Portuguese Communist Party (PCP): Centennial of the October Revolution – Socialism, necessary today and for the future
September 18, 2016.
The year 2017 marks the centennial of the October 1917 Socialist Revolution.
The October Revolution is the major event in the historical process of emancipation of the exploited, the oppressed, the workers and the peoples, a process which has been marked by important revolutionary events from the days of primitive society, through slavery, feudalism and capitalism.
After thousands of years of societies in which the socio-economic systems have been based on the exploitation of man by man, the October Revolution began a new epoch in the History of Humankind, the epoch of the transition from capitalism to socialism. It was the first revolution that, through far-reaching democratic transformations in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres, and by ensuring social progress and justice, and corresponding to the yearnings of the workers and the peoples, undertook the edification of a society without exploiters, nor exploited people.
In our times, after the course of the Twentieth Century and 100 years after the October Revolution, when the capitalist system, with its exploitative, oppressive, aggressive and predatory nature and the tragic consequences which it entails, is afflicted by its worsening structural crisis, it has become even more evident that capitalism is responsible for the growing problems and dangers confronting Humankind. The reality of the world today proves the importance and scope of the October Revolution’s goals, and affirms socialism as a requirement of today and for the future.
To commemorate the centennial of the October Revolution means to assert it as the most advanced achievement in the milennia-long process of the liberation of Humankind from all forms of exploitation and oppression.
To commemorate this centennial is to expose the nature of capitalism, with its dramatic social scourges and the threats which it poses for the life of the peoples and even for Humankind’s survival. It is to highlight the relevance and the validity of socialism, to reaffirm the need and the possibility of a revolutionary overcoming of capitalism, by socialism and communism.
To commemorate this centennial is to value the role of the working class, of workers and peoples, in the transformation of society. It is to underscore the strength that results from their unity, organization and struggle. It is to reaffirm that the success of the resistance against the current offensive by big capital and imperialism, and the achievement of their social and national emancipation, lies in their own hands.
To commemorate the October Revolution is to pay tribute to those who made it and to assert socialism’s great political, economic, social, cultural, scientific, technological and civilizational achievements in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and its immense contribution to the advancement of the emancipation struggle of the workers and the peoples.
To commemorate this centennial means to make good use of the teachings of the, previously unheard of, processes of building socialism in the Soviet Union and in other countries, of the successes and defeats, of the advances and retreats, of all the long struggle that preceded them, as important experiences that enrich and inspire the ongoing struggle for socialism and communism.
To commemorate the October Revolution is to, on the basis of Marxism-Leninism, take the initiative and oppose the ideological offensive against socialism and communism, stressing the roots and the role of anti-communism and anti-Sovietism, as tools of capital in the class struggle.
The October Revolution and the subsequent historical experience of building socialism should not be marked as historically dated, fixated events from the past, but rather as the source of important teachings, and an example of transformations and achievements which are reflected and are updated in the revolutionary praxis of today, and which project into the future.
To commemorate the October Revolution is to assert that the future does not belong to capitalism, it belongs to socialism and communism.
On November 7th, 1917 (October the 25th according to the old Russian calendar), the Russian proletariat, with the Bolshevik Party’s vanguard role, guided by a revolutionary theory, with the notable contribution of Lenin, took its future into its own hands. It rose to power and launched, in a victorious revolution, the foundations of a new society, in a country that had been ravaged by imperialist war (World War I), and with a people that suffered exploitation, repression, hunger and illiteracy.
The revolution embodied the yearnings of the millennia-long struggle of the exploited and the oppressed, from the slave revolts of Antiquity, to the peasant revolts of the Middle Ages, the French Revolution of 1789 – which was part and parcel of the defeat of feudalism and the advent of capitalism – to the working-class insurrections of the 19th Century.
The October Revolution had, as historical harbingers, from which it drew important lessons, the 1871 Paris Commune – the first, albeit short-lived, historical experience of the conquest and exercise of power by the proletariat, clearly superior also in terms of political democracy; the 1905 Russian Revolution – the first great popular revolution with an organized role of the working class and working people; and the February 1917 Revolution, which marked the end of Czarist power, already with a tested working class and a Party that was organizationally and ideologically prepared to assume the leadership of the struggle of the working and popular masses in taking power.
The October Revolution undertook the task of putting an end to all forms of social and national exploitation and oppression, and significantly adopted, as its first measures, the decrees on peace and on the abolition of latifundio property of the land.
The October Revolution was an inspiring revolutionary undertaking which, resisting and overcoming complex situations and difficulties – boycotts, sabotage, intervention by imperialist powers, civil war, economic blockade, treason – and, in an irregular and bumpy process, transformed into reality the aspirations and dreams of the workers, the exploited, the oppressed, those who were discriminated against, paving the way for the construction of a society hitherto unknown to Humankind.
