Alexandra Kollontai re: Vladimir Lenin

An aggregator (lycos retriever) offers the following links:

In 1898 Kollontai abandoned her conventional marriage to study political economy in Zurich. She had already read Marx and Lenin, but in Zurich she familiarized herself with the views of Karl Kautsky and Rosa Luxemburg. Before returning to St. Petersburg in 1899, she met in London Sidney and Beatrice Webb, whose reformist thoughts she rejected. Kollontai’s first article, dealing with the relationship between the development of children and their surroundings, was published in the Marxist journal Obrazovaniie in 1898. In her article dealing with Finland, published in Novoye vremia, she used the pseyudonym Elin Molin. Kollontai contributed … to the German journal Sociale Praxis.
Source:
kirjasto.sci.fi

Kollontai ardently believed in the natural and sacred function of motherhood and said so many times. Her largest book and much of her political effort after October was devoted to ensuring adequate medical care for working mothers. She … believed that society had an obligation to assist mothers by helping to raise their children. But her belief bore a qualification rarely mentioned in comments about it or about her: The state would not take children away from their parents, and all public child-rearing arrangements would be voluntary on the part of the parents. Her primary concern was that every woman would have the right and the genuine opportunity to have children and to be sure that they would be cared for. “Every mother must be convinced that once she fulfills her natural function and gives a new member to communist society, i.e. a new worker, the collective will love and attend to her and her child.” Marriage and sex were personal affairs; but motherhood, she said in words almost identical to Lenin’s, was a social concern.
Source:
leedstrinity.ac.uk

Kollontai became the first woman elected to the Party Central Committee. After the October Revolution, when Lenin and the Bolsheviks seized power, she was appointed People’s Commissar for Public Welfare. In the Ministry she was welcomed with a strike, as the other Commissars. “Immediately the poor of the great cities, the inmates of institutions, were plunged in miserable want: delegations of starving cripples, of orphans with blue, pinched faces, besieged the building. With tears streaming down her face, Kollontai arrested the strikers until they should deliver the keys of the office and the safe; when she got the keys… it was discovered that the former Minister, Countess Panina, had gone off with all the funds, which she refused to surrender except on the order of the Constituent Assembly.” (John Reed in Ten Days that Shook the World, 1919)
Source:
kirjasto.sci.fi

Kollontai was a member of the Social Democratic Labour Party. At its Second Congress in London in 1903, there was a dispute between two of its leaders, Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov. Lenin argued for a small party of professional revolutionaries with a large fringe of non-party sympathizers and supporters. Martov disagreed believing it was better to have a large party of activists. Martov won the vote 28-23 but Lenin was unwilling to accept the result and formed a faction known as the Bolsheviks. Those who remained loyal to Martov became known as Mensheviks.
Source:
spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk

When the February revolution of 1917 broke out, Kollontai was in Norway. She delayed her return to Russia only long enough to receive Lenin’s “Letters from Afar” so she could carry them to the Russian organization. From the moment of her arrival, she joined Alexander Shlyapnikov and V. M. Molotov in the fight for a clear policy of no support to the provisional government, against the opposition of Kamenev and Stalin. She was elected a member of the executive committee of the Petrograd Soviet (to which she had been elected as a delegate from an army unit). At a tumultuous meeting of social democrats on April 4, she was the only speaker other than Lenin to support the demand for “All Power to the Soviets.”
Source:
cddc.vt.edu

Throughout this period Kollontai had consistently stressed the need for working class women to organise independently from the bourgeois feminists. In this she was at odds with the majority of the Menshevik faction which consistently adapted to and compromised with the forces of bourgeois feminism. Her hostility to feminism placed her closer to the Bolsheviks who similarly waged a war against feminism. But at this stage she had not yet developed a coherent communist position on the organisation of working women which she was to develop alongside the Bolsheviks on the eve of the 1917 Revolution. Most importantly Kollontai, unlike Zetkin, failed to grasp the importance of ensuring Party leadership of the working class women’s movement. In this sense she remained closer to the positions of the Menshevik faction than to those of Lenin and the Bolsheviks.

http://wearethepaper.org/

The New Edition of The Paper will be handed out at the March 26 rally in London.

The New Edition of The Paper will be handed out at the March 26 rally in London.

The New Edition of The Paper will be handed out at the March 26 rally in London.

The New Edition of The Paper will be handed out at the March 26 rally in London.

The New Edition of The Paper will be handed out at the March 26 rally in London.

