Sheila Rowbotham is known internationally as an historian of feminism and radical social movements. She is the author of the ground-breaking books Women, Resistance and Revolution; Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World; and Hidden from History among several others published by Verso.
Bikini Kill, “Rebel Girl,” Pussy Whipped, 1993.
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By Sean — 10 years ago
Mikhail Kasyanov, or Misha 2% as he’s known in Russia, was interviewed in today’s LA Times. Kasyanov proves why that 2% moniker continues to stick. Like much of Russia’s self-described opposition, he has nothing to say that concerns Russians’ daily lives. Instead, he counterposes Russia with the “civilized world;” suggests Russia is a “totalitarian state,” and perhaps more insulting thinks that the Russian population are simply duped by propaganda. Here is one example,
How does Russia view the development of friendly relations between the United States and former Soviet republics such as Ukraine and Georgia?
The propaganda streaming today from television screens and newspaper pages is, in a simplified way, calling on the nation to rally together and to protect the motherland. Hinting that war is on the threshold, that the enemies are knocking on our gates and that Russia is surrounded by enemies who want to break Russia into pieces. The current authorities want the citizens to say, “Oh, thank God, anything but war.” They want to cover the problems they’ve created in the last few years . . . by alleging that evil forces surround Russia and dream of its destruction.
Luckily, Russia has Misha to speak the truth to the narod. In fact, it is his mission in life. A brave lone wolf in a forest of ignorance. “I consider it my job,” he declares, “to let people know what’s going on, because every day the number of people who can speak the truth and who are not afraid of doing so decreases.” Misha the Brave.
What strikes me is Misha’s political naivete toward the “people.” I almost reminds me of logic of Russian populists from the 19th century. Kasyanov says, “I claim that the current Russian authorities don’t enjoy the support of a majority of Russian citizens. As soon as conditions for daily propaganda disappear, Russian citizens will understand the essence of the current regime.” He may claim this all he wants, but he’s wrong. I think a more revolutionary position would be to freely admit that the authorities do have popular support and then ask yourself the hard question as to why. Citing propaganda and alleging Russia is a closed system is a cop out that only serves to embolden oppositionists’ own egotisical self-proclaimed victimhood. Alternatively, answers to the hard questions of where genuine popular support comes from could serve as a beginning for real politics. Sadly, many in Russia’s opposition rather be oppositionists in the abstract that speak “the truth” rather than doing the hard organizing to make that truth a reality.
After reading this interview, Misha should be happy with 2%.Post Views: 850
By Sean — 8 years ago
Contrary to what most people think, I see few signs of the neo-Sovietization of Russia. What I have observed, however, is a return to Russian traditionalism, even a kind of re-embrace of Tsarist symbolism. I’ve noticed this in several areas of Russian daily life: Christmas cards with the recently canonized last Romanov family, icons of the last Tsar sold in kiosks, large portraits of Petr Stolypin and Sergei Witte at the entrance of the International University, and book after book reevaluating the late Tsarist period, newly published volumes of Stolypin’s collected works, and the memoirs of not only Witte, but the diaries and biographies of princes and princesses in bookstores.
Let us also not forget the growing assertiveness of the Orthodox Church in cultural and political life, or the fact that Dmitri Medvedev’s inauguration looked like a Tsarist coronation more than anything. They might as well had placed the Russian Constitution on his head rather than having him swear to it. To me, “Sovereign democracy” is more reminiscent of Nicholas I’s “Official Nationality” with its cornerstones Autocracy, Orthodoxy, and Nationality. Indeed, even the portraits of Putin and Medvedev hanging on chinovniki’s walls are more Tsarist in origin. As is the “cult of personality” Putin recently denied he had. This is not to say that Russia hasn’t changed. It’s only to suggest that it takes from its Tsarist as much as its Soviet pasts as it negotiates the present contours of its national character.
By Sean — 2 years ago