The Socialist Revolution transformed the old and backward Russia of the Czars into a highly developed country, capable of containing, as it did for decades, imperialism’s goal of world-wide domination.
The USSR, in a historically short time span, achieved significant industrial and agricultural development, eradicated illiteracy and generalized access to education and sports , did away with unemployment, ensured public healthcare and social protection, guaranteed and promoted the rights of women, children, young people and the elderly, expanded the impact of vanguard artistic movements and of the forms of cultural creation and fruition, achieved high scientific and technological standards, putting into practice forms of democratic participation of the workers and the masses of the people, undertook to solve the complex issue of oppressed nationalities, raised the values of friendship, of solidarity, of peace and cooperation between the peoples.
The Soviet Union was the first country in the world to put into practice, or develop like no other, fundamental social rights, such as the right to work, the 8-hour maximum working day, paid holidays, the equality of rights of men and women in the family, in society and at work, maternity rights and protection, the right to a home, free medical care, a universal and free social security and free education. The Soviet Union scored pioneering achievements for Humankind, such as putting the first artificial satellite into Space – Sputnik – and the first man in Space – cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
The Soviet Union, the Soviet people under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, achieved successes and conquests of major international impact, that stimulated the struggle of the workers and the peoples of the whole world.
Under the impact of the victory of the October Revolution, numerous Communist Parties were created all over the world, the international Communist movement arose, the workers’ movement and its ideals became stronger, the ideals of Marxism-Leninism propagated among the masses – as happened in Portugal, where on March 6, 1921, the Portuguese Communist Party was founded.
The USSR, the Soviet people, the Red Army, gave a decisive contribution towards the victory over Nazi-fascism in World War II, in a heroic struggle that cost over twenty million lives.
After the victory over Nazi-fascism, and due to its example and enormous prestige, to the strength of the ideals of socialism which it projected, and to its solidarity and activity in international affairs, the USSR gave major support to the peoples who chose, and fought for, the edification of socialist societies, to the struggle for and achievement, by millions of workers, of rights and freedoms in capitalist countries and to the dynamic of struggle of the national liberation movement, the downfall of colonialism and the achievement of independence for numerous peoples and nations that had, for centuries, been subjected to colonial yoke.
The Soviet Union stood in solidarity with the Portuguese Communists and people in their struggle against the fascist dictatorship in Portugal, and with the April  Revolution – an achievement of the Portuguese people, an assertion of freedom, social emancipation and national independence.
The USSR and the socialist system were an often decisive factor for achievements and advances that were, for the first time ever, won by the workers and peoples in their world-wide struggle for emancipation.
The disappearance of the USSR and the defeats of socialism in eastern Europe, the causes of which were analyzed by the 13th, 14th and 18th PCP Congresses, had an undeniable and profound negative impact on the world balance of forces, on the consciousness of the masses and on the development of the struggle for socialism. An enormous regression occurred, in the political, economic, social and cultural conditions of the peoples of those countries and for other peoples of the world.
The world’s evolution following the defeats of socialism thus highlighted, even further, the importance of socialism’s historical achievements and the civilizational advances associated with it, and underscored the superiority of the new social system in solving the problems and in materializing the aspirations of the peoples.
The nature of capitalism did not change, and the need for its revolutionary overcoming persists. The Twentieth Century was not that of the “demise of Communism”, but the Century in which Communism was born as a new and superior society.
The current world situation reveals the exploitative, aggressive and predatory nature of capitalism.
Submerged in its structural crisis, capitalism has nothing more to offer the peoples than further accumulation, centralization and concentration of wealth, heightened exploitation, more social inequality and injustice, attacks against social and labour rights, the denial of democratic rights and freedoms, the plunder and destruction of resources, interferences and aggressions against national sovereignty, militarism and war which are being taken to all corners of the world in its imperialist stage.
Millions of workers are driven to unemployment, precariousness, the most violent forms of exploitation. Millions of human beings are deprived of their fundamental rights, and left to poverty, hunger, undernourishment and subjected to child labour, slave labour and all kinds of trafficking. Millions of human beings are the victims of imperialist aggressions and are fleeing war and destruction. Entire peoples are doomed to underdevelopment, dependence, national oppression.
Capitalism, by its own nature, cannot overcome its irreconcilable contradictions – namely between capital and labour, between the social character of production and its private appropriation – and embarks on an inexorable concentration of capital, with productive disorder. Hungry for the appropriation and concentration of capital, capitalism not only does not give answers to the problems of Humankind as, with the capitalist appropriation and instrumentalization of the immense potential opened up by labour, by scientific and technological progress and development, it increases social injustice, contradictions and inequality.
