The Russian ‘Bolshevik’ Revolution entered its Centenary Year on 7th November. It was a rare moment in history when oppressed majority decided to liquidate the elite and take back control. It was a moment of great hope across the world for the toiling masses seeking redemption from exploitation. It was also a moment of grave warning for the elite ruling classes that tried to ceaselessly to defeat the revolution, in form, content and symbolism. After nearly a century, in spite of the defeats, failures and degeneration, the moment remains a powerful symbol for the working class to rally around.
In Tamilnadu, events were held commemorating the occasion and renewing the dreams and aspirations of the October Revolution. Here we document some of those events
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Saying it with Strokes, Songs and Slogans – Young Communists mark the revolution
A group of youth under the banner of Young Communists brought together workers, students and artists for a culture evening near the Statue of Labour, on Marina Beach, Chennai.
Painter Pagalavan and Nataraj adding colours to the evening
Friends Parai Khuzhu from Chennai performing
Street Play by Young Communists
Evarthan Lenin (This is Lenin) book released by Com. Kovai Eashwaran
“History might have turned and twisted and we have to take the lessons and introspect about the issues that happened in Soviet Russia, but it is also important that people realize that they can stand up against intolerant and totalitarian governments. It gives hope that we can come together in the spirit of creating a better society. That is why it is important that we celebrate the revolution” said Charunivedha, a young communist.
Beyond Reminiscences: Public meeting by CPIML (L) – AICCTU in Thanjavur
Why is the Bolshevik Revolution relevant today? This was the most important question that leaders of CPIML (L) and AICCTU engaged with on 7th November at Thanjavur. Discussing issues of land redistribution, education programmes, workers control of industry and other aspects of the revolution, speakers compared and contrasted the situation in Russia then and India now. While highlighting the divisions within the capitalist class during 1917, they also cautioned about the present condition where international capital is united. Given the heightened War rhetoric in India in the past few months, speakers also mentioned about the world war and critiqued it as being a war against the working class. “the Slogan of the revolution was Land, Peace and Bread; these issues remain central to the working masses in India.” said A.S Kumar, State secretary of AICCTU.
The summary of the lectures have appeared in Maalai Theepori (Nov 2016). 23 more essays are planned for the rest of the year discussing in detail various aspects of the revolution
A Century of Socialism: CPIM public meeting in Chennai
National and state leadership of Communist Party of India (Marxist) organized a public meeting at Kamarajar Arrangam in Chennai, on 7th November. Speaking at this gathering, Com. Prakash Karat, reiterated that the revolution sparked in Russia a century ago, continues to inspire progressive forces across the world in resisting international capitalism. Acknowledging that the Soviet Model suffered from distortion and defects leading to its failure, he said that the centenary year would be a time for engaging in broad based discussion about the nature of socialism that we want to evolve. Com. Nallakannu, of the Communist Party of India, spoke at length about Mahakavi Bharathiyar’s renditions about the revolution and his interest in Lenin. “being in pondicherry, he could access news about the revolution and wrote poems in praise of the revolution. he also sought the liberation of India and Indians, in the same manner as in Russia”. Nallakannu also referred to the outburst of nationalist independence struggle after october revolution leading to freedom for many countries including India. Com. Vasanthi Devi, S.Ramakrishnan, Sankaraiah and Film Director Raja Murugan, spoke at the event.
The video recordings of the Com. N. Sankaraiah’ speech is available here.