DAVID LAN PHAM, F.A.B.I.

 

SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT

THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION

(1917- 2017)

 


          It is not a wish of ‘one hundred years of happiness’ to the married couple in the wedding ceremony. It is about the one hundred- year-old historic event on Earth: the Russian October Revolution.

It is called the October Revolution because it occurred on October 26, 1917 according to the Julian Calendar. It was November 07, 1917 in the Gregorian Calendar. It was also called the Russian Proletarian Revolution leading to the birth of the proletarian dictatorship government in Russia.

Lenin was the soul of the revolution but he did not overthrow the last Czar of the Romanov reigning Russia from 1613 to 1917. Nicholas II, the last Czar, abdicated after the February Revolution, which lasted from February 23 to February 27, 1917 (Julian Calendar) corresponding to March 08 and March 12, 1917 in the Gregorian Calendar. On March 15, 1917 (Gregorian Calendar) Czar Nicholas II resigned. Kerensky, Lenin’s fellow countryman, headed the provisional government. His government was ousted by the October Revolution led by Lenin.

With the October Revolution Russia was the first country combining Marxism with Lenin’s thoughts. According to Communist terminology Russia was the bastion of the Socialist World. The founding of the Comintern in 1919 turned Russia into the leading country of Communist ideology in the whole world. The red flag with the picture of the yellow hammer and sickle was found everywhere in the world including in the Western Democratic countries. In 1922 the Soviet Union was born. Some 5.5 million square kilometers of lands from Ukraine, Islamic countries in Central Asia, Caucasian countries,  Baltic countries were annexed to Russia. Fifteen Soviet Republics in USSR (Soviet Union) were: Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, Tajistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan. Outer Mongolia became a Communist country in 1921 in the Russian orbit. Russia became a quiet Empire after the October Revolution without wasting a bullet. The Communist Parties had their clandestine activities in the colonies of the Western Empires Excited by the then favorable political conditions Lenin predicted China should turn red before France. Lenin’s optimism came from the presence of various socialist streams in France. The Communes of Paris, the first Communist government, was born in 1871 when Karl Marx was still alive (First International). Karl Marx predicted the burial of Capitalism one hundred years after the birth of his Communist Manifesto. Facing many difficulties and crises during the period 1848- 1948 Capitalism showed its stably strong existence. France had its short- lived Communes of Paris and offered the Communist world the famous L’Internationale. The French seemed to be stuffed with different kinds of Socialism: Saint Simonism, Fourrier’s Socialism; Anarchism of Bakunin. But dyeing France red never happened. The French preferred Catholic socialism to Marxism. Their pockets are always on the right side. Jean Jacques Rousseau and Babeuf died in the 18th Century. Marx’ prediction was wrong 100%. That of Lenin was right 50%. China became a Communist country in 1949. Karl Marx and Lenin were interested in the working class but their ideology was fruitful in Russia and China, two agricultural countries in which most people were peasants, serfs, who, lacking food, clothing, were pitilessly exploited by the rich landowners. Marx and Lenin’s knowledge of the farming class and Asian production was poor. Both of them were urbans and intellectuals with solid arguments. They were neither workers nor farmers. Lenin centered on the workers, serfs, needy urbans i.e the proletarian force to grab power.

In 1918 Lenin was assassinated. Seriously injured he was in convalescence in the suburban area of Moscow. Stalin took care of the national affairs. Stalin was a Georgian whose nickname mean ‘man of steel’. In Lenin’s eyes Stalin was a tricky man. But he was a successful man of action. His education was humble but he was greedy of fame, honor and power. As for Stalin, he did not respect Lenin and his wife. Stalin’s contributions to Russian greatness after the October Revolution were undeniable.

After the end of WWII the number of Communist countries increased. Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Albania and Yugoslavia became Communist countries. Except for Yugoslavia, all the Eastern European countries were in the Soviet orbit. They were forced to adopt Communist ideology to be satellite states of the Soviet Union in accordance with the resolution of the Conference of Yalta and Potsdam regarding the partition of spheres of influence between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The case of Yugoslavia was interesting. A Communist country Yugoslavia was not in the orbit of the Soviet Union.

