This music video says about itself:
ATTILA THE STOCKBROKER – This Is Free Europe
ATTILA THE STOCKBROKER´S BARNSTORMER live at “Bahia De Cochinos” in Castrop Rauxel, Germany celebrating 30 years of Attila The Stockbroker! 23.09.2010 Great night, awesome band, nice venue!
By poet Attila the Stockbroker from Britain:
Happy birthday to the 1917 revolution, and me
Saturday 21st October 2017
SIXTY years ago today I came into this world. I’m very happy to be here and am still trying hard to do everything I can in my own small way to make it a better place.
I’ve earned my living as a radical poet and musician for 36 years, doing something I love and would do as a hobby if it wasn’t my job. I have had the opportunity to share my opinions with thousands, and to make a tiny contribution to some of the great political battles of the last 40 years. That makes me very lucky. I’m especially happy to be here since two years ago I had the sort of medical news which made me think I might not. So another big thank you to the NHS and to my wonderful wife Robina. Tonight there will be a very loud and undoubtedly messy celebration at my harbourside local in Shoreham and I hope that the Seagulls will have given me an early present of three points at West Ham last night. But I’m not counting on that!
And then it’s back to the gigs and the campaigns — a fundraiser for Brightlingsea Labour Party next Thursday, another one in Frome a week later, a spot at the Do Not Go Gentle Literature Festival in Swansea on November 3 and at the Liberating Arts Festival in Exeter the next day, Rochester and Plymouth coming up soon and loads more before the end of 2017. All details at attilathestockbroker.com.
Of course, the most important birthday at the moment is the centenary of the Russian Revolution and I’ve been amused at some of the confusion on the left about celebrating this.
For me, it truly was 10 days that shook the world, ushering in a new era for mankind, one of hope, justice, progress and enlightenment for all, not just a privileged few.
I’m absolutely no apologist for the likes of Stalin or
non-communist according to himself interviewed on Yugoslav TV and to anti-communists Reagan and Thatcher who supported him. The only ‘communist’ thing about Pol Pot was that the Chinese government, run by the Chinese communist party, supported him. The Chinese government later apologized for their support for the bloody Pol Pot regime. Reagan and Thatcher never did.
Pol Pot and the unspeakable brutality which happened at their hands was absolutely not, as some on the right would say, the inevitable result of that rightful uprising of 1917 against poverty and oppression, any more than the big business-bankrolled rise of Hitler was the inevitable result of the industrial revolution or the Spanish Inquisition the result of the teachings of the early church.
That revolution didn’t just make life better for millions of workers whose lives it touched directly, it showed the callous, bare-faced exploiters in the capitalist world the power of organised labour, put the fear of God or, rather, Lenin into them and made them ready to make concessions and inspired a whole generation of the poor to challenge their self-appointed “masters” and change their conditions for the better.
And it is no coincidence that since Gorbachov’s badly needed reforms were hijacked in the USSR and the baby of socialism thrown out with the bathwater of bureaucracy, the power of global labour has decreased massively and that of global capital grown.
The disgusting and ever-widening extremes of wealth and poverty we now see in this country would never have come to pass if there was a visible, viable and humanitarian alternative currently in existence. There isn’t right now, but there could be — that’s what history teaches us.
I saw the core of that alternative myself first-hand during four years touring the GDR and many hours talking and working with the people fighting for real democratic change there, as opposed to takeover by the West, joblessness, poverty and exploitation. And I see it in so many of the activists I meet at my gigs. We should be inspired by our past — not, as some have sadly done, make excuses for it. Or, as a few others do, boldly declare that everything was perfect. It most certainly wasn’t.
So happy birthday to the 1917 socialist revolution. And me.
At the beginning of this year, on January 3, a statement published on the WSWS noted: “A specter is haunting world capitalism: the specter of the Russian revolution.” Confirmation of that assessment came in the Australian Senate on October 18, when Senator Cory Bernardi, head of the Australian Conservatives since he split from the governing Liberal Party earlier in the year, and one of the most extreme right-wingers in the parliament, rose to his feet to move a resolution rejecting any celebration of the Russian Revolution: here.
