Monday, August 17, 2009

Thurs, 8/20, "Russia 1917: The Socialist Revolution"

Russia 1917: The Socialist Revolution 7pm, Thursday, August 20th 42 Seaverns Ave, Jamaica Plain While the far right wing of the health care debate tries to paint health care reform as "socialist" and Obama as a "communist" it has pushed the idea of socialism back into mainstream discourse. And with worker lives becoming more difficult due to the economic crisis millions of people are asking fundamental questions like "what is socialism" and "what would a different kind of society look like? what would it take to get there?" This combination has made it the perfect time to explore the real history and inspiration of a mass struggle that eliminated capitalism and transformed society into one that was democratically controlled by ordinary people. The Russian Revolution of October 1917 remains to this day the most decisive event of what should be seen as a historical process of creating an international struggle for human liberation. The international workers' movement at the time took great inspiration from the events that unfolded in Russia. The swift overthrow of the Tsar in February of that year and the almost bloodless Bolshevik-led insurrection in October held out the hope for millions across Europe. The accomplishments that followed in the days and weeks after the October insurrection included a new, truly democratic, state that ended Russia’s participation in the slaughter of the First World War, released oppressed nations from the Tsar’s empire, repealed laws outlawing homosexuality, legalized abortion and made it available on demand, and in a country notorious for anti-Semitic pogroms, Jews led the workers’ councils of Russia’s two biggest cities. It was a moment in history when workers not only ended a war and oppression, they transformed the whole of society in their interests by smashing capitalism and democratically deciding how to organize and provide for all of society. Join us as Kevin Murphy, an award winning author and Associate Director of Institutional Research and Policy Studies at UMass Boston, discusses the dynamic history of the Russian Revolution and the lessons it provides for us today. excellent background reading can be found here: during the second half of the meeting we will be discussing the current state of the labor movement in the US: for additional readings visit Haymarket Books at where you can find the following: Revolution and Counterrevolution: Class Struggle in a Moscow Metal Factory by Kevin Murphy, Trotsky's History of the Russian Revolution, and 10 Days That Shook the World by John Reed Free childcare is available--please contact us in advance. For more information, call 617-648-0561, email, or visit