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A Century Ago, the Working Class Redefined Peace

PJ Mnguni

House Chairperson, November 8 marks a very special centenary marking the events of the great October socialist revolution in Russia in 1917, one which is of crucial significance in respect of the struggles against the devastation brought about by imperialism and its catastrophic interventions. The Decree on Peace, written by Vladimir Lenin, was passed by the Second Congress of the Soviet of Workers, Soldiers, and Peasants Deputies on the 8 November 1917, following the success of the October Revolution. So fundamental was the ending of the inter-imperialist First World War to the future of the peoples of Russia and the peoples of all belligerent countries that it was articulated as a first priority of the first workers state in the first 24 hours of its existence.

The decree described continuation of the imperialist war, motivated by the issue of division of conquered territories between the richest and most powerful countries, as "the greatest of crimes against humanity". For the first time in the history of the world, the will of workers, soldiers and peasants with state power in their hands was being expressed in respect of the resolution of conflict and the rights of peoples. The Soviet Union, which was established as a direct state outcome of the Great October Socialist Revolution, contributed immensely to our struggle for liberation and social emancipation and offered financial, material and training support towards the defeat of the apartheid regime.

I thank you

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