Friday, April 14, 2017

REVOLUTIONARY ORGANIZATION OF LABOR,USA (ROL,USA) AND CINDY SHEEHAN'S SOAPBOX DENOUNCE AND CONDEMN PRESIDENT TRUMP'S CRIMINAL MISSILE ATTACK ON THE SOVEREIGN STATE OF SYRIA



[JOINT STATEMENT UPDATED FOR MAY DAY (APRIL 19, 2017)]
REVOLUTIONARY ORGANIZATION OF LABOR,USA (ROL,USA) AND CINDY SHEEHAN'S SOAPBOX DENOUNCE AND CONDEMN
PRESIDENT TRUMP'S CRIMINAL MISSILE ATTACK ON THE SOVEREIGN STATE OF SYRIA

On Thursday, April 7, U.S. President Trump launched 59 Tomahawk missiles onto an airfield in the sovereign state of Syria. It was an unprovoked act of war by the U.S. Empire's still new commander in chief. Trump's attack on Syria was a sudden reversal of his oft-stated policy. In 2013, when Obama was in his shoes and looked like he was going to defy Congress if he had to, in order to unleash a U.S. war on the same Syrian Regime, citizen Trump had opposed Obama and agreed with the Founding Fathers that it would constitute an unconstitutional act, a criminal act. Thus far his only explanation for this change is that Trump, whose whole personal history shows a single-minded  pursuit of his own selfish interests, was suddenly moved by photos of Syrian children allegedly being harmed and destroyed in Syria, the children he wouldn't let come here as refugees.

Don't forget that Trump had rejected the unanimous “findings” of all U.S. intelligence agencies on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election just a month or two ago. So, both the U.S. President and the U.S. Intelligence Community have made clear that neither of these major props of the U.S. Empire lets the facts stand in their way. In fact, Trump's “humanitarian” justification, Assad's alleged poison gas attack on Syrian children (“Fake News?”/ “Fake Media?”), smacks of the “justifications” for the U.S. invasion of Iraq--- Saddam's phantom WMD (“weapons of mass destruction”) and wild and false allegations of Saddam's Iraqi troops throwing infants out of incubators in Kuwait. The almost universal media acceptance of Trump's poison gas propaganda hearkens all the way back to the U.S. War in Vietnam, where the U.S.-fabricated “Tonkin Gulf Incident” was used to mobilize the U.S. population to support the initial invasion and the barbaric U.S. role that was immortalized with the U.S. policy on “strategic hamlets;” namely, “We have to destroy the village to save the village.”

Moreover, Trump's missile attack on Syria was carried out without a declaration of war by the U.S. Congress or any prior deliberation by Congress. It was, therefore, a blatantly unconstitutional act since the Framers at the 1787 Constitutional Convention, in Article I, were not willing to put such awesome and destructive power in the hands of one individual (they had just overthrown the King of England) and clearly assigned this grave responsibility to the least undemocratic branch of the federal government.

In less than a hundred days in office, Trump has already revealed unprecedented hostility to the courts that blocked his Muslim travel ban twice. He's shown unprecedented hostility to his own Republican Congress that was unable/unwilling to pass his “repeal & replacement” of Romneycare (i.e., the Obama-led current healthcare system), for now, making it almost a certainty that there will be no Trump Tax bill providing huge tax breaks for the wealthy that was planned to follow the multi-billion dollar bonanza that TrumpCare was to realize from the disappearance of healthcare for millions of  the 99% of us. And, finally, he's displayed unprecedented hostility to the media (Trump has declared them “an enemy of the American People”) after they exposed some of the Trump Regime's most obvious lies and broken promises, from the size of the crowd at his inauguration to his failure to prosecute “crooked Hillary” Clinton, to the perjury under oath of Attorney General Sessions and forced resignation of National Security Adviser (General) Mike Flynn, as they were being vetted by Congressional committees for their top level Trump Administration appointments.

So, if there really were two distinct political parties operating in the U.S. Congress, Trump's criminal invasion of Syria would have been met with strong opposition, especially in light of the Trump Regime's continual efforts to intimidate the courts, the Congress, the intelligence services and the media. For his hand can only be strengthened by becoming a “war president, using war powers.” Such a war posture could indeed become Trump's “Reichstag Fire” false flag operation. (In early 1933, Hitler's storm troopers set fire to the Reichstag, the parliament, blamed the Communists, and rode the hysteria to absolute power by the summer of 1933.)
 

Despite the Democratic Party's demonization of Trump over these past months, and in spite of the very real domestic fascist as well as international dangers posed by the emergence of this new war president, the two current leaders of the Democratic Party, Senate minority leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), both loyal representatives of Wall Street imperialism, late on the very same day of Trump's missile attack, offered Trump their support! Mainstream Republican “critics” of Trump, including Elliot Abrams, neo-cons such as William Cristol, major media pundits such as CNBC's Jake Novak and print and TV media star Fareed Zakaria all embraced Trump as suddenly “presidential.”

While, in our view, Assad is a reactionary misleader of the Syrian working class and masses, his political future should be in their hands. Yet, even those on the “left” end of the U.S. imperialist spectrum, such as Bernie Sanders and Noam Chomsky, have joined the chorus of condemnation of Assad as “the worst dictator.” According to them, too, the U.S. Empire is perfectly justified in driving Assad out of his country. (Obama, the previous helmsman of the U.S. Empire, treated Kadafi in Libya similarly.) Disagreeing only tactically with Trump, both Sanders and Chomsky are criminally silent on the main culprits in the brutal and bloody disintegration of the sovereign state of Syria over the six year “civil war,” the Saudi Arabian-led sheikdoms of the Middle East, sponsoring a proxy war by Islamic fundamentalists, including ISIS, all propped up by U.S. imperialism. Thus, even though Sanders mildly “protests” that Trump should have come to Congress before waging war in Syria and warns of an unending war scenario for the U.S. in the Middle East,  Sanders and Chomsky are both helping to strengthen Trump's war presidency and his march to fascism in the USA.

Finally, after being hidden away from the U.S. public for the past five months since the election, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, incredibly reappeared hours before Trump's war crime against Syria. Even more incredible, she seemed to “go public” in order to give Trump the very specific direction to try to destroy the Syrian air force, the very course Trump then followed! Was Clinton's public statement what Trump demanded from Wall Street before he would undertake this action?!

In 2013, Obama and Clinton tried to launch a U.S. / British war on Assad and Syria. The British Parliament and the U.S. people, including many “red state” supporters, successfully blocked the event. And Vladimir Putin of all people saved Obama from a major political defeat when he convinced Assad to turn over his stores of poison gas, etc. But the military strategy of Wall Street imperialism remained as follows: to remove the Assad Regime from Syria so that Iran, the main regional competitor for Saudi Arabia (and U.S. imperialism) in the oil-rich Middle East, would be vulnerable to be bombed, invaded and defeated by the Israeli settler regime in combination with U.S. imperialism. This would have the effect of pushing Russian influence back out of the Middle East and leaving the U.S. Empire once again in a position to dictate to much of the rest of the world.
 

In the days since Trump's attack on Syria, his leading general in Afghanistan dropped the most powerful non-nuclear bomb (“MOAB”), allegedly on ISIS forces, near the border with Pakistan. This seems to be aimed at intimidating Russia with regard to both Afghanistan and Syria.

Likewise, it is no accident that on April 6. Trump was having his first face to face meeting in Florida with the leader of the Chinese government, President Xi Jinping. No doubt the sudden U.S. missile attack in Syria was also an attempt to intimidate the Chinese leadership: to back away from any support of the North Korean government, allowing U.S. imperialism to bully or even bomb North Korea. Such intimidation of President Xi and the Chinese leadership could also give the ignorant and brutal Trump Regime of the U.S. Empire in decline much needed leverage in dealing with the superior Chinese strategic economic and political position along with its expanding military power.

Clearly, the Evil Empire we need to worry about today is the United States Evil Empire. Dominated by Wall Street finance capital and still represented politically by the “Republicrats,” the mainstream Democratic and Republican party forces have now embraced the Trump Regime as it has embarked on the bloody course of imperialist war outlined by Clinton and Wall Street, at least for now. And this is the road to fascism in the USA and ongoing terror against the international working class and oppressed peoples everywhere.
 

In the Unconquerable Spirit of MAY DAY---
Workers of the USA and the World and Oppressed Peoples Unite!
Down with the Clinton-backed Trump Regime and the U.S. Empire!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

FAKE NEWS by CINDY SHEEHAN (FROM ROL, USA NL #101)

Fake News 
by
Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan and President Hugo Chávez
World Social Forum, VZ, 2005


Due to my antiwar camp outside of George Bush’s fake ranch/vacation home in Crawford, Texas (Camp Casey) in 2005, I have had more than the average amount of contact with the corporate media. The corporate media, which is owned by a handful of global media conglomerates (that do profit off of war) have demonstrated pretty thoroughly that they are experts in lies, half-truths, distortions, demonization, and passing on the agitprop of the Pentagon and “security” state verbatim, as gospel. No matter who says it, the corporate media are actually “enemies of the American people.” Of course, I would further expand that to include that the corporate media are enemies of all people.

I’ll briefly share two of the dozens of personal experiences I have had with the Mouth Pieces of Empire and Capitalism to illustrate my points.

The first one happened early in our encampment in Crawford, Texas. I was doing at least 20 interviews per day and I would go to bed with a raw throat around 2am every morning, to get up around 5 or 6am to begin all over. One of my major complaints since my son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004 was that the corporate media did not do their job as “Fourth Estate” to fully investigate and expose the lies that were being told by members of the Bush regime and other reliable warmongers on the Democratic side, like Hillary Clinton.

So, I was invited to be on CNN (remotely) with host Anderson Cooper. When I told him that I not only blamed the Bush regime for telling the lies that led to so much death and destruction, but also the media for not investigating the lies, he said, “Well, Cindy, we can only ask the same questions so often.” I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it was something like, “aren’t you supposed to investigate what politicians say, not just ask questions to keep getting the same lies back?” Well, he DID NOT like me challenging him like this and instead of investigating the lies that led to the war that killed my son, he personally came out to Camp Casey in Crawford to investigate and do a hit piece on me. My dear, recently departed sister, Dede Miller, was there and Anderson Cooper was lucky to escape Crawford fully intact.

Of course, the media did not do its job after the incident on 9/11/2001. Even more than before, the media became stenographers for the Pentagon. This from Slate (A Christmas Gift for the Pentagon; Ackerman; 28 Dec, 2011):

“In response to Sept. 11, the Pentagon’s publicity department organized at least 161 ‘outreach’ meetings with retired military officers serving as television commentators on the war effort. The Pentagon provided this select group with high level briefings, showering them with talking points and otherwise equipping them to be media defenders of administration policy. The meetings were suspended in 2008 amid a first wave of reports alleging improprieties. The inspector general responded with a defense of the outreach program in 2009, but his initial report was so full of errors that he retracted it and went back to the drawing board.”

Not to mention the infamous and disgraced Judith Miller and the New York Times blatant and admitted lies to foster a climate of fear and then acceptance of a subsequent invasion of Iraq. Back in 2002 and 2003, it was impossible to avoid all the propaganda about Iraq and WMD and Saddam and his connection to Osama bin Laden and 9/11, etc. If you were a journalist in corporate media like stalwart Phil Donahue who did question the inevitable invasion of Iraq, you were likely fired. Not only was this Fake News used to support the unimaginable disaster of an invasion of Iraq, the Fake News outlets are complicit in murder on a massive scale. To call this episode “shameful” is far too nice.

After Camp Casey, I was invited to the World Social Forum in Caracas, Venezuela in the winter of 2006. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a lot of time with then president Hugo Chávez: someone who was the subject of a boatload of Fake News himself. Of course, the global corporate media had a field day with me meeting with and apparently also liking and admiring the “communist dictator;” “anti-American,” “Venezuelan strongman.”

A few months after my visit to Venezuela, I was invited to be on MSNBC’s “Hardball” with Chris Matthews, who actually only plays softball with the ruling-elite. This day, however, there was a guest host named, Norah O’Donnell.

I was allegedly invited to talk about a fast that I had just begun with hundreds of others called, “Troop Home Fast.” (During the interview there was a little caption that read, “Starving for Attention” under me). Anyway, Norah introduced me as the woman who “met with ‘communist-dictator’ Hugo Chávez of Venezuela.”

After the introduction, the show went to a fake break and I said, “Norah, Chávez is not only NOT a communist, he is not a dictator, he was democratically elected several times and survived a coup attempt because his people stood up for him.” I am not lying, or even exaggerating a little when I tell you her unabashed response to me: “We know that, but we had a meeting today and decided to call him that, anyway.”

Once the horse is out of the barn, it’s hard to get back in. I spent the rest of the segment defending Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, but people heard “communist dictator” in regards to a person who was really a populist only leaning towards socialism. So, that’s what most people believe, because it’s what the media told them to think and believe.

I had many other experiences with the media and, if it wasn’t friendly media, most of the experiences had a tinge or splash of lies or twisted truth. Why? How can a mother whose oldest son was sacrificed on the altar of Imperialism not be grateful or honored by that death? It’s so very un-American to oppose war and other police state oppression.

Now, the media in collaboration with the CIA, is foisting another huge lie on the very gullible USAian public: Russia/Putin hacked the elections in 2016 to insure a Donald Trump victory.

