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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

From the Kremlin to Kilimanjaro: Commemorating the October Revolution

This past Tuesday, November 7 marked the 106th anniversary of the beginning of the Great October Socialist Revolution. This statement, released by Communist Party of Kenya looks at the legacy of the Revolution and the USSR including on the anti-imperialist and anti-colonial movements of the 20th century and the African Liberation Movements.


Today, on the anniversary of the Russian Revolution of 1917, we celebrate a pivotal moment in history when the working class of Russia, organized through soviets and led by the Bolsheviks, achieved a monumental victory by seizing state power. This revolutionary event not only altered the course of Russia but also left an irreversible mark on the global struggle for equality, justice, and world socialism. The Communist Party of Kenya proudly stands in solidarity with this historic achievement, drawing inspiration from the Russian Revolution and its enduring impact on African Liberation movements, while also addressing the critical issues of Palestine and Western Sahara decolonization and the former USSR's position.

The Russian Revolution of 1917 is a shining example of the power of the working class and the potential for change when oppressed and exploited people unite for a common cause. Under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin, the Bolsheviks successfully orchestrated this revolution, transforming an oppressive imperial system into a society that aimed to eliminate all exploitation and oppression. The establishment of a socialist state in the Soviet Union brought about tremendous achievements, serving as a beacon of hope for all those struggling for a just and equitable world.

The USSR, guided by socialist principles, made remarkable strides in areas such as education, healthcare, and industrialization. It demonstrated that when the means of production are in the hands of the working class, resources can be directed towards the betterment of society as a whole. The Soviet model also played a vital role in supporting African Liberation movements, which sought to break free from colonial rule and establish self-determined, socialist governments.

The African Liberation movements of the 20th century were significantly influenced by the success of the Russian Revolution and the subsequent establishment of the USSR. African leaders and revolutionaries looked to the Soviet example as a source of inspiration and support in their struggle against colonialism and imperialism. The USSR provided moral and material aid, educational opportunities, and ideological support to various African nations in their quest for independence and socialism.

Notable figures in the African Liberation movements, such as Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Amílcar Cabral of Guinea-Bissau, and Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso, drew inspiration from the Russian Revolution's principles and its legacy of building a society where the working class played a central role. These leaders recognized that socialism offered a path to address the socio-economic inequalities exacerbated by colonial rule and to promote self-reliance and development.

Furthermore, the former USSR consistently advocated for the rights of oppressed peoples, including those in Palestine and Western Sahara. The Soviet Union firmly supported the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. This support was rooted in the principles of anti-imperialism, solidarity with the oppressed, and the rejection of colonial occupation.

In the case of Western Sahara, the USSR played a vital role in condemning the illegal occupation of this territory and supporting the Sahrawi people's right to self-determination. The Soviet Union's stance reflected its commitment to decolonization and its recognition that every nation should have the opportunity to determine its own destiny.

Today, the issues of Palestine and Western Sahara decolonization still dominate the public square. In recent times, the Israeli regime has caused immeasurable suffering, with over ten thousand Palestinians, the majority being children, falling victim to their aggression. The Soviet Union officially supported the rights of Palestinians and recognised the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). In the case of Western Sahara, the last colony in Africa, the USSR supported the Polisario Front, which sought independence from Spanish colonial rule and later from Moroccan control. This demonstrates that the Soviet project was always ready, both morally and materially, to show unconditional and lasting solidarity with all the oppressed people of the world.

As we remember the Russian Revolution, let us draw strength and inspiration from the triumphs of the past. The ideals of socialism, justice, and self-determination continue to resonate with people worldwide. The legacy of the Soviet Union's support for African Liberation movements, as well as its positions on Palestine and Western Sahara, reminds us of the importance of international solidarity in our ongoing struggle for a better, more equitable world. Today, echoing the spirit of the Vietnamese war, a third Palestinian front has opened and is rapidly advancing, with millions pouring into the streets across the world against the genocidal Zionist movement and in support of the Palestinian right to resistance and statehood.

The Russian Revolution and the subsequent establishment of the Soviet government had several significant implications:

  1. Spread of World Socialism: The success of the Bolsheviks in Russia inspired communist movements and revolutions in other parts of the world, including China, Cuba, and various Eastern European countries.

  2. Formation of the USSR: The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, which emerged from the revolution, became one of the founding members of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1922. The USSR was a major global socialist power throughout the 20th century, challenging the unipolarity of the United States.

  3. Impact on African Liberation Movements: The Russian Revolution and the USSR's support for decolonization movements had an influence on African liberation struggles. The USSR provided assistance and ideological support to various African nations seeking independence from colonial rule.

In conclusion, the Russian Revolution of 1917 remains a historic milestone that exemplifies the power of the working class and the potential for radical change. Its impact on African Liberation movements and its support for the decolonization of Palestine and Western Sahara stand as enduring testaments to the legacy of the USSR. The Communist Party of Kenya stands in firm solidarity with these principles and continues to advocate for a more just and equal world where the working class leads the way towards a brighter future.

Long live Internationalism!

Department of Propaganda of the Central Organizing Committee (DPCOC) of the Communist Party of Kenya (CPK)


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