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The Russian Revolution at 100: The Legend and the Legacy

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Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Global Research News Hour episode 197
 

If Western Europe, if Canada had achieved a high degree of social as well as political democracy first after the First World War and secondly after the Second World War, it was in many ways because of the influence of the Revolution, because of the fear of revolution.” – Dr. Jacques Pauwels (from this week’s interview).

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Tuesday November 7 marks the one hundred year anniversary of one of the most pivotal events in modern world history.

The October Revolution, so-called because Russia followed the Julian calendar at the time, was launched when the Red Guard took over key locations within the capital Petrograd. Twenty thousand Red Guards in the streets, backed by a squadron of seven rebel warships from Kronstadt, and trainloads of armed sailors from Helsingfors in Finland, managed to execute a nearly bloodless coup. Having taken over the Winter Palace, the seat of the Provisional Government, Vladmir Lenin declared that the government had been overthrown and that the Bolsheviks were in control. [1][2]

The Bolshevik government, under the leadership of Lenin, ushered in an end to Russia’s involvement in the War in Europe, the abolition of all private ownership of agricultural land, and established the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, the world’s first constitutional socialist state. [3][4][5]

Anti-Bolshevik elements formed the so-called White Army and rallied against the Bolshevik Red Army in a five year civil war. Despite the White movement receiving backing from Allied powers including the United States, France, Great Britain and Japan, the Reds would emerge triumphant.[6] [7]

Following the civil war, Lenin announced a New Economic Policy, allowing peasant farmers to sell their produce on the free-market after they had paid a tax in kind to the Soviet State. Communist Party Representatives of the Russian Soviet Federative Republic along with three neighbouring republics would sign articles of union leading to the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) which would remain in place until its dissolution in 1991. [8]

The October Revolution not only turned a backward European State into a superpower, it also inspired revolts around the world, including in Mao Tse-Dung’s China and Hoy Chi Minh’s Vietnam. For capitalist powers, especially the United States, it would set the stage for a Cold War which would cast a shadow over virtually all international relations in the twentieth century and ultimately lead to a nuclear arms build-up that would, and still does, imperil the future of the planet.

This week’s Global Research News Hour is devoted to Russia’s October Revolution. The program explores the forces that brought it into being and the outcome which shaped political events of the century to follow.

In our first half hour, Dr. Jacques Pauwels, scholar of the twentieth century, and the first two world wars, examines the interplay between World War I and the Russian Revolution. He discusses some of the key events in the lead up to the October Revolution and provides his assessment of the Revolution’s legacy to today.

In the second half hour, Professor Michel Chossudovsky speaks to the push-back from the United States and other capitalist powers as well as highlights of the post-Revolutionary period, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Finally, we hear from Dutch writer and thinker Kees Van Der Pijl about his theory of the Permanent Counter-Revolution as it applies to Russia, and how developments in the last decade and a half, and particularly since the economic crash of 2008, marks a shift of counter-revolutionary tendencies away from previous progressive forms to more neo-fascist aspects.

Dr. Jacques Pauwels is a Belgian-born Canadian historian. He is the author of The Great Class War of 1914-1918 (2016). His articles appear regularly on the Global Research website.

Professor Michel Chossudovsky is the founder and director of the Centre for Research on Globalization and its website globalresearch.ca. He is Professor (Emeritus) of Economics at the University of Ottawa and the award-winning author of 11 books including America’s War on Terrorism (2005), Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011) and The Globalization of War, America’s Long War against Humanity (2015.)

Kees Van Der Pijl is a Professor Emeritus of International Relations at the University of Sussex and former director of the Centre for Global Political economy. He is currently active with the Dutch anti-fascist resistance, having served as its president. He is the author of a paper: The Theory of Permanent Counterrevolution which served as the theme of his keynote lecture at a conference sponsored by the University of Manitoba’s Geopolitical Economy Research Group.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca . The show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in everyThursday at 6pm ET.

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Notes:

  1. Alan Moorehead (1958), p. 247, “The Russian Revolution” published by Harper & Brothers,New York
  2. Leonard Schapiro (1984), p.133, “The Russian Revolutions of 1917” published by Basic Books Inc., New York
  3. Moorehead, op. cit., pg. 252-3, 277
  4. Schapiro, op. cit., p. 167
  5. Article Two Chapter 5 (10) , The Russian Constitution, Adopted July 10, 1918, Reprinted from the Nation of Jan. 4, 1919; http://debs.indstate.edu/r969r87_1919.pdf
  6. Christopher Lazarski, “White Propaganda Efforts,” 690; https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/4211088.pdf
  7. Schapiro, op. cit. Pg 181, 184
  8. ibid., pg 198, 202, 207

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