgeoisie into political reality and after the victory of the Octoberrevolution and the founding of the III. International it was one of its central strategic axis and written down in the documents of its first 4 congresses.

This central point is TODAY not only relevant for high industrialized countries but also/or better to say for above all for the countries of the  „Third World“/ „developing  countries“. After all the negative experiences  with socalled „african, arabic,…socialism“- in reality (petty) bourgeois national independence movements- this central political axis of the Bolshewiks has to be underlined.

Of course common actions with the national (petty)bourgeosie are possibe and necessary (for above all when they have a real antiimperialist character) but not a long STRATEGIC cooperation- what is still the the political line of the Communist Party of South Africa towards the ANC (also in India communist organizations / parties run behind the bourgeois Congress party) .

– using of all political means (the Bolshewiks participated after the defeat of the revolution 1905 even in the extreme reactionary Duma). I am coming from Austria. The young  communist party of Austria (KPÖ) had after the end of World war I an ultraleft, putschist strategy. They were very sharp critisized by Lenin and he demanded that the tiny KPÖ is participating in the parlamentarian elections and should try to get step by step broader influence in the working class.

– without mass mobilations no important gains can me made (look to the negative example of Brazil (Lula / Rousseff); Greece/ Tsipras). In Greece 62 (!) percent voted against austerity but the Tsipras government signed the horrible memorandum which was demanded from the EU.

– even when the left gains the elections and is controlling the government: the bourgeois state remains (!)- and it is necessary to create counterpowers (worker structures; f.e. soviets). In Venezuela the possibilty was not used to make a – partial- coversion of the economy.

– internal democracy in the (revolutionary) party- until civil war there were factions and tendencies in the Bolshewik party. Party democracy offers the possibility to bring all forces in the party together! Today we have to say that it was a big mistake of the Bolshewiks AFTER the  victory in the civil war not put away the prohibition of of factions/ tendencies.

– no dogmatism (what was the case before Stalinism gain power in the SU and within the III. International)
– political flexibility – f.e after the revolution 1917 a COALITION -government was created (Bolshewiks and left „Socialrevolutionaries“) and the agrarian program of the socialrevolutionaries was realized! (what meant individual distribution of the land to the peasants and NOT collectivisation)

– internationalism-  Today when we see this enormous wave of nationalism, xenophobia and the political rise of the far right in all its forms (from right wing populism to open fascist forces) we can say: INTERNATIONALISM IS MORE  NECESSARY THAN EVER!  The Bolshewiks were the vanguard of international solidarity. And it was logically that one of their first steps after the victory of the Octoberrevolution was to pave the way for the III. International- which was liquidated by Stalin in the fourties.

So common international actions today have a high priority. And they should be combined with the first concrete, realistic and not voluntaristic steps into the direction of a NEW INTERNATIONAL.

Hermann Dworczak (VIENNA; 0043 / 676 /972 31 10 )