Why is this Fake News so important to propagate? First of all, the establishment really wants and profits off of increased hostilities with Russia. Thawing of the Cold War led to detente and the end of a ready-made enemy, the USSR! Consequently, the neocons had to work with the media to foment a fear and hatred of another “ism:” terrorism.

Secondly, Donald Trump openly criticized the US intelligence community even comparing it to “Nazi Germany.” I can’t recall any president EVER being so hyper-critical of the CIA and whether Trump is a super-moron, or just clueless, this is what one of the Senators from New York had to say about it:

“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

I took on Fake News (among other things) and got slammed, Trump took on the deep state and is getting his buttocks handed to him by the Fake News.

Many “liberals” are passing on the Fake News about Russia and meddling in US elections and kind of conveniently forgetting the Clinton campaign was planting stories to its friendly media and Donna Brazile, who was at CNN at the time, was even giving debate questions to Hillary Clinton before the debates. Was that not meddling in elections to favor a certain candidate? By the way Wikileaks has repeatedly denied that it got the hacked Podesta emails from Russian sources and many well-respected and informed people are certain it was an “inside job” and someone from the campaign leaked them.

The bottom-line is that I don’t want to get my information from the Fake News or from other sources, probably equally compromised, that Trump may approve of. I want my information to come from trusted sources that can be independently verified with other trusted sources.

It’s harder to become a responsible consumer of news and information and to not just gorge on and regurgitate Imperial Propaganda, but essential if one wants to be truly informed. Then if one is truly informed, I feel that then we are forced to take action against this vicious Empire.

One of the sources I recommend for truth and intelligent analysis is this one: The Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA, newsletter. It may only come out six times a year, but every issue is rich with timely articles and in-depth analysis by Ray Light, the editor.

The October Revolution and the Working Class of Russia and the World by RAY LIGHT (FROM ROL, USA NL #101)

 Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution:
 
The October Revolution and the
Working Class of Russia and the World

by RAY LIGHT


In 1943, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill admitted: “No government ever formed among men has been capable of surviving injuries so grave and cruel as those inflicted by Hitler on Russia. … Russia has not only survived and recovered from those frightful injuries but has inflicted, as no other force in the world could have inflicted, mortal damage on the German army machine.” (cited in The Great Conspiracy, Sayers and Kahn, page 139)
The German Nazi bombing and invasion of Poland had been launched on September 1, 1939. Within 48 hours, the Polish Air Force was destroyed. Most of the 500 first line Polish fighter planes were blown up on the ground by Nazi bombing of Polish airfields. In one week, the Polish army was vanquished, and the German military occupation of Poland was completed in less than four weeks!

Emboldened and fueled by its success in Poland, the Nazi war machine successfully bombed, invaded and occupied six countries in Spring 1940. On April 9, 1940 Germany invaded Denmark which capitulated in 6 hours. That same day, Nazi warships began to attack Norwegian ships and simultaneously landed troops in Norway. At the end of two months, the Nazis controlled Norway. On May 10, more than two million German troops invaded France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands by land and by air. It took the Nazis five days, including the brutal bombing of Rotterdam, to conquer the Netherlands. In stark contrast with the ability of France to remain unvanquished throughout the four years of World War I, on June 10, 1940 the French government withdrew from Paris and on June 14 the German army occupied the city and hoisted the swastika up on the Eiffel Tower. France, an advanced imperialist colonial power, the birthplace of bourgeois democratic revolution, the land of “liberté, égalité et fraternité,” succumbed to the Nazi invasion in just six weeks!

In Western and Eastern Europe in 1939 and 1940, Fascist Germany had experienced so little resistance to its brazen and brutal invasions from the governments and the citizenry that the Hitlerite fascist military and society were more arrogant and chauvinistic toward “inferior peoples” than ever. Brimming with self-confidence and a powerful military momentum, on June 22, 1941, the German Nazis launched the largest operation of World War II, Operation “Barbarossa,” against the Soviet Union. Initially, this was an invasion of more than three million German soldiers along a thousand mile front reaching from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Incredibly, by late January 1945, the Soviet Red army had driven the Nazi invaders back to within one hundred miles of the German capital of Berlin. In May of 1945 the Soviet counterattack had resulted in the total capitulation and defeat of Nazi Germany.*

*See The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer, 1959, pp. 625-626, 713-746, 847-853, 1097, 1139.

How did the USSR not only survive but largely on its own shoulders ultimately defeat the mightiest war machine in history, and, for the first time in human history, shift the balance of forces in the world in favor of socialism, in favor of workers power?

***

Principally, it was because, under the dictatorship of the proletariat, the Soviet workers and toilers were the owners of the USSR. The Soviet Union was truly the creation of the masses, and of the Soviet industrial working class in particular. In their tens of millions, the Soviet people courageously overthrew the Russian Tsarist regime and the bourgeois regime that followed it, establishing the first dictatorship of the proletariat in the world. Through unprecedented feats of economic production and innovation, the Soviet working class-led society took the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics from a backward country to an advanced one in one generation. Then, immediately, the Bolshevik-led Soviet working class and masses were called upon to move heaven and earth to prevent the fascist hordes from taking it all away from them. They proved ready to defend their country with their very lives in what even fiercely anti-communist detractors like reactionary U.S. General Douglas McArthur admitted was the “greatest military achievement in all history.”

The mass character of the October Revolution was based on the ruthless and consistent Bolshevik struggle against opportunism waged by a disciplined and responsible vanguard party among the toiling masses and among the industrial working class in particular and on the Bolshevik mobilization of these masses around their urgent concrete demands for “peace, land and bread.” This article, which relies heavily on the brilliant History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolshevik) (CPSU-B), (1939) documents the above facts beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Most importantly, the heroic conduct of the Soviet working class highlighted here smashes to smithereens two capitalist “big lies.” One, that capitalism is the best political-economic system the world has ever seen. And two, that the workers and toilers do not have the capacity to make a better world. The Soviet workers and masses created a clearly superior Socialist system then; and those of us in the ranks of the international working class today have the capacity to create a more all-encompassing Soviet Socialist world in our time.

***

The Abolition of Serfdom in Russia and the Rapid Rise of the Modern Industrial Working Class

The History points out: that Tsarist Russia entered on the path of
Peasant Uprising
capitalist development later than other countries. Manorial estates based on serfdom had been the prevailing form of tsarist economy. And industry could not be developed until serfdom was abolished. In 1861, frightened by the peasant revolts against the landlords and weakened by its defeat in the Crimean War, the tsarist government was compelled to abolish serfdom. At this historical moment, there were powerful remnants of landlord oppression of the peasants, including the widespread introduction of the “half and half” system under which the peasants were obliged to pay the landlords rent in kind in the amount of one-half of their harvests.*

*In the U.S. Black Belt South, after the freedom of the slaves in the U.S. Civil War of 1861-1865 and the outright betrayal of the freed slaves by the federal government in the subsequent decade, this system also became widespread and dominant. In the USA, known as “sharecropping,” this pre-capitalist remnant, unchallenged by a Soviet workers revolution, lasted into the modern day.

The History reports: “the situation remained almost the same as it had been under serfdom, the only difference being that the peasant was now personally free, could not be bought and sold like a chattel.” (History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolshevik), CPSU-B, p. 3) The survivals of serfdom were still powerful enough to bring the peasant masses to ruination and drive many to leave their villages and seek work in factories and mills where they became a source of cheap labor for the capitalist mill owners. Even though hampered by the survivals of serfdom, the development of industrial capitalism in Russia proceeded at a rapid pace. According to the History: “during the twenty-five years, 1865-1890, the number of workers employed in large mills and factories and on the railways … more than doubled.” (ibid, p. 5) By the end of the 1890’s, the number of workers in these occupations, modern industrial proletarians, had doubled again!

In light of its growing strength, the very first workers organization, the South Russian Workers Union was formed in 1875 and lasted more than six months before being smashed by the tsarist government. In 1878, the Northern Union of Russian Workers was organized in St. Petersburg and soon began projecting demands of both an anti-tsarist (political) as well as a “bread and butter” (economic) character.

By early 1885 the eight thousand workers at the Morozov Mill in Orekhovo-Zuyevo, struck after suffering five wage cuts in the previous few years and being robbed by the big capitalist, Morozov, all the more through fines. The chief strike demand was to eliminate the fines and a subsequent trial revealed the vast extent of this additional robbery. The strike was suppressed by armed force and 600 workers were arrested. But later that year similar strikes broke out in Ivanovo-Voznesensk. Tellingly, “in the following year the tsarist government was compelled by its fear of the growth of the working-class movement to promulgate a law on fines which provided that the proceeds from fines were not to go into the pockets of manufacturers but were to be used for the needs of the workers themselves. The Morozov and other strikes taught the workers that a great deal could be gained by organized struggle.” (ibid, p. 8) Indeed, this was a surprisingly powerful early victory for the new and rising Russian industrial working class.

Prior to the appearance of Marxist groups in Russia, revolutionary work was attempted by the Narodniks or Populists. “The Narodniks first tried to rouse the peasants for a struggle against the tsarist government. With this purpose in view, young revolutionary intellectuals donned peasant garb and flocked to the countryside – ‘to the people’ ... Hence the term ‘Narodnik’ from the word narod, the people. But they found no backing among the peasantry ... The majority of them were arrested by the police. Thereupon the Narodniks decided to continue the struggle against the tsarist autocracy single-handed, without the people, and this led to even more serious mistakes.” (ibid, p. 11)

On March 1, 1881, a secret Narodnik society assassinated Tsar Alexander II with a bomb. “But the assassinated tsar was replaced by another, Alexander III, under whom the conditions of the workers and peasants became still worse. The assassination of individuals could not bring about the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy or the abolition of the landlord class. The method of combating tsardom chosen by the Narodniks, … by individual terrorism, was wrong and detrimental to the revolution.” (ibid, p. 11) It was based on the erroneous Narodnik theory of active “heroes” and a passive “mob,” which awaited exploits from the “heroes.”

The first Russian Marxist group arose in 1883; it was the Emancipation of Labor group formed by G.V. Plekhanov abroad in Geneva where he had taken refuge from tsarist persecution. Abroad Plekhanov studied Marxism and broke with his former Narodism, becoming an outstanding propagandist of Marxism. According to Lenin, Plekhanov’s book On the Development of the Monistic View of History, published in 1895, served to “rear a whole generation of Russian Marxists.” Plekhanov shattered the major Narodnik error that the role of the masses, the “mob,” the people, classes, was insignificant, and that “heroes,” outstanding individuals, and their ideas played a prime role in social development. In opposition to the Narodniks’ philosophic idealism, Plekhanov, in line with Marx’ and Engels’ historical materialism, asserted that “it is not the heroes that make history, but history that makes heroes, and that, consequently, it is not heroes who create a people, but the people who create heroes and move history onward.” (ibid, p. 15)

Plekhanov’s excellent Marxist work on the role of the masses and the great individual in history came just in time to become a cornerstone of Lenin’s mass line. For Lenin led in the creation of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class in 1895, the same year that Plekhanov’s major work appeared. Leninism has always been characterized by Lenin’s insistence on telling the proletariat the truth, whether bitter or sweet, by his tremendous confidence in the working class and the toiling masses. As Lenin said, “for the proletariat needs the truth and there is nothing so harmful to its cause as plausible, respectable, petty bourgeois lies.” And the theory and practice of the St. Petersburg League was itself dramatic proof of Lenin’s confidence in the working class implemented among the St. Petersburg workers.

The Russian Industrial Working Class on the Path to the Great October Socialist Revolution
Lenin proposed to pass from the propaganda of Marxism among the few politically advanced workers who gathered in the study
Members of St. Petersburg League of Struggle
circles to political agitation among the broad masses of the working class on the issues of the day. Under Lenin’s guidance, the St. Peterburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class linked up the struggle of the workers for economic demands — improvement of working conditions, shorter hours and higher wages — with the political struggle against tsardom. The Lenin-led League of Struggle had to wage sharp struggle against the “Economists,” an opportunist trend (connected to Western European reformist social-democrats, trade-union bureaucrats, etc.) that promoted the idea that workers were only capable of fighting for their immediate economic demands and certainly not capable of leading the peasant masses in a successful political struggle for the overthrow of the powerful tsarist state.

This turn towards mass agitation was of profound importance for the subsequent development of the working-class movement in Russia as the nineties were a period of industrial boom. The number of workers was increasing. The working-class movement was gaining strength. In the period of 1895-99, more than 220,000 workers took part in strikes. The working-class movement was becoming an important force in the political life of the country.

“Under Lenin’s guidance, the St. Petersburg League of Struggle ... was the first body in Russia that began to unite Socialism with the working-class movement. When a strike broke out in some factory, the League of Struggle, which through the members of its circles was kept well posted on the state of affairs in the factories, immediately responded by issuing leaflets and Socialist proclamations. These leaflets exposed the oppression of the workers by the manufacturers, explained how the workers should fight for their interests, and set forth the workers’ demands. The leaflets told the plain truth about the ulcers of capitalism, the poverty of the workers, their intolerably hard working day of 12 to 14 hours, and their utter lack of rights. They also put forward appropriate political demands.

“With the collaboration of the worker Babushkin, Lenin at the end of 1894 wrote the first agitational leaflet of this kind and an appeal to the workers of the Semyannikov Works in St. Petersburg who were on strike. In the autumn of 1895 Lenin wrote a leaflet for the men and women strikers of the Thornton Mills. These mills belonged to English owners who were making millions in profits out of them. The working day in these mills exceeded 14 hours, while the wages of a weaver were about 7 rubles per month. The workers won the strike. In a short space of time the League of Struggle printed dozens of such leaflets and appeals to the workers of various factories. Every leaflet greatly helped to stiffen the spirit of the workers. They saw that the Socialists were helping and defending them.