Josef Brot Tito (1892- 1980) was captured by the Czarist army from the start of WWI. The eruption of the October Revolution liberated him. He soon adhered to the Bolsheviks. Married to a Russian wife he was an agent of NKVD trained in Moscow to become an agent of the Comintern like Ho Chi Minh. Tito was a prestigious leader in Yugoslavia thanks to his resistance against the Germans in WWII. In 1943 Stalin dissolved the Comintern to please the American President. In 1947 he founded the Cominform (Communist Information Bureau). Marshal Tito gave birth to TITOISM to oppose Stalin, the dictator of the Soviet Union. Yugoslavia remained a Communist country which was independent from Stalin and the Soviet Union. Stalin expelled Yugoslavia from the Cominform but he dared not use his military strength to punish Tito. A small country that was not populous could resist a a big and populous country unless its leader was strongly supported by its people. Tito was successful. The Yugoslavians respected him. He resisted two dictators: Hitler and Stalin. Needless to say dictatorship was always the earmark of all the Communist regimes. Tito himself was a dictator loved and respected by his people after his death in 1980. In 1957 Khrushchev dissolved the Cominform and tried to re-etablish friendly relations with Tito but the latter kept on following his independent path of Communism until his death.

Ho Chi Minh (1890- 1969) founded the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam on September 2nd, 1945. It was the first Communist Republic in Southeast Asia after the end of WWII. Ho Chi Minh’s government was not recognized by any Power of the Big Five. Even Stalin did not pay interest in it. He neither helped this newly Communist country in Southeast Asia nor supported its admission to UN. Stalin did not bring neither moral nor material assistance to the government of resistance headed by Ho Chi Minh in the first four years of resistance (1946- 1950).

1. Stalin paid less interest in Vietnam, a far away country in Southeast Asia, that was strange to him religiously, culturally and economically. He turned his eyes to the Eastern European countries.

2. France and the Soviet Union signed the treaty of Alliance and Mutual Assistance in 1944 after France was liberated and General Charles de Gaulle headed the Provisional Government of the French Republic.

3. The Chinese troops disarmed the Japanese in the Northern territory of the 16th parallel. So did the British troops in the Southern territory of the 16th parallel. The 16th parallel hinted at the partition of Vietnam: a. Chinese influence (Kuomintang) in the Northern half b. influence of a Western country but not France in the Southern half.
In 1950 Moscow recognized Ho Chi Minh’s government of resistance as an act of competition of influence on Vietnam with Beijing. Vietnam was divided after 08 years of war. The 17th parallel became the partition line.

a. The Northern half of the 17th parallel was the Democratic Republic of Vietnam influenced by the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China.

b. The Southern half of the the 17th parallel was the Republic of Vietnam influenced by the United States.

In 1948 Stalin backed Kim Il Sung to seize power in North Korea

In 1949 Chiang Kaishek’s troops were defeated by Mao Zedong’s militants. The world Communist community had one more Communist country which was the most populous country in the world.

In 1959 Fidel Castro overthrew Batista, the Cuban dictator, backed by the United States. Cuba became the first Communist country next to the United States in Western Hemisphere.

In 1960 the National Front of Liberation was born. The subversive war began in South Vietnam before turning into the Vietnam war with the participation of the American troops, and those of the Allies such as South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand fighting side by side with the South Vietnamese troops. The North Vietnamese Communist troops fought beside the militants from the National Front of Liberation. After 15 years of bloodshed the Republic of Vietnam collapsed. Vietnam was united under the leadership of the Vietnam Communist Party (1975). Cambodia and Laos turned red in the same year.

Communism was attractive to the African, Asian, South American countries, the non- aligned countries, the former colonies of Western Empires. In Central and South American countries leftist candidates had a lot of chance to win the election. Indonesia is the most populous country in the Islamic world. Before 1965 members of its Communist Party ranked second after the People’s Republic of China only. India, the father of NEUTRALISM, was not really neutral. It had more friendly relations with the Soviet Union than with the United States.

