The Bolshevik Revolution in Eurasia that erupted in the aftermath of the First World War in October 1917 was not a happenstance, a flash in the pan occurrence. The groundwork for this revolution was laid with the establishment of the International Working Men’s Association (1864–1876), the First International. The Paris Commune of May 1871 and the Revolution of 1905 in Russia were the precursors to the momentous October Revolution. The Communist Manifesto (1848) and the First volume of Capital (1867) provided the theoretical underpinning for these revolutions.
The success or failure of the Soviet experiment in Eurasia does not invalidate the veracity of Marxism. Undoubtedly the October Revolution caused the first successful rupture in the hegemony of Capital over the destiny of human civilisation. The defeat of fascist powers in the Second World War, with the Soviet Union playing a significant role, was followed by the revolution in China (1949) and the dismantling of colonies in the possession of European powers.
DD Kosambi offers a logical reasoning to explain ‘why the communist revolution was successful in Russia, but failed in Germany where Marx and Engels expected it to occur first because of greater concentration of productivity’.
“When the contradictions latent in any form of production develop, the form of society will inevitably change. This is simple enough, but the circumstances that prevail at the critical point need further examination. First, there is a minimum or threshold value below which no transformation can possibly take place. Secondly, this threshold value can be surpassed, sometimes to a surprising extent, if certain conditions, which are otherwise insignificant, do not obtain.”
This has been articulated in a different manner by Vijay Prashad who differentiates between ‘communist times’, when you are preparing for the revolution to come, and ‘revolutionary times’, when you are actually engaging in carrying the revolution – on the basis of your preparations in ‘communist times’ to its logical culmination. The neo-liberal regimes of the present epoch have spawned a network of disarticulated production system, a totally disorganized workforce and middle classes mired in grand illusions.
‘Socialism or Barbarism’ remains as the hard choice before the people and humanity and socialism is truly the future of humanity. When socialism cannot advance barbarism does rule the roost. In the era of untrammeled power and influence of finance capital, the strength of the communists lies in their ability as well as capacity to engage in patient ‘communist work’, preparing the revolution with hope in the future and faith in the people, endeavoring to make revolution possible and helping people in the meantime to earn their livelihood with dignity, expanding their imagination of future, concentrate on the immediate demands of the people.
The ‘erasure of communists’, the struggles of the toiling and oppressed peoples from history is a part of the war of position engaged by the ruling class and the communists have a duty to negate this erasure.