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The October Revolution and the current

trend in national
development

Ninety years ago on November 7, 1917, the Russian working


class and labouring masses under the leadership of V. I.
Lenin and Bolshevik Party successfully launched the Russian
Socialist October Revolution, overthrowing the ruling yoke
of the landlords and the bourgeoisie and then proceeded to
establish the administration of working people, giving
birth to the world's first Socialist State.

It was the Russian Soviet. Since then, the reality of


socialism was born through a new form society and the
Communist Party became the ruling party. Being able to
witness the resounding days of the October Revolution, John
Reed a journalist from the US described it as one of the
greatest events in the history of humanity.

The victory of the October Revolution crushed the


oppression and exploitation of capitalism and feudalism
which had existed for centuries in Russia, helping the
working class and farmers seize power, turning the
hundred-year dream and aspiration of the working masses
toward a society without oppression, exploitation and
injustice into a vivid reality through scientific socialist
theory. The October Revolution ushered in the greatest
cause of liberation in human history concerning the
liberation of class, nation, society and humanity while
opening up a new era in which development was combined with
other noble goals including peace, national independence,
democracy and social progress.

From the first night of the successful October Revolution,


the Soviet administration issued the decrees on peace and
land and declared that the Russian Soviet would withdraw
from the world war and would satisfy the peasants' age-old
aspiration for land use. Then came the declaration on the
rights of Russian nationalities, affirming their equality
and self-determination, the decree on removing the
discrimination of class, nationality and feudal titles,
establishing equality between women and men, the right to
religious freedom as well as the separation of church from
schools. Through these practical moves, the October
Revolution showed its true nature as a revolution to
liberate the poor and for the sake of the poor who had
bravely risen up to fight under the red banner of the
hammer and sickle to break the fetters of slavery, build a
new life and firmly defend the revolutionary gains
regardless of the fierce stranglehold of domestic hostile
forces and foreign enemies.
The history of Russia and the Soviet Union entered a new
page. From the 1920s, the Soviet people under the
leadership of the Communist Party made great achievements
in their socialist building and national defence and then
saved the humanity from the scourge of fascism. From an
agricultural country, the Soviet Union became an industrial
power with an industrial output ranking first in Europe and
second in the world. The face of the country radically
changed and the people's living standards and quality of
lifestyle were completely different from the past. The
labourers were able to receive social insurance which no
bourgeois state could realise at that time. Nowadays,
history has proved that the basic issues on human rights of
great human significance such as the guarantee of living
standards, health care, the supply of accommodation,
education, jobs and reduction of social evils were the
fields which many Western countries in modern time could
not compare to the former Soviet Union. Socialism spread to
15 countries throughout the world, becoming useful
counter-balance to capitalism and acted as a counterpoise
which decided the evolutionary trend of history. Even
though there have been many changes and upheavals, these
were really the glorious pages of history receiving
admiration from the world and were the undeniable
historical truths.

The October Revolution had strong impact on the historical


process and the global situation, making capitalism no
longer the perfect system that enveloped the planet. The
world was no longer the monopoly of capitalism and two
social regimes existed as two opposite social systems
concerning socialism and capitalism. Moreover, under the
direct impact of this new context, capitalism failed to
preserve its image, policies and operation as it used to
be. The preeminent features of socialism in terms of
economics, society, culture, spirit and science-technology
created a motivation for the struggle of labourers all over
the world, forcing capitalism to readjust its
socio-economic policies, raise social welfare and pay more
attention to essential public services such as education,
health care, insurance and information.

The successful Russian October Revolution expanded the


influence and role of national liberation issues and turned
national struggles against oppression into the common issue
in the liberation of oppressed, colonial and semi-colonial
nations from the rule of imperialism. The light of the
October Revolution has so far lit the road to liberation
for oppressed nations and opened up a bright prospect for
the revolutionary liberation movements in the world through
the combination of national struggles and proletarian
revolution as well as the national liberation movement and
the movement of world revolutionary forces against
colonialism and imperialism. As a result, after several
decades, the storm of the liberation revolution broke the
colonial system in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Over one
hundred independent nations were established and they
selected their own developmental paths. Many countries
declared their support for socialism as a political ally
while some others decided to follow a socialist
orientation. The global political map was basically redrawn
and capitalism had to give up many strategic points to
socialism. This positive move during the 20th century
clearly resulted from the direct and profound influence of
the October Revolution. President Ho Chi Minh once said
that: "Like a bright sun, the October Revolution shone lit
over all five continents, awakening millions of oppressed
and exploited people on this planet. There has never been
such a great and far-reaching revolution in the history of
humanity."

