Leading communist intellectuals discuss the achievements and failures of the October Revolution.
The first socialist state in history lasted only seventy years. This is a very small period of time in the scope of world history. Its achievements have been pilloried – its demise being the greatest argument against its achievements. But merely because it disappeared does not mean that it was without merit. It provides us with the assurance that workers and peasants’ state can exist, that it can create policies to benefit the vast masses of the people rather than merely the rich, that it can heal and educate rather than merely starve and kill.
Red October is an invitation to rediscover the importance of the Russian Revolution, to explore how it faltered and to nudge us to consider the ghosts of that revolution in our own movements today.
Prabhat Patnaik retired as Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is the author of Time, Inflation and Growth (1988), Economics and Egalitarianism (1991), Whatever Happened to Imperialism and other essays (1995), Accumulation and Stability under Capitalism (1997), The Retreat to Unfreedom (2003), The Value of Money (2008) and Re-Envisioning Socialism (2011). He is the Editor of the journal Social Scientist.
B. T. Ranadive (1904-1990) was a leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the General Secretary of the Centre for Indian Trade Unions.
Prakash Karat is a member of the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). He served as General Secretary of the party from 2005 to 2015. He is the author of Language and Nationality Politics in India (1972) and Subordinate Ally: The Nuclear Deal and India-US Strategic Relations (LeftWord 2008), and editor of A World to Win—Essays on the Communist Manifesto (LeftWord 1999) and Across Time and Continents: A Tribute to Victor Kiernan (LeftWord 2003). He is Managing Director of Naya Rasta Publishers Private Limited, of which LeftWord Books is an imprint.
Amar Farooqui is Professor of History at the University of Delhi
Irfan Habib (born 1931) is an Indian historian of ancient and medieval India, following the approach of Marxist historiography. He is well known for his strong stance against Hindu and Islamic fundamentalism. He has authored a number of books, including Agrarian System of Mughal India, 1556–1707. He was Coordinator/Chairman of the Centre for Advanced Studies, AMU from 1975–77 and 1984–94. He was Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research during 1987–93. He was the general secretary, Sectional President, and then the General President of the Indian History Congress (1981).
Sitaram Yechury is the General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and ex-member of the Rajya Sabha.
Shahrzad Mojab is a Professor at the University of Toronto. Her essay draws from her introduction to Marxism and Feminism, a 2015 book that she edited.
Prabir Purkayastha is the editor of Newsclick.
Vijay Prashad is the Executive Director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He is the author or editor of several books, including The Darker Nations: A Biography of the Short-Lived Third World and The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South (both from LeftWord). His most recent book is Red Star Over the Third World (LeftWord 2017). He writes regularly for Frontline, The Hindu, Alternet and BirGun. He is Chief Editor at LeftWord Books.