Just Modernity Things

Blog Post 9/13/2016

Carl Marquis-Olson

We Grow Out of Iron and The Ion Messiah

              Gastev’s poem and his background represent a modernizing Russia. Gastev was a factory work, a member of the proletariat which was the fastest growing class of people and the new face of Russia in the early 20th century. He was a peasant who became literate and politically active. His profession and class play an increasingly important role in Russian society and according to Marxists, his class occupies the most politically crucial role in the new socialist order.… Read the rest here

Russia in Reform: Will the Duma Do it?

March 15 & 16 1917 marked a monumental day for the Russian people, the decision to abdicate the crown was made by Tsar Nikolai the second. Nikolai handed the crown to his brother Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich whom reflecting the feelings of the nation passed on all power to the Provisional Government more popularly referred to as the Duma.

In the Duma’s address to the Russian populace they start with a declaration of victory over the “dark forces of the old regime” informing the people that they now have the power to re-organize the executive power of the nation.… Read the rest here

The Last Tsar

March 15, 1917 signifies the end of the Russian Tsarist autocracy. After continued pressure from Russian citizens demanding change and a grim international and domestic environment, Nicholas II was forced to abdicate his throne. A series of events and proven inadequacies of the Tsar made the end of his rule inevitable. The Dumas, or representative assemblies, attempted to coerce Nicholas II into allowing them greater responsibility in managing the war effort, to which Nicholas II replied, “I shall maintain the principle of autocracy just as firmly and unflinchingly as it was preserved by my dead father.”1 It was only a short time before he proved he was not unflinching, and failed the autocracy miserably – by ending it.… Read the rest here

The Importance of Organization

Vladimir Lenin was born into a wealthy upper-middle class family in 1870. His parents were monarchists who supported the tsarist regime. When Lenin was 16, his brother was executed for joining a revolutionary group dedicated to assassinating Tsar Alexander III. Lenin was influenced by his brother’s left wing ideas and became involved in a socialist revolutionary cell at Kazan University. Lenin was one of the first to translate Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto into Russian and became interested in Marxism.… Read the rest here

Peter Kropotkin and Anarchism

Prince Peter Kropotkin had widespread knowledge in numerous different subjects but anarchy was a subject that he was a prominent figure in. Anarchism is “a doctrine urging the abolition of government or governmental restraint as the indispensable condition for full social and political liberty.”[i] Kropotkin was originally a prince in Russia but gave his title up and started reading the works of French anarchists and then declared himself an anarchist. He started this piece by talking about how men trembled when they heard that society someday could be without police, judges, or jailers.… Read the rest here

The Soviet Circus Welcomes all Nationalities

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Pictured: Jimmy, Marion and Martinov

The film Circus, produced by the Soviet Union in 1936, was made in order to propagate the Union’s ideals and acceptance of all nationalities. The main hero, Marion Dixon, is chased out of the United States because of racial intolerance against her black son, Jimmy. Marion stumbles across Fronk Kneishitz, a wealthy German, who offers to take her traveling around the world and conceal the identity of her son in order to avoid persecution.… Read the rest here

Contradiction Within Soviet Identity: The Soviet Union’s Struggle With Nationality

Because the Soviet government focused on indigenization (Korenizatsiya) in the 1920’s yet rejected the attempts at independence of socialist republics such as Ukraine, it was unable to create a concrete “Soviet identity” that separated “high culture” from “national identity.”1

Contradiction regarding the Soviet Union’s handling of nationalities began with the Law of the Finnish Sejm and the First Declaration of the Rada. In the former, Finland declared its independence after the fall of the Tsarist Regime.… Read the rest here

Magnitogorsk: semi-realized city

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Magnitogorsk Steel Production Facility 1930, courtesy of wikicommons

 

The city of Magnitogorsk was founded as a center of industrialization, however even as it failed on many fronts it was a progressive center of industrialization. In the 1930’s the Soviet Union was in need of industry, and so the plan to create industrial cities was implemented. Detailed in the article Peopling Magnitostroi: The Politics of Demography by Stephen Kkotkin is the reasoning, creation and outcome of Magnitogorsk as both an industrial city and as a “factory for remaking people”.… Read the rest here

The slow grind of collectivization under a tractors tire.

Famine is a dire problem to every state of the world, no matter its size or power. All nations must take pause when they are confronted with the starvation of their people. Soviet Russia in the early 1930s was no different. Josef Stalin saw the problem of producing enough food to feed the massive country as one that the state could solve through collectivization and industrialization of farms. Like the revolutionaries before him Stalin found the way forward would be grounded in scientific knowledge and statistics.… Read the rest here

Collectivism: What is the Government’s to take?

With the birth of the Soviet Union and the beginning of communist rule, the new government had to establish socialist norms for those living in the country. The All- Russian Central Executive Committee established these new rules, as on March 21, 1921 the committee addressed NEP in the Countryside, The Tax in Kind. In this document, the committee established collectivism norms for peasants in the form of taxing for the needs of the government and overall Soviet State.… Read the rest here