The speedy development and expansion of Communism led to its fissure and division. There are many factions in a political party. The Bolsheviks were divided into Stalinists and Trotskyites. They fought and killed each other. In 1927 Chiang Kaishek’s troops oppressed the Chinese Communist Party. Chen Duxui was arrested. Li Dazhao was killed. Seizing this opportunity Mao Zedong criticized the founders of Chinese Communist Party (Chen Duxui, Li Da Zhao), who were respectful scholars. Their classicism and dogmatism prevented them from having something different from what Lenin and Stalin did in Russia. Mao Zedong was temerarious to Sinicize Marxism- Leninism to turn it into Maoism like his ancestors Sinicizing Buddhism. He was successful in spite of Stalin’s anger. The Soviet Union represented Communist industrial countries (Soviet Union & Eastern Europe). Red China represented Communist agricultural countries. Maoism was important in Asia, Africa and Latin America except for Cuba.

All the Communist countries had the same earmarks no matter they adopted Leninism, Stalinism or Maoism. They were characterized by: dictatorship; one ruling party; personality cult; deprivation of freedom and human rights; corporal suppression aiming at the enemies of the proletarians, reactionists, intellectuals, landlords, anti- Communists, anti- Stalinists, anti- Maoists, farmers against the Communist agrarian policy; famines due to the failure of the Communist land reform; creation of gulags the Vietnamese Communists called ‘re-education camps’; deaths in the land reform a la Communiste, in the gulags, in prisons; regular threats from the Communist police etc.
Communism was considered a materialistic doctrine. None of the Communist countries was economically abundant. Food shortage and basic human rights absence characterized the Communist regime.

The global Communist regimes cost more than 100 million lives in the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, North Vietnam, Cuba and Eastern European countries.

Stalin (1879- 1953) was General Secretary of the Party and Prime Minister. From 1922 to 1953 his hands were stained with blood of 60 million lives due to bloody oppressions of the Kulags, famines (Russia, Ukraine), deportation and forced labor in Siberia, Great Purge etc. Some 80% of the deportees in the Siberian gulags died of cold, shortage of food and medicine while they were forced to overwork. Sufferings, shame, hopelessness were additional factors contributing to their death. The conflict of power between Stalin and Trotsky cost many lives in the period 1927- 1939. Many Lenin’s comrades such as Kirov, Kamenev, Zinoviev, who played important roles in the October Revolution, became Stalin’s victims in the Great Purge. The terms ‘Trotskyite’, ‘reactionist’, ‘mad dog’ meant execution, corporal suppression. In 1933 Ho Chi Minh (this alias did not exist at that time) was about facing execution after Maurice Thorez, the leader of the French Communist Party, accused him of being Trotskyite. Stalin suspected him of working for the British Intelligence in Hong Kong in exchange for his freedom. Ho Chi Minh was not executed in the 1930’s Great Purge thanks to the Dimitrov’s protection. Dimitrov was the then General Secretary of the Comintern and Advisor to Stalin.

Mao Zedong (1893- 1976) was Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party after the Long March (1934- 1935) from Jiangxi to Yenan War Zone in Shaanxi province. He has kept the party leadership for 27 years since the birth of the People’s Republic of China until his death. From 1949 to 1959 he was Chairman of the Party and President of China. Mao lost his presidential seat to Liu Shaoqi due to the premature failure of the Great Leap Forward (Da Yuejin). Over 40 million Chinese died of starvation. The Land Reform and the Cultural Revolution stole life of 10 million victims including that of President Liu Shaoqi, Marshal Peng Dehuai, Marshal He Long, who were insulted, tortured and starved to death by the Red Guards. Dang Xiaoping, General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, was humiliated. He was sent to a rural tractor factory to change oil, a job he did in France when working for Groupe Renault. Xi Jinping’s father, Xi Zhongxun, was imprisoned and tortured during the Cultural Revolution . Xi Zhongxun had intimate relations with Marshal Peng Dehuai, who criticized Mao’s luxurious life and failure of the Da Yuejin (Great Leap Forward) in the Lushan Conference in 1959. The death of Mao’s son in the Korean war sped Mao’s anger at Marshal Peng De Huai. Mao Zedong danced on 50 million corpses which were equivalent to the number of corpses Stalin danced on. North Korea, North Vietnam, Cuba and Eastern European countries were responsible for 15 million victims.

