The Russian Revolution, referred to as the ‘Great October Socialist Revolution,’ took place one hundred years ago on November 7 (October 25 on the calendar in force in Russia at the time). Although the revolution was inspired by noble ideas and ideals, mainly the elimination of exploitation and poverty and the creation of a party to represent the interests of the working class to do so, it did not survive the 20th century. China and Vietnam claim to be building ‘socialism’ with their own characteristics, while establishing capitalist economies. Once ‘progressive’ developing countries  have all been ensnared by globalization and neoliberalism.

The ideas of colonial liberation were given a substantial impetus by the Russian Revolution. The defeat of fascism in 1945, the Independence of India in 1947 and the liberation of China in 1949 set the stage for the dismantling of the remainder of the British Empire. These were the major events that inspired the leaders of liberation movements all over the world, including Guyana. Along the way many of them absorbed the ideas of Marx, the theorist, and Lenin, the practitioner.

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The Christmas season, referred to as the season of goodwill, will see Guyanese of all religious persuasions seizing the opportunity of participating in all that the season has to offer. They delight in the exchange of gifts, pamper the children and enjoy family gatherings. Some try to bring cheer to the less fortunate. Many Christians take the opportunity of reaffirming their faith, to give thanks and to celebrate the life and work of Jesus Christ. All participate in the fanfare of welcoming the New Year. Some consume too much alcohol and drive recklessly.

In this period religion plays an important, sometimes a dominant, role in the lives of many people in Guyana and around the world. Christians engage in religious observances and reflect on the lessons that Jesus in His short time on earth left with us. Different people are moved or motivated by particular aspects of the teachings of Jesus, depending on their special interests. Jesus’s clear, outspoken and uninhibited partisanship towards the poor, oppressed, disadvantaged and sick are what appeal most to me.

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