The world has entered a new millennium marked by numerous


multilayered developments, influencing people's awareness
of the historical trend in a more complex and different
manner. However, many scholars of capitalism namely Rene
Dumond, Jacques, Derrida, Jane Fonce, Peter Drucker and
Noam Chomsky have raised their voices arguing that
capitalism does not offer a future for humanity. Never has
capitalism become as rich and powerful as today, but also
never has the anti-capitalist movement had such as global
scope as today. In a world mottled by bright and dark
features, tens of millions of people continue to show their
faithful belief in communism and pledge to continue
following the path of the October Revolution to reach the
noble goals of the epoch. This is a contingent of over 80
million Party members of over 150 communist and workers'
parties worldwide. Over 1.5 billion of people living in
socialist nations are devoting their intelligence to
developing the theory and practice of socialism to new
heights. Today, socialism is facing many difficulties and
challenges and the socialist movement has yet to recover
from the crisis following the collapse of socialist regime
in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, however the path
ushered in by the October Revolution will continue to be
milestone in the movement of human history. In the new
historical conditions, the communist, workers and left-wing
parties in the world are making all efforts to promote
solidarity and improve their tactics, operations and
strategies of struggle in preparation for the path toward
socialism suitable to each nation's specific conditions and
the global changes.

The ruling Communist Parties in China, Vietnam, Cuba, Laos


and so on have summarised the successful and negative
lessons in the building of socialism in the Soviet Union,
Eastern Europe and in their own countries so as to find a
theoretical and practical model of the socialist
construction. The efforts to cultivate a model and the path
toward socialism made by these parties are a breakthrough,
first of all reflected through the application of the
market economy and international economic integration for
socio-economic development and for the material and
technical construction of socialism. China has defined its
socialist-oriented market economy. Vietnam is speeding up
its renovation process and developing its
socialist-oriented market economy. Laos is implementing its
policy on goods production and is gradually shifting to a
market economy in transition to socialism. Many communist
and workers' parties in the world have highly valued the
model of socio-economic development in China and Vietnam,
considering it an unique supplement to socialist theory and
a practical contribution to developing Marxism-Leninism as
well as socialist theory in new historical period. The
reform and renovation achievements in socialist countries
are vivid evidence of the vitality and the ability of
socialism to renew itself. Therefore, the reform,
renovation and socialist development in China, Vietnam,
Cuba and Laos have for many years recorded encouraging
achievements, making a significant contribution to
strengthening the role and influence of socialism in the
world and helping make socialist ever more important
subjects in international relations in the contemporary
world.

Vietnam's renovation cause has in the past 20 years


recorded great achievements of historical significance. GDP
has increased 3.5 times and per capita income has also
increased 3 times. From the situation when it was
embargoed, Vietnam has normalised and established
diplomatic ties with 169 countries and developed
multilateral and multi-faceted relations with foreign
partners in the spirit that the country is ready to be a
friend and a reliable partner of other countries in the
international community and is willing to take an active
part in the regional and international co-operation process
as well as economic integration.

After nearly 30 years of implementing its open-door reform


and modernisation policy, China has gained achievements of
historical significance with its economic growth reaching
an average increase of 9.6% per year. China's GDP was put
at US $2,630 billion in 2006, ranking fourth after the US,
Japan and Germany. The country's export and import turnover
reached US $1,760 billion, ranking third in the world while
combined national strength was raised to a higher level
while its foreign currency reserves have risen to top the
world with over US $700 billion.

As for Laos, GDP has increased by 7% in the past 5 years.


In 2005, Cuba enjoyed a very high GDP growth rate, 11.8%.

