From Socialist Voice, November 2007

October Revolution celebrated in Dublin and Belfast

The Communist Party of Ireland marked the ninetieth anniversary of the October Revolution in Russia with full houses and standing room only at both the Belfast and Dublin meetings. The CPI planned the celebrations of the revolution as part of our continued work to show that the struggle for social justice and socialism is still alive and vibrant, not just in Ireland but right across the world, as the mass of humanity struggle against the consequences of the neo-liberalist policies imposed by such institutions as the World Bank and the IMF as well as the United States and the European Union.
     The speakers at both events were Noel Carrillo, the Cuban ambassador to Ireland, Hans Heinz Holz from Germany, and Eugene McCartan, general secretary of the CPI. The CPI hall in Belfast was full to the door. The meeting in Dublin, in Liberty Hall, spilled out into the foyer as well as overflowing into an adjoining room.
     Noel Carrillo emphasised the fact that the Cuban revolution would not have survived and advanced without the aid and support of the Soviet Union, and there would have been no successful Cuban revolution without the October Revolution of 1917. He outlined the achievements of the revolution in the fields of health care, education, culture, scientific achievements, and racial and gender equality.
     The dismantling and the abandonment of socialism by the leading pro-imperialist forces within the Soviet Union led to a profound economic crisis in Cuba. The Cuban government organised thousands of work-place and community meetings to consult the people and find out what they believed was the way forward. They received more than a million suggestions from the people. The message was that there was no going back and that the Cuban revolution would survive, whether Fidel was in charge or not.
     Hans Heinz Holz was born in pre-war Germany and spent a number of years in a Gestapo prison. For many decades he was a lecturer in philosophy in Switzerland and the Netherlands.
     He spoke about the history and the material conditions that gave birth to the October Revolution and the difficult conditions that influenced and shaped the revolution. He also dealt with ideological questions that the world communist movement is still coming to terms with.
     Professor Holz addressed a seminar the following day on the ideas in his book The Downfall and Future of Socialism. This meeting was also full, which shows that there is a growing interest in what communists have to say, not just about what happened in the Soviet Union but also about contemporary struggles.
     Eugene McCartan expressed the views of the CPI on the nature of the October Revolution and the events and the struggles, the external and internal pressures placed on the young Soviet Russia, that shaped its development. Socialism emerged in a world dominated and controlled by imperialism. He pointed out that imperialism, then as now, shaped and attempted to distort how socialism developed, just as it attempts to shape and control social struggles within capitalist countries.
     He reaffirmed that the CPI still believes that the October Revolution was the greatest blow against imperialism so far achieved, and that it still has central lessons for the workers’ movement throughout the world. Anti-imperialism is still the central core value for the communist movement today.
     The world communist movement has contributed immensely to the history of the twentieth century and to the massive social advances attained by workers, as well as the liberation of humanity from the yoke of colonialism.

• The full text of the CPI paper is on our web site at www.communistpartyofireland.ie/c-eugene.html.

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