revolution

Empire of the Tsars: Romanov Russia
Three part series presented by Lucy Worsley
Available on SBS On Demand until October 10

This three-part series examines the history of Russia’s most famous royal family, the Romanovs. This is a useful introduction to a topic for those wanting to know more about the conditions that led to the 1917 Russian Revolution.

The Romanovs rose to power in 1613 after the collapse of the previous Rurik dynasty that ruled Russia for 700 years. The tsars were absolute monarchs with enormous power.

The Assad regime and its allies have been building up their forces around the rebel-held Idlib province, in Syria’s north-west, in preparation for a major offensive. Some bombing raids have already been carried out in the south and west of the province.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are carrying out guerrilla resistance against the occupying Turkish army and its militia allies in the Afrin canton, a predominantly Kurdish area of northern Syria.

Representatives of 74 communes — institutions of popular power elected from grassroots communal councils — from across Venezuela gathered in Lara state late last month to participate in the inaugural National Assembly of Communes, writes Paul Dobson.

The meeting of more than 300 commune activists was held to try to strengthen the connections between different communes in a range of areas. This includes linking up productive micro-projects, communicational initiatives and educational networks.

John Bellamy Foster is editor of Marxist journal Monthly Review, whose books include Marx’s Ecology (2002) and The Ecological Revolution (2009). He spoke to Fiona Ferguson, a Belfast-based activist in People Before Profit. The interview below is posted the Irish socialist website REBEL.

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Egyptian-French Marxist academic Samir Amin passed away aged 86 on August 12. The man who introduced the concept of “Eurocentrism” was, writes Nick Dearden, one of the world’s greatest radical thinkers.

Venezuela’s campesino marchers achieved their immediate objective on August 2 by holding a public meeting with President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas that was nationally televised. They presented proposals for far-reaching reforms to state agrarian policies and institutions.

The fourth national congress of Venezuela’s largest political party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), wound up on July 30 following three days of intense activities. The congress was inaugurated on July 28, on the 64th birthday of the party’s late founder, Hugo Chavez.

The PSUV congress took place in an increasingly complicated context, amidst a collapsing economy, hyperinflation, international financial sanctions and an upcoming monetary reconversion.

A large contingent of Venezuelan campesinos marched across the country for almost three weeks in what they called the “Admirable Campesino March” to raise awareness about the many problems faced by small farmers, including evictions, harassment and general neglect at the hands of government institutions.

The marchers, who first set off on July 12 from the city of Guanare, Portuguesa state, arrived in Caracas on August 1 with the plan to deliver a collective document that presents both their complaints and proposals to President Nicolas Maduro.

In common with many other countries, Turkey’s socialist movement has been marked by the dominance of men in positions of leadership and authority.

The patriarchy is a social order that has become dominant globally over the course of millennia and which connects with oppressive conceptions of the family, exploitation and inheritance — in short, with social class. Socialists cannot stand by as it recreates itself in the very structures we claim exist to overturn social stratification and oppression.

The Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) is an umbrella group of left-wing organisations in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran that adhere to the ideology of Kurdish revolutionary leader Abdullah Ocalan (known as “Apo”), currently in jail in Turkey. Forces associated with the KCK have helped lead the Rojava Revolution in Syria’s north, which marked its sixth anniversary on July 19, the day Kurdish-led forces staged an insurrection.

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