India’s Revolutionary Spiritual Urge: Bhagat Singh and the Naxalites
Monthly Review | 2021, Volume 73, Number 7 (December 2021)
Bhagat Singh (1907–1931), the subject of Chris Moffat’s India’s Revolutionary Inheritance and Chaman Lal’s (edited and introduced) The Bhagat Singh Reader, is an iconic figure of the radical left tradition in India. In a trial by a special tribunal that chose to violate basic principles of law and criminal procedure for colonial-political ends, he was convicted of murdering an assistant superintendent of police in 1928. Singh, along with his comrades Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru, was executed in Lahore (now in Pakistan) on March 23, 1931, when he was just 23 years old, in the prime of his life.
Having come from the revolutionary strand of India’s struggle for independence, the elite nationalist leadership, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, remained ambivalent about Singh, and nationalist historiography has marginalized his political contributions. His substitution of the slogan “Vande Mataram!” (Salutations to Mother India!) with the rallying cries “Inquilab Zindabad!” (Long Live the Revolution!) and “Samrajyawad Ka Nash Ho!” (Death to Imperialism!) was alien to the political sense of India’s elite nationalist leaders. They were apprehensive of Singh’s brand of revolutionary politics appealing to the masses and displacing their own variety of a reformist nationalist mass movement. Indeed, “a confidential Intelligence Bureau account, Terrorism in India (1917–1936) went so far as to declare that ‘for a time, he [Bhagat Singh] bade fair to oust Mr. Gandhi as the foremost political figure of the day.’”1Read More »
Fourth Anniversary of the October Revolution
V. I. Lenin
Written: 14 October, 1921
First Published:Pravda No. 234,October 18, 1921 Signed: N. Lenin; Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 33, pages 51-59
Translated: David Skvirsky and George Hanna
Transcription\HTML Markup:David Walters & R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marx.org) 2002. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License
The fourth anniversary of October 25 (November 7) is approaching.
The farther that great day recedes from us, the more clearly we see the significance of the proletarian revolution in Russia, and the more deeply we reflect upon the practical experience of our work as a whole.
Very briefly and, of course, in very incomplete and rough outline, this significance and experience may be summed up as follows.
The direct and immediate object of the revolution in Russia was a bourgeois-democratic one, namely, to destroy the survivals of medievalism and sweep them away completely, to purge Russia of this barbarism, of this shame, and to remove this immense obstacle to all culture and progress in our country.
And we can justifiably pride ourselves on having carried out that purge with greater determination and much more rapidly, boldly and successfully, and, from the point of view of its effect on the masses, much more widely and deeply, than the great French Revolution over one hundred and twenty-five years ago.Read More »
104 Years Ago: The October Revolution in Pictures
IN PICTURES: The Bolsheviks seized the Winter Palace 104 years ago in 1917, paving the way for the establishment of the world’s first socialist state. This piece was published by the teleSUR on November 06, 2017.
Under the revolutionary leadership of Vladimir Lenin, the Petrograd Soviet, the Bolshevik Red Guards and masses of workers occupied and seized government buildings on Nov. 7, 1917, decisively taking the Winter Palace and toppling the Provisional Government.
Although the February Revolution had ousted the hated Tsarist monarchy, the Provisional Government that took over was incapable of meeting the needs of the people for “Peace, Bread and Land,” leading Lenin to argue for its ouster as well.
The armed, but nearly bloodless insurrection, paved the way for the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the world’s first socialist state.
Immediately after taking power, the new revolutionary government held elections for a constituent assembly and began the process of nationalizing private property and industry to build socialism in what had only months before been a semi-feudal society.
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Farewell letter from Che to Fidel Castro
At this moment I remember many things: when I met you in Maria Antonia’s house, when you proposed I come along, all the tensions involved in the preparations. One day they came by and asked who should be notified in case of death, and the real possibility of it struck us all. Later we knew it was true, that in a revolution one wins or dies (if it is a real one). Many comrades fell along the way to victory.
Today everything has a less dramatic tone, because we are more mature, but the event repeats itself. I feel that I have fulfilled the part of my duty that tied me to the Cuban revolution in its territory, and I say farewell to you, to the comrades, to your people, who now are mine.
I formally resign my positions in the leadership of the party, my post as minister, my rank of commander, and my Cuban citizenship. Nothing legal binds me to Cuba. The only ties are of another nature — those that cannot be broken as can appointments to posts.
