Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Travel Notes 5 - Nov. 7 Morning


Noon, Nov.7 - I walked to the Smolny institute this morning.  This was the center of the Petrograd Soviet and the Military Revolutionary Committee in 1917.  I arrived at the same time as a large group of comrades (tovarischi) from the International Coordination of Revolutionary Parties & Organizations (ICOR), who also showed up.  They had come in a bus.  They were about about 65 comrades from various countries - Germany, Nepal, India, Russia and others.  They will be attending the manifestation later today in St. Petersburg.  The Smolny was closed today of all days, by order of the Russian government.  Two comrades from ICOR unfurled their banner showing Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin & Mao, and Russian police inside the Smolny immediately came out and told them to take it down.  Their passports were taken for a time. After some smooth talk by a Russian comrade and a phone call, the passports were returned.  Looking around me, black cars with well-dressed drivers seem to have immediately congregated around our group.

Comrades of the ICOR in front of the Smolny

A famous statute of Lenin still stands outside of it and Marx and Engels line the walk.

One comrade from Germany was a die maker who had recently worked for Tesla in Michigan and California, so he and other comrades from Germany spoke English.  Many Europeans are multi-linqual, while one of the many weaknesses of the U.S. education system is its failure to teach languages well.  They told me about the anti-fascist organizations in Germany and I told them we were just building ours.  But the same situation seems to hold in both places, were there are 10-1 odds against the fascists when they do show up.

So far I'm the only person from the U.S. in this city, at least based on my movements around town and having big ears.  How sad is that?  So it is comforting to meet people here for the same reason that I am.  No matter what you feel about what happened after the revolution, there is no doubt that it was inevitable given the political and economic conditions of Russia, as well as the terminal political situation and the highly developed class consciousness of the Russian peasants and workers.  This point unites all Marxists and people with sympathy for the working class.

The Manifestation

The 'manifestation' by various Marxist groups and Russian citizens, organized by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, will be held today at around 5:30 PM St. Petersburg time, 8 hours ahead of the U.S.  The actual location will probably be held near the Leninsky metro station.  The permit for the manifestation was just granted by St. Petersburg city authorities I have been told.

The Museum of the Seige of Leningrad was closed today, as it is always on Tuesdays.  The Museum of Russian Literature/Pushkin Apartment was also closed, but for the holiday.  So much walking without result.  A "Jimi Hendrix" blues club was located on Liteyny Prospect.  If citizens of the U.S. can be proud of anything at this point in history, it is our music - rock, blues, country and jazz.

The Aurora, with guns still pointed at Winter Palace

The Revolution on Russian TV

I watched an endless 3+ hour documentary on the 1917 revolution last night on Russian TV, POCCNR1.  Much archival footage.  Being only able to decipher certain obvious names and words, it seemed to dwell on the poor Czar and photos of his generals, the rich and then various capitalists with ties and bowler or top hats for most of the documentary.  Then the pictures of mostly soldiers are shown as their replacement.  Kerensky, Kornilov, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin are shown, but the only pictures of Stalin are in propaganda paintings made long after the event and his one 'mug' shot as a young man.  Trotsky was frequently mentioned and shown.  The invisibility of Trotsky in Russia is over, so at least one 'commissar' is returning instead of vanishing.  This allusion is based on the book "The Commissar Vanishes" - a great picture book showing Russian revolutionary photo images of various Bolsheviks over time being edited selectively to cut out various people, until only two faces remain at the end.

Celebrate today.

Red Frog
Nov 7, 2017

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