In November we wrote about how the German Revolution ended
World War I in November 1918. After 4 years of intense warfare, the
German workers and soldiers ended the war that had cost millions of people their lives. The
emperor fell and a Social Democratic government came to power. This was
Germany's own equivalent of the Russian "February Revolution" of 1917
that overthrew the Tsar.
The workers and soldiers had taken power into their hands but also
handed it over to the very same people who so shamefully supported the war in
1914. Right wing Social Democrats Ebert, Scheidemann and Noske were catapulted
into power and Liebknecht and Luxemburg, who
had opposed the war, were left
with a small group of 3,000 revolutionaries in the Spartacus League.
On the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918,
the armistice took effect on the Western front. One year after the
victory of the Russian Revolution, the German proletariat had entered
the scene of world history and brought an end to "the Great War".
Austria-Hungary soon followed suit and the "old regime" had collapsed.
five years ago on 11th September 1973 a coup eliminated the
democratic Popular Unity government in Chile and killed the elected President
Salvador Allende in the presidential palace. In the days, weeks and months that
followed tens of thousands of activists were murdered and dumped in unmarked
graves by the military. Tens of thousands more were imprisoned and tortured –
many in Santiago football stadium. This was a catastrophe for the Chilean and
international working class.
On the 26th of Ocotber 1972, the then President of the Republic of
Dahomey was deposed in a coup d'etat led by Major Mathieu Kérékou. He deposed a
system in which three members of a presidential council would rotate power. He overthrew the President Justin Ahomadegbé,
who was placed in house arrest until 1981 alongside the other members of the presidential
governing council who were Hubert Maga and Sourou-Migan Apithy.
This year sees the 40th anniversary of the May events of France 1968,
which culminated in the biggest general strike in history, involving
more than 10 million workers. TV programmes and newspaper columns will
mark the occasion but few, if any, will give a real reflection of the
role played by the main actors and actresses, the working class.