The New Edition of The Paper will be handed out at the March 26 rally in London.

The New Edition of The Paper will be handed out at the March 26 rally in London.

The! New! Edition! of! The Paper! will! be! handed! out! at! the! March! 26! rally! in! London!

WRITE FOR US…. (click the imaged to download)

The New Edition of The Paper will be handed out at the March 26 rally in London.

The Paper: April Edition. “Too Much News in the World? Lets Make Some More!”

We all cross swords on what we’re fighting against, but what do we want to rally for? This is an invitation to counter the ‘news’ of the now with forecasts for alternative futures.

If only this rally were not just today, and not just from here to there – but all day, all month, and everywhere, all the time. Radical democracy to replace the 40-hour (let’s face it, often 60+) work week and the boredom/grim tedium of struggling to pay rent, to survive precarity, ducking and diving, constrained by rules. We could make it different. Say: step one, all senior management incomes (corporate heads, bank bonuses, tax evaders, military budgets, piggy-polly perks etc) to be redistributed as a democracy premium to allow all people to be involved in all decisions, all the time. The permanent forum of the Festival Hall as an open-access debating chamber. The budget of the Royal Household deployed for the National Health Service, and the Palaces made into hospices or welcome centres for refugees. Draft legislation on the abolition of the Trident nukes as the next order of business; thereafter, no colonial bombings abroad and free (and more!) public transport at home. Breakout meetings to propose alternatives to roads – not just cars, the entire road system to be rethought. Also, housing – communal luxury-squatting in the meantime, and a shuttle bus service to the daily demo… things like this, at the very least.

I know the idea of a permanent debating forum is a bad dream for some, but given the current bland waking nightmare of now – the continuous drip-feed of non- informative news coverage, the fake choices, spray-on TV tans, and our false participation in plastic democracyTM – well, its just not fit for use, is it?

Critical support for the organisations and all that, but a timid trade union movement that would only march from A to B has not yet learned the media politics of Millbank or Tahrir. A smashed window or a traffic jam is not news, but a rallying cry – and if there is no alternative but the tweedledum and tweedledum of parliamentary illegitimacy, such a trades union movement has set its sights too low. Indeed, it has already capitulated, when we could do so much more. I would not rush to say ‘you can’t kettle chaos’, but talk of feeder marches, breakout groups, the situ- diagrammatic imaginings, the (en)closures of Oxford Street, the counter-mappings, the myriad blocs – this bodes well as a fractal Party form.

As yet, the protest march ‘against cuts’ has not articulated a sufficient alternative – the political and social reorganisation that would end militarism and the arms sales that fuel it; that would reverse the devastation of the planet that comes with allegiance to outmoded technology, such as the combustion engine and its oil; or the dangers of the nuclear industry and opportunistic energy corporation initiatives to build on fault lines, in volcanic areas, or without due regard to renewables; undo the neo-colonial market imperative that returns food scarcity to the very regions that provide abundant foodstuffs for the bourgeois tables of Europe and the ‘developed’ west; against obscene detention and incarceration as punitive, racist population-cleansing, starting with the incredibly high proportion of Black Americans in prison in the USA, and the disproportionate working class population imprisoned in the UK, give or take a few white-collar criminals caught out in an expenses scandal or done for perjury; refusing opportunist use of ‘human rights’ as an ideological club to beat the non- West, while at the same time selling arms indiscriminately and pontificating about war as humanitarian intervention whenever a Western ‘leader’ needs a ‘legacy’ issue, pace David ‘Desert Rat’ Cameron; also: reparations for slavery, colonialism, sexism and homophobia (as democracy credits, seats in the front of the bus, agenda items of choice).

This list goes on. No expenditure on State visits, Freedom of Movement for all (restrictions on capital movement, a planned economy, a reserve fund for relief). Oppose all nationalisms, parochialisms, jingoisms… A NASA Mission to Mars, what bullshit! Instead, more engaging movies, romantic dramas about ageing communists, Regime Change on the Jedi Planet (the conservative clerics deposed) or The Bourne Conversion (to communism). For a political and popular culture that is not a festival of death. For a Life Extraordinary.

No to marching in lines.

Yes to running wild in the streets – we can sit down afterwards and work out how to do it all differently, again and again, that too can be fun. We just have to ask what is required to win a life like this, and more? What politics? What organization? What movement? More than a mere ‘like’ or ‘retweet’, or a one-day dawdle. Diagram this.

– John Hutnyk

Read The Paper here.