“In the summer of 1896 a strike of 30,000 textile workers, led by the League of Struggle, took place in St. Petersburg. The chief demand was for shorter hours. This strike forced the tsarist government to pass, on June 2, 1897, a law limiting the working day to 11½ hours. Prior to this the working day was not limited in any way.” (History of the CPSU(B), pp. 18-19,  my emphasis, ROL). (Again, what a powerful political accomplishment of the St. Petersburg industrial workers against the Tsarist-led Russian ruling classes!)

Lenin said that the St. Petersburg League of Struggle “was the first real rudiment of a revolutionary party which was backed by the working-class movement.” (ibid, p. 19) The formation of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle was followed by the formation of Marxist organizations in all the principal industrial centres as well as in the border regions.” (ibid, p. 27) In order to unite these local organizations across Russia into a single Marxist party, Lenin proposed and implemented the first revolutionary Marxist newspaper on an All-Russia scale. In “What is to be Done?” (1902) Lenin described the organization of news reportage, production and distribution around the newspaper, Iskra, as also providing the organizational scaffolding for the party itself.

The first (1905) Russian Revolution quickly followed. With the tsar’s support weakening among the peasants and military men fighting and dying in the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, the growing workers movement in Russia in alliance with the peasantry was able to go from a general strike in October to an armed uprising in December 1905. The new revolutionary Soviets or “Councils” of Workers Deputies emerged in this revolution. They swept away the Bulygin Duma [consultative parliamentary body] and wrested concession after concession from the tsar.

However, a period of decline and defeat followed, “when tsardom, having recovered after the conclusion of peace with Japan, took advantage of the liberal bourgeoisie’s fear of the revolution, took advantage of the vacillation of the peasants, cast them a sop ... [with a new Duma, another “toothless parliament”], and passed to the offensive against the working class, against the revolution.” (ibid, p. 102)

The short period of only three years of revolution (1905-1907) had nonetheless provided the working class and peasantry with a rich political education vastly superior to that obtained in decades of peaceful development. The revolution had revealed: that tsardom was the sworn enemy of the people, that the liberal bourgeoisie sought an alliance with the tsar and not with the people, that seeking an alliance with the liberal bourgeoisie was tantamount to betrayal of the people, that only the working class could be the leader of the bourgeois democratic revolution and clear the way for socialism. Lastly, the revolution showed that the laboring peasantry was the only important force capable of forming an alliance with the working class.

The defeat of this first Russian Revolution, brought with it decline of the revolutionary movement and fatigue among the masses. Difficult conditions prevailed during the Stolypin reaction from 1908-1912. But already in 1911 the number of strikers almost doubled those of the years just preceding it.

The real rise in the revolutionary movement began in April and May 1912 when mass political strikes broke out in connection with the shooting down of workers in the Lena goldfields in Siberia. Of the six thousand striking Lena miners, over 500 workers were killed or wounded upon the orders of a tsarist officer of the gendarmerie. This new bloody deed of the tsarist autocracy in service to the British capitalist masters of the Lena goldfields was committed to break an economic strike of the miners. The shooting down of the unarmed Lena miners attempting to peacefully negotiate with company management stirred the whole country.

The indignation and outrage of the Russian working class was strengthened by a rapid growth of the proletariat that had accompanied the revival of industry since 1910. Compounding this growth of Russian proletarian power was the unprecedented concentration of Russian workers in large factories with 500 or more workers.*

*Even in the USA, the most advanced country industrially in the entire world, only about one-third of industrial workers were employed in such large plants in 1910, whereas in backward peasant Russia, in which the industrial working class was a much smaller percentage of the total population, about 54 per cent of industrial workers, that is, over half the total number of workers worked in such large factories!

300,000 participated in the political protest strikes against the bloody massacre of the Lena workers. “The May Day strikes of 1912 involved about 400,000 workers. These strikes bore a marked political character and were held under the Bolshevik revolutionary slogans of a democratic republic, an 8-hour day, and the confiscation of the landed estates. These main slogans were designed to unite not only the broad masses of the workers, but also the peasants and soldiers for a revolutionary onslaught on the autocracy.” (ibid, p. 160)

Indeed, in the revolutionary rise of 1912-1914, like the situation leading up to the revolution of 1905, the workers’ strike movement resonated with the peasantry and the armed forces. In this situation, the Bolsheviks created a daily mass political newspaper designed for the broadest sections of the workers, Pravda (Truth). “Pravda stood in the center of the struggle for the Party principle, for the building up of a mass working-class revolutionary party. Pravda rallied the legally existing organizations around the illegal centers of the Bolshevik Party and directed the working-class movement towards one definite aim—preparation for revolution.” (ibid, p. 168)

Average circulation of Pravda was 40,000 daily, with individual copies passed from reader to reader. Pravda was suppressed eight times in two and a half years, experienced confiscation of many issues and also was constantly paying fines for printing articles and letters condemned by the tsarist censors. The survival and blossoming of Pravda in the face of the incessant tsarist police state persecution required the active and consistent support of tens of thousands of advanced workers.

“Pravda had a vast number of worker correspondents. In one year alone it printed over eleven thousand letters from workers. ... Numbers of workers from the factories visited the editorial office every day. ... As a result of two and a half years of persistent struggle against the Liquidators* ... by the summer of 1914 the Bolsheviks had succeeded in winning the support of four-fifths of the politically active workers of Russia for the Bolshevik Party and for the Pravda tactics ... borne out, for instance, by the fact that out of a total number of 7,000 workers’ groups which collected money for the labor press in 1914, 5,600 groups collected for the Bolshevik press, and only 1400 groups for the Menshevik press.” (ibid, p. 168) (Moreover, more than half the financial support required for the Menshevik newspaper to function came from “rich friends” among the liberal bourgeoisie and the bourgeois intelligentsia.)

*In the midst of the massive political protest strikes in response to the massacre of the Lena workers, the Liquidators, and their ally, Trotsky, wanted to substitute a petition campaign to the State Duma requesting the granting of rights. They managed to obtain only 1300 signatures at a time when hundreds of thousands of workers backed the militant street actions and the revolutionary Bolshevik slogans.

But the outbreak of  World War I in 1914 disrupted the gathering Russian Revolution. British and French imperialism prevailed upon their Tsarist Russian junior partner to provide the main cannon fodder, the main soldiers, for the Entente Powers. In 1917, after almost three years of massive slaughter of the Russian armed forces and the other armies on the battlefields of World War I, it was clear that the Russian Tsar was isolated even within Russian ruling circles. This ancient pre-capitalist relic was an obstacle to the successful prosecution by his British and French imperialist masters (and the Russian bourgeoisie) of their war on the German and Austro-Hungarian forces. At the same time, the deep dissatisfaction of the Russian masses, exacerbated by the war, was threatening to re-establish on an even more acute basis the revolutionary situation that had been interrupted by the First Imperialist World War. The most overwhelming mass demand was for peace, that is, for Russian withdrawal from the imperialist war.

On February 18, 1917 (old calendar), a strike broke out at the Putilov Works in Petrograd. Four days later, the workers at most large factories were on strike. The next day, International Women’s Day, at the call of the Bolshevik City Committee, working women came out in the streets to demonstrate against starvation, war and tsardom, backed by a city-wide strike movement. By February 25 the whole of working-class Petrograd (St. Petersburg) had joined the revolutionary movement. The political strikes in the districts merged into a general city-wide political strike. By the next morning the political strike and demonstration began to assume the character of an uprising. The workers disarmed police and armed themselves.

The Commander of the Petrograd Military Area, ordered that workers must return to work by February 28. But on February 25 the tsar gave his Commander a contradictory order for him to “put a stop to the disorders in the capital not later than tomorrow.” The next day, February 26, the Fourth Company of the Reserve Battalion of the Pavlovsky Regiment opened fire not on the workers, but on the squads of mounted police fighting the workers, in direct opposition to the tsar’s command!

The Bolshevik Central Committee, quartered in Petrograd and headed by the youthful comrade Molotov, issued a manifesto calling for the continuation of the armed struggle against tsardom and the formation of a Provisional Revolutionary Government. The next day, the troops in Petrograd refused to fire on the workers and began to line up with the people in revolt. Less than 10,000 soldiers had joined the revolt by that morning but by evening, they numbered more than 60,000! The workers and soldiers in revolt began arresting the tsarist ministers and generals and to free revolutionaries from jail.

As news of the Petrograd victory spread to other towns and to the front, workers and soldiers everywhere began to overthrow tsarist officials. Unlike the first, the second Russian Revolution of the twentieth century, (February 1917), the bourgeois democratic revolution, had been won!

The Revolution of 1905 had shown that the Soviets were organs of armed uprising and at the same time the embryo of a new revolutionary governing power. Soviets arose in the very first days of the February 1917 revolution. This time, however, on Bolshevik initiative, both Soviets of  Worker Deputies and Soldier Deputies were established. But only in a few cities did the Bolsheviks have a majority in the Soviets from the outset. The reactionary forces, meanwhile, acted with lightning speed to counteract and isolate the Bolshevik-led industrial proletariat.

According to the History of the CPSU(B), “On February 27 (March 12), 1917, the liberal members of the Fourth State Duma, as the result of a backstairs agreement with the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik leaders, set up a Provisional Committee of the State Duma, headed by Rodzyanko, the President of the Duma, a landlord and a monarchist. And a few days later, the Provisional Committee of the State Duma and the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik leaders of the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, acting secretly from the Bolsheviks, came to an agreement to form a new government of Russia – a bourgeois Provisional Government, headed by Prince Lvov, the man whom, prior to the February Revolution, even Tsar Nicholas II was about to make the Prime Minister of his government! The Provisional Government included … prominent representatives of the capitalist class, and, as the representative of the ‘democracy,’ the Socialist-Revolutionary Kerensky.

“And so it was that the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik leaders of the Executive Committee of the Soviet surrendered the power to the bourgeoisie. Yet when the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies learned of this, its majority formally approved of the action of the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik leaders, despite the protest of the Bolsheviks.” (ibid, p. 194)

The History continues: “The result was a peculiar interlocking of two powers, of two dictatorships: the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, represented by the Provisional Government and the dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry represented by the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.” (ibid, p.195)

With the outbreak of World War I, the Bolshevik Party, as The History explains, had been “the only proletarian party [in the world] which remained faithful to the cause of Socialism and internationalism and which organized civil war against its own imperialist government. All the other parties of the Second International, being tied to the bourgeoisie through their leaders, found themselves under the sway of imperialism and deserted to the side of the imperialists. ... The workers of Russia and the Bolshevik Party were the first in the world successfully to take advantage of the weakness of capitalism. They forced a breach in the imperialist front, overthrew the tsar and set up Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.

“Intoxicated by the first successes of the revolution, and lulled by the assurances of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries that from now on everything would go well, the bulk of the petty-bourgeoisie, the soldiers, as well as the workers, placed their confidence in the Provisional Government and supported it.

“The Bolshevik Party was confronted with the task of explaining to the masses of workers and soldiers, who had been intoxicated by the first successes, that the complete victory of the revolution was still a long way off, that as long as the power was in the hands of the bourgeois Provisional Government, and as long as the Soviets were dominated by the compromisers – the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries – the people would secure neither peace, nor land, nor bread, and that in order to achieve complete victory, one more step had to be taken and the power transferred to the Soviets.” (ibid, p. 197, my emphasis, ROL)

To become convinced of this Bolshevik truth and be ready to seize state power from those relatively enlightened bourgeois forces that had just “over night” replaced the tsar’s three hundred year old Romanov family dynasty, sufficient numbers of the proletarian and poor peasant masses, including among the soldiers and sailors, would have to experience this Bolshevik truth for themselves. This would take time.

Already by its All-Russian April Conference, the Bolshevik Party, utilizing the new bourgeois legality, was growing by leaps and bounds. Further elaborating the bold principles of his April Theses, Lenin said that the task of the Party was to “effect the transition from the first stage of the revolution which placed the power in the hands of the bourgeoisie ... to the second stage, which must place the power in the hands of the proletariat and the poorest strata of the peasantry.” In the course of preparing for the Socialist Revolution, the Party’s immediate task was embodied in the slogan: “All power to the Soviets!” It was necessary to put an end to the dual power between the Provisional Government and the Soviets, to transfer the whole power to the Soviets, to drive the landlords and capitalists out of the organs of government and withdraw Russia from the imperialist world war.

At the Petrograd Conference of  Factory Committees held at the beginning of June, three quarters of the capital city’s delegates already supported the Bolsheviks. But at the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets that met immediately afterwards, the Bolsheviks were still in the minority with about 100 delegates compared with the 700 or 800 Mensheviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries(S-R’s) and others. In this situation, the petty-bourgeois opportunists leading the Petrograd Soviet’s Executive Committee called for a demonstration for June 18, expecting it to be held under anti-Bolshevik slogans. Instead, the demonstration revealed the growing revolutionary spirit of the masses and growing confidence in the Bolshevik Party. The Menshevik/S-R slogans calling for confidence in the Provisional Government and continuation of the imperialist war were lost in a sea of Bolshevik slogans. Four hundred thousand demonstrators carried “Down with the war!” and “All power to the Soviets!”

