Saturday, 25 March 2017

Social Movements

This afternoon, some of us attended the Mechanics' Institute, Manchester, for a meeting on the significance of the Russian Revolution. Hence, this post.

Historical Texts
The History Of The Russian Revolution by Leon Trotsky
Ten Days That Shook The World by John Reed

Fiction by HG Wells
The Shape Of Things To Come
The World Set Free

By Robert Heinlein
Revolt In 2100
Between Planets
The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress

By Poul Anderson 
The People Of The Wind
The Day Of Their Return
The Game Of Empire

Of these works, the historical, Wellsian and Heinleinian volumes describe completed revolutions although the Russian Revolution was soon reversed. Its purpose had not been to replace one dictator with another.

Trotsky and Reed describe mass movements with high hopes, not yet realized. Wells' fictional revolutions are historical turning points that remake the world. Heinlein's Second American Revolution leads to the Covenant, then, after further social troubles, to the first mature civilization.

Anderson captures the danger and excitement of living in troubled times:

the mass mobilization of the Avalonian population;
the militant Messianism on Aeneas;
the hopes raised, then dashed, by the Magnusson Rebellion.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

The Russian Revolution was not a good thing. And Lenin was a monster every bit as nasty as Stalin. Instead of the books you discussed by Reed and Trotsky, volume 1 of Solzhenitsyn's THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO would have been more appropriate.

The real mistake was when the Provisional Government of Prince George Lvov and Alexander Kerensky didn't crush Lenin and his Bolsheviks when they could have. Esp. when it was revealed Lenin had been taking German money to help in seizing power.


Paul Shackley said...

Trotsky's HISTORY and Reed's book do present very factual accounts of what happened at the time and of how the population was actively involved in the shaping of events. Apart from GULAG, other good books about what went wrong in Russia are Trotsky's REVOLUTION BETRAYED and Tony Cliff's STATE CAPITALISM IN RUSSIA. Cliff (now dead) stayed with us here once when speaking in Lancaster. More recently, I met his son, Donny Gluckstein. See post, "The Second World War," Thursday, 14 February 2013.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

The book I was thinking of recommending in addition to Solzhenitsyn's GULAG I was Edward Crankshaw's THE SHADOW OF THE WINTER PALACE. There were many points during the period from 1825 to 1914 when Russia might have escaped it's gruesome fate.

I will look up your old blog piece when I have more time!