Sex and the Russian Revolution
Publisher: Against the Current
Date Written: 01/03/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX23293
The philosophy of the October Revolution contained radical ideas around sexual politics which have been forgotten today. Drawing parallels to today's issues on gender and sexuality could help a new generation get into radical labour politics.
Why does 1917 matter for sexual politics? Because the first decade of the October Revolution yielded an extraordinary wealth of thinking and activism on issues of gender and sexuality.
The problem is that hardly anybody today knows this, or even believes it when theyre told. Theres been a big effort to conceal and deny the early Communists' sexual radicalism, by liberals on the right and by both Stalinists and anarchists on the left. As a result, the dominant image today is that the Bolsheviks were sexual puritans....
To get a picture of Bolshevik sexual politics in the first few years after the revolution, Alexandra Kollontai's writings are much more useful. When she was the first Bolshevik Commissar for Social Affairs, Kollontai's ideas were reflected in revolutionary decrees. And her decrees weren't just confined to paper; they were put into practice.