"On the grey horizon of human existence looms a great giant called Working Class Consciousness"

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John Reed's Ten Days that Shook the World is the best known eyewitness account of the Russian Revolution, but he was accompanied on his visit in 1918. Jan Nielsen tells the story of Louise Bryant, American bohemian, talented journalist and commentator on life in revolutionary Russia.

Louise Bryant was an American radical journalist who travelled to revolutionary Russia with John Reed, author of Ten Days that Shook the World. Bryant wrote her own account of the events she witnessed and people she met, titled Six Red Months in Russia.

The killing fields of capitalism

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How should we define mass violence, such as that against the Rohingya? Rob Ferguson raises questions about the terms ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Since August over half a million Rohingya refugees have fled their homes and villages in Rakhine state in Myanmar. Villages, homes and mosques have been put to the torch in what the military term “clearance operations”. Thousands of civilians, including children, have been brutally killed and many tortured and raped.

Interview: Marxism and Mental Distress

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Author Iain Ferguson spoke to Socialist Review about his new book, Politics of the Mind

It feels like there’s an epidemic of depression and anxiety at the moment. It’s being talked about a lot more and is often discussed in terms of people missing work. Why do you think issues around mental health have come to the fore recently?

I think the single most important reason is because of the huge increase in the level of mental distress right across the board that affects, perhaps most obviously, people who are out of work and are pressured by the work capability assessment, and those on benefits who are being pressured into work at any cost.

Martyred for Irish liberation

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There is a long history of Irish workers organising alongside their English comrades and of anti-Irish feeling dividing the working class. One hundred and fifty years ago three Irish men were hanged by the British state on trumped up murder charges. Delia Hutchings tells the story of these Manchester Martyrs.

On 23 November 1867 Michael O’Brien, Michael Larkin and William Allen were hanged. They had been found guilty of murdering British police officer Sergeant Charles Brett while taking part in an audacious plan to free two leading Irish Nationalists from a police van. They are known as the Manchester Martyrs.

On 11 September 1867 Thomas Kelly and Timothy Deasy were arrested for loitering in Manchester. It was several days before the Manchester police realised that they were holding the leadership of the International Republican Brotherhood — the Fenians.

Catalonia, class and independence

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The Spanish state’s violent response to the Catalan independence referendum last month was shocking, writes Héctor Sierra, but now is the time for the left to take a lead.

The events in Catalonia have exposed the limitations of liberal democracies once again. Friedrich Engels wrote that the capitalist state is composed of “special bodies of armed men”. Few times in recent history has this been so clear as on Sunday 1 October, when the Spanish ruling party, the conservative People’s Party (PP) led by Mariano Rajoy, responded to the Catalan referendum on independence by deploying 10,000 police and paramilitary agents to physically stop voters from casting their ballots.

Here we go again?

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The Football Lads Alliance made its shocking appearance in June with a 10,000-strong march against Muslim “extremism”. Brian Richardson looks at the history of football and racist organisations.

Those of us who are football fans invariably approach the start of a new season with a mixture of optimism and trepidation. The hope that our team will win a trophy sits alongside a fear of relegation or failure to qualify for a prestigious competition. As the 2017-18 season began, however, there was real concern about a significant development that has emerged during the summer and away from the stadiums.

Gender Recognition Act: Trans rights versus feminism?

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Proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act which would allow trans people to self-declare their gender have reignited debates about trans rights and women’s oppression. Sally Campbell argues that socialists must support the right to self-identify.

In the early hours of Tuesday 22 August Kiwi Herring, a 30 year old trans woman and mother of three, was shot dead by police in St Louis, US. Police had been called after Kiwi had allegedly stabbed her neighbour. After an altercation during which one police officer received a “minor injury”, the police opened fire.

The state and revolution

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In the weeks running up to the October Revolution Lenin took time out to write one of his most important works, a study of state power and who gets to hold it, writes Amy Leather.

State and Revolution was written by Lenin in the summer of 1917, during the momentous year of revolution in Russia. It addresses the central problem of all revolutions: that of state power and which class is to hold it. This was not an abstract question. The February Revolution had got rid of the Tsar but many of the issues that had led to it were not resolved. The new Provisional Government refused to distribute land to the peasants, continued the war, and offered little to workers.

Bolivarian revolution in trouble

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The right is on the attack against President Maduro of Venezuela, the successor to Hugo Chavez and his project of socialism in the 21st century. While attempts to topple him must be opposed, it is the contradictions of Chavismo that have laid the basis for the current crisis, writes Joseph Choonara.

What can be learnt from Venezuela, currently witnessing a deadly struggle to topple its president, Nicolás Maduro? Over 100 have been killed, and the upheaval has added to the hardship in a country that has seen its economy shrink by one third since 2013.

The media and the political establishment in Britain have derived a simple lesson: misery is the only possible outcome if you elect a government promising, as Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez did, “socialism in the 21st century”. In other words, this is what will happen if you elect Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister.

Yearning for a free Morocco

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Months of protests have rocked the northern coast of Morocco, triggered by the gruesome death of fish seller Mohsin Fikri last autumn. Mehdi Rafiq explains the deep roots of discontent in the region.

For more than ten months the Rif region on Morocco’s northern coast has been aflame with protest. On 20 July baton-wielding riot police used tear gas to chase hundreds of chanting demonstrators through the streets of the provincial capital Al Hoceima, as they gathered to call for the release of political prisoners and for an end to the clampdown. Over the following days thousands took to the streets of neighbouring towns in the region in angry demonstrations condemning this latest round of repression.


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