The History reports: “It was a complete fiasco for the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, a fiasco for the Provisional Government in the capital of the country. Nevertheless, the Provisional Government received the support of the First Congress of the Soviets and decided to continue the imperialist policy. On that very day, June 18, the Provisional Government, in obedience to the wishes of the British and French imperialists, drove the soldiers at the front to take the offensive.” (ibid, p. 211)

The Russian bourgeoisie gambled that, if successful, this was the means to put an end to the revolution. The bourgeoisie hoped to take the whole power into its hands, to push the Soviets out of the arena and to crush the Bolsheviks. But its failure was a foregone conclusion as the Russian military was at the end of its rope. When news of the collapse of the offensive reached the capital, indignation among the workers and soldiers was universal as it became apparent that the Provisional Government’s “policy for peace” was just a means to hoodwink the people and that the opportunists of the Petrograd Soviet’s Executive Committee and the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviets were just tailing behind the bourgeois Provisional Government.

On July 3 worker and soldier indignation brought about spontaneous demonstrations in the Vyborg District of Petrograd, continuing all day. They grew into a huge general armed demonstration demanding transfer of power to the Soviets. While the Bolsheviks opposed armed action at the time as premature since the army and the provinces were not yet ready to support an uprising in the capital, the Party participated in the demonstration to lend it a peaceful and organized character. Hundreds of thousands marched to the Petrograd Soviet and the All-Russian Central Exec Committee of Soviets where they demanded the Soviets take power into their own hands, break with the imperialist bourgeoisie and pursue an active peace policy.

In the face of the peaceful demonstration, the streets of Petrograd ran red with the blood of workers and soldiers. After suppressing the demonstration the Mensheviks and S-R’s, in alliance with the bourgeoisie and Whiteguard generals, systematically attacked the Bolshevik Party. The Pravda premises were wrecked, and Pravda and many other Bolshevik newspapers were suppressed. The Trud printing plant where the Bolshevik publications were printed was wrecked. Prominent Bolsheviks were arrested. Lenin, among others, was charged with “high treason.” Revolutionary units of the Petrograd garrison were removed from the capital and sent to the front.

Dual power had come to an end with the whole power now in the hands of the Provisional Government. For the Menshevik/S-R petty-bourgeois opportunist leadership of the Soviets had clearly reduced the Soviets to merely an appendage of the bourgeois Provisional Government.
The Bolshevik Party’s tactics changed. It went underground and began to prepare for an uprising with the object of overthrowing the bourgeoisie and setting up the power of the Soviets. The Party had a membership of about 240,000. The Sixth Congress of the Bolshevik Party met secretly in Petrograd from July 26 to August 3, 1917. Even delegates from the provinces reported there that workers and soldiers belonging to the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary parties were tearing up their membership cards in anger and disgust and applying for admission to the Bolshevik Party. The Party, the working class and the peasant/soldier masses were headed for armed uprising.

Having seized the whole power, the bourgeoisie began preparations to destroy the now weakened Soviets and set up an open counter-revolutionary dictatorship. Military court-martials took savage vengeance on the soldiers at the front and meted out many death sentences. On August 3, General Kornilov, the Commander-in-Chief, demanded the introduction of the death penalty behind the lines as well! On August 12, a Council of State was convened in Moscow by the Provisional Government to mobilize the forces of reaction. The Bolsheviks called for a general strike protest in Moscow on the opening day of the reactionary convocation.

At the convocation, the S-R opportunist, Kerensky, boasted he would suppress “by iron and blood” every attempt at a revolutionary movement. As head of the Provisional Government, Kerensky intensified the terror against the Bolsheviks. However, General Kornilov’s plot against the revolution was coming to a head; and he was backed by bankers, merchants and manufacturers as well as representatives of French and British imperialism. Kornilov went beyond Kerensky, bluntly demanding that “the Committees and Soviets be abolished.”

In the face of Kornilov’s revolt, the Bolshevik Party Central Committee called for the workers and soldiers to put up active armed resistance to the counter-revolution. And no sooner than Kornilov began his attack, Kerensky, his opportunist ally, did an about-face and, along with other “mortally terrified S-R and Menshevik leaders,” turned to the Bolsheviks for protection! While mobilizing to crush Kornilov’s revolt, the Bolsheviks continued to expose the Kerensky government’s role in assisting Kornilov’s plot. Though not yet the ruling party, the Bolsheviks during these Kornilov days, acted as the real ruling power, for its instructions were loyally carried out by the workers and soldiers. The Kornilov revolt was thus crushed and this victory put new vitality into the Soviets of Workers and Soldiers Deputies.

The months of September and October 1917 witnessed a tremendous increase in the number of seizures of landed estates by the peasants. There was also a revival of the Soviets and their Bolshevization. On August 31, the day following the victory over Kornilov, the Petrograd Soviet endorsed the Bolshevik policy, the old S-R/Menshevik Presidium resigned, clearing the way for new Bolshevik leadership of the capital city’s Soviet. On September 5 the Moscow Soviet similarly went over to the Bolsheviks. The slogan “All power to the Soviets!” was again on the order of the day. This time, however, it was a slogan calling for an uprising of the Soviets (now led by the Bolsheviks) against the Provisional Government, the object being to transfer the whole power in the country to the Soviets.

The Great October Socialist Revolution Ushers in A New Era
On October 25 (November 7, 1917) Red Guards and revolutionary troops occupied the railway stations, post office, telegraph office, the Ministries and the State Bank. The Pre-parliament was dissolved. And the Smolny, headquarters of the Petrograd Soviet and the Bolshevik Central Committee, became the headquarters of the revolution from which all fighting orders emanated. On that historic day, the Bolsheviks issued a manifesto “To the Citizens of Russia” announcing that the bourgeois Provisional Government had been deposed and that state power had passed into the hands of the Soviets!

On that night the revolutionary workers, soldiers and sailors took the Tsar’s Winter Palace by storm and arrested the Provisional Government. The armed uprising in Petrograd had won. At ten p.m. that very night the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets opened in the Smolny after the power had already passed.

The next night the Second Congress of Soviets adopted the Decree on Peace calling on all the belligerent countries to conclude an immediate armistice. It also appealed to the class-conscious workers of the three most advanced nations of mankind and most powerful states participating in the present war (Great Britain, France and Germany) “to bring to a successful conclusion the cause of peace, and at the same time the cause of emancipation of the toiling and exploited masses of the population from all forms of slavery and all forms of exploitation.”

The Second Congress also adopted that night the Decree on Land which decreed that “landlord ownership of land is abolished forthwith without compensation.” The basis of this agrarian law was a Mandate (Nakaz) of the peasantry, compiled from 242 mandates from various localities. Accordingly, private ownership of land was to be abolished forever and replaced by public, or state ownership of the land. The land of the landlords, of the tsar’s family and of the monasteries were to be turned over to all the toilers for their free use. By this decree the peasantry received from the October Socialist Revolution over four hundred million acres of land!

According to the History of the CPSU(B), “Headed by the Bolshevik Party, the working class, in alliance with the poor peasants, and with the support of the soldiers and sailors, overthrew the power of the bourgeoisie, established the power of the Soviets, set up a new type of state – a Socialist Soviet state – abolished the landlords’ ownership of land, turned over the land to the peasants for their use, nationalized all the land in the country, expropriated the capitalists, achieved the withdrawal of Russia from the war and obtained peace, that is, obtained a much-needed respite, and thus created the conditions for the development of Socialist construction.

“The October Socialist Revolution smashed capitalism, deprived the bourgeoisie of the means of production and converted the mills, factories, land, railways and banks into the property of the whole people, into public property.

“It established the dictatorship of the proletariat and turned over the government of the vast country to the working class, thus making it the ruling class.

“The October Socialist Revolution thereby ushered in a new era in the history of mankind – the era of proletarian revolutions.” (ibid, pp. 245-246)

***

Next Issue:

Continuation of Two Part Presentation of  “The October Revolution and the Working Class of Russia and the World.”

featuring

The Russian working class triumph over a brutal civil war and global imperialist intervention

&
The amazing transformation in one generation of backward tsarist Russia into the modern powerful Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Wall Street Remains in Firm Control of the Democrat National Committee (NEWSLETTER #101)

No answer to Trump!


 Wall Street Remains in Firm Control of the
Democratic National Committee
by
Ray Light
On Saturday, February 25, all illusions that the national Democratic Party had any independence from the Wall Street finance capitalist rulers of the USA were smashed on the rocks of reality. Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the outstanding Afro-American campaigner for Bernie Sanders during the Democratic Party primary season, was defeated “in a close election” for Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair.

The “winner” was Tom Perez, who had served in a top post in Obama’s Justice Department and then as Obama’s Secretary of Labor. Perez had entered the DNC Chair race after it became clear that the relatively militant Ellison, one of the few in the entire U.S. Congress with some positive principles, had emerged as the candidate to beat. With the backing of Wall Street’s Democratic leadership, from Obama, Biden, Valerie Jarrett, etc. what other “support” did Perez receive on his way to victory?

First, was the late appearance and early departure of a “mystery candidate,” South Bend, Indiana Mayor Peter Buttigeig, the emerging dark horse candidate, who announced in his nominating speech that he was exiting the race before the voting process even began. In this era of identity politics, Buttigeig, a gay politician from the Midwest (and a former Naval intelligence officer), obviously had been selected to draw votes from Ellison, an Afro-American politician from the Midwest. In the interim, the imperialist magazine, The Economist (2-25-17), mouthpiece of British (and U.S.) finance capital, actually had endorsed Buttigeig, against Ellison.

Second, on the prior Thursday, Jaime Harrison, South Carolina Democratic Party chair, had quit the DNC Chair race and threw his support to Perez.

Third, the second round of votes needed for the Perez’ victory featured the withdrawal of the other five candidates. Between the first and second votes, there also seems to have been some “confusion” (sabotage?) around whether the mysterious Buttigeig had thrown his support to Ellison, resulting in Ellison issuing an apology for the error in that critical time period.

Fourth, Donna Brazile, interim DNC Chair since the abrupt departure of Wasserman-Schultz, announced that the plan to use an electronic voting system was being scrapped, allegedly because of slow convention center Wi-Fi. Ellison supporters exposed that this change from the top would mean that their candidate would not be able to view, in accordance with party bylaws, the names of potentially persuadable members after the first ballot.

Fifth, late Friday, Henry Munoz, the DNC’s chief fundraiser, running unopposed for re-election as Finance Chairman, gave his last-minute endorsement of Perez after remaining neutral throughout the four month race.
                                    
Sixth, probably the dirtiest move in support of Perez was the Friday afternoon email from the American Jewish Congress (AJC) asserting that the election of the Muslim Ellison, “could threaten the relationship between America and our ally Israel.” Especially in light of the epidemic of chauvinistic attacks on synagogues and Jewish Community Centers, as well as anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-women and other such attacks in the weeks since the Trump election victory, this chauvinistic action of the American Jewish Congress in support of Perez and Wall Street (and Trump!) exposes how Zionist forces before during and after the Nazi terror of the second World War period provided support for the Hitlerite fascists. To his great credit, former Communication Workers of America (CWA) union President Larry Cohen, the board chair for Our Revolution, a progressive group spawned by the Sanders’ primary campaign, condemned the AJC message as “a disgrace” and called out Tom Perez for his failure to repudiate the letter.

***

Of course, the conduct of the Wall Street Democrats, led by Obama’s team, in the DNC Chair election, is reminiscent of the rigged Democratic Primary season that produced the vile Wall Street Clinton candidacy and the subsequent rout of the Democratic Party in the 2016 election.

Thanks to Wikileaks, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, there had been a thoroughly documented exposure of the DNC’s role in promoting Hillary Clinton’s candidacy over Bernie Sanders. Because of this exposure, then DNC Chair, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, abruptly resigned and withdrew from her expected prominent role in the Democratic Convention! (Shamelessly, and evidently having the confidence that Sanders would not press the DNC rigging issue, the Clinton campaign immediately hired her.) That resignation became an important part of the Clinton/Wall Street strategy that turned the focus away from the rigged character of the Democratic nomination and into a renewed “cold war” attack on Russia and Republican candidate Trump.*

*Of course, the U.S. Empire has, over the past twenty-five years, brazenly interfered in a number of Russian elections; for example, infamously and successfully supporting the out of control, pro-capitalist Boris Yeltsin, against Gennady Zyuganov, chief of the so-called Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF).

Any Democrat that was a self-respecting democrat, would have been determined to root out the DNC corruption so that the people could nominate the real candidate of their choice. And, indeed, following the Democratic Convention, those small “d” democrats could not wholeheartedly and in good conscience, actively campaign for the candidate produced by the rigged primary season. This is one major reason why, despite the fact that Clinton was endorsed by virtually every big circulation newspaper in the USA and by the entire Democratic Party leadership, including both Obamas, etc, etc, and that Trump was openly opposed by most of the Republican Party bigwigs, Trump was able to win the electoral college vote.

