1917 conference: Days that shook the world

1917 conference

On Saturday 14 October an educational event organised by the Revolutionary Communist Group and Rock Around the Blockade (RAtB) took place at Student Central, near Russell Square.

The event was held to commemorate the immense revolutionary achievements of the past 100 years and to help support ongoing efforts around the world, with five speakers and rounds of discussion and debate.

First to speak was Trevor Rayne, from the editorial board of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, who gave an inspiring talk discussing the details of those crucial days in October 1917, as well as the imperialist onslaught against the Soviets with many lessons for today poignantly highlighted.

Following this we received a powerful talk from Lucy Roberts, RCG writer and activist, about the essential role women played in 1917 and more broadly in socialism after the revolution, as well as detailing means of levelling gender inequality through legislation, and contrasting these examples with the point that capitalism exploits and oppresses women disproportionately and to extreme lengths.

After a lunch break spoke Teresita Vicente Sotolongo, Cuban Ambassador to the UK, who gave a great history of the Cuban struggle, placing it firmly in the context of international revolutionary efforts and detailing the means of their success and survival in the face of US imperialism.

Next Helen Yaffe, author of Che Guevara: the Economics of Revolution, gave an insightful discussion on Che Guevara’s economic theories and achievements for socialism in Cuba, noting his emphasis on the joining of productivity and consciousness if we are to achieve lasting socialism.

The last speaker was Sam McGill, writer on Venezuela and RAtB activist, giving a powerful defence of Venezuela's struggle for socialism in the face of reactionary efforts from right-wing opposition, detailing the achievements under Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro while explaining the economic factors that need to be overcome if further progress is to be made.

This was followed by a lively Q&A involving numerous contributions and questions from the floor, answered by the panel and others present.

Each talk carried the central point throughout the day that we have 100 years of history demonstrating that the working class is more than capable of ruling itself, leaving us inspired and confident that a better, socialist future is possible, so long as we fight for it!