RED SALUTE FROM DEMOCRACY AND CLASS STRUGGLE
What was learned from the jubilee of the revolution
By Anatoly Baranov
November 8: Yesterday, as has become the tradition, two parades and rallies were held in Moscow to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. One event was held by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) — with a walk along the sidewalk on Tverskaya Street, which thanks to renovation now allows you to walk there eight abreast, with no need to block traffic. I wonder if such wide sidewalks in the center of the capital are calculated for exactly this?
I doubt it. As “Nakanune” writes: “Several thousand people who came to celebrate the anniversary of the revolution now and then had to go around obstacles in the form of planted trees and benches on the pedestrian side of the street.”
The second (but not least important) manifestation was held by communists and left-wing parties in the evening – since this usually draws from the working people, and the non-system parties do not have the opportunity to bring in students from Vladimir and Tula to the action, nor their own bureaucratic apparatus. The non-system left has the advantage in quality, but no bureaucracy.
Among the organizers of the left-wing action were the United Communist Party (OKP), ROT Front, “Other Russia,” Russian Communist Workers’ Party (RKRP), Union of Communist Youth (SCM), and almost all other left organizations. Except the KPRF.
In general, we forget the original meaning of the word “demonstration” — from the verb to demonstrate. What did we demonstrate? In this case, the non-system left organizations demonstrated their readiness to mobilize and the willingness of different but ideologically closely related organizations to act together.
There is no revolutionary situation yet, but we understand that fires can break out instantly — and here the readiness for mobilization of left organizations should be absolute.
And from this point of view — we did well. In any case, the square near the Monument to the Heroes of the Revolution of 1905 was filled. That had not happened in a long time.
We prepared in advance, naturally — starting with red flags along the whole route of the demonstrators’ march down Presnya. It didn’t happen by itself, of course; at 5 am activists led by Elena Tkach and Dmitry Cherny decorated the area with revolutionary symbols.
Apparently, the city authorities felt this organized power. At first, as usual, they tried to drive everything into some kind of “Procrustean bed,” but encountering a cold resolve – they retreated, and even showed some miracles of forethought: from the “Krasnopresnenskaya” Metro station, Zamerenova Street (named in the honor of the Bolshevik-worker Trofim Zamorenov, by the way) was closed to traffic, and Krasnaya Presnya Street was temporarily blocked off so that the demonstrators’ columns could move unhindered to the location of the rally. The police behaved flawlessly. Apparently, they understood that in this crowd there are probably already future commissars who will guide the future Soviets to control and organize the future people’s militia.
It is known that very many in the “structures” are burdened by their new “police” name. And the whole country, with few exceptions, refers to the word “capitalism” without sympathy — it’s no coincidence that the chant “Capitalism is shit!”, which not so long ago provoked a reaction from law enforcers, is now taken for granted.
However, the size, compared to 2011-2012, isn’t even close. But that’s understandable. Only the activists came out. However, when there is a mass movement, it will no longer be without an organizing staff. This is positive.
Of negatives, there may be two or more. The masses are wild, they understand little — yesterday a driver asked with sincere bewilderment, what are people protesting against? And with great surprise learned about the centennial anniversary of the revolution – all forgotten! Therefore, anyone who puts on “red revolutionary trousers” can be the center of attention.
Yesterday, a young reporter asked me if I support Putin. And to my reply, “Are you a fool, or what?”, he seems to have taken offense… But actually, he may not be a fool — the Kremlin has promoted the party of Zyuganov, which it dominates, for the role of the “red opposition.” Already the most vile bills are being introduced on behalf of “United Russia” and the Communist Party, together, “in a single formation,” as they say. And still some people asked yesterday: “And will Zyuganov be here?”
Well, they will still be able to see and hear Zyuganov a lot — he just announced on November 7 that he is again being nominated as the KPRF’s presidential candidate. In the Kremlin they thought, doubted, but then gave the okay. Look at this scarecrow — your president?
In the United States, by the way, there is an unwritten tradition — a candidate who lost the presidential election is not nominated a second time. Even if he or she showed a good result, like Al Gore, who in terms of the number of voters, even beat Bush. I think that Hilary Clinton, who repeated this result, will not be nominated by the Democratic Party again. But this is in a country where the parties in power do alternate.
Zyuganov lost for the first time to Yeltsin back in 1996, taking more votes, but he “surrendered” the elections. In exchange he got the “honorable” right to lose to any future candidate — Putin, Medvedev, Putin again. Now, in the first round, each time he shows a worse result than the previous one.
By the way, the only significant leftist who went to Zyuganov’s rally, and did not honor the demonstration of non-system left forces by his presence, was Sergei Udaltsov. Actually, this was the same trick as in 2011-12, when he sharply advocated a boycott of the Duma elections, and at the elections for the presidency suddenly, suddenly “changed his shoes in the air” and supported Zyuganov. And Udaltsov also failed to appear at the excellent march and rally of the non-system left on May 1, 2012, remaining loyal to the eternal “candidate of the left forces”… And like last time, he was content with the role of the participant in the crowd, although at a rally of non-system leftists he would surely have had the first word. But – he did not honor it…
“Nakanune” wrote about Udaltsov’s participation in the rally of the KPRF: “Greetings were given by the coordinator of the ‘Left Front’ Sergei Udaltsov. On the sidelines of the rally, he noted that the main thing today was to ‘preserve unity’”… With whom and for what, I wonder?
A similar situation emerged with the Revolutionary Workers Party (RRP) — the group endorsed the rally at 1905 street, Alexander Zimbovsky even spoke, but the portion led by the unchallenged head of this small Trotskyist group, Sergei Biitz, went to the KPRF march. Now you can’t even figure out who to accuse of “neo-Trotskyism,” the OKP or Zyuganovites …
The usual argument about “unity of the left forces” and agitation in a foreign environment, of course, does not wash. What kind of unity, with whom and for what? The KPRF today has much more in common with United Russia than with the non-system left organizations, which are not included, because the place near the trough is tightly occupied by the decomposing body of Zyuganov’s party. This is more convenient for the authorities, and it’s more convenient for the permanent leader.
As for agitation “in a foreign environment,” Zimbovsky told me an amusing story that I missed. At the rally there was a neo-paganist who was just distributing his neo-pagan literature “in a foreign environment.” And he complained to Zimbovsky that at the KPRF rally this literature was taken, and they took it well, but here they did not take it! At all.
It turned out that the jubilee of the revolution was a sort of “separator,” separating the butter from the buttermilk.
So this review of the left forces, which is how we should treat mass events of the “anniversary” type, went well. We passed.
The continuation, naturally, will follow.
The author is a secretary of the Central Committee of the United Communist Party (OKP).
Translated by Greg Butterfield
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