The other main reason, as I wrote in the leaflet we passed out at the Democratic National Convention, was the following: “The outstanding feature of the 2016 Presidential Primary has been the voters’ angry rejection of Wall Street’s Republican and Democratic candidates, ‘the Republicrats.’ ... Clinton, the Democrat, is the absolute worst candidate to support ‘against Trump.’ As a loyal tool of Wall Street, Clinton will not educate the voters against the financial oligarchy, but will apologize and cover up for Wall Street. Coupled with her Democratic Party rhetoric, this will only enrage the voters all the more, moving them further into the Trump camp. It was precisely Sanders’ focus on the rigged Wall Street economy and politics that allowed his candidacy to thrive against all odds. With Sanders out of the race the same old ‘Republicrat’ rhetoric will provide new fuel to the Trump fire.” (Emphasis in original, Wall Street Has Rigged the System!, June 2016)

Trump won because of his angry dismissal of almost all the major politicians in the two main monopoly capitalist parties as tools of the rich and in spite of his nasty attitude and language, revealing his open hostility and disrespect toward women, immigrants, Muslims, Afro-Americans, Latinos and other marginalized people. In this light it is clear that Sanders was the one candidate who could have beaten him because Sanders also angrily denounced Wall Street and the rich but with substantive documentation and concrete political program in contrast to Trump’s bold and erratic talk.

***

Conclusion: The Democratic Party, along with the mainstream
Republican Party, together have made up the political rule of Wall Street imperialism over these decades of U.S. imperialist hegemony and the U.S. Empire. Sadly, Keith Ellison has been unwilling to break with the U.S. Empire. He has, instead, followed in the footsteps of Bernie Sanders in failing to lead his more principled forces out of the Democratic Party and into unity with the U.S. multinational working class, the international working class and the oppressed peoples of the world.

Karl Marx profoundly observed concerning some great historical events, “the first time it appears as tragedy and the second as farce.” More common folk wisdom says: “Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice, shame on me!”

***

In our Democratic National Convention leaflet we pointed out, “U.S. Fascism has significantly advanced on the shoulders of every U.S. president at least from Reagan to Bush I to Clinton to Bush II to Obama.”

The first forty days of the Trump Regime has put flesh and bone on the reality that Trump is a fascist politician. And Trump’s open fascism is a worthy opponent for every decent force in U.S. society to oppose. The tremendous amount of street activism that has greeted this regime is necessary and a welcome change from the paralysis under the bloody and vicious Obama Democratic Party Regime.

We Have to Fight the Powers that Be! 

R.O.L., USA NEWSLETTER #101 (MARCH-APRIL 2017)

RAY O’ LIGHT  NEWSLETTER                            
     March-April  2017    Number 101

Publication of the Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA

____________________________________________________________________

No answer to Trump!

 Wall Street Remains in Firm Control of the
Democratic National Committee
by
Ray Light

On Saturday, February 25, all illusions that the national Democratic Party had any independence from the Wall Street finance capitalist rulers of the USA were smashed on the rocks of reality. Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the outstanding Afro-American campaigner for Bernie Sanders during the Democratic Party primary season, was defeated “in a close election” for Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair.

The “winner” was Tom Perez, who had served in a top post in Obama’s Justice Department and then as Obama’s Secretary of Labor. Perez had entered the DNC Chair race after it became clear that the relatively militant Ellison, one of the few in the entire U.S. Congress with some positive principles, had emerged as the candidate to beat. With the backing of Wall Street’s Democratic leadership, from Obama, Biden, Valerie Jarrett, etc. what other “support” did Perez receive on his way to victory?

First, was the late appearance and early departure of a “mystery candidate,” South Bend, Indiana Mayor Peter Buttigeig, the emerging dark horse candidate, who announced in his nominating speech that he was exiting the race before the voting process even began. In this era of identity politics, Buttigeig, a gay politician from the Midwest (and a former Naval intelligence officer), obviously had been selected to draw votes from Ellison, an Afro-American politician from the Midwest. In the interim, the imperialist magazine, The Economist (2-25-17), mouthpiece of British (and U.S.) finance capital, actually had endorsed Buttigeig, against Ellison.

Second, on the prior Thursday, Jaime Harrison, South Carolina Democratic Party chair, had quit the DNC Chair race and threw his support to Perez.

Third, the second round of votes needed for the Perez’ victory featured the withdrawal of the other five candidates. Between the first and second votes, there also seems to have been some “confusion” (sabotage?) around whether the mysterious Buttigeig had thrown his support to Ellison, resulting in Ellison issuing an apology for the error in that critical time period.

Fourth, Donna Brazile, interim DNC Chair since the abrupt departure of Wasserman-Schultz, announced that the plan to use an electronic voting system was being scrapped, allegedly because of slow convention center Wi-Fi. Ellison supporters exposed that this change from the top would mean that their candidate would not be able to view, in accordance with party bylaws, the names of potentially persuadable members after the first ballot.

Fifth, late Friday, Henry Munoz, the DNC’s chief fundraiser, running unopposed for re-election as Finance Chairman, gave his last-minute endorsement of Perez after remaining neutral throughout the four month race.
                                    
Sixth, probably the dirtiest move in support of Perez was the Friday afternoon email from the American Jewish Congress (AJC) asserting that the election of the Muslim Ellison, “could threaten the relationship between America and our ally Israel.” Especially in light of the epidemic of chauvinistic attacks on synagogues and Jewish Community Centers, as well as anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-women and other such attacks in the weeks since the Trump election victory, this chauvinistic action of the American Jewish Congress in support of Perez and Wall Street (and Trump!) exposes how Zionist forces before during and after the Nazi terror of the second World War period provided support for the Hitlerite fascists. To his great credit, former Communication Workers of America (CWA) union President Larry Cohen, the board chair for Our Revolution, a progressive group spawned by the Sanders’ primary campaign, condemned the AJC message as “a disgrace” and called out Tom Perez for his failure to repudiate the letter.

***

Of course, the conduct of the Wall Street Democrats, led by Obama’s team, in the DNC Chair election, is reminiscent of the rigged Democratic Primary season that produced the vile Wall Street Clinton candidacy and the subsequent rout of the Democratic Party in the 2016 election.

Thanks to Wikileaks, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, there had been a thoroughly documented exposure of the DNC’s role in promoting Hillary Clinton’s candidacy over Bernie Sanders. Because of this exposure, then DNC Chair, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, abruptly resigned and withdrew from her expected prominent role in the Democratic Convention! (Shamelessly, and evidently having the confidence that Sanders would not press the DNC rigging issue, the Clinton campaign immediately hired her.) That resignation became an important part of the Clinton/Wall Street strategy that turned the focus away from the rigged character of the Democratic nomination and into a renewed “cold war” attack on Russia and Republican candidate Trump.*

*Of course, the U.S. Empire has, over the past twenty-five years, brazenly interfered in a number of Russian elections; for example, infamously and successfully supporting the out of control, pro-capitalist Boris Yeltsin, against Gennady Zyuganov, chief of the so-called Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF).

Any Democrat that was a self-respecting democrat, would have been determined to root out the DNC corruption so that the people could nominate the real candidate of their choice. And, indeed, following the Democratic Convention, those small “d” democrats could not wholeheartedly and in good conscience, actively campaign for the candidate produced by the rigged primary season. This is one major reason why, despite the fact that Clinton was endorsed by virtually every big circulation newspaper in the USA and by the entire Democratic Party leadership, including both Obamas, etc, etc, and that Trump was openly opposed by most of the Republican Party bigwigs, Trump was able to win the electoral college vote.

The other main reason, as I wrote in the leaflet we passed out at the Democratic National Convention, was the following: “The outstanding feature of the 2016 Presidential Primary has been the voters’ angry rejection of Wall Street’s Republican and Democratic candidates, ‘the Republicrats.’ ... Clinton, the Democrat, is the absolute worst candidate to support ‘against Trump.’ As a loyal tool of Wall Street, Clinton will not educate the voters against the financial oligarchy, but will apologize and cover up for Wall Street. Coupled with her Democratic Party rhetoric, this will only enrage the voters all the more, moving them further into the Trump camp. It was precisely Sanders’ focus on the rigged Wall Street economy and politics that allowed his candidacy to thrive against all odds. With Sanders out of the race the same old ‘Republicrat’ rhetoric will provide new fuel to the Trump fire.” (Emphasis in original, Wall Street Has Rigged the System!, June 2016)

Trump won because of his angry dismissal of almost all the major politicians in the two main monopoly capitalist parties as tools of the rich and in spite of his nasty attitude and language, revealing his open hostility and disrespect toward women, immigrants, Muslims, Afro-Americans, Latinos and other marginalized people. In this light it is clear that Sanders was the one candidate who could have beaten him because Sanders also angrily denounced Wall Street and the rich but with substantive documentation and concrete political program in contrast to Trump’s bold and erratic talk.

***

Conclusion: The Democratic Party, along with the mainstream
Republican Party, together have made up the political rule of Wall Street imperialism over these decades of U.S. imperialist hegemony and the U.S. Empire. Sadly, Keith Ellison has been unwilling to break with the U.S. Empire. He has, instead, followed in the footsteps of Bernie Sanders in failing to lead his more principled forces out of the Democratic Party and into unity with the U.S. multinational working class, the international working class and the oppressed peoples of the world.

Karl Marx profoundly observed concerning some great historical events, “the first time it appears as tragedy and the second as farce.” More common folk wisdom says: “Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice, shame on me!”

***

In our Democratic National Convention leaflet we pointed out, “U.S. Fascism has significantly advanced on the shoulders of every U.S. president at least from Reagan to Bush I to Clinton to Bush II to Obama.”

The first forty days of the Trump Regime has put flesh and bone on the reality that Trump is a fascist politician. And Trump’s open fascism is a worthy opponent for every decent force in U.S. society to oppose. The tremendous amount of street activism that has greeted this regime is necessary and a welcome change from the paralysis under the bloody and vicious Obama Democratic Party Regime.

We Have to Fight the Powers that Be! 


 

 ____________________________________________________________________

                                                

                                                       


Do you know who said it??

“By all early indications, the Trump presidency will corrode public integrity and the rule of law — and also do untold damage to American global leadership, the Western alliance and democratic norms around the world. The damage has already begun, and it will not be soon or easily undone. ... If the story ends without too much harm to the republic, it won’t be because the dangers were imagined, but because citizens resisted.”

Hint: This person is neither a Democrat nor a revolutionary democrat who might be expected to “demonize” Trump. Neither is he a revolutionary worker calling on the people to rise up against this vicious exploitative system.

–Still stumped?   See page below for answer.

***********************




David Frum served as a speechwriter for Republican President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2002. Now a senior editor at The Atlantic, Mr. Frum, a neocon, wrote the cover story in the magazine’s March 2017 issue entitled, “How to Build an Autocracy.” He compares Trump to the “Russian oligarchs” who stole the public wealth from the people of the former Soviet Union (public utilities and goods, oil, etc.) when open capitalism fully replaced socialism there. Frum states: “Trump is poised to mingle business and government with an audacity and on a scale more reminiscent of a leader in a post-Soviet republic than anything ever before seen in the United States.”

This Republican insider focuses on the playbook Trump will (not may) employ, “if Congress is quiescent and the public listless.”

—the Editor

____________________________________________________________________________


We Stand with Muslims and Immigrants!
No Deportations! No Wall! Ban Trump & Fascism!
We support the following positive and timely statement issued by the ILPS-US chapter on January 30, 2017.
—Assistant Editor
  
The US Chapter of the International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS-US) calls on its member organizations to join and fully participate in the mass actions across the US in major international airports where immigrants and Muslims are being detained and all other mass actions protesting President Trump’s abuse of executive powers against the people.

US imperialist-led wars of aggression, destabilization, and neoliberal economic policies under both Democratic and Republican administrations are the root of the global refugee crisis and the forced migration of the world’s unemployed from plundered countries. Yet at the same time, the purveyors of the global crisis of monopoly capitalism, led by US imperialism, turn to scapegoatism and criminalization of those most victimized by the crisis — the tens of millions of displaced peoples from war-torn and/or impoverished countries — further aggravating the social and economic crisis.

The countries identified in Trump’s travel ban are all countries that the US has bombed, militarized, wrecked, or launched other forms of imperialist aggression in order to control of the region’s vast oil deposits, natural resources and maintain its global hegemony.

The Trump regime is backed by large monopoly oil profiteers who gained immensely from the last Bush regime’s invasion of Iraq. It may well be using Islamophobia to provoke a crisis that could “justify” yet another oil war, possibly targeting Iran. The recent Trump-ordered Navy SEAL raid against Al-Qaida in Yemen, resulting in dozens of casualties of both combatants and civilians, as well as the move of the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Israeli-occupied Palestine can be seen in this context. 

The wall that Trump is projecting to build on the US-Mexican border has its origins back with the US Congress as early as 2006, with The Secure Fence Act that received bi-partisan support, including from then-Democratic Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The post-9/11 war on immigrants under the Bush administration was continued under the Obama Administration with the unprecedented deportation of over 2 million immigrants from the US – more than any other administration in history. President Trump is threatening to continue and intensify this repression against undocumented workers, as well as threatening cities across the US who offer sanctuary to undocumented workers and refugees.

More than ever, it is only through solidarity and unity of the entire US working class – across racial, religious, and ethnic lines – that we can stop these attacks.

The strength of the protests and volume of the people’s outcry, as well as the positive stand of local governmental leaders around the country, have forced the federal judiciary to temporarily block the deportations. But even in the face of this victory of the people, the Trump administration exposes its arrogance by declaring the travel ban will stay in place. But Trump’s tyranny will not faze our resistance. It will in fact, do the opposite. As our solidarity for our Muslim and immigrant sisters and brothers is unconditional, our resistance only grows stronger with every repressive tactic, every attempt to stop us.

We will not be subdued.


