Monday, August 28, 2017

October 1917,100 years from the first dash to the sky (1/2)

This was the first of the two presentations in an open event for the 100 years of the October Revolution that took place in Athens in May of 2017. By P. Chountis member of the Central Committee of CPG(m-l).  
It took a few decades to realize the picturesque finding in the Communist Manifesto in 1848, that "A spectre is haunting Europe—the spectre of communism".
We could say that the massive presence of the working class in historical development starts in the 1830s and 1840s. The labour struggles of Lyon and the movement of Chartists are accompanied by the first socialist-communist approaches. The revolution in Paris in 1848 is the first dynamic presence of the proletariat and leads to the proletarian uprising in late June. The uprising is repressed and thousands are executed and displaced in labour camps in Algeria, but it affects a wave of uprisings across Europe. Marx describes the 1848 uprising in Paris as the "first major battle between the two classes in which the modern society is divided".
The next wave comes with the shocking events in Paris in 1870-71 that lead to the first proletarian-revolutionary power, the Commune that lasts from late March to late May. During these two months, the Commune replaces the regular army by the militia, gives away all rents since October 1870, allows the election of foreign nationals in the Commune, imposes a ceiling on Communist officials, votes for the division of Church and State, the abolition of state subsidies for religious purposes, the removal of religious symbols from schools, the destruction of the guillotine, the demolition of the chauvinistic and warmonger Column of Victory, the creation of collaborative cooperatives for the operation of factories, the abolition of night shift for baker workers, the closing of the pawnshops and more.
In late May the Commune is crushed by the army, in an agreement between the French bourgeoisie and the German invaders. A mass massacre follows. Engels says that "such a massacre has not happened since the civil wars that prepared the fall of the Roman Empire". And adds that in the uprising of 1848 "the bourgeoisie showed the terrible toughness that its vengeance can reach, if the proletariat dares to stand as a separate class with its own claims and interests". To conclude with the observation that "yet, 1848 was like a game compared to the rage of the bourgeoisie in 1871".
Τhe labour struggles are handed over to the US working class. Nine years after the rail strikes in 1877, on May 1st 1886, US unions go on strike demanding eight-hour working day. While thousands of workers do achieve the eight-hour working day, mass strikes are facing brutal police repression that leads to violent deaths, arrests and death sentences for four workers in a parody-trial.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Revolution in Education: Our Experience (1)

by Kuei Yu-peng, student of the department of mechanical engineering, Tsinghua University
Published in Peking Review, 14(34), 20 August 1971

All students in our class are workers who have worked at least ten years in different plants. Since we have come to the university, what should be our attitude towards the tasks of “studying in the university, managing the university and using Mao Tsetung Thought to transform the university”? It took us some time to know the correct answer. When we first entered the university, as I recall, we were really quite enthusiastic! But as soon as we take up our study, many contradictions arose and our earlier enthusiasm began to cool down.
The main shaft’s gear box is a key part of machine tools. This is the part where bourgeois technical “authorities” used to create obstacles for us. This time we made up our minds to master this key part in our class of machine tool designing. But no sooner had our teacher touched on it than problems cropped up. When she mentioned common multiplier φ in explaining the speed diagram of gear box in a machine tool, we didn’t know what she was talking about. We passed on to her our opinion several times, but there wasn’t much improvement. Then, we became impatient. Some said: “We can’t even ‘study’ well, what’s the use of talking about ’managing’ and ’transforming’ the university!” They also found some “grounds” to support their argument: Since there was the leadership, we didn’t have to bother about “management”. Since we all came from the factories and were unfamiliar with things in the university, it was difficult for us to “manage“ the university. Besides, heavy load of study left us no time for dealing with matters of “management”.