Reviewing economic development in the socialist countries,


the World Bank holds that the volume of these countries as
a proportion of the global GDP has increased 2 times in the
past 15 years and the trend to continually increase. The
path of the October Revolution has continued to be
maintained in these countries along with their efforts to
explore new reform and developmental models.

Together with the above-mentioned reform and renovation


process in socialist countries, there have appeared new
factors of great concern in the global situation in recent
years. One of them is the development of international
left-wing movement, especially in Latin America. A period
in which a wave of leaders of workers, left-wing and
revolutionary parties have received strong support from
voters to become presidents in nine countries. Particularly
it is the case of Mr Hugo Chavez who has been elected
President of Venezuela for three consecutive terms since
1998.

In Latin America, socialism has become a public belief


among the majority of people who are devoting their energy
and efforts to building a new society. Venezuelan President
Hugo Chaves has affirmed the socialist features in the
country's revolution on the path to socialism in the 21st
century. Bolivian President Evo Morales, Ecuadorian
President R. R. Correa and Nicaraguan President Daniel
Ortega have time and again declared that they will be
consistent to the cause of the socialist building in their
countries.

The stormy assault of the socialist revolution against the


most crucial part of the capitalist system ninety years ago
is currently becoming a potential in the struggle against
imperialism in the struggle for national independence,
democracy and social progress in Latin America. The flag of
the October Revolution is still flying in the revolutionary
breeze of the Western Hemisphere.

Being permeated with the lessons from the October


Revolution that socialism requires the practice of noble
international proletarianism, the communist, workers' and
left-wing forces in the world have in recent years carried
out great efforts to work out a joint mechanism of
co-ordination, force mobilisation, solidarity strengthening
and exchanges of experience. Many parties have established
a mechanism for regular theoretical exchange such as the
activities between the Communist Party of Vietnam and the
Communist Party of China, the Communist Party of Cuba and
the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, among Communist
Parties in European Union, among the Communist Parties in
the former Soviet Union and among the Communist Parties in
Balkans. The Japanese Communist Party has also set up a
theoretical exchange mechanism with the Communist Party of
China and a number of communist and workers' parties in
Europe.

In addition, a series of conferences between communist and


workers' parties in each region and continent as well as
inter-continental meetings have been organised. Since 1998,
the Communist Party of Greece has annually held the
International Conference of the Communist & Workers'
Parties in Athens. The Athens Forum has become an important
arena to carry out co-ordination and mobilisation of forces
within the socialist movement globally following the cold
war. The Communist Party of Greece has launched a website
(http://www.solidnet.org) to have the quickest and cheapest
contact with other parties.

In Latin America, the communist, workers and left-wing


parties have also organised regular meetings within the Sao
Paolo Forum in Brazil since 1990s with the aim of reviewing
the operation and development of left-wing movement in the
region and the world as a whole and at the same time
finding out measures to co-ordinate activities among the
communist and left-wing forces. After 15 years of
operation, the forum has seen 12 conferences with the
participation of over 140 parties from 46 countries in
Latin America, North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania
and Middle East. This is considered a model of boosting
co-ordination among parties, contributing to promoting the
revolutionary high tide right in the region which was once
listed as the "backyard" of the US imperialists.

The above positive movements have recently created a new


source of viguor and vitality for the socialist movement in
the current period. The search and exploration of
developmental models in socialist countries, the
encouraging signs of recovery of the parties, the formation
of co-operation and the assembly of new forces as well as
the new wave of the left-wing movements globally are
becoming positive factors in the widespread influence and
great value of both the theory and practice for protection
and development of Marxism-Leninism in the new
international situation. This is also vivid proof proving
the correctness and historical rule of the path opened up
from the victory of the great Russian October Revolution.

The revolutions which started the new period in the history


of humanity including the bourgeois revolution, have all
experienced ups and downs due to a serious of objective and
subjective reasons, including the fierce resistance of
hostile forces, mistakes and limitations of the
revolutionary forces as well as immature revolutionary
conditions and circumstances. Of course, the socialist
revolution has never had a smooth process because this is
the final struggle of the proletarians of the whole world
and of the oppressed nations in order to put an end to all
kinds of social forms of exploitation, enslavement and
injustice. Looking through such a great historical
perspective, the losses and temporary failures of socialism
in Eastern Europe, Soviet Union and some other areas are
understandable. Meanwhile, the achievements of socialism in
reforms and renovation together with new steps forward of
the communist, workers and left-wing movements in the world
are proving the correct path opened up by the Russian
October Revolution to advance to the future. It is the path
of peace, national independence, democracy and social
progress. It is the path of liberation, development and
advancement to socialism.

