October (Ten Days that Shook the World) ★★★★

One hundred years ago, the Soviets marched into the Winter Palace and tore down the Provisional Government, and the proletariat, for the first time in history, completely controlled their own fate. Though others had tried before, each time, they were torn down, betrayed, or defeated; here, in this moment, a beacon of hope was lit for the whole world, one that would last 75 years, weathering imperialist corruption, revisionist decay, and fascist invasion. The Soviets inspired people around the world to follow their lead, and many of those who did remain bastions of proletarian power even today. One hundred years ago, we saw the truth of Lenin's words written in the blood and fire of revolution, and still today, the science of Marxism-Leninism guides those of us resisting the oppressive cruelty of the bourgeoisie. One hundred years ago, we tasted victory. One day, one day soon, we will do so again.

The filmmakers tell this story in darkness. Most of this tale is one that takes place in the night, and those moments that happen under the harsh light of day are moments of foul brutality (the raising of the bridges) and bourgeois smugness. In the darkness, the Winter Palace falls, camaraderie is born, and the voice of the people is heard. What struck this time especially is the manner in which the film turns its eye toward the Mensheviks and the bourgeoisie with contempt, with mockery. The humor reminded me of Lenin's writing, which is sharp and acerbic; it showed appropriate scorn for the enemies of the revolution. It shows, too, that stories such as these do not require depth of individual characters to succeed. This moment in history is a collective one, one the entire proletariat (the world over) could and should celebrate together; the film does not tell a story of just one person, but of one people--the people of the revolution--and their journey from oppressed to liberated. This film wields symbols (some of them perhaps a little lost in translation) in place of vulgar individualism; even the villains are largely shown to be groups (a few names are mentioned, but never lingered on).

One hundred years ago, we triumphed. Decades later, after intentional intervention by capitalists, against the will of the people, the Soviet Union was dissolved, and widespread catastrophe hit the people in the former Soviet Republics (and there were many, more than just Russia). Despite their resistance, the people were again shoved under the oppressive weight of bourgeois dominance, and the beacon of hope was lost... for now. The story of the Soviet Union is not proof of the flaws of communism but of exactly what Lenin, Marx, Engels, and other communists told us: to survive in a world of capitalists, the revolution must remain strong in the hearts of the people. To survive in a world of capitalists, the capitalists must be resisted and the people who resist capitalism--especially imperialism--must be supported. Until the imperialist core is defeated, communism will always be vulnerable. That's why those of us here in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the other imperialist countries must strive constantly to fight.

One hundred years ago, we took back what was ours. We can do it again.

Sally Jane liked this review