"Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you." – William Blake (1757-1827) from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Wednesday 8 March 2017

The Revolutionary Legacy – No Coincidence!

March 8th is the date traditionally celebrated, throughout the world, as International Women's Day. In 2017, it coincides with the 100th anniversary of the February Revolution in Russia: an event that overthrew feudal autocracy in that country but also proved the harbinger of much greater revolutions, that were not just international but worldwide in scope. This coincidence is not entirely coincidental however!

Nőnap - Petrográd, 1917.03.08
Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The origins of International Women's Day, as a day of celebration, can be freely researched, though it raises many interesting questions in the process, such that the wider significance might be easily overlooked:
The earliest Women's Day observance was held on February 28, 1909, in New York and organized by the Socialist Party of America. A Women's Day demonstration on March 8, 1917 in Petrograd sparked the Russian Revolution. Declared a national holiday in the Soviet Russia in 1917, it was predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1977 by the United Nations.Wikipedia

Most accounts of the February Revolution of 1917 describe the key events as those that took place between 8th to 16th March 1917 (23 February to March 3 according to the Julian calendar still in use in Russia at the time, which was 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar, first proposed in 1582, that had been adopted elsewhere and most commonly used today):
On February 18, 1917, a strike broke out at the Putilov Works in Petrograd. On February 22 the workers of most of the big factories were on strike. On International Women's Day, February 23 (March 8), at the call of the Petrograd Bolshevik Committee, working women came out in the streets to demonstrate against starvation, war and tsardom. The Petrograd workers supported the demonstration of the working women by a city-wide strike movement. The political strike began to grow into a general political demonstration against the tsarist system. - from History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union 'Bolsheviks' (short course), 1938

The History... goes further however, recounting events both preceding and following on from the Russian Revolution of February 1917, even if it is only a 'short course'.

This is a theme that we will be returning too in the course of this 'year of centenaries' that lies ahead – and not just as a historical retrospective.

Демонстрация работниц Путиловского завода в первый день Февральской революции 1917
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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