With the nature and trend of objective development of


history in the 20th century considered, the victory of the
1945 August Revolution and the revolutionary cause of
Vietnam in the past 77 years can be attributed to the
victory of Marxism-Leninism which has been creatively
applied and developed by the Communist Party of Vietnam
through specific historical conditions of practice in the
country. This victory has taken a deep and direct root from
the strong impact of the Russian October Revolution.

The October Revolution and the August Revolution, carried


out nearly 30 years from each other, are historical events
with different features. However, both revolutions had a
common motivation concerning the deep awareness in the
great strength created from the working class, working
people and the oppressed people under the leadership of a
party of new type the Marxist-Leninist Party.

This strength is capable of a world-shaking revolution to


liberate the class, the nation and working people from
oppression and exploitation to build a new society a
socialist society. President Ho Chi Minh repeatedly
affirmed the historical significance of the October
Revolution and its deep and direct impact on the August
Revolution in Vietnam.

He had expressed this idea with a sincere, very Vietnamese


sentiment that "Vietnam has a saying: When drinking water,
remember its source. The more we remember the disgrace of
losing our country, we remember each period full of
sacrifices and hardships but also full of glorious
victories of revolutionary struggle, the deeper gratitude
the Vietnamese working class and working people wish to
extend to Great Lenin and the October Revolution."

The great strength of revolutionary masses in the October


Revolution was continuously multiplied thanks to
clear-sighted, correct and creative leadership of a
revolutionary party which followed Leninist thoughts. It
was the decisive factor leading to the victory of the
October Revolution and also a profound lesson for those
countries which have carried out the proletarian revolution
in different periods. A party of the working class which
has persistently followed Marxism-Leninism and taken a firm
stand in any challenge together with the spirit of
independence, self-reliance and creativity in specific
historical circumstances is a decisive factor to reach a
revolutionary victory.

President Ho Chi Minh had comprehensively analysed the


great influence and historical lesson of the October
Revolution toward Vietnam's revolution, stressing that
"Leninism is a strong ideological force guiding our Party
how to become a highest organisation of the working masses,
the embodiment of intelligence, honour and conscience of
our nation."

So it is clear that two of the most important theoretical


and practical lessons from the October Revolution
concerning the lesson on the strength of the revolutionary
masses and the lesson on a true revolutionary party, have
been thoroughly and creatively applied by the Communist
Party of Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh in leading the
revolution. President Ho Chi Minh said: "The Russian
Revolution has taught us that in order to successfully
carry out a revolution, we must have the people (workers
and peasants) as the root and a strong, persistent, devoted
and unified party."

During the past 90 years since the success of the Russian


October Revolution, with the innumerable ups and downs,
great and complicated changes, great achievements and
painful failures has proved Lenin's thorough and
clear-sighted practical summaries on the revolutionary
rules that: it is only a start when the proletarian
revolution has seized power. It is difficult to seize power
but it is more difficult to defend it. If the revolution
fails to build a new economy with higher productivity,
quality and efficiency to reflect the superiority of
socialism, it is difficult for the revolution to maintain
its achievements and victories and a restoration of an old
regime is likely to happen. Our Party is fully aware of
this lesson and on the basis of the revolutionary practice
in Vietnam together with the heavy failures of socialism in
the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, we have successfully
carried out two important tasks concerning seizing and
maintenance of our administration. The Party has initiated
and led the renovation cause in an all-round manner, thus
creating great and historically significant achievements
over the past 20 years.

After ninety years, the October Revolution is not only a


bright symbol of socialist aspiration and strength, but
many important and useful lessons from the October
Revolution have still retained values in the realities of
the renovation process and socialist construction in
Vietnam.

Associate Prof. and Dr TO HUY RUA


Secretary of the Party Central Committee and head of the
Commission for Propaganda and Education