 ________________________________________________________________________

 Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution:
 
The October Revolution and the
Working Class of Russia and the World

by RAY LIGHT


In 1943, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill admitted: “No government ever formed among men has been capable of surviving injuries so grave and cruel as those inflicted by Hitler on Russia. … Russia has not only survived and recovered from those frightful injuries but has inflicted, as no other force in the world could have inflicted, mortal damage on the German army machine.” (cited in The Great Conspiracy, Sayers and Kahn, page 139)


The German Nazi bombing and invasion of Poland had been launched on September 1, 1939. Within 48 hours, the Polish Air Force was destroyed. Most of the 500 first line Polish fighter planes were blown up on the ground by Nazi bombing of Polish airfields. In one week, the Polish army was vanquished, and the German military occupation of Poland was completed in less than four weeks!

Emboldened and fueled by its success in Poland, the Nazi war machine successfully bombed, invaded and occupied six countries in Spring 1940. On April 9, 1940 Germany invaded Denmark which capitulated in 6 hours. That same day, Nazi warships began to attack Norwegian ships and simultaneously landed troops in Norway. At the end of two months, the Nazis controlled Norway. On May 10, more than two million German troops invaded France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands by land and by air. It took the Nazis five days, including the brutal bombing of Rotterdam, to conquer the Netherlands. In stark contrast with the ability of France to remain unvanquished throughout the four years of World War I, on June 10, 1940 the French government withdrew from Paris and on June 14 the German army occupied the city and hoisted the swastika up on the Eiffel Tower. France, an advanced imperialist colonial power, the birthplace of bourgeois democratic revolution, the land of “liberté, égalité et fraternité,” succumbed to the Nazi invasion in just six weeks!

In Western and Eastern Europe in 1939 and 1940, Fascist Germany had experienced so little resistance to its brazen and brutal invasions from the governments and the citizenry that the Hitlerite fascist military and society were more arrogant and chauvinistic toward “inferior peoples” than ever. Brimming with self-confidence and a powerful military momentum, on June 22, 1941, the German Nazis launched the largest operation of World War II, Operation “Barbarossa,” against the Soviet Union. Initially, this was an invasion of more than three million German soldiers along a thousand mile front reaching from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Incredibly, by late January 1945, the Soviet Red army had driven the Nazi invaders back to within one hundred miles of the German capital of Berlin. In May of 1945 the Soviet counterattack had resulted in the total capitulation and defeat of Nazi Germany.*

*See The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer, 1959, pp. 625-626, 713-746, 847-853, 1097, 1139.

How did the USSR not only survive but largely on its own shoulders ultimately defeat the mightiest war machine in history, and, for the first time in human history, shift the balance of forces in the world in favor of socialism, in favor of workers power?

***

Principally, it was because, under the dictatorship of the proletariat, the Soviet workers and toilers were the owners of the USSR. The Soviet Union was truly the creation of the masses, and of the Soviet industrial working class in particular. In their tens of millions, the Soviet people courageously overthrew the Russian Tsarist regime and the bourgeois regime that followed it, establishing the first dictatorship of the proletariat in the world. Through unprecedented feats of economic production and innovation, the Soviet working class-led society took the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics from a backward country to an advanced one in one generation. Then, immediately, the Bolshevik-led Soviet working class and masses were called upon to move heaven and earth to prevent the fascist hordes from taking it all away from them. They proved ready to defend their country with their very lives in what even fiercely anti-communist detractors like reactionary U.S. General Douglas McArthur admitted was the “greatest military achievement in all history.”

The mass character of the October Revolution was based on the ruthless and consistent Bolshevik struggle against opportunism waged by a disciplined and responsible vanguard party among the toiling masses and among the industrial working class in particular and on the Bolshevik mobilization of these masses around their urgent concrete demands for “peace, land and bread.” This article, which relies heavily on the brilliant History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolshevik) (CPSU-B), (1939) documents the above facts beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Most importantly, the heroic conduct of the Soviet working class highlighted here smashes to smithereens two capitalist “big lies.” One, that capitalism is the best political-economic system the world has ever seen. And two, that the workers and toilers do not have the capacity to make a better world. The Soviet workers and masses created a clearly superior Socialist system then; and those of us in the ranks of the international working class today have the capacity to create a more all-encompassing Soviet Socialist world in our time.

***

The Abolition of Serfdom in Russia and the Rapid Rise of the Modern Industrial Working Class

The History points out: that Tsarist Russia entered on the path of
Peasant Uprising
capitalist development later than other countries. Manorial estates based on serfdom had been the prevailing form of tsarist economy. And industry could not be developed until serfdom was abolished. In 1861, frightened by the peasant revolts against the landlords and weakened by its defeat in the Crimean War, the tsarist government was compelled to abolish serfdom. At this historical moment, there were powerful remnants of landlord oppression of the peasants, including the widespread introduction of the “half and half” system under which the peasants were obliged to pay the landlords rent in kind in the amount of one-half of their harvests.*

*In the U.S. Black Belt South, after the freedom of the slaves in the U.S. Civil War of 1861-1865 and the outright betrayal of the freed slaves by the federal government in the subsequent decade, this system also became widespread and dominant. In the USA, known as “sharecropping,” this pre-capitalist remnant, unchallenged by a Soviet workers revolution, lasted into the modern day.

The History reports: “the situation remained almost the same as it had been under serfdom, the only difference being that the peasant was now personally free, could not be bought and sold like a chattel.” (History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolshevik), CPSU-B, p. 3) The survivals of serfdom were still powerful enough to bring the peasant masses to ruination and drive many to leave their villages and seek work in factories and mills where they became a source of cheap labor for the capitalist mill owners. Even though hampered by the survivals of serfdom, the development of industrial capitalism in Russia proceeded at a rapid pace. According to the History: “during the twenty-five years, 1865-1890, the number of workers employed in large mills and factories and on the railways … more than doubled.” (ibid, p. 5) By the end of the 1890’s, the number of workers in these occupations, modern industrial proletarians, had doubled again!

In light of its growing strength, the very first workers organization, the South Russian Workers Union was formed in 1875 and lasted more than six months before being smashed by the tsarist government. In 1878, the Northern Union of Russian Workers was organized in St. Petersburg and soon began projecting demands of both an anti-tsarist (political) as well as a “bread and butter” (economic) character.

By early 1885 the eight thousand workers at the Morozov Mill in Orekhovo-Zuyevo, struck after suffering five wage cuts in the previous few years and being robbed by the big capitalist, Morozov, all the more through fines. The chief strike demand was to eliminate the fines and a subsequent trial revealed the vast extent of this additional robbery. The strike was suppressed by armed force and 600 workers were arrested. But later that year similar strikes broke out in Ivanovo-Voznesensk. Tellingly, “in the following year the tsarist government was compelled by its fear of the growth of the working-class movement to promulgate a law on fines which provided that the proceeds from fines were not to go into the pockets of manufacturers but were to be used for the needs of the workers themselves. The Morozov and other strikes taught the workers that a great deal could be gained by organized struggle.” (ibid, p. 8) Indeed, this was a surprisingly powerful early victory for the new and rising Russian industrial working class.

Prior to the appearance of Marxist groups in Russia, revolutionary work was attempted by the Narodniks or Populists. “The Narodniks first tried to rouse the peasants for a struggle against the tsarist government. With this purpose in view, young revolutionary intellectuals donned peasant garb and flocked to the countryside – ‘to the people’ ... Hence the term ‘Narodnik’ from the word narod, the people. But they found no backing among the peasantry ... The majority of them were arrested by the police. Thereupon the Narodniks decided to continue the struggle against the tsarist autocracy single-handed, without the people, and this led to even more serious mistakes.” (ibid, p. 11)

On March 1, 1881, a secret Narodnik society assassinated Tsar Alexander II with a bomb. “But the assassinated tsar was replaced by another, Alexander III, under whom the conditions of the workers and peasants became still worse. The assassination of individuals could not bring about the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy or the abolition of the landlord class. The method of combating tsardom chosen by the Narodniks, … by individual terrorism, was wrong and detrimental to the revolution.” (ibid, p. 11) It was based on the erroneous Narodnik theory of active “heroes” and a passive “mob,” which awaited exploits from the “heroes.”

The first Russian Marxist group arose in 1883; it was the Emancipation of Labor group formed by G.V. Plekhanov abroad in Geneva where he had taken refuge from tsarist persecution. Abroad Plekhanov studied Marxism and broke with his former Narodism, becoming an outstanding propagandist of Marxism. According to Lenin, Plekhanov’s book On the Development of the Monistic View of History, published in 1895, served to “rear a whole generation of Russian Marxists.” Plekhanov shattered the major Narodnik error that the role of the masses, the “mob,” the people, classes, was insignificant, and that “heroes,” outstanding individuals, and their ideas played a prime role in social development. In opposition to the Narodniks’ philosophic idealism, Plekhanov, in line with Marx’ and Engels’ historical materialism, asserted that “it is not the heroes that make history, but history that makes heroes, and that, consequently, it is not heroes who create a people, but the people who create heroes and move history onward.” (ibid, p. 15)

Plekhanov’s excellent Marxist work on the role of the masses and the great individual in history came just in time to become a cornerstone of Lenin’s mass line. For Lenin led in the creation of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class in 1895, the same year that Plekhanov’s major work appeared. Leninism has always been characterized by Lenin’s insistence on telling the proletariat the truth, whether bitter or sweet, by his tremendous confidence in the working class and the toiling masses. As Lenin said, “for the proletariat needs the truth and there is nothing so harmful to its cause as plausible, respectable, petty bourgeois lies.” And the theory and practice of the St. Petersburg League was itself dramatic proof of Lenin’s confidence in the working class implemented among the St. Petersburg workers.

The Russian Industrial Working Class on the Path to the Great October Socialist Revolution
Lenin proposed to pass from the propaganda of Marxism among the few politically advanced workers who gathered in the study
Members of St. Petersburg League of Struggle
circles to political agitation among the broad masses of the working class on the issues of the day. Under Lenin’s guidance, the St. Peterburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class linked up the struggle of the workers for economic demands — improvement of working conditions, shorter hours and higher wages — with the political struggle against tsardom. The Lenin-led League of Struggle had to wage sharp struggle against the “Economists,” an opportunist trend (connected to Western European reformist social-democrats, trade-union bureaucrats, etc.) that promoted the idea that workers were only capable of fighting for their immediate economic demands and certainly not capable of leading the peasant masses in a successful political struggle for the overthrow of the powerful tsarist state.

This turn towards mass agitation was of profound importance for the subsequent development of the working-class movement in Russia as the nineties were a period of industrial boom. The number of workers was increasing. The working-class movement was gaining strength. In the period of 1895-99, more than 220,000 workers took part in strikes. The working-class movement was becoming an important force in the political life of the country.

“Under Lenin’s guidance, the St. Petersburg League of Struggle ... was the first body in Russia that began to unite Socialism with the working-class movement. When a strike broke out in some factory, the League of Struggle, which through the members of its circles was kept well posted on the state of affairs in the factories, immediately responded by issuing leaflets and Socialist proclamations. These leaflets exposed the oppression of the workers by the manufacturers, explained how the workers should fight for their interests, and set forth the workers’ demands. The leaflets told the plain truth about the ulcers of capitalism, the poverty of the workers, their intolerably hard working day of 12 to 14 hours, and their utter lack of rights. They also put forward appropriate political demands.

“With the collaboration of the worker Babushkin, Lenin at the end of 1894 wrote the first agitational leaflet of this kind and an appeal to the workers of the Semyannikov Works in St. Petersburg who were on strike. In the autumn of 1895 Lenin wrote a leaflet for the men and women strikers of the Thornton Mills. These mills belonged to English owners who were making millions in profits out of them. The working day in these mills exceeded 14 hours, while the wages of a weaver were about 7 rubles per month. The workers won the strike. In a short space of time the League of Struggle printed dozens of such leaflets and appeals to the workers of various factories. Every leaflet greatly helped to stiffen the spirit of the workers. They saw that the Socialists were helping and defending them.

“In the summer of 1896 a strike of 30,000 textile workers, led by the League of Struggle, took place in St. Petersburg. The chief demand was for shorter hours. This strike forced the tsarist government to pass, on June 2, 1897, a law limiting the working day to 11½ hours. Prior to this the working day was not limited in any way.” (History of the CPSU(B), pp. 18-19,  my emphasis, ROL). (Again, what a powerful political accomplishment of the St. Petersburg industrial workers against the Tsarist-led Russian ruling classes!)

Lenin said that the St. Petersburg League of Struggle “was the first real rudiment of a revolutionary party which was backed by the working-class movement.” (ibid, p. 19) The formation of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle was followed by the formation of Marxist organizations in all the principal industrial centres as well as in the border regions.” (ibid, p. 27) In order to unite these local organizations across Russia into a single Marxist party, Lenin proposed and implemented the first revolutionary Marxist newspaper on an All-Russia scale. In “What is to be Done?” (1902) Lenin described the organization of news reportage, production and distribution around the newspaper, Iskra, as also providing the organizational scaffolding for the party itself.

The first (1905) Russian Revolution quickly followed. With the tsar’s support weakening among the peasants and military men fighting and dying in the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, the growing workers movement in Russia in alliance with the peasantry was able to go from a general strike in October to an armed uprising in December 1905. The new revolutionary Soviets or “Councils” of Workers Deputies emerged in this revolution. They swept away the Bulygin Duma [consultative parliamentary body] and wrested concession after concession from the tsar.