The Kim of North Korea were responsible for 5 or 7 million victims finding their death in the Land Reform, the Korean War, terror and political purge, famines caused by the state agrarian policy, drought , flood (1993- 2000).

Under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, Truong Chinh, Le Duan some 5 million Vietnamese were killed in the Land Reform (1953 in the Viet Minh controlled areas; 1954- 1956 in North Vietnam), in the two Vietnam Wars I (1946- 1954 and 1960- 1975). In 1954 one million North Vietnamese left North Vietnam for South Vietnam. From 1975 to 2000, 4 million Vietnamese left Vietnam in search of freedom and raison de vivre in 80 countries in the world. They were boat people or walking people. Some of them were immigrants sponsored by their relatives. Some were chosen by the Communist government to go to the Socialist countries as workers. These people tried to stay there after the collapse of the Communist regime (1989-1991). Some ladies got married to the Chinese, Taiwanese, South Koreans, Singaporeans. The foreigners including the French and Americans praised the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. Heroic Vietnam defeated French and American Empires. Vietnam’s progress is 300% compared with Vietnam in the past three decades. (300% of the negative number or O (Zero) is negligible). Why did 4 million Vietnamese including members of the Communist officials leave Vietnam?

Maoist Pol Pot killed 1/3 of the Cambodian population i.e 2.5 million lives after three years in power only (1975- 1978).

****

Russia knew exceptional progress in the development of heavy industries after the October Revolution. In the past French Emperor Napoleon I looked down on Czarist Russia. Russian political life was swayed by the Germans. Russia was successively defeated by Japan in 1904 in Manchuria and 1905 at Tsushima Strait. In 1914 it was defeated by the German troops in Masurian Lakes and Tanneburg. Russia became an industrial country from a poor agricultural one. Russian industries ranked 2nd after implementing two five- year plans initiated by Stalin. The first quinquennial plan began in 1928. The Soviet Union became one of the Big Five after WWII. It headed the Communist Block to confront the United States in the Cold War (1949- 1991). The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The post- Communist governments follow the traditional path of dictatorship from the Romanov and Communist leaders in the apparently democratic institution. The Russians adored Lenin. His mausoleum stays proudly in the heart of Moscow. A Russian oblast (province) was named after his last name Ulyanov. President Putin admires Stalin. The Soviet marching songs such as Katyusha, Svyashchennaya Voina (Sacred War- sort of national anthem in reality), Den Pobedy (Victory Day) were played in the Victory Day Ceremony in Moscow after the fall of the Soviet Union. Compared to American, Chinese, Japanese economy, that of Russia is far from prosperous. But Russian military potential is equal or superior to that of the United States. Russia is a worry for NATO and the European Union. Putin shows himself a capable leader. He had precious experience in the field of intelligence, secret police, espionage when working in East Germany. He has 18 years of experience in the leadership art as Prime Minister and President of Russia. He is more brilliant than Xi Jinping and Donald Trump. He gained respect from Xi Jinping and Donald Trump. In 2013 Xi Jinping paid his first visit to Russia as soon as he came into power. Putin and Xi Jinping made friends temporarily in order to exhaust American finance, material resources and to demoralize the Americans. Tho Russo- Chinese Alliance had no treaty of Alliance. North Korea and Iran are de facto their allies. North Korea makes troubles in Northeast Asia. Iran does the same thing in the Middle East (Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Persian Gulf). Saudi Arabia and Israel, two American Allies in the Middle East, are threatened by Iran. Turkey, the oldest Ally of the US, turns to Russia. Its diplomatic relations with Israel got strained while it sympathized with Hamas in Gaza. President Putin is successful in protecting the presidential seat for Bashar Assad in Syria. King Salma bin Abdelaziz of Saudi Arabia travelled to Moscow to talk with Putin about Iran and the purchase of Russian weapons. It was the first visit of the king of Saudi Arabia to Russia. (October 5, 2017). It proves Saudi Arabia’s belief in the US decreases. Putin’s role is necessary to the settlement of the international affairs.