A Russian federal investigation, opened in 2015 into the killing of the Tsarist family by the Soviet government in 1918, will now take up the veracity of a fascistic and anti-Semitic conspiracy theory which presents the execution as a “ritual killing.” For almost a century, this argument has been the stock-in-trade of the anti-Semitic far-right and fascist forces throughout Europe, which have presented the Russian Revolution as the outcome of a “Jewish conspiracy”: here.
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On May 9, 1918, Edgar Sisson, an agent of the US propaganda bureaucracy known as the Committee on Public Information (CPI), circulated the first of 68 forged Russian documents that came to form the pamphlet The German-Bolshevik Conspiracy, which alleged that Lenin and Trotsky were paid agents of the German Army’s General Staff.
Sisson, who had served as editor of Collier’s Weekly and Cosmopolitan before the war, arrived in Petrograd in November 1917, after the Bolshevik seizure of power. He obtained the documents in the spring of 1918, sending them, along with a report attesting to their authenticity, to President Woodrow Wilson, who received them on May 9.
The documents were crude forgeries created by enemies of the Bolsheviks in Russia. As the American diplomat and Russia expert George Kennan demonstrated in a 1956 analysis, the signatures on the supposedly incriminating documents were false, their letterheads and seals were suspect, letters supposedly originating from different offices were produced by the same typewriter, and the dating system used in the correspondence was incorrect.
Nonetheless, when the Wilson administration and the CPI released the documents to the public in September, 1918—distributing 137,000 copies in pamphlet form—leading academics and newspapers declared them to be authentic. As the New York Times told its readers, the documents prove:
that the present heads of the Bolshevist government—Lenin and Trotsky and their associates—are German agents … that the Bolshevist revolt was arranged for by the German Great General Staff and financed by the German Imperial Bank and other German financial institutions … that the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was a betrayal of the Russian people by German agents, Lenin and Trotsky … that the present Bolshevist government is not a Russian government at all, but a German government, acting solely in the interests of Germany, and betraying the Russian people, as it betrays Russia’s natural allies, for the benefit of the Imperial German Government alone. And they show also that the Bolshevist leaders … have equally betrayed the working classes of Russia whom they pretend to represent.
The obviously false nature of the letters was no obstacle to Wilson, the CPI, and the Times, because the “documents” suited important purposes, both foreign and domestic: to help continue on the imperialist slaughter that had been discredited by the October Revolution, and to brand working class opposition to the war within the United States, as well as sympathy for the Russian Revolution, as the activity of agents in the pay of Germany.
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On July 30, 1918, the national congress of the Section Francaise de l’Internationale Ouvriere (SFIO—the French Socialist Party), responding to the growing antiwar and radicalized mood among French workers, rejected intervention by the imperialist Allies against the Bolsheviks in Russia. A centrist tendency, led by Jean Longuet, grandson of Karl Marx, a reformist and pacifist, won the leadership of the party away from the extreme rightwing and social patriotic forces led by Albert Thomas.
The French social-democrats, along with their counterparts in every major European country, had gone along with the war aims of their imperialist master, adopting the policy of the Union Sacree—the “sacred union” of the workers organizations and the bourgeoisie for the duration of World War I. Using the language of Jacobin nationalism and anti-German chauvinism, they lauded the superiority of French republican institutions over the monarchy ruled by Kaiser Wilhelm II.
L’Humanité, the daily paper of the SFIO, called on workers to perform their military duty or to speed up production at home. The secretary of the CGT trade union confederation, Leon Jouhaux, became a Commissar of the Nation and sat on war committees alongside royalists. Many leaders of the French Socialists, including Marcel Cachin, a future founding member of the Communist Party, were fervent supporters of the war.
An amorphous opposition within the SFIO began to develop in 1916, similar to the trend led by Karl Kautsky in Germany. The sufferings of the masses and the continuing slaughter which would result ultimately in 1.4 million French dead and 3 million wounded produced an enormous revulsion against the right-wing faction of the SFIO.
The national congress of the party, in addition to passing a resolution against Allied intervention in Russia and in opposition to any “projects of a Russian counterrevolution,” criticized the right-wing Thomas faction. It recorded regret at “recent manifestations by certain members of its parliamentary group” who lined up with the openly pro-imperialist leadership of the American Federation of Labor.
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