However, a period of decline and defeat followed, “when tsardom, having recovered after the conclusion of peace with Japan, took advantage of the liberal bourgeoisie’s fear of the revolution, took advantage of the vacillation of the peasants, cast them a sop ... [with a new Duma, another “toothless parliament”], and passed to the offensive against the working class, against the revolution.” (ibid, p. 102)

The short period of only three years of revolution (1905-1907) had nonetheless provided the working class and peasantry with a rich political education vastly superior to that obtained in decades of peaceful development. The revolution had revealed: that tsardom was the sworn enemy of the people, that the liberal bourgeoisie sought an alliance with the tsar and not with the people, that seeking an alliance with the liberal bourgeoisie was tantamount to betrayal of the people, that only the working class could be the leader of the bourgeois democratic revolution and clear the way for socialism. Lastly, the revolution showed that the laboring peasantry was the only important force capable of forming an alliance with the working class.

The defeat of this first Russian Revolution, brought with it decline of the revolutionary movement and fatigue among the masses. Difficult conditions prevailed during the Stolypin reaction from 1908-1912. But already in 1911 the number of strikers almost doubled those of the years just preceding it.

The real rise in the revolutionary movement began in April and May 1912 when mass political strikes broke out in connection with the shooting down of workers in the Lena goldfields in Siberia. Of the six thousand striking Lena miners, over 500 workers were killed or wounded upon the orders of a tsarist officer of the gendarmerie. This new bloody deed of the tsarist autocracy in service to the British capitalist masters of the Lena goldfields was committed to break an economic strike of the miners. The shooting down of the unarmed Lena miners attempting to peacefully negotiate with company management stirred the whole country.

The indignation and outrage of the Russian working class was strengthened by a rapid growth of the proletariat that had accompanied the revival of industry since 1910. Compounding this growth of Russian proletarian power was the unprecedented concentration of Russian workers in large factories with 500 or more workers.*

*Even in the USA, the most advanced country industrially in the entire world, only about one-third of industrial workers were employed in such large plants in 1910, whereas in backward peasant Russia, in which the industrial working class was a much smaller percentage of the total population, about 54 per cent of industrial workers, that is, over half the total number of workers worked in such large factories!

300,000 participated in the political protest strikes against the bloody massacre of the Lena workers. “The May Day strikes of 1912 involved about 400,000 workers. These strikes bore a marked political character and were held under the Bolshevik revolutionary slogans of a democratic republic, an 8-hour day, and the confiscation of the landed estates. These main slogans were designed to unite not only the broad masses of the workers, but also the peasants and soldiers for a revolutionary onslaught on the autocracy.” (ibid, p. 160)

Indeed, in the revolutionary rise of 1912-1914, like the situation leading up to the revolution of 1905, the workers’ strike movement resonated with the peasantry and the armed forces. In this situation, the Bolsheviks created a daily mass political newspaper designed for the broadest sections of the workers, Pravda (Truth). “Pravda stood in the center of the struggle for the Party principle, for the building up of a mass working-class revolutionary party. Pravda rallied the legally existing organizations around the illegal centers of the Bolshevik Party and directed the working-class movement towards one definite aim—preparation for revolution.” (ibid, p. 168)

Average circulation of Pravda was 40,000 daily, with individual copies passed from reader to reader. Pravda was suppressed eight times in two and a half years, experienced confiscation of many issues and also was constantly paying fines for printing articles and letters condemned by the tsarist censors. The survival and blossoming of Pravda in the face of the incessant tsarist police state persecution required the active and consistent support of tens of thousands of advanced workers.

“Pravda had a vast number of worker correspondents. In one year alone it printed over eleven thousand letters from workers. ... Numbers of workers from the factories visited the editorial office every day. ... As a result of two and a half years of persistent struggle against the Liquidators* ... by the summer of 1914 the Bolsheviks had succeeded in winning the support of four-fifths of the politically active workers of Russia for the Bolshevik Party and for the Pravda tactics ... borne out, for instance, by the fact that out of a total number of 7,000 workers’ groups which collected money for the labor press in 1914, 5,600 groups collected for the Bolshevik press, and only 1400 groups for the Menshevik press.” (ibid, p. 168) (Moreover, more than half the financial support required for the Menshevik newspaper to function came from “rich friends” among the liberal bourgeoisie and the bourgeois intelligentsia.)

*In the midst of the massive political protest strikes in response to the massacre of the Lena workers, the Liquidators, and their ally, Trotsky, wanted to substitute a petition campaign to the State Duma requesting the granting of rights. They managed to obtain only 1300 signatures at a time when hundreds of thousands of workers backed the militant street actions and the revolutionary Bolshevik slogans.

But the outbreak of  World War I in 1914 disrupted the gathering Russian Revolution. British and French imperialism prevailed upon their Tsarist Russian junior partner to provide the main cannon fodder, the main soldiers, for the Entente Powers. In 1917, after almost three years of massive slaughter of the Russian armed forces and the other armies on the battlefields of World War I, it was clear that the Russian Tsar was isolated even within Russian ruling circles. This ancient pre-capitalist relic was an obstacle to the successful prosecution by his British and French imperialist masters (and the Russian bourgeoisie) of their war on the German and Austro-Hungarian forces. At the same time, the deep dissatisfaction of the Russian masses, exacerbated by the war, was threatening to re-establish on an even more acute basis the revolutionary situation that had been interrupted by the First Imperialist World War. The most overwhelming mass demand was for peace, that is, for Russian withdrawal from the imperialist war.

On February 18, 1917 (old calendar), a strike broke out at the Putilov Works in Petrograd. Four days later, the workers at most large factories were on strike. The next day, International Women’s Day, at the call of the Bolshevik City Committee, working women came out in the streets to demonstrate against starvation, war and tsardom, backed by a city-wide strike movement. By February 25 the whole of working-class Petrograd (St. Petersburg) had joined the revolutionary movement. The political strikes in the districts merged into a general city-wide political strike. By the next morning the political strike and demonstration began to assume the character of an uprising. The workers disarmed police and armed themselves.

The Commander of the Petrograd Military Area, ordered that workers must return to work by February 28. But on February 25 the tsar gave his Commander a contradictory order for him to “put a stop to the disorders in the capital not later than tomorrow.” The next day, February 26, the Fourth Company of the Reserve Battalion of the Pavlovsky Regiment opened fire not on the workers, but on the squads of mounted police fighting the workers, in direct opposition to the tsar’s command!

The Bolshevik Central Committee, quartered in Petrograd and headed by the youthful comrade Molotov, issued a manifesto calling for the continuation of the armed struggle against tsardom and the formation of a Provisional Revolutionary Government. The next day, the troops in Petrograd refused to fire on the workers and began to line up with the people in revolt. Less than 10,000 soldiers had joined the revolt by that morning but by evening, they numbered more than 60,000! The workers and soldiers in revolt began arresting the tsarist ministers and generals and to free revolutionaries from jail.

As news of the Petrograd victory spread to other towns and to the front, workers and soldiers everywhere began to overthrow tsarist officials. Unlike the first, the second Russian Revolution of the twentieth century, (February 1917), the bourgeois democratic revolution, had been won!

The Revolution of 1905 had shown that the Soviets were organs of armed uprising and at the same time the embryo of a new revolutionary governing power. Soviets arose in the very first days of the February 1917 revolution. This time, however, on Bolshevik initiative, both Soviets of  Worker Deputies and Soldier Deputies were established. But only in a few cities did the Bolsheviks have a majority in the Soviets from the outset. The reactionary forces, meanwhile, acted with lightning speed to counteract and isolate the Bolshevik-led industrial proletariat.

According to the History of the CPSU(B), “On February 27 (March 12), 1917, the liberal members of the Fourth State Duma, as the result of a backstairs agreement with the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik leaders, set up a Provisional Committee of the State Duma, headed by Rodzyanko, the President of the Duma, a landlord and a monarchist. And a few days later, the Provisional Committee of the State Duma and the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik leaders of the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, acting secretly from the Bolsheviks, came to an agreement to form a new government of Russia – a bourgeois Provisional Government, headed by Prince Lvov, the man whom, prior to the February Revolution, even Tsar Nicholas II was about to make the Prime Minister of his government! The Provisional Government included … prominent representatives of the capitalist class, and, as the representative of the ‘democracy,’ the Socialist-Revolutionary Kerensky.

“And so it was that the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik leaders of the Executive Committee of the Soviet surrendered the power to the bourgeoisie. Yet when the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies learned of this, its majority formally approved of the action of the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik leaders, despite the protest of the Bolsheviks.” (ibid, p. 194)

The History continues: “The result was a peculiar interlocking of two powers, of two dictatorships: the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, represented by the Provisional Government and the dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry represented by the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.” (ibid, p.195)

With the outbreak of World War I, the Bolshevik Party, as The History explains, had been “the only proletarian party [in the world] which remained faithful to the cause of Socialism and internationalism and which organized civil war against its own imperialist government. All the other parties of the Second International, being tied to the bourgeoisie through their leaders, found themselves under the sway of imperialism and deserted to the side of the imperialists. ... The workers of Russia and the Bolshevik Party were the first in the world successfully to take advantage of the weakness of capitalism. They forced a breach in the imperialist front, overthrew the tsar and set up Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.

“Intoxicated by the first successes of the revolution, and lulled by the assurances of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries that from now on everything would go well, the bulk of the petty-bourgeoisie, the soldiers, as well as the workers, placed their confidence in the Provisional Government and supported it.

“The Bolshevik Party was confronted with the task of explaining to the masses of workers and soldiers, who had been intoxicated by the first successes, that the complete victory of the revolution was still a long way off, that as long as the power was in the hands of the bourgeois Provisional Government, and as long as the Soviets were dominated by the compromisers – the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries – the people would secure neither peace, nor land, nor bread, and that in order to achieve complete victory, one more step had to be taken and the power transferred to the Soviets.” (ibid, p. 197, my emphasis, ROL)

To become convinced of this Bolshevik truth and be ready to seize state power from those relatively enlightened bourgeois forces that had just “over night” replaced the tsar’s three hundred year old Romanov family dynasty, sufficient numbers of the proletarian and poor peasant masses, including among the soldiers and sailors, would have to experience this Bolshevik truth for themselves. This would take time.

Already by its All-Russian April Conference, the Bolshevik Party, utilizing the new bourgeois legality, was growing by leaps and bounds. Further elaborating the bold principles of his April Theses, Lenin said that the task of the Party was to “effect the transition from the first stage of the revolution which placed the power in the hands of the bourgeoisie ... to the second stage, which must place the power in the hands of the proletariat and the poorest strata of the peasantry.” In the course of preparing for the Socialist Revolution, the Party’s immediate task was embodied in the slogan: “All power to the Soviets!” It was necessary to put an end to the dual power between the Provisional Government and the Soviets, to transfer the whole power to the Soviets, to drive the landlords and capitalists out of the organs of government and withdraw Russia from the imperialist world war.

At the Petrograd Conference of  Factory Committees held at the beginning of June, three quarters of the capital city’s delegates already supported the Bolsheviks. But at the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets that met immediately afterwards, the Bolsheviks were still in the minority with about 100 delegates compared with the 700 or 800 Mensheviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries(S-R’s) and others. In this situation, the petty-bourgeois opportunists leading the Petrograd Soviet’s Executive Committee called for a demonstration for June 18, expecting it to be held under anti-Bolshevik slogans. Instead, the demonstration revealed the growing revolutionary spirit of the masses and growing confidence in the Bolshevik Party. The Menshevik/S-R slogans calling for confidence in the Provisional Government and continuation of the imperialist war were lost in a sea of Bolshevik slogans. Four hundred thousand demonstrators carried “Down with the war!” and “All power to the Soviets!”

The History reports: “It was a complete fiasco for the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, a fiasco for the Provisional Government in the capital of the country. Nevertheless, the Provisional Government received the support of the First Congress of the Soviets and decided to continue the imperialist policy. On that very day, June 18, the Provisional Government, in obedience to the wishes of the British and French imperialists, drove the soldiers at the front to take the offensive.” (ibid, p. 211)

The Russian bourgeoisie gambled that, if successful, this was the means to put an end to the revolution. The bourgeoisie hoped to take the whole power into its hands, to push the Soviets out of the arena and to crush the Bolsheviks. But its failure was a foregone conclusion as the Russian military was at the end of its rope. When news of the collapse of the offensive reached the capital, indignation among the workers and soldiers was universal as it became apparent that the Provisional Government’s “policy for peace” was just a means to hoodwink the people and that the opportunists of the Petrograd Soviet’s Executive Committee and the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviets were just tailing behind the bourgeois Provisional Government.

On July 3 worker and soldier indignation brought about spontaneous demonstrations in the Vyborg District of Petrograd, continuing all day. They grew into a huge general armed demonstration demanding transfer of power to the Soviets. While the Bolsheviks opposed armed action at the time as premature since the army and the provinces were not yet ready to support an uprising in the capital, the Party participated in the demonstration to lend it a peaceful and organized character. Hundreds of thousands marched to the Petrograd Soviet and the All-Russian Central Exec Committee of Soviets where they demanded the Soviets take power into their own hands, break with the imperialist bourgeoisie and pursue an active peace policy.

In the face of the peaceful demonstration, the streets of Petrograd ran red with the blood of workers and soldiers. After suppressing the demonstration the Mensheviks and S-R’s, in alliance with the bourgeoisie and Whiteguard generals, systematically attacked the Bolshevik Party. The Pravda premises were wrecked, and Pravda and many other Bolshevik newspapers were suppressed. The Trud printing plant where the Bolshevik publications were printed was wrecked. Prominent Bolsheviks were arrested. Lenin, among others, was charged with “high treason.” Revolutionary units of the Petrograd garrison were removed from the capital and sent to the front.

