The 26th Anniversary of the 1978 Saur (spring) Revolution in Afghanistan

Hundreds of people attended the 26th anniversary meeting of the Afghan Saur revolution, organized by the PTUDC (Pakistan Trade union Defence Campaign), YFIS (Youth For International Socialism) and ‘ The Struggle’ publications.

Hundreds of people attended the 26th anniversary meeting of the Afghan Saur revolution, organized by the PTUDC (Pakistan Trade union Defence Campaign), YFIS (Youth For International Socialism) and ‘ The Struggle’ publications.

On April 27, 2004, the 26th anniversary of the 1978 Afghan Saur revolution was celebrated in Quetta, Baluchistan. Quetta is a city in the south west of Pakistan and is situated near the border of Afghanistan and Iran. The meeting was chaired by the President of the PTUDC, comrade Nazar Mengal. The main speaker was the editor of the Asian Marxist Review and International Secretary of the PTUDC, Comrade Lal Khan. This was the first time ever that the anniversary of the Saur revolution was celebrated in Pakistan. Even the Pushtun and other nationalists upon whom the Afghan Stalinists relied, and supported financially when in state power, never bothered to commemorate the Afghan revolution or organise any support for it. In fact, after the collapse of the left wing regime in Afghanistan they did not even mention the Afghan revolution.


More than 300 people attended the meeting. This meeting was significant because the Taliban and other forces of Afghan counter-revolution were mainly based and originated in Quetta. Among the audience both youth and veteran political activists from the Khalq and Parcham factions of the PDPA (Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan) were present.

The meeting was conducted by comrade Nihal Khan, the provincial organiser of the BNT (Unemployed Youth Movement). The first speaker was comrade Hameed Khan, the militant trade union leader from Baluchistan who introduced the subject. He went in depth into the question of the rise and fall of the PDPA Govt in Afghanistan. He also extensively quoted the works of comrade Ted Grant on the Afghan revolution written in 1978. He also quoted different international documents giving the perspectives and political positions developed at various turning points in the process of the revolution and counter-revolution in Afghanistan. He also explained that the main lesson of the defeat of the revolution is that instead of a nationalist orientation, a revolution, in order to be successful must have as its basis the class struggle. This is the only way the revolution can be sustained and expanded beyond the borders of any nation state and move towards the achievement of socialism. Hameed Khan also said that the Afghan and Pakistani revolutions are now more closely interlinked and they will have to be carried through a collective struggle on class lines. He also condemned the joint counter revolutionary role played by the US imperialists, Pakistani state agencies, and the Islamic fundamentalists against the radical changes and reforms that were being carried out - at least during the initial period of the revolution in Afghanistan. He also explained how the role of the Stalinists, who moved from one compromise to another and maintained a narrow nationalist outlook lead to the internal degeneration and collapse of the left wing Afghan regime.

The other main speakers who spoke at the occasion were Malik Saleem, General Secretary of the telecommunication workers union in Baluchistan, Abdul Ahad Afghan, Joint Secretary of the telecommunications union, Sajid Lodhi, Deputy General Secretary of the People’s Labour Bureau (PPP labour wing) Baluchistan. A young female member of YFIS, Comrade Jaleela, recited revolutionary poems of the Afghan communist poet Sahar. One of the leaders of the Hazara community, who are also one of the important nationalities in Afghanistan, also spoke on this occasion.

Comrade Lal Khan, in his speech, explained the rise and fall of the phenomena of Proletarian Bonapartism in detail. He also explained the analysis and the perspectives of this phenomena developed over the last 60 years. He also explained the causes and the results of the betrayals by the Stalinist bureaucracies of so many revolutions and mass movements around the world. Lal Khan also stressed the point that, in a very complex manner, these revolutions of a Proletarian Bonapartist character were in fact a vindication of Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution.


He said that US aggression had devastated Afghanistan. There is more bloodshed, sexual harassment and degradation of women, generalised misery, mass poverty, spiralling violence and a rapid and bloody fragmentation of Afghanistan in the aftermath of the imperialist invasion than before. The only growth that has had an astronomical increase is in the sectors of poppy production, heroine smuggling and drug addiction. Afghanistan is practically splintered into different fiefdoms of vicious and criminal warlords. The fighting and mayhem goes on unabated. The imperialist puppet in Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai does not have much of a say beyond the walls of his presidential compound in Kabul. He can make official state visits to Washington, Berlin, and London but he dare not visit Herat, Mazar - a - Sharif, or Zabul. The recent assassination attempt he barely survived in Kandahar has further terrified and intimidated him.

There is neither peace nor any prospects of it under capitalism and feudalism. Barbarity looms on the horizon of this tragic country. The lessons of the Saur revolution are that Afghanistan can only be brought out of this wilderness, medievalism, tyranny and out of this bloody mess through a socialist revolution. But such a revolution can only be accomplished if there is a revolutionary movement on class lines linked to the movements in Iran, Pakistan and internationally. Today more than ever before, the revolutionary transformation of society in Pakistan and Afghanistan are inseparable. There are several historical, cultural and above all economic factors that determine this outcome.

At the end of his speech comrade Lal Khan received a standing ovation for about seven minutes. There was enormous enthusiasm and revolutionary fervour, especially among the youth in the audience. Another important aspect was the participation of more than 25 young female comrades in this meeting. Given the extreme conservativeness of this society and the temporary domination of reactionary culture and Islamic fundamentalism, this was a bold and courageous step forward taken by these young female comrades.

In the end comrade Nazar Mengal, in his concluding remarks, spoke on the nature of the present crises and explained that socialist revolution was the only way-out of the rising menace of barbarism. Slogans were raised calling “Asia is Red”, “Revolution! Revolution! Socialist Revolution!” and “long live the Afghan and the world revolution”.