Mao Zedong (1893- 1976) was a pedagogue and assistant librarian at the Beijing University. He thought of the glory, shame, and vicissitudes of his country. Before Tito he was Communist for the sake of his country, China. He was not trained by the Russians to serve Russia and the Comintern (Third International) founded by Lenin. Mao’s level of education could not be compared to that of Chen Duxui and Li Dazhao. Mao knew Marxism through Li Dazhao, his boss at the Library of the University of Beijing. Chen Duxui and Li Dazhao were academics studying abroad. They failed because because of their classicism and dogmatism. Mao was bold and practical. He did not accept Lenin and Stalin’s direction blindly. Lenin and Stalin counted on the working class and mobilized the masses to struggle in the cities. They succeeded in 1917. 90% of Chinese were farmers living in the rural areas. That is why the Chiang Kasher troops repressed the Chinese Communists easily in 1927. The failure of the Chinese Communist Party in 1927 help Mao carry out his policy focusing on the farming class and using the rural areas to build war zones and to blockade the cities economically. Four years after the 1927’ s repression Mao Zedong founded the Soviet Republic of Jiangxi (1931). It was a political earthquake for the Kuomintang government. Chiang Kaisher tried his best to destroy the Soviet Republic of Jiangxi while the Japanese gave birth to Manchukuo and planned to invade China. Mao left Jiangxi and led the Long March to Shaanxi in North China. Mao Zedong’s prestige was undeniable when warning of Japanese danger before the Marco Polo Bridge incident (1937). The Chinese Communist guerrillas made Japanese troops suffer heavy casualties during the anti- Japanese resistance. To the Chinese, WWII means the Sino- Japanese War (1937- 1945). Mao Zedong nurtured many ambitions after defeating the Kuomintang (Guomindang). His ambitions consisted of:
- unlimited power
- leadership in the Communist Block
- taking revenge of the White Empires
- re-establishing Chinese influence on neighboring countries (Vietnam, Korea etc.)
- turning China into an Empire in our time.

In 1950 Mao sent the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army to the Korean peninsula to fight the US and United Nations forces. China brought aid to Ho Chi Minh’s government in the War Zone. It invaded Tibet (1959), waged the border wars against India (1962) and the Soviet Union in 1969. Under Mao’s leadership China possessed A bombs and launched the artificial satellite. Chinese pride was soothed by the technological progress and military exploits against the US, India,and the Soviet Union although Mao Zedong danced on 50 million corpses.

Mao was a dictator. He was an ordinary one when killing almost all of his comrades, who shared hardship and sufferings with him in Hunan, Jiangxi, Yenan for fear that those people would steal his power. However, he spared Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping’s life. That shows he was good at psychology, and aware of capability and enthusiasm from each individual. Until 1949 Mao Zedong stayed in China. His global view was narrow compared to that of Zhou and Deng.

Zhou Enlai (1898- 1976) studied in Japan and France. He learned endurance from Han Xin, a native of Huaian like him. He was born into an educated and mandarin family. He faced severe challenges in his childhood due his premature orphanage. Even his adoptive mother died young. Zhou’s helpless life explained his wise behavior in society. The international observers agreed Zhou Enlai was a subtle diplomat. He died a few months before Mao Zedong and was cremated. An old plane spreading insecticide carried his ash and spread it into an unknown place.

