The Workers’ Unity Trade Union (WUTU) organised a meeting to commemorate the 94th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution on 6th November, 2011 at the Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi. The meeting was well attended by a large number of participants including representatives from Janpaksh, New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI), Marxist Communist Party of India-United (MCPI-U), Youth for Social Justice, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Manipur (CPDM), Nirman Mazdoor Shakti Sangathan and the journal Revolutionary Democracy. Many members of Workers’ Unity Trade Union were compelled by the management not to attend the meeting, by forcefully putting their name into those doing overtime.
The meeting was chaired by Professor Nirmalangshu Mukherjee of Delhi University. In his welcome note Prof. Mukherjee gave an outline of the contemporary world economic crisis which began in 2008 and spread from the developed countries to developing countries. He stressed the role of revolutionary organisations to lead the working class to mobilise the masses and expose the present crisis ridden system.
In his welcome address, Comrade Padam, General Secretary WUTU, gave the overview of trade union activity and its role in raising the consciousness of the working class. The October Revolution showed the oppressed people a new way of life and a socio-economic system free from the exploitation of man by man. He compared the present economic crisis with a disease that affects human beings which was difficult to diagnose. Comrade Padam further elaborated Lenin’s teaching on Trade Unions. The primary purpose of a Marxist trade union is to work to introduce revolutionary political awareness into the actions of the proletarian movement and for its transition to the next and higher stage. Lenin gave priority to the political demands sand forms of proletariat’s struggle but did not belittle economic struggle. Citing the situation in the Maruti Suzuki strike, he traced the root of betrayal by the leadership to a lack of political and ideological consciousness in the working class leadership and the confining of the struggle only to economic demands. About WUTU he elaborated that though the union membership is numerically relatively small but it has a tremendous impact in its area of work.
Comrade Shamsul Islam from Nishant Natya Manch, mentioned that the October Revolution was not only a change of regime, but represented a complete transformation of the socio-economic system which had never happened in the history of mankind. This event ended the exploitation of man by man. The capitalist system maintains its rule through the barrel of a gun. This system is not only confined to exploitation but the enslavement of women. The institution of marriage in bourgeois society sees the exploitation of women through the dowry system and lacks the free choice of partners. He exposed the CPI-CPI (M) rule in West Bengal for three decades that did not differ from the Congress-BJP rule and which implemented neo-liberal economic policies.
Comrade Gautam Modi, Secretary NTUI, congratulated WUTU for celebrating the Russian Revolution in the heart of the Indian state. He highlighted the role of Lenin and the Bolshevik Party in the October Revolution. He stressed the need for the formation of a united front of the various trade unions, including the bourgeois trade unions, to fight against capitalism. The day to day struggle of working class should be seen as a tactic and not the strategy of the workers movement. He considered the economic struggle as being also a political struggle. The working class should also raise the demand of higher wages during the this period of high level of inflation. Comrade Modi regretted the reduction of membership in the trade unions though the number of organisations increased. The working class should utilise all the privileges provided by the bourgeois system. He stressed the WUTU should consider all possibilities in organising the workers in Gurgaon. Different trade unions, particularly those carrying the Red flag, have to be united on a common minimum programme.
Comrade Jaya Mehta, Economist, analysed the contemporary economic crisis and the various resistance movements in the world. She said that the Arab Spring from Tunisia to Egypt toppled the dictators but not the dictatorship which still prevails in their respective countries. Unlike the October Revolution, the Arab Spring though it mobilised hundreds of thousands of people but it still lacks a concrete political and economic programme. Since the fall of the USSR and the Eastern Bloc, there was a setback to the working class movement. The ruling class declared the end of history and ideology, and the victory of market democracy under capitalism. This capitalism failed to provide real democracy and freedom which is only possible in Socialism. The development under capitalism is based on exploitation, forced displacement and the annihilation of indigenous people from their own lands whereas development under socialism is based on the people’s interest.
Dr. Mehta stressed the need for unity between the workers and peasants as propounded by Lenin. This unity includes the petty-bourgeoisie and all oppressed sections of the society under the leadership of the working class. She highlighted the need of small-scale industries and cooperatives wherever possible through voluntary means to organise and defend the attacks from Multinationals and the Special Economic Zones.
Comrade Kuldeep Singh, MCPI-U, congratulated WUTU for remembering and celebrating the Great October Socialist Revolution, he said that it is necessary to understand the significance of this revolution for mankind. Comrade Singh further stated that this revolution was the victory of workers, peasants and the oppressed nationalities in Russia led by the Bolshevik Party under the leadership of Lenin. The Great October Revolution succeeded in building a socialist society and its victory over fascism had an immense significance. In the latter period after the demise of J.V.Stalin the revisionist forces under the leadership of Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Gorbachov distorted the basic fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism and succeeded in the restoration of capitalism in the USSR.
The world today is in deep crisis and it is the duty of trade union and other revolutionary mass organisations to mobilise and induce revolutionary consciousness among the masses and to establish close links between people and the party in their day to day struggles.
Comrade Shakir, Secretary WUTU, shared his experiences in organising and mobilising different sections of workers in Gurgaon and how the workers and WUTU are waging a struggle on behalf of the workers.
Comrade Vijay Singh, Revolutionary Democracy, concluded the meeting by summing up the views of all the speakers. He highlighted the model of socialist construction in the USSR under Lenin and Stalin and showed how they overcame the difficulties which the new Soviet society faced during invasion by imperialist aggression and fascist occupation. He pointed out that after the Paris Commune of 1871 it was the major example of working class rule. He highlighted the level of social security provided by the USSR which included health, education, pensions and the high standard of living under the Socialist system.
The meeting concluded by keeping a one minute silence in memory of the veteran dramatist Comrade Gursharan Singh who passed away on 27 September 2011.
The cultural group Nishant’s revolutionary songs spellbound the entire audience. The meeting ended with a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s movie Modern Times.