IWA(GB) Celebrates the
On Sunday, September 26, the Indian Workers Association
(Great Britain) held a national meeting in Coventry attended by well over a
hundred people on the subject of the October Revolution. The IWA(GB) invited
Chris Coleman, National Spokesperson of RCPB(ML), to address the gathering as
the main speaker. Ajmer Bains, General Secretary of IWA(GB), also spoke, giving
a report on the current General Election being held in India.
Chris Coleman opened his speech by saying that it was an
honour once more to be speaking at a meeting of IWA(GB). We have fought
shoulder-to-shoulder over many decades, he said, and the Party was very proud
of this co-operation. He said that the Party had always considered it most
important that, as well as fighting against racism and other particular
problems facing the Indian community in Britain and keeping the community in
touch with events in their homeland which they cherished so much, IWA(GB) had
always upheld that the Indian workers in Britain were an integral part of the
British working class and should stand in the forefront of its struggles. This
was no small thing, he said, an example to all national minority peoples
and reflecting great credit on the members and leadership of IWA(GB).
He said it was thus very appropriate and following this
tradition that IWA(GB) should be celebrating the October Revolution.
The October Revolution he said, was the greatest, the
epoch-making event of the 20th century. It remains a great inspiration and the
path for the workers of all lands. The only advances made by the working class
had been on the path of the October Revolution, he said, and this would be so
in the future too. The path of the October Revolution was the path of humankind
valid for the whole epoch of imperialism and proletarian revolution. Speaking
theoretically, he said, its main content, the transformation of the whole world
from capitalism to socialism through revolution, was valid for all countries.
The counter revolution in the Soviet Union, he said, the
restoration of capitalism and the destruction of socialism beginning in the
mid-fifties and culminating in the collapse of the USSR in 1990, was a colossal
setback for the working class and the communist movement. The working class had
lost its liberated homeland. Most importantly, it had lost its model of
socialist construction in the only country led by Lenin and Stalin. The loss of
this model was a terrible setback and posed the greatest challenge to the
workers and their communist vanguard, to turn things around.
But having lost this model, he said, did not mean that the
working class and its parties could not operate, could not make progress,
without substituting another model. Even with the October Revolution in place
there had been no substitute for one's own work. The working class had to turn
themselves into their own model, with the communists making them conscious, in
every country. We are our own models, he said, basing ourselves on our own
work, and co-operating and exchanging experience with those doing the same.
Since 1990, in particular, he said, it was imperative for the working class and
its Party in each country to stand on their own feet. They must find their
bearings in the new situation of retreat of revolution in the face of the
offensive of the reactionary bourgeoisie against communism and everything
progressive, aimed at turning back the clock to medievalism.
Referring to the October Revolution, the speaker remarked
that in some circles there were great debates about the Soviet Union. Was
Stalin right or wrong at some particular time? Did revisionism begin before
Khrushchev? And so on. Our Party saw no point in such debates, he said. History
had already given its verdict on Stalin and the restoration of capitalism, the
destruction of socialism in the Soviet Union and the former Peoples
Democracies. The achievements of the Soviet Union under the leadership of Lenin
and Stalin were indisputable, he said. Nobody could dispute the victory of
socialism; the accomplishment of the initial stage of socialist construction;
the uniting of the nations of the former Tsarist empire in the USSR; leading
the peoples of the world in the victory over fascism in the Second World War.
The question was, he said, what problems were left to solve today? What
problems arose in the course of the development of the Soviet Union which the
communists then were not able to solve and which are left for the communists of
today still to solve?
The speaker referred to the important speeches given in that
same city, Coventry, by Hardial Bains, our cherished comrade and late leader of
the CPC(ML), in 1994. He said that in those important speeches Comrade Bains
had pointed out among other things that while the USSR Constitution of 1936 was
the most advanced anywhere to date, the problem of how the people were actually
to govern themselves, rather than through representatives, had still to be
solved. Likewise in the economy, how the working class itself was to decide all
issues of production, remuneration, and suchlike, was still to be solved. And
how to put the human factor at the centre of everything. This put no blame on
the communists of Stalin's time. They were problems of growth. But from the
mid-50s on rather than being solved, things were taken in the opposite
direction. The workers and people were increasingly excluded from decision
making. The economy was more centralised and given over to militarism. The
human factor was diminished and marginalised.
Thus questions of empowerment of the peoples, of sovereignty
of people and nations, of an economy serving the interests of the people not of
the oligopolies, of human beings at the centre of things with the rights of all
guaranteed all these remained to be solved. They are being addressed
today by the working class and the communists as their vanguard.
With these considerations in mind, he said, RCPB(ML) has
addressed how the working class and its communist vanguard had and must further
become their own model, in circumstances where the bourgeoisie and its
governments were leading the working class and people into economic disaster,
social devastation and the danger of another world war. New Labour, he said,
had ditched everything even remotely connected with socialism in order to get
elected and win the support of the monopolies. They had been brought to power
to carry further the neo-liberal policies of Thatcher. Only the previous week,
he said, Tony Blair had lectured the TUC Congress about
"partnership". But a strange sort of partnership, where the workers
were to make any sacrifice in order for their monopoly to make maximum profit,
whatever the consequences to them, all in pursuit of a reactionary and
impossible aim to Make Britain Great Again, to be Number 1 in the global
market. He pointed out the massive attack on rights in legislation which in
particular criminalised the youth, and based on precepts going back even before
the time of Henry VIII. The whole economy was being geared to pay the rich, he
said, with whole sections of the state sector built up on the peoples
taxes being turned over to the monopolies for the making of profit, in other
words straightforward robbery of the state treasury for private gain. Huge
so-called mega-mergers threatened to devastate the national economy further,
leading only to even greater crisis. And the barbaric bombing of Yugoslavia,
the current interference in East Timor, saw Britain in the forefront of the big
powers contending to dominate Europe as a step to taking over Asia and the rest
of the world, getting their military forces in place for the redivision of the
world in violation of all norms of sovereignty and civilised behaviour.
In such circumstances, the speaker said, the times cried out
for the working class to develop its own agenda, to make itself its own model,
to go forward into the 21st century, to a socialist Britain.
The entire direction of gearing everything to paying the
rich must be reversed, he said. The call must be to Stop Paying the Rich,
Increase Investments in Social Programmes. From this would follow the other
demands of the working class. The democratic renewal of all the political
institutions, the adoption of a modern Constitution guaranteeing the inviolable
rights of all simply on the basis of being human. An economy serving the
interests of the people. Modern sovereign states of England, Scotland, Wales
and Ireland, with free and equal union if so desired. Internationally, the
dismantling of economic blocs like the EU and military blocs like NATO; the end
of all colonial and neo-colonial relations and interference in the affairs of
others; the democratisation of international affairs and the recognition of all
peoples, such as the peoples of Cuba and Peoples Korea, to live in the
system of their choice.
These, the speaker said, were in our Party's view the
elements of the working class being its own model. The October Revolution was
immortal. It was the path of all the struggling workers and peoples of the
world. We honour it by addressing the problems of today, by subjecting
present-day reality to the same Marxist-Leninist analysis.
The two main speeches were followed by numerous lively
contributions on the main topics, as well as by patriotic and revolutionary
songs and poems.