Reviewing my past life, I believe I have worked with sufficient integrity and dedication to consolidate the revolutionary triumph. My only serious failing was not having had more confidence in you from the first moments in the Sierra Maestra, and not having understood quickly enough your qualities as a leader and a revolutionary.
I have lived magnificent days, and at your side I felt the pride of belonging to our people in the brilliant yet sad days of the Caribbean [Missile] crisis. Seldom has a statesman been more brilliant as you were in those days. I am also proud of having followed you without hesitation, of having identified with your way of thinking and of seeing and appraising dangers and principles.
Other nations of the world summon my modest efforts of assistance. I can do that which is denied you due to your responsibility as the head of Cuba, and the time has come for us to part.
You should know that I do so with a mixture of joy and sorrow. I leave here the purest of my hopes as a builder and the dearest of those I hold dear. And I leave a people who received me as a son. That wounds a part of my spirit. I carry to new battlefronts the faith that you taught me, the revolutionary spirit of my people, the feeling of fulfilling the most sacred of duties: to fight against imperialism wherever it may be. This is a source of strength, and more than heals the deepest of wounds.
I state once more that I free Cuba from all responsibility, except that which stems from its example. If my final hour finds me under other skies, my last thought will be of this people and especially of you. I am grateful for your teaching and your example, to which I shall try to be faithful up to the final consequences of my acts.
I have always been identified with the foreign policy of our revolution, and I continue to be. Wherever I am, I will feel the responsibility of being a Cuban revolutionary, and I shall behave as such. I am not sorry that I leave nothing material to my wife and children; I am happy it is that way. I ask nothing for them, as the state will provide them with enough to live on and receive an education.
I would have many things to say to you and to our people, but I feel they are unnecessary. Words cannot express what I would like them to, and there is no point in scribbling pages.Read More »
Remembering Gustave Lefrançais
VERSO | March 17, 2021
Though less famous than Varlin, Vallès, Flourens or Rossel, Gustave Lefrançais was the first president of the Paris Commune and the dedicatee of Eugène Pottier’s L’Internationale.
Born into an anti-Bonapartist family in Anjou in 1826, Lefrançais attended the teacher training college at Versailles from 1842, but was unable to find a job when he left: he was already banned from working on account of his scurrilous opinions. After temporarily replacing a colleague in Dourdan, where he tussled with the local priest, he had to resign himself to becoming a clerk for a Parisian businessman, who dismissed him when the revolution broke out in February 1848. His future life was exemplary for a nineteenth-century communist militant. Arrested even before the June days, he was sentenced to three months in prison and two years’ surveillance for possession of weapons, and sent to Dijon under house arrest. Exiled in London from 1851, he might have crossed paths in Soho with Marx, Mazzini or Louis Blanc. He founded a cooperative restaurant, ‘La Sociale’, before returning to Paris in 1853.Read More »
The Legacy of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara
teleSUR | October 09, 2017
Ernesto Che Guevara was executed by a Bolivian soldier in the village of La Higuera, Bolivia, on Oct. 9, 1967. The soldier was acting on orders that emanated directly from the president of Bolivia at the time, Rene Barrientos. Guevara was summarily executed for fear that his trial would become a public spectacle that would garner sympathy for Guevara and his cause.Read More »
Bolivia Commemorates Tania the Guerrilla, Revolutionary Who Fought Alongside Che in Bolivia
teleSUR | September 01, 2017
India: Jayakka and the Story of the Women Rebels of Srikakulam
The women who fought against exploitation and the poor families who took in their children, bringing them up on their own, were making history even if none of them appear in its annals.
The Wire | July 09, 2017
A former Naxalite, one of several women in Marippadu village in Srikakulam with a revolutionary past, speaks about her life. Credit: Suchitra M.
In the first part of her journey tracing the activities of Srikakulam’s revolutionary women on the 50th anniversary of the Naxabari uprising, the author interviewed Chandramma, who was a full-time fighter till her arrest in May 1975. In this second and concluding part of the narrative, Chandramma, who gave up her daughter Aruna in the heat of the revolutionary movement, introduces us to some of the other women who fought alongside her during those days.
Srikakulam (Andhra Pradesh): An auto rickshaw was arranged to take us to Boddappadu village. A young driver. Chandramma called him Buji. His full name was Malleswara Rao. He will always be there, whenever Chandramma wants to go somewhere.Read More »