Emma Davis

'Women could feel their power'

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The Russian Revolution brought huge transformations for some of the most oppressed. Socialist Review spoke to Emma Davis about how women began to take control of their lives and lead in the struggle.

What was life like for women in Russia before the revolution?

Peasant women and women workers had virtually no rights in Tsarist Russia. They couldn’t get divorced; they had extremely limited property rights. It was only middle class women who could even consider leaving their husbands.

The beating of women by their husbands and fathers was actively encouraged — the more your husband beat you the more he was said to love you. It was customary for the father of the husband to have sex with his daughter in law.

Elle

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Elle is impeccably filmed and edited with stellar acting performances that grasp the attention of the audience. It intends to shock, infuriate and rile up the viewer.

However, it must come with a warning: this film could act as a serious trigger for anyone who has experienced domestic abuse or rape and as an insult to those of us who actively fight against women’s oppression.

Superwoman: Work, Build and Don't Whine

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This exhibition documents women in Russian art and society from the great advances of the 1917 revolutions through to Perestroika in the 1980s. It identifies the double burden of oppression which women experienced in Stalinist Russia: exploited in the workplace and bearing the brunt of household chores and child rearing, all under the banner of being “liberated women”.

Any Day Now

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Although Any Day Now takes place in Brooklyn in the 1970s, the issues of LGBT and disabled people's oppression that it raises are as relevant today as they were then. On the back of the LGBT movement of the late 1960s, the film grapples with the contradictions of a society torn between the bigotry of the past and new movements for liberation.

Classic read: The Jungle

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Upton Sinclair

In 1906, when Upton Sinclair was writing The Jungle, around 35,000 workers died every year in industry-related incidents in the US. It was in this context that Sinclair wrote this tale about the conditions of workers in the stockyards and meat packing plants of Chicago. Many will associate this novel with its shocking exposé of the unsanitary conditions in the meat packing plants, which contributed to the passing of the 1906 Meat Inspection Act. The description of meat being mixed with bone, blood, hair and flies, all in sweltering hot, bloody rooms, caused public outcry.

The Noise of Cairo

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Director Heiko Lange

The 18 days that shook the world and brought the Mubarak regime tumbling to its knees brought a fresh wave of expression and creativity to Egypt.

The experiences of ordinary people, after 30 years of dictatorship, working together to change society had a huge impact on art in Egypt. Director Heiko Lange explores the explosions of creativity during and after those 18 days through a series of interviews with independent artists.

Could there be an international revolution?

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Emma Davies argues that international revolution is possible - and essential if we are to overthrow capitalism

The past few years have shown the increasingly interconnected nature of the world we live in. We've seen the knock-on effects one event can have internationally - whether it's the financial crisis or the wave of dissent that has spread across the Arab world and beyond. Capitalism is truly global in nature. Any revolution that seeks to put an end to capitalism would have to spread internationally. Could this ever happen?

Class war in the USA

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This September marked the third year of the deepening global financial crisis. It also marked the emergence of a fresh wave of resistance to global corporate greed, the now international movement "Occupy Wall Street".

What started out as 150 activists occupying the privately owned Zuccotti park in Wall Street in mid-September has turned into the permanent occupation of the renamed "Liberty Plaza". The occupation's main slogan, "We are the 99 percent", has caught the imagination of people around the globe.

On 15 October the demonstration in Times Square in New York swelled to over 100,000. The protests have drawn inspiration from the revolutions across the Arab world - in particular, the occupation of Tahrir Square in Egypt which helped to bring down the 30-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak.

Crashing the Tea Party

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Paul Street and Anthony DiMaggio

In the run-up to the 2012 US elections, the influence of the Tea Party movement will no doubt be under further scrutiny.

In this in-depth investigation Paul Street and Anthony DiMaggio create a vivid and often horrific exposé.
From late 2009 to March 2010 the authors followed the activities of Tea Party enthusiasts. They attended local meetings in Chicago and conducted detailed research into the Tea Party's roots, demographics and ideology. They treat the movement with deadly seriousness and encourage readers not to "cower under the umbrella of the Democratic party".

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