One hundred years ago, the Russia Revolution rocked the world, first with the overthrow of the Tsar in February and then with the Bolshevik-led taking of full power by the soviets (elected councils of workers, soldiers and peasants) in October.
The year 1917 offered an extraordinary course in political literacy for the people of Russia.
In the February anti-Tsarist revolution, which “dispensed breakneck with a half millennium of autocratic rule”, and then in the October socialist revolution, eager workers and peasants stumbled over and then mastered a new way to speak of economic and political democracy, writes China Mieville in October, his narrative of the Russian Revolution.
Below are five new books for the bookshelves of ecosocialists. They cover climate change, the Anthropocene, water and food — plus an inspiring account of the Russian Revolution by award-winning science fiction writer China Mieville.
One hundred years ago, on May 7, 1917, the following declaration appeared on the front page of the Bolshevik newspaper Pravda under the title, “Draft of a mandate for use in electing delegates to the Soviet of Worker and Soldier Deputies”.
This “mandate” marked the first appearance of the slogan “All power to the Soviets” in an official party statement.
The Soviets emerged out of the February Revolution that year, which succeeded in overthrowing the Tsar. The Soviets were based on elected delegates of workers, soldiers and peasants.
Caught In The Revolution: Petrograd 1917
Windmill Books, 2017
In 1916-17, millions of starving Russian workers queued for hours for scarce bread, perished on the eastern front or were left unemployed in a country where the living conditions were as atrocious as the record winter cold.
One hundred years ago, on March 27, 1917 the Petrograd Soviet issued the following appeal, “To the Peoples of the World,” calling for a restoration of workers’ unity in the cause of peace: "....We call upon you to throw off the yoke of your semi-autocratic order just as the Russian people shook off tsarist despotism. You should refuse to serve as a weapon of invasion and violence in the hands of kings, gentry landowners, and bankers.
"Together in friendship we will put a stop to the terrible slaughter, which disgraces humankind and casts a shadow over the great days of the birth of Russian freedom...."
On Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal readers can find an interview with leading ecosocialist voice Daniel Tanuro as well as articles looking at the ongoing fallout of the Brexit vote and the origins of arguably the most famous slogan in revolutionary history: "All power to the Soviets!"
One hundred years ago, on March 14, 1917, the Social Democratic Interdistrict Committee (Mezhrayonka), supported by the Petersburg Committee of Socialist Revolutionaries, issued the following appeal to soldiers to elect representative committees all along the chain of command, for officers to treat soldiers respectfully and asserted the Soviet's primary influence over soldiers by stating that they should obey only Duma commands that did not contradict Soviet resolutions.
A look at three important new books on the growing global environmental crisis and two that mark the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.
Among other things, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has recently published a wide-ranging interview with Kurdish activist Dilar Dirik on the role of women in the Kurdish struggle, the Rojava revolution unfolding in northern Syria and the rise of the Kurdish-led People’s Democratic Party in Turkey; and a number of new translations in the “1917: The View from the Streets – Leaflets of the Russian Revolution” series being co-ordinated by US historian Barbara Allen and Canadian socialist and Links collaborator John Riddell.
A hundred years ago, on March 12, socialists in Petrograd distributed the following appeal for an insurrectional general strike to bring down tsarism. That day – the culmination of the Russian February revolution – witnessed the crumbling of tsarist power.