Dual power had come to an end with the whole power now in the hands of the Provisional Government. For the Menshevik/S-R petty-bourgeois opportunist leadership of the Soviets had clearly reduced the Soviets to merely an appendage of the bourgeois Provisional Government.

The Bolshevik Party’s tactics changed. It went underground and began to prepare for an uprising with the object of overthrowing the bourgeoisie and setting up the power of the Soviets. The Party had a membership of about 240,000. The Sixth Congress of the Bolshevik Party met secretly in Petrograd from July 26 to August 3, 1917. Even delegates from the provinces reported there that workers and soldiers belonging to the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary parties were tearing up their membership cards in anger and disgust and applying for admission to the Bolshevik Party. The Party, the working class and the peasant/soldier masses were headed for armed uprising.

Having seized the whole power, the bourgeoisie began preparations to destroy the now weakened Soviets and set up an open counter-revolutionary dictatorship. Military court-martials took savage vengeance on the soldiers at the front and meted out many death sentences. On August 3, General Kornilov, the Commander-in-Chief, demanded the introduction of the death penalty behind the lines as well! On August 12, a Council of State was convened in Moscow by the Provisional Government to mobilize the forces of reaction. The Bolsheviks called for a general strike protest in Moscow on the opening day of the reactionary convocation.

At the convocation, the S-R opportunist, Kerensky, boasted he would suppress “by iron and blood” every attempt at a revolutionary movement. As head of the Provisional Government, Kerensky intensified the terror against the Bolsheviks. However, General Kornilov’s plot against the revolution was coming to a head; and he was backed by bankers, merchants and manufacturers as well as representatives of French and British imperialism. Kornilov went beyond Kerensky, bluntly demanding that “the Committees and Soviets be abolished.”

In the face of Kornilov’s revolt, the Bolshevik Party Central Committee called for the workers and soldiers to put up active armed resistance to the counter-revolution. And no sooner than Kornilov began his attack, Kerensky, his opportunist ally, did an about-face and, along with other “mortally terrified S-R and Menshevik leaders,” turned to the Bolsheviks for protection! While mobilizing to crush Kornilov’s revolt, the Bolsheviks continued to expose the Kerensky government’s role in assisting Kornilov’s plot. Though not yet the ruling party, the Bolsheviks during these Kornilov days, acted as the real ruling power, for its instructions were loyally carried out by the workers and soldiers. The Kornilov revolt was thus crushed and this victory put new vitality into the Soviets of Workers and Soldiers Deputies.

The months of September and October 1917 witnessed a tremendous increase in the number of seizures of landed estates by the peasants. There was also a revival of the Soviets and their Bolshevization. On August 31, the day following the victory over Kornilov, the Petrograd Soviet endorsed the Bolshevik policy, the old S-R/Menshevik Presidium resigned, clearing the way for new Bolshevik leadership of the capital city’s Soviet. On September 5 the Moscow Soviet similarly went over to the Bolsheviks. The slogan “All power to the Soviets!” was again on the order of the day. This time, however, it was a slogan calling for an uprising of the Soviets (now led by the Bolsheviks) against the Provisional Government, the object being to transfer the whole power in the country to the Soviets.

The Great October Socialist Revolution Ushers in A New Era
On October 25 (November 7, 1917) Red Guards and revolutionary troops occupied the railway stations, post office, telegraph office, the Ministries and the State Bank. The Pre-parliament was dissolved. And the Smolny, headquarters of the Petrograd Soviet and the Bolshevik Central Committee, became the headquarters of the revolution from which all fighting orders emanated. On that historic day, the Bolsheviks issued a manifesto “To the Citizens of Russia” announcing that the bourgeois Provisional Government had been deposed and that state power had passed into the hands of the Soviets!

On that night the revolutionary workers, soldiers and sailors took the Tsar’s Winter Palace by storm and arrested the Provisional Government. The armed uprising in Petrograd had won. At ten p.m. that very night the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets opened in the Smolny after the power had already passed.

The next night the Second Congress of Soviets adopted the Decree on Peace calling on all the belligerent countries to conclude an immediate armistice. It also appealed to the class-conscious workers of the three most advanced nations of mankind and most powerful states participating in the present war (Great Britain, France and Germany) “to bring to a successful conclusion the cause of peace, and at the same time the cause of emancipation of the toiling and exploited masses of the population from all forms of slavery and all forms of exploitation.”

The Second Congress also adopted that night the Decree on Land which decreed that “landlord ownership of land is abolished forthwith without compensation.” The basis of this agrarian law was a Mandate (Nakaz) of the peasantry, compiled from 242 mandates from various localities. Accordingly, private ownership of land was to be abolished forever and replaced by public, or state ownership of the land. The land of the landlords, of the tsar’s family and of the monasteries were to be turned over to all the toilers for their free use. By this decree the peasantry received from the October Socialist Revolution over four hundred million acres of land!

According to the History of the CPSU(B), “Headed by the Bolshevik Party, the working class, in alliance with the poor peasants, and with the support of the soldiers and sailors, overthrew the power of the bourgeoisie, established the power of the Soviets, set up a new type of state – a Socialist Soviet state – abolished the landlords’ ownership of land, turned over the land to the peasants for their use, nationalized all the land in the country, expropriated the capitalists, achieved the withdrawal of Russia from the war and obtained peace, that is, obtained a much-needed respite, and thus created the conditions for the development of Socialist construction.

“The October Socialist Revolution smashed capitalism, deprived the bourgeoisie of the means of production and converted the mills, factories, land, railways and banks into the property of the whole people, into public property.

“It established the dictatorship of the proletariat and turned over the government of the vast country to the working class, thus making it the ruling class.

“The October Socialist Revolution thereby ushered in a new era in the history of mankind – the era of proletarian revolutions.” (ibid, pp. 245-246)

***

Next Issue:

Continuation of Two Part Presentation of  “The October Revolution and the Working Class of Russia and the World.”

featuring

The Russian working class triumph over a brutal civil war and global imperialist intervention

&
The amazing transformation in one generation of backward tsarist Russia into the modern powerful Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
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 Fake News 
by
Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan and President Hugo Chávez
World Social Forum, VZ, 2005


Due to my antiwar camp outside of George Bush’s fake ranch/vacation home in Crawford, Texas (Camp Casey) in 2005, I have had more than the average amount of contact with the corporate media. The corporate media, which is owned by a handful of global media conglomerates (that do profit off of war) have demonstrated pretty thoroughly that they are experts in lies, half-truths, distortions, demonization, and passing on the agitprop of the Pentagon and “security” state verbatim, as gospel. No matter who says it, the corporate media are actually “enemies of the American people.” Of course, I would further expand that to include that the corporate media are enemies of all people.

I’ll briefly share two of the dozens of personal experiences I have had with the Mouth Pieces of Empire and Capitalism to illustrate my points.

The first one happened early in our encampment in Crawford, Texas. I was doing at least 20 interviews per day and I would go to bed with a raw throat around 2am every morning, to get up around 5 or 6am to begin all over. One of my major complaints since my son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004 was that the corporate media did not do their job as “Fourth Estate” to fully investigate and expose the lies that were being told by members of the Bush regime and other reliable warmongers on the Democratic side, like Hillary Clinton.

So, I was invited to be on CNN (remotely) with host Anderson Cooper. When I told him that I not only blamed the Bush regime for telling the lies that led to so much death and destruction, but also the media for not investigating the lies, he said, “Well, Cindy, we can only ask the same questions so often.” I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it was something like, “aren’t you supposed to investigate what politicians say, not just ask questions to keep getting the same lies back?” Well, he DID NOT like me challenging him like this and instead of investigating the lies that led to the war that killed my son, he personally came out to Camp Casey in Crawford to investigate and do a hit piece on me. My dear, recently departed sister, Dede Miller, was there and Anderson Cooper was lucky to escape Crawford fully intact.

Of course, the media did not do its job after the incident on 9/11/2001. Even more than before, the media became stenographers for the Pentagon. This from Slate (A Christmas Gift for the Pentagon; Ackerman; 28 Dec, 2011):

“In response to Sept. 11, the Pentagon’s publicity department organized at least 161 ‘outreach’ meetings with retired military officers serving as television commentators on the war effort. The Pentagon provided this select group with high level briefings, showering them with talking points and otherwise equipping them to be media defenders of administration policy. The meetings were suspended in 2008 amid a first wave of reports alleging improprieties. The inspector general responded with a defense of the outreach program in 2009, but his initial report was so full of errors that he retracted it and went back to the drawing board.”

Not to mention the infamous and disgraced Judith Miller and the New York Times blatant and admitted lies to foster a climate of fear and then acceptance of a subsequent invasion of Iraq. Back in 2002 and 2003, it was impossible to avoid all the propaganda about Iraq and WMD and Saddam and his connection to Osama bin Laden and 9/11, etc. If you were a journalist in corporate media like stalwart Phil Donahue who did question the inevitable invasion of Iraq, you were likely fired. Not only was this Fake News used to support the unimaginable disaster of an invasion of Iraq, the Fake News outlets are complicit in murder on a massive scale. To call this episode “shameful” is far too nice.

After Camp Casey, I was invited to the World Social Forum in Caracas, Venezuela in the winter of 2006. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a lot of time with then president Hugo Chávez: someone who was the subject of a boatload of Fake News himself. Of course, the global corporate media had a field day with me meeting with and apparently also liking and admiring the “communist dictator;” “anti-American,” “Venezuelan strongman.”

A few months after my visit to Venezuela, I was invited to be on MSNBC’s “Hardball” with Chris Matthews, who actually only plays softball with the ruling-elite. This day, however, there was a guest host named, Norah O’Donnell.

I was allegedly invited to talk about a fast that I had just begun with hundreds of others called, “Troop Home Fast.” (During the interview there was a little caption that read, “Starving for Attention” under me). Anyway, Norah introduced me as the woman who “met with ‘communist-dictator’ Hugo Chávez of Venezuela.”

After the introduction, the show went to a fake break and I said, “Norah, Chávez is not only NOT a communist, he is not a dictator, he was democratically elected several times and survived a coup attempt because his people stood up for him.” I am not lying, or even exaggerating a little when I tell you her unabashed response to me: “We know that, but we had a meeting today and decided to call him that, anyway.”

Once the horse is out of the barn, it’s hard to get back in. I spent the rest of the segment defending Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, but people heard “communist dictator” in regards to a person who was really a populist only leaning towards socialism. So, that’s what most people believe, because it’s what the media told them to think and believe.

I had many other experiences with the media and, if it wasn’t friendly media, most of the experiences had a tinge or splash of lies or twisted truth. Why? How can a mother whose oldest son was sacrificed on the altar of Imperialism not be grateful or honored by that death? It’s so very un-American to oppose war and other police state oppression.

Now, the media in collaboration with the CIA, is foisting another huge lie on the very gullible USAian public: Russia/Putin hacked the elections in 2016 to insure a Donald Trump victory.

Why is this Fake News so important to propagate? First of all, the establishment really wants and profits off of increased hostilities with Russia. Thawing of the Cold War led to detente and the end of a ready-made enemy, the USSR! Consequently, the neocons had to work with the media to foment a fear and hatred of another “ism:” terrorism.

Secondly, Donald Trump openly criticized the US intelligence community even comparing it to “Nazi Germany.” I can’t recall any president EVER being so hyper-critical of the CIA and whether Trump is a super-moron, or just clueless, this is what one of the Senators from New York had to say about it:

“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

I took on Fake News (among other things) and got slammed, Trump took on the deep state and is getting his buttocks handed to him by the Fake News.

Many “liberals” are passing on the Fake News about Russia and meddling in US elections and kind of conveniently forgetting the Clinton campaign was planting stories to its friendly media and Donna Brazile, who was at CNN at the time, was even giving debate questions to Hillary Clinton before the debates. Was that not meddling in elections to favor a certain candidate? By the way Wikileaks has repeatedly denied that it got the hacked Podesta emails from Russian sources and many well-respected and informed people are certain it was an “inside job” and someone from the campaign leaked them.

The bottom-line is that I don’t want to get my information from the Fake News or from other sources, probably equally compromised, that Trump may approve of. I want my information to come from trusted sources that can be independently verified with other trusted sources.

It’s harder to become a responsible consumer of news and information and to not just gorge on and regurgitate Imperial Propaganda, but essential if one wants to be truly informed. Then if one is truly informed, I feel that then we are forced to take action against this vicious Empire.

One of the sources I recommend for truth and intelligent analysis is this one: The Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA, newsletter. It may only come out six times a year, but every issue is rich with timely articles and in-depth analysis by Ray Light, the editor.

____________________________________________________
The great appear great to us
Only because we are on our knees.
Let us rise.
Camille Desmoulins
_________________________________
Revolutionary Organization of Labor (ROL), USA is a revolutionary working class organization that fights for working class power and the elimination of all human exploitation. Ray O’ Light Newsletter is the regular publication of ROL, USA. We believe, with comrade Lenin, that the working class “… needs the truth and there is nothing so harmful to its cause as plausible, respectable petty bourgeois lies.” In the spirit of Karl Marx who taught that “our theory is not a dogma but a guide to action,” we welcome your comments.

Comradely the Newsletter Staff,
 

Ray Light, Editor            Rose Brown, Assistant Editor                   
Carl Pappos, Production Coordinator

Boxholder,   607 Boylston St.,   Lower Level Box 464,   Boston, MA  02116  USA