From People's Democracy, Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India
(Marxist), January 2, 2000.
NEW MILLENNIUM GREETINGS
Direction of Future is Clear
THIS year's New Year Greetings acquire an added significance. Standing at the threshold of the 21st century, all of us are witness to humanity's transition to the third millennium.
It is only natural that in all such periods of transition, the concerned generation would look back at the achievements and experiences of the century that has turned into history. And every generation would rightfully claim that the century that has passed had made an irreversible impact on the development of human civilisation.
The 20th century, however, building on the advances of previous centuries, made a qualitative leap in all areas of human endeavour. It, in fact, opened up new vistas of science; extended its frontiers to hitherto unimaginable horizons; it cleaved open new frontiers of human creativity in every intellectual field.
The most significant contribution of the 20th century, however, has been the translation into reality of a human social order that is free from exploitation of man by man. For the first time in human history, there emerged a scientific basis for ending the hitherto history of human civilisation based on class exploitation. The
great October Revolution of 1917 was a landmark achievement in this regard. It set a blazing trail, inspiring millions the world over to intensify their struggles against exploitation and oppression. The victory of that revolution sent chill down the capitalist spine. World imperialism could never reconcile to the existence of
socialism. Imperialism eventually succeeded after more than seven decades, aided by serious lapses and mistakes committed during the process of socialist construction, in dismantling the socialist USSR and East European socialist countries. However, the mighty Chinese Revolution continues its triumph, valiant Cuba continues to defy the imperialist might, the heroic Vietnamese are engaged in a process of strengthening socialism and the DPRK, despite severe odds, continues to build socialism.
It was the Soviet Red Army that was the main bulwark in defeating fascism. This triumph, which was marked by the hoisting of the red flag over Hitler's Reichstag, liberated millions from the yoke of fascist tyranny. It was this victory that set in motion the process of decolonisation and the crumbling of the colonial empires. Many a freedom struggle, including in India, drew tremendous strength and inspiration from the socialist Soviet Union.
Socialism forced world capitalism to adopt many a reform which today would be considered an essential prerequisite of modern civilisation. Health care, public education, social benefits -- the entire concept of a welfare state was but a response to the existence of socialism and its impact on the aspirations of the people.
Socialism gave us a new direction to expand the frontiers of human knowledge. It was the socialist USSR that pioneered humanity into outer space. The impact of the revolution was such that it liberated creativity in an unparalleled manner. Einstein gave a new grammar and language to modern science.
The socialist revolution and national liberation struggles, during the course of the 20th century, imparted a richer content to human civilisation by making it possible for the majority of the working people in many countries to lead their lives without national oppression and free from exploitation. This impact continues to chart the
future course of human development towards national and social liberation.
On the other hand, capitalism during the 20th century plunged humanity into two barbaric world wars claiming millions of lives. It produced and used nuclear weapons to demonstrate its inhuman superiority and plunged the world into a nuclear arms race with devastating consequences. It launched numerous wars to contain humanity's advance to socialism, intervened in the internal affairs of independent countries, organised coups, foisted reactionary and dictatorial regimes to suit its interests. Its most barbaric form was exposed in the fascist dictatorships.
Following the reverses for world socialism, imperialism has launched a new offensive aiming at economic re-colonisation of the developing countries. Its three main levers -- IMF, World Bank and WTO -- are being utilised to put into effect a new form of economic bondage. This reality tellingly demonstrates the unjust and
inhuman nature of capitalism. It is its rapacious plunder that is responsible for the terrible situation of hunger, misery, sickness and illiteracy that grip the millions in the developing world. It is directly responsible for the dangers of nuclear holocaust and worsening major ecological imbalances. The increasing moral and ethical
degeneration of capitalist societies, drug abuse, violence, racist and sexual discrimination are continuously debasing the finer qualities of human beings. Despite the perennial propaganda, intensified after the reverses to socialism, that "capitalism is eternal," it today, as in the past, proves itself as a system incapable of solving the
major problems confronting humanity.
While a comprehensive balance sheet of the 20th century will be made subsequently, one conclusion is inescapable: the people's march for social and national liberation will continue with greater vigour in the 21st century. The last decade of the 20th century has been a clear pointer in this direction. Notwithstanding the fanfare and orchestrated propaganda around the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union and
East Europe, events have vindicated that capitalism is not the answer to the problems faced by the people of these countries. The regrouping of progressive forces in every continent of the world, the dismantling of the imperialist-backed aparthied regime in South Africa, the string of electoral defeats of the right-wing
ruling parties advocating neo-liberal economic policies in the advanced capitalist countries -- all point to the fact that the early decades of the 21st century are bound to witness a spurt of popular struggles against exploitation and oppression.
Thus, notwithstanding the twist and turns, the zigzags of history, successes and reverses, the developments of this century reflected the profound impact of people's struggle in evolution of human progress. The revolutionary transformations have brought about qualitative leaps in history and have left an indelible imprint on modern civilisation. The consequent economic, political and social rights have now come to be considered inseparable from human civilisation. The national and social liberation process of the peoples has been irregular, complex, and may take a long time to complete. But the direction for the future is clear.
And, that future begins now!
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