Capitalism is a system that permanently clashes with the needs, the interests and the aspirations of workers and peoples.
More than ever, socialism emerges with redoubled relevance as a requirement of the process of emancipation of the workers and the peoples.
The PCP raises as a goal for the Portuguese people the building of a socialist society, based on the reality and experience of the Portuguese Revolution, and critically assimilating the world revolutionary experience.
In proposing its Programme «An Advanced Democracy – The values of April in the future of Portugal», the PCP considers that the materialization of this project – an economic, social, political and cultural democracy – is a process of profound transformation and development of Portuguese society. However, as the Programme states, «the liquidation of capitalist exploitation is a historical task that can only be achieved with the socialist revolution».
The PCP reiterates the need to cover with determination all the necessary phases and stages that are necessary to achieve that supreme goal. Today’s battles to protect, restore and win rights, for a break with right-wing policies and to achieve a patriotic and left-wing policy, are part and parcel of the struggle for an advanced democracy, in the same way that the latter is part and parcel of the struggle for socialism.
In its Programme, the PCP «states as fundamental goals of the socialist revolution in Portugal the abolition of exploitation of man by man, the creation of a society without antagonistic classes, inspired by humanist values, democracy understood as complementary in its economic, social, political and cultural aspects, the permanent and creative participation of the masses of the people in all aspects of national life, the constant raising of the material and spiritual well-being of the workers and the people in general, doing away with discriminations, inequality, social scourges and injustice, materializing the equality of rights for men and women in life and ensuring the participation of young people in the country’s life, as a dynamic and creative social force».
And it adds that «in the framework of the essential goals, the socialist system in Portugal will inevitably assume specificities and originalities that will result, not just from the country’s objective reality, but also from the concrete forms that the class struggle will take on until then, as well the economic, social, cultural and political evolution and the reality of the international affairs».
Faithful to its ideals of liberation, we celebrate the centennial of the October Revolution, whose values grew profound roots and are a demand for today, which project into the future as goals, experiences and aspirations for the future of Portugal and of Humankind.
The Central Committee of the Portuguese Communist Party decides that the commemorations of the Centennial of the October Revolution will take place under the slogan «Centennial of the October Revolution – Socialism, necessary today and for the future». The programme of these commemorations will be revealed in a Public Session to be held on November 7 of the current year.
The programme of commemorations will take place throughout 2017, with a high point in the Meeting of November 7 – Centennial day – and will end on December 9, with an event with a strong cultural component.
The programme of the commemorations, which will begin in January, with an event coinciding with the anniversary of the liberation by the Red Army of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, will mark important historical events with significant relation to the October Revolution, and will encompass initiatives and activities that will express multiple facets, events, dimensions and aspects of the October Revolution and of the process of building socalism, and will expose the nature of capitalism and its disastrous and ruinous repercussions for Humankind, asserting socialism as a necessary thing, today and for the future.
Among other initiatives, we highlight: the holding of a series of debates and other topical activities, namely a Seminar on «Socialism – necessary today and for the future»; an important expression in the 2017 Avante! Festival, namely with a major exhibition; an initiative on May 9 (Victory Day) on the issues of Peace; a specific treatment in the pages of Avante!, O Militante, and on the Internet, with the creation of a dedicated site; the publication of information materials, namely an exhibition in print for wide circulation, leaflets and posters; on an editorial level, the re-edition of works on the October Revolution and the construction of socialism, namely by Lenin and Álvaro Cunhal, promoting their study, as well as specific editions for the centennial; the promotion of initiatives and activities specifically geared toward young people; the promotion of cultural (cinema, theater, music, literature, visual arts, etc.) and scientific initiatives.
The programme of the commemorations, in its scale, scope and contents, must express the importance and the political and ideological significance of this event for the struggle of the workers and the peoples in defence of their rights and sovereignty, confronting imperialism’s offensive and for progressive and revolutionary transformations, for socialism.
So that the commemorations may take on the necessary scale and repercussion, their programme must be prepared as of now, with guidelines and initiatives integrated within the Party’s overall activity.
The Central Committee calls on all those who stand for peace, justice and social progress, and who fight for a society of freedom and plenty – in which the State and policies are entirely at the service of the well-being and the happiness of human beings – to join in these commemorations.
Achieved through different paths and stages, Socialism is becoming with increasing clarity, the goal of the peoples, a prospect and pre-requisite for a future of full human liberation and fulfillment.
The PCP reaffirms that «over a shorter or longer historical period, through the struggle for the social and national emancipation of workers and peoples, it is the replacement of capitalism by socialism which, in the 21st century, continues to be the real possibility and the most solid prospect for the evolution of Humankind».
The PCP reaffirms its unshakable commitment to fight so that socialism may become a reality in the future of the Portuguese people.
Via In Defense of Communism