Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Unity Editorial: The October revolutions

First Published: Unity, Vol. 12, No. 14, September 29, 1989.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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SOCIALISM IS GOING THROUGH a difficult period of change, adjustment and turmoil. Many problems are being painfully confronted, some of the mistakes made in the past are being acknowledged and many who believe in socialism are watching in anguish as mistakes continue to be made. But despite everything, the ideals that are the lifeblood of socialism – and which for the past 100 years have led millions to fight for a better life – still endure and inspire.

At the heart of the struggle for socialism is both the dream and the necessity for a society organized for the good of all the people, not just the rich. A society where people’s basic livelihood – their job, housing, health care and their children’s education – is guaranteed. A society where all people are equal before the law. A society where the dignity of every human being is upheld.

Even today, with all the complex problems facing socialism, what animates the workers’ struggles in China, the Soviet Union, even Poland, is their belief that they can achieve economic and cultural development and political democracy. Contrast this to the U.S., where so many workers now believe, from their own experience, that their children will be worse off than they are, and that the future has even harder times in store.

So this October, on the anniversaries of the Russian and Chinese Revolutions, it is important to look back and reaffirm the ideals that people here, and around the world, are still fighting for today. We should not forget that in old China, there was mass starvation and foreign plunder. But the Chinese people stood up 40 years ago, on October 1, 1949, and declared the founding of the People’s Republic of China – a new China based on the principle that the people are the masters of society. And in October 1917, the impoverished masses of Russia – bled by war, famine and tsarist repression – rose up and established the first socialist society, dedicated toward the elimination of human exploitation.

Today, the U.S. media and the Bush administration are working overtime to convince us that a capitalist society as exemplified by the United States is the best the world has to offer, and that socialism is on its way out. But it is precisely the strength of socialism that allows it to examine and overcome its problems. Moreover, people here will not be convinced to fight for socialism because of what happened in Russia or Cuba or China. They fight because here, in the world’s richest country, the homelessness, drugs, racist violence, inequalities and indignities suffered by the working class and people of color are becoming too much to bear.

Though socialism has gone through many twists and turns, the path of human history is still leading people to struggle against colonialism, imperialism and capitalist exploitation, and for a society where the wealth is shared – a society based on justice and equality for all.