Red Youth comrades attended the celebrations in London on Saturday night as communists marked 94 years since the Bolshevik revolution. We reproduce below a section of the speech delivered by Red Youth to the meeting,
“I’d like to consider why the October Revolution, an event that happened 94 years ago in a land and era that seems so far removed from our own, is still relevant to my generation – a generation of consumerism, individualism, ipads and x factor.
Is it because we have an obscure interest in military history? Or do we have a fascination with mysterious Russia and her peoples? Or perhaps it is because the October Revolution of 1917 provided an enduring example that the working class – organised in a vanguard party and armed with the correct theory and tactics of revolution – can overthrow centuries of exploitation, remove imperialism from their land and build a society that put the needs of the people above the selfish, private wealth for the few.
The October Revolution also settled, I feel, the question of working class organisation and showed the legitimacy and necessity of building a vanguard party. Now, it’s incredibly fashionable for my generation to be individually rebellious – to hate not only the system but all forms of authority, organisation and even arguably ideology.
But history has shown that the worker’s party – where experiences of theory and practice are shared, sharpened and directed towards the oppressor – is the only real vehicle of collective
emancipation. In this context, revolutionary politics moves beyond a mere fantasy or passing adolescent pursuit and we start to connect with the wider class struggle in Britain and globally.
I think my own experiences are a good demonstration of this; I spent my teenage years calling myself a Marxist without doing any real study or practical work; I called myself a Communist but because of my ignorance, I believed the slander of the Soviets, and in general, revolution became a label and an expression of teenage identity. Contrast this with a mere 18 months in the movement; my understanding of society and oppression has improved immeasurably, I’m engaged with people on the streets in a real way, and I’m travelling and making connections with genuine activists across Europe and the world. This is the beauty of moving away from individual anger and towards the real political movement.
That, of course, doesn’t mean it’s an easy ride. Our views aren’t popular – even among the so called left wing of Britain. Being an activist in a relatively small city, Glasgow, I often see the same people and I’m asked ‘how can you be a communist?’ and bizarrely instructed ‘become a socialist!’. And it’s not simply a confusion of terminology. Because social democracy has led, or misled, our movement for so long, deliberately starving the youth of a Marxist education and of our working class history,
socialism, for many, has become something you don’t really need to define and has become blurred with naïve liberal fantasies, easily controlled by the bourgeoisie within our ranks. It’s a logical racket for them.
It’s so frustrating that we have thousands of people in Britain who believe themselves progressive, proudly labelling themselves socialist, but have absolutely zero understanding of what imperialism is, and the link between our working class and the oppressed people and regimes of Africa, Asia and the Americas, have zero understanding of what the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie is – the link between the rich man’s state, the rich man’s army, and the rich man’s media, and as such, despite having great intentions, in times of conflict are easily swayed by the more plausible bourgeois media accounts and into a position of neutrality; standing them against their own working class interests and the interests of the globally oppressed and into the side of imperialism. It is a frustrating, tragic and perverse product of social democracy and I’m proud that we’re leading against this comrades. But it’s certainly is not all doom and gloom. We’ve saw so many examples of the working class, especially the youth, breaking free from the tired, traditional forms of resistance promoted by social democracy. We saw the encouraging student occupations against tuition fees, we’re seeing the growth of the global Occupy movement and of course we had the extraordinary events in London and elsewhere in August – what we call the Youth Uprisings.
correspondent of every media channel spoke about their shock and disbelief on the level of violence amongst the youth. Nonsense!
The ruling class love us being violent. They are perfectly happy when we are shooting and stabbing each other in our drug infested, abandoned estates. Even better when we join their
police force to brutalise our citizens and protect their private property. And better still, their ultimate delight, when we enlist in their armies and fight on their behalf to secure and loot resources from the developing world – killing millions of innocent fellow workers in the process. No. The ruling class are only shocked and against our violence when it is pointed away from each other and towards them. This is when the demonization campaign begins and shows how important the media is to the existence of the ruling class.
So much was made about looting during the riots. The same scenes of youths, many of whom were Black or Asian, taking items from department stores were replayed over and over again on our TV screens. This was to paralyse the masses with fear, with huge racist undertones, and to misdirect public support back towards the state.
We know the so-called looting was a side issue but even then what do they expect to happen when we live in such a paradoxical society. On one hand, our lives are dominated by consumerism and consumption; our TV screens are bombarded with endless advertisements and hideous reality TV shows where the vulgar and rich dominate. And on the other, reality, the majority of the youth are denied access and participation to this fantasy world, and even denied access to what every sensible person considers basic human rights – a decent job, a decent school and a decent home.
As young people, our self-esteem is linked to the possession of these fancy, desirable but ultimately unattainable possessions, whilst their absence breeds real anger, frustration and feelings of failure amongst the working class youth. This is compounded again for minority youth or those of different religions or abilities, as they face multiple oppressions. I guess what I’m trying to say comrades is that the real criminality, the real failures, and the real violence is perpetrated by the ruling class and actions of the youth were a predictable and understandable response to this oppression. I think Malcolm X quotation is appropriate “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” And aren’t we in Britain living with media- induced Stockholm Syndrome?
To summarise, the youth uprisings were perhaps not the most sophisticated expression of political consciousness but they did demonstrate that a whole mass of people are justifiably angry with the state and are willing to violently change it.
The working class youth in August have already achieved what so many of our so called leading Marxists in this country have not: they’ve recognised that no main political party – and especially not the Labour Party, the party that has oppressed them for most of their young lives – can represent them or improve their condition. The working class youth in August have already achieved what so many of our leading trade unionists have not: they’ve recognised that no amount of peaceful marching and banner waving is going to make a damn bit of difference in the long run.
That is not to say that the so called riots were a meaningful act of revolution which can over throw capitalism. But it does present the opportunity for serious activists to inject this spontaneous anger, which will only intensify, with consciousness and direct it towards the real criminals in Britain. I believe that Red Youth, armed with Marxism-Leninism – the only successful path to revolution, is the vehicle for this.
In our youth movement, there are so many calls for ‘left unity’ and it can sound so positive and rational. But we’ve got to ask first; unity with whom? Disingenuous calls for unity are often made by traitors seeking to blunt our revolutionary character and herd us back into their reformist agenda.
But comrades we know the system cannot be reformed. In fact, as it edges closer and closer to its demise, it becomes more savage and more inhumane. The political agenda since the youth uprisings has not been one of reform or concession but criminalisation and utter humiliation. We’ve saw young single mothers tossed out of their home for apparently accepting stolen goods. We’ve saw kids thrown in jail for chatting on Facebook, sentenced to four years with their appeals rejected. We’ve saw five thousand youths jailed – many denied full legal rights – and any hopes they had of getting a decent job, if there were any to begin with, are now gone. Theresa May wants the Human Rights Act gone and more police powers. Ken Clarke wants private prisons. Ed Miliband may be quieter but no less vicious. Comrades, this is the nature of their class war. What is ours going to be? I suggest seeking reform is not the way.
Finally, I hope I’ve articulated why the October Revolution – with its examples of building a vanguard party, removing enemies from within the movement and injecting wider public anger with political direction – is not only still relevant to my generation but absolutely vital. I would urge anyone here or watching online (if it goes up) that is not yet involved to join the struggle and begin taking our first steps towards our own revolution and class emancipation.
Videos of the speeches will be made available shortly here.