Bolsheviks

Antisemitism and the Russian Revolution

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During the latter part of the 19th century and first years of the 20th, the European country which witnessed the most severe antisemitism was not Germany but the Russian Empire. The Tsarist state police would regularly organise pogroms during which drunken Black Hundreds or Cossacks would attack Jewish villages, murdering Jews and destroying their property.

The Bolsheviks, Islam and the women of the east

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Many believe that religion and socialism cannot coexist — that in order to be a socialist you have to be an atheist — yet, as Naima Omar shows, the magnificent example of the Bolsheviks’ relationship with Russia’s Muslim population following the 1917 revolutions is rooted in a different tradition.

Growing up I always held socialist views, but believed you could not be a socialist and a Muslim, nor could you advocate women’s liberation and wear the hijab. This belief is common among Muslims, based on the assumption that in order to be a socialist you must be an atheist, as all socialists hate religion.

The fine art of revolutionary manoeuvre

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The tumultuous summer months of 1917 in Russia saw the right regrouping in an attempt to reverse the gains of the February Revolution. Alan Gibson describes the twists and turns which brought the Bolsheviks and the moderates together — but also laid the groundwork for the October insurrection.

‘In the menacing hour of grave ordeals at the front and complete internal collapse from the political and economic disorganisation, the country can be saved from ultimate ruin only by a really strong government in the capable and experienced hands of persons who are not bound by narrow party or group programs.”

Why Read... Lessons of October

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The year 1923 was a decisive year in the history of the international movement. It was the point at which the revolutionary movement sweeping Europe after the victory of the Bolsheviks in 1917 finally broke and began to ebb. And it was also the time at which the Soviet bureaucracy began to firmly consolidate its grip over Russian society.

B is for Bolshevik

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When I was a young man way back in the days when Blair was a much loved performer and Brown was noted for his twin ambitions to be leader of the Labour Party and to drink Westminster dry (I speak of course of Lionel and George), the term "Bolshy" was a common one.

Bolshy tended to mean anyone who might stir up trouble, stand up for themselves or rebel against the rules. Its use went way beyond the obviously political, and yet its roots were entirely political. It had become a British abbreviation of the word Bolshevik, the name of the party that had led the workers to revolution in Russia in 1917.

The word itself sounded romantic and inspiring, or dark and dangerous, but was in fact simply the Russian word for majority.

Bolsheviks and Islam: Religious Rights

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Socialists can learn from how the Bolsheviks approached the Muslims of the Russian empire.

The Russian Revolution of 1917 took place in an empire that was home to 16 million Muslims - some 10 percent of the population. The collapse of Tsarism radicalised Muslims, who demanded religious freedom and national rights denied them by the tsars.

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