Communist Party of Sweden, report at scientific conference “On the role of Great October socialist revolution and the experience of socialist construction in USSR for contemporary world communist and workers’ movement”
This year we remember and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the great socialist October Revolution 1917. The revolution succeeded in doing what a majority hoped for and what a minority feared – the smashing of a system, whose very existence relied on the exploitation of the many, by the few. The revolution initiated the epoch of socialism and thus made a deep and everlasting impact on world history. Now, one hundred years have passed and the Soviet Union no longer exists – the worldwide power of the bourgeoisie; it’s alliances and counter revolutions eventually succeeded with the reintroduction of capitalism where the revolution at one time had been initiated. It is the duty of the communists to learn from this, and through learning, we prepare ourselves for the struggle ahead.
In April of 1917, Lenin made his sixth visit to Sweden, only to arrive in Russia a couple of days later. There, one of the most significant events of world history was about to take place. The force with which the revolution shook Russia created surges few people had expected. In many places all over the world, revolutionary struggles were fought – the working class collectively straightened their backs, as one their voices were raised and with the great October Revolution as model, the workers struggled together against the exploiters. Sweden was no exception. During the first half of the 20th century, strikes were commonplace and in the year 1909, around 300.000 workers (5.5% of the entire population) went out on strike. The spirit of revolution could be felt and the capitalism that the Swedish society was built on began to crumble. During 1917, the revolutionary year, hunger riots took place all across Sweden. In the streets and squares, men, women and soldiers rebelled against starvation, war and politics of the Swedish bourgeoisie, aimed at suppressing the workers. On Seskarö, an island in the north of Sweden, close to the Finnish border, the workers proclaimed independence and on the island, they founded a Soviet.
As events like these spread, the Swedish bourgeoisie realized that if they did not compromise, they would stand to lose everything in the revolution. In order to survive as a class, they chose to compromise. In 1918, universal suffrage for men is introduced and one year later, it is also introduced for women. Also in 1919, the eight hour workday is introduced. Some time later, it is followed by the right of abortion for women as well as rights to vacation, amongst other things. The revolution in Sweden was nothing like the Russian, but it is nonetheless important that we learn from it. We now know that it is the threat of revolution in Sweden that forced the capitalists to cede some bread crumbs to the workers, from the bread that the working class is making. The lack of a revolution also allowed the renowned Swedish welfare state to come into being, which, led by the social democrats, in no way threatened Swedish capitalism. The foremost accomplishment of the Swedish social democrats was the creation of one of the most cohesive and effective capitalist classes in the world. Through cosmetic operations, they tried to fence capitalism in. The social democrats chopped the head of the shadow of capitalism, to quote Sven Linderot, leader of the SKP during the 30’s and 40’s. However, as communists, we know that the problems of capitalism cannot be solved through shortsighted solutions or reforms. The only solution is socialism!
Today, we witness a forceful right-wing offensive, which has come out of the imperialist contradictions. As long as the Soviet Union existed, the aggressive military alliance of NATO and the other imperialist forces were forced to conduct their operations clandestinely, in the form of fascist stay-behind movements. These movements were given both economic and military support. After the counter revolution, it did not take long before the bombs began falling over Yugoslavia, only to later, in the name of democracy, fall over Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria.
During conditions like these, with hardening imperialist contradictions, as well as ever-increasing offensives from the bourgeoisie and its useful tool, fascism, there is a risk that communists choose the wrong path. Instead of seeing the concrete reality, communist parties choose to leave their ideology behind and they consequently enter the reformist and opportunist swamp. The swamp, although dangerous, has showed itself to be a dead end, only containing war, unemployment and social misery.
But comrades, we do not choose that way. We are Marxist-Leninist, who learn from history and we stand with our backs straight. We are communists; we refuse to let the bourgeoisie trick the working class with talks of reforms and shortsighted solutions. Comrades, we know that this rotten system has outlived itself and that the time is ripe for the construction of a world free from exploitation and war. The time is ripe for socialism!
It is time for us communists to once and for all approach the question of socialism. We should form our strategies and tactics so that they do not deviate from the socialism we want to create. In word and action, we must show the working class in our countries that the attempts by the reformists to convince them of a capitalism with a human face is, and will remain, hypocrisy. For us, in Sweden, this has meant that we have realized the need to seek new, broad alliances, not directed towards the right or left wing of capital, but towards the workers and the popular strata. Our work amongst the people, within the labour unions, in the work places, in the neighbourhoods, in the schools and universities must be intensified – through action and information, we must lead the working class to crush the walls of capitalism.
Long live Marxism-Leninism!
Long live communism!