Contribution of the Party of Labour of Austria [En]
We would like to thank the Communist Party of the Russian Federation for successfully hosting this year’s meeting. It is of course of great symbolic importance that we are able to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Great Socialist October Revolution in the country in which it took place and the city where it initiated.
The Great Socialist October Revolution was an event of world-historical significance, the central event of the 20th century. It set the foundation for the establishment of the first socialist state in history and for the further development and spread of the revolution in other countries throughout the 20th century. It led to seven decades of great achievements and improvements for the working class and the peoples of the Soviet Union. It brought employment and home, free education and medical care for the entire population. It ended discrimination of women and oppression of nations and minorities. The huge scientific, technological and cultural achievements led to the improvement of the lives of millions. The Great Anti-fascist victory would not have been possible without the struggle and sacrifices of the millions of the Soviet people, the leadership of the Communist Party and the achievements of the socialist system. Furthermore, it was under the pressure of those achievements that the ruling bourgeois class was forced to make concessions to the demands of the working class' movement in capitalist countries. The internationalist aid and support of the USSR to the peoples' struggle against colonialism and national oppression was decisive for their liberation and further economic development.
Our country, Austria, was among the countries the October Revolution had a great and immediate impact on. The disastrous consequences of the imperialist war led to waves of strikes, demonstrations and revolts by the proletariat, the unemployed and the repatriated soldiers. The young Communist Party of Austria, founded in November 1918, played a leading role in this process, but wasn't able to win the masses to its favour due to its lack of
experience and its mistakes, but most importantly because of the trust the working class had in social democracy.
We never forget that it was social democracy and only social democracy which was able to stabilize bourgeois rule and end the potential revolutionary crisis. Nobody put it more bluntly than Otto Bauer himself, leader of the Social Democratic Party of Austria and founder of the so-called "Austro-Marxism", who wrote about the events as follows: "No bourgeois government would be in the position to handle this task. (...) It would stand defenceless against the suspicion and the hate of the proletarian masses. Only social-democrats could manage this task of unprecedented difficulty. Only them did the proletarian masses trust."
This describes perfectly the role of social democracy in every revolutionary situation. All successful revolutions, like the October Revolution, as well as all defeated revolutions, such as those in Germany, Austria and elsewhere, demonstrate the fact that without the decisive defeat and weakening of opportunism within the working class movement the victory of the revolution is impossible. As Lenin pointed out two years after the revolution: "One of the necessary conditions for preparing the proletariat for its victory is a long, stubborn and ruthless struggle against opportunism, reformism, social-chauvinism, and similar bourgeois influences and trends, which are inevitable, since the proletariat is operating in a capitalist environment. If there is no such struggle, if opportunism in the working-class movement is not utterly defeated beforehand, there can be no dictatorship of the proletariat." (Lenin, Works, 30, 275)
This is of utmost importance for us today. The fact that that we are currently operating under non-revolutionary conditions doesn't make the task of struggling against opportunism any less urgent. On the contrary, it is exactly in this period that this struggle must be waged and won; that the masses must learn by their own experience the role of opportunism, otherwise at the decisive moment it will be in fact already too late. Delaying the organisational split with opportunism proved to be the central weakness of all revolutionary attempts in the direct aftermath of the October Revolution as very vividly the experience of the German Revolution demonstrates. The Communist Party, the revolutionary organisation of the vanguard is a precondition for the victory of the working class and a historical necessity. It was due to the leadership of the Bolshevik party and its revolutionary and scientific theory of Marxism-
Leninism that the proletariat was able to smash the bourgeois state, establish its own Soviet power in alliance with the poor peasantry and build up socialism.
The situation today is difficult for the international communist movement. 25 years after the completion of the counter-revolution in the Soviet Union and the socialist states in Eastern Europe, we are still experiencing the consequences of this major setback for the working class movement on a global, regional and national scale. But we are still living in the period of transition from capitalism to socialism. It is the task of communist parties around the world to take up the struggle in the footsteps of the October Revolution.
Responding to its duty, our party, the Party of Labour of Austria, has made great effort to honour the 100th anniversary of the Great Socialist October Revolution within the scope of its scarce resources and limited capabilities. In cooperation with the Communist Youth of Austria we were able to organise several regional party events in honour of the October Revolution all over the country and in a few days a central event will take place in Vienna with the participation of several international guests from fraternal parties and a rich political and cultural program. What we experienced during our campaign and the events themselves was that despite the anti-communist propaganda and the de-politicisation due to decades of so-called "social-partnership", there is a growing interest among the working class and especially the youth in the historical events and a need for an alternative to the system of capitalist exploitation and imperialist war. This gives us courage to continue the struggle despite the very negative relations of power and the possible harshening of the conditions of our political work. It inspires to intensify our efforts and overcome our organisational weaknesses. We are convinced that the 21st century will be marked by new revolutionary class struggles and will bring about the downfall of capitalist rule.
Long live the proletarian internationalism!
Long live Marxism-Leninism!
Long live the Great Socialist October Revolution!