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'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.

Striking back after the Trade Union Act

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With the Tories’ latest anti-union attacks set to become law,
Mark L Thomas argues that there are ways to initiate struggle that can help stregthen workplace organisation, and prepare for clashes to come.

The Tories’ new Trade Union Act, which passed through parliament last year, is due to come into legal effect this month. The new restrictions it contains, above all thresholds for strike ballots, will further curtail the legal space for strikes.

If robots took our jobs, could they do them?

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The Science Museum’s major new Robots exhibition is hailed as the ‘greatest collection of humanoids ever assembled’, but it fails to take up the question everyone is asking: will a robot take my job? Joseph Choonara looks at the reality of automation under capitalism.

Robots are taking over. At least that is the impression given by the mainstream media. Headlines in recent weeks include: “Robots Could Replace 250,000 Public Sector Workers” (Independent), “Amazon To Open A Giant ROBOT-Run Supermarket Staffed By Just Three Humans” (Daily Mail) and “Give Robots ‘Personhood’ Status, EU Committee Argues” (Guardian).

New mood grips Basque struggle

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A mass movement is back on the streets in support of Basque political prisoners’ rights. But arguments for independence have been abandoned by the radical left, writes Héctor Sierra.

On 14 January 78,000 people took to the streets of Bilbao in the Basque Country to demand “human rights, peace, and a solution to the conflict”. The Basque Country stretches from the north of the Spanish state to the south of France and has a population of barely 3 million. Previous similar demonstrations peaked in 2014 with 130,000 people.

Rage against police racism rocks France

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The racist assault of a young man by Paris police has provoked angry protests. Jad Bouharoun looks at the prospects for a nationwide anti-racist movement.

The assault and rape by the police of Théo L, a young black man from the Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois, has sparked angry demonstrations throughout the country. They come in the wake of a sustained grassroots movement demanding justice for Adama Traore, another black youth killed in police custody in the Paris suburb of Beaumont-sur-Oise in July 2016.

Fighting racism today

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The rise of Donald Trump is symbolic of a growing confidence on the populist right. With elections approaching in Europe and Theresa May heading into the Brexit negotiations with the aim of restricting migration, Michael Bradley lays out a plan for the kind of anti-racist movement we need.

The election of Donald Trump has sent shockwaves across the world. For many, Trump’s victory is part of a seamless growth in support for the populist right. His demagogic rants about “building a wall” and protecting US workers by “putting America first” have been reflected by similar figures in country after country.

'From the slow river into a rapid'

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In February 1917 Russian workers toppled the hated emperor, beginning a process of mass revolt that would lead just eight months later to the overthrow of the entire state machinery. Esme Choonara explains how discontent turned into revolution.

Thousands of workers in the streets, soldiers in mutiny, police stations burned, the prisons opened. These were the incredible events of February 1917 that sparked the Russian Revolution.

The author and journalist Arthur Ransome wrote of these events, “Revolution turns the slow river of political development into a rapid in which the slightest action has an immediate effect.”

Defend free movement

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Theresa May is putting the end of free movement of labour at the heart of her plan for Brexit. Carlo Morelli explains why socialists and anti-racists must make defence of EU workers a priority.

The free movement of labour has taken centre stage in debates over the UK’s exit from the European Union. Theresa May’s Tory government has promoted racism in order to garner support electorally, especially in traditional Labour supporting working class communities, and identified control over immigration as the overriding factor in the Brexit referendum.

Ending the free movement of labour, without providing rights to remain for existing migrants in the EU, could affect around 3 million EU nationals in the UK and more than a million UK nationals in the EU.

Harsh realities of trans health

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Trans people face many barriers to accessing healthcare, from medics’ lack of training to funding cuts. Pat Clinton argues that access is a class issue intertwined with oppression.

Four years ago a trans person posted the following: “We need a hash tag for crap trans medical treatment. How about #TransDocFail?” The hashtag has yet to fall silent. Reading through people’s accounts on Twitter of problems they’ve faced trying to access healthcare, two things become apparent. First, this isn’t just about transition-related healthcare — many of the tweets are about run of the mill doctor and nurse appointments.

'A vivid warning about dangers to the planet posed by capitalism'

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The author Richard Adams died last Christmas, prompting Christian Høgsbjerg to re-examine Adams's well-loved work about a band of rabbits on the run, Watership Down. Here Christian analyses the politics of the novel, using the tools provided by Marx, Engels and Gramsci.

The novelist Richard Adams, author of the classic Watership Down, died at the end of last year aged 96. Watership Down, first published in 1972, originated in stories about the adventures of a band of rabbits that Adams — a civil servant at the time — told to his two daughters to pass the time on long car journeys. It quickly became a bestseller and was made into an animated film in 1978.

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