Deng Xiaoping (1904- 1997) studied in France and was trained at the Sun Yatsen University in Moscow. China knows its rapid development due to Deng Xiaoping’s Four Modernization based on the simple idea: No matter the cat is black or white unless it can catch mice. We do not know why Mao Zedong did not let the Red Guards kill Deng Xiaoping. He thought of China’s future? Using him to to serve his wife Jiang Qing, who was planned to replace him as Chairman of the Party? Maybe both the reasons. In 1957 Khrushchev visited Beijing. Mao Zedong pointed at Deng Xiaoping and said: “This dwarf’s political work will be greater than ours.” China and the United States were no more enemies after President Nixon’s visit to Beijing in 1972. Deng Xiaoping approached the United States closely. His plan was to send Chinese students to the United States to learn American sciences and technology. Like Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping had cautious diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. Jiang Qing and her henchmen in the Cultural Revolution were imprisoned and faced trial. In two decades (1993- 2003 and 2003- 2013) Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao continued to carry out Deng’s work. After 30 years of renovation and implementation of the free market economy the People’s Republic of China is still a Communist country but it becomes an economic and military superpower in the world.

Five years ago, when Xi Jinping (1953- ) came into power we wrote an article entitled They Are Alike to compare the new leader of China to Mao Zedong. This comparison gets more and more precise after Xi Jinping led the State and the Chinese Communist Party in his first five- year term. Under the anti- corruption slogan Xi Jinping imprisoned those people who could replace him. 1,530,000 members of the Chinese Communist Party were disciplined. 278,000 member faced trials. 13,000 generals and high ranking officers were dismissed on account of their corruption. Xi Jinping’s power is stable and well consolidated. Inheriting the fruit of Deng Xiaoping’s Four Modernization, Xi Jinping seemingly despised Deng Xiaoping and his successors: Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. He was proud to be the genuine Communist. His father was deputy prime minister participating in the Long March. Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao did not have such a purely Communist record like him. Jiang Zemin was labeled a descendant of Wang Chingwei, a high ranking member of the Kuomintang, heading the pro- Japanese puppet government during the Sino- Japanese War. Hu Jintao was a Komsomol to be admitted to the Communist Party. He was a close friend of Deng Xiaoping’s son. Hu Jintao had good records through his brutal repressions on the Tibetans. Xi Jinping is leader of 1.5 billion people, of a nation ranking second in economy and third in military potential in the world. The United States and the United Kingdom welcomed him solemnly (2015). In April, 2017 President Donald Trump welcomed him at his Mar-a- Lago Estate in Florida where his grand daughter sang a song in Mandarin. After the recent Congress of the Chinese Communist Party Xi Jinping was deemed to be a Chinese Emperor. His successor ’s name was not mentioned. That means he will be leader of the party and State in the other five- year terms. In November, 2017 Xi Jinping gave President Donald Trump a warm and solemn welcome in front of the Forbidden City which was served as the Imperial Palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368- 1911). Respect? Transfer of global leadership from the United States to China? Needless to say it was the effective way of soothing President Trump’s pride.

From 1992 on there were five (05) Communist countries in the world: China, Vietnam, North Korea, Laos and Cuba. The latter is in the Western Hemisphere. It is not influenced or controlled by Red China. Cambodia is a constitutional monarchy. Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba, Laos are economically poor.

Country Population GDP/ Per capita
Vietnam 95 millions 6,900 USD
North Korea 25 millions 1,800 USD
Cuba 11 millions 12,000 USD
Laos 07 millions 6,000 USD

 

North Korea < Laos < Vietnam < Cuba

The absence of famine and shortage of food in Vietnam was due to the free market economy. North Korea suffered intermittent famines because of flood, drought and the failure of the collective farms. North Korea has good teams of scientists an technocrats but Vietnam does not. It is said Vietnam has thousands of engineers, scientists and Ph.D recipients. Even Cuba , a small island, has a large number of physicians whose speciality is higher than the Vietnamese MD’s. In the past Olympic Games North Korea and Cuba received gold, silver and copper medals while Vietnamese athletes returned home empty handed. Vietnam’s position in the world is very humble.

The October Revolution is 100 years old. It reminds me of my native country. I wonder where the destination of my native country is after building Socialism and following the path of Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zedong in less than 75 years. I hope it evades its unstable and severe situation summarized in the following prophecy- like verses:

How pitiful the Communists’ hardship is!
Exposed to the torrid sun, soaked in the rains
Duped by someone’s scheme, they dance with the Death.
 

DAVID LAN PHAM, F.A.B.I.

 

 

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