Contribution of CP of Sweden [En]
First and foremost, the Communist Party of Sweden wishes to thank the Communist Party of the Russian Federation for hosting us here on this historic occasion.
The Great October Socialist Revolution marked the definite beginning of the current era of transition from capitalism to socialism. The revolution confirmed the correctness of the strategy and tactics of the Bolsheviks and for the first time showed the world that a socialist mode of production is possible in practice. Furthermore, despite being under constant military and economic pressure the workers’ and peasants’ state proved successful and resilient, unprecedently transforming a former czarist backwater into the developed society that would bring emancipation of the working class and abolish wage slavery. Thanks to the revolution, the Soviet people could go where no other people had gone before.
The eradication of illiteracy helped the masses do away with the times of superstition and advanced the levels of education, which together with the planned character of the economy created the basis for rapid industrialization. Leaning on the shoulders of science and technology, and advancing it, the socialist organization of labor allowed another feat of unparallelled historic importance, the successful victory in the total war against the most industrialized and militarized imperialist powers at the time. The socialist mode of production helped to diminish the headstart of the imperalists, and in some cases even surpassed them technologically, bringing the core of matter itself, the power of the atom, into the service of the people and even kickstarting the exploration of space a few years later. All this, and countless other social, scientific and cultural achievements were made possible only thanks to the October Revolution.
Moreover, the revolution effectively opened the doors of liberation for oppressed peoples around the globe, and its very existence advanced the position of strength of workers everywhere, much to the despair of its imperialist detractors. It faced, and continues to face, the unending criticism and hostilities of its bourgeois adversaries because of their inability to ignore its indisputable successes. October offers a promise to the workers of the world, that history has not ended and that society can and will change. Thus, celebrating and studying the revolution, like our parties do here, continues to be of paramount importance.
The events in Russia had profound impact on Swedish society. Inspired by the February revolution, and triggered by the failure of capitalism to provide the basic means of sustenance, workers and soldiers rose up throughout the country in the spring of 1917. In Seskarö, at the base of the Gulf of Botnia, workers briefly overpowered police, seized power and established a local soviet. At the peak of the revolutionary sentiment, the bourgeoisie grew increasingly nervous, and even the king contemplated fleeing the country. But, eventually the unrest subsided in the wake of the increasing repression from the state paired with compromises. And most importantly, at the time there was no vanguard party. What would later become the communist party, our party, had only been founded in the later stages of the turmoil that spring, and was not yet a force to reckon with.
The October Revolution, on the other hand, decisively forced the Swedish capitalist class to make concessions toward the Swedish working class, that had achieved a comparably high level of conciousness and organization at that time, or face the, perhaps not so small, continued threat of strikes and popular uprisings ultimately leading to revolution. In order to minimize risks and perhaps to survive as a class, they had to adapt and saw a solution in the harmlessness of social democracy and parliamentarism. The threat of the successful revolution in Russia, and the following social progress there, eventually paved the way for the beginning of what was popularly known as the Swedish welfare state, discussed in our prior contributions. It helped to alleviate some of the human cost and social symptoms of capitalism, avoiding increased worker militancy.
Figuratively speaking, the reforms may have given the bakers somewhat larger crumbs from the table of the owning class than otherwise, but never the fruits of the labor itself. Today, this is still the case, but with the crumbs getting ever smaller. With capital concentration tightening, real wages stagnating and debts skyrocketing.
The success of the revolution, and the presence of the Soviet Union, was a prerequisite of Swedish social democracy as a manager of capitalism at that moment in time.
Since the counter-revolutions in the socialist countries the bargaining power of the working class has diminished substantially. Appeasement of the working class is no longer as important to the capitalists, now that it is less organized and less class conscious. Profit disabling reforms have been rolled back by the very same social democrats that introduced them, which validates the fact that the reformists are systemically unable to guarantee lasting reforms, no matter if they have good intentions or not. Public services have been privatized bringing unreliability to infrastructure, healthcare and education, and availability according to a class gradient of ever deepening contrast. Yet our party has no illusions about the nature of the bourgeois state, and for the reasons described previously, we do not see a solution through renationalization. We only see one lasting solution to that end, and that is socialism.
At our 37th Congress, held earlier this spring, the party substantially revised its programme to better reflect the conditions at hand in the post-Soviet period. The earlier concept of a stepwise path to socialism has been abandoned, in light of the assessment that the productive forces in our time have matured and developed to such an extent that a direct transition to socialism is objectively possible. The updated party programme also takes a stronger stand against forces that claim that there is a possibility for, and who propagate illusions about a ″capitalism with a human face″. We have revised our position on popular front tactics as a viable road forward today, and now, in light of historical experience, instead favor collaboration strictly on a class basis, so as to preserve political independence and to promote a clear nondiluted class position under an undisguised communist banner.
The Great October Revolution was only the first of many victories. One hundred years is little time in the perspective of human history, and this is only the beginning. Let us take this moment here in the city where it all started, to commemorate our past defeats and to celebrate common victories, knowing that there will be many new octobers ahead.