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Shelley: In His Way, One Of Us

 Innumerable days of my life I wish to forget; three days I will always remember with joy. On one of those latter days I read The Communist Manifesto for the first time. On another of the days I saw some of Van Gogh's pictures at the first exhibition in this country of the work of the post-impressionists of France. On the third, and almost the last, of my joy-days my father gave me a book, "The Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley."

 Shelley is the poet I care for beyond all other poets. He dreamed, loved, wept, and sang; he helped his friends and those who were not his friends — he gave heaps of money away — he went his own way— none could tie him down — he was a wild yet gentle man, and his immortal “sweetest songs are those which tell of saddest  thought.”    

Exhibition Review: '1917 - Romanovs and Revolution'

Hermitage Amsterdam is a branch of the massive State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, and mainly displays works from its parent museum. This centenary year sees an exhibition ‘1917: Romanovs and Revolution’, which continues till mid-September. As might be expected, there is a lot of emphasis on Tsar Nicholas II, his family and his own political and military weaknesses and miscalculations. There are display panels, newsreels, paintings, original documents and historic objects (such as one of the swords used to execute the royal family).

Russia 1917: As We Saw It

We begin a monthly series of excerpts from the Socialist Standard of the time with what we said about events in Russia in 1905 which Lenin described as a 'dress rehearsal' for 1917.

The entry of Russia into the stage of machine production and international commercial inter-communication made it essential that there should be a limitation of the aristocracy which had hitherto dominated that empire. To engage in competition for foreign and neutral markets with other commercial countries rendered it necessary that the press should be removed from the censorship of the ruling class, so that the widest publicity should be given to matters concerning commerce; that education should become more general, so that the worker might become a more efficient machine minder; that freedom of contract should be exhibited in all trade relations between merchants and manufacturers, so as to secure equality of competition.

What We Mean By Revolution?

    “The word Revolution, which we Socialists are so often forced to use, has a terrible sound in most people's ears, even when we have explained to them that it does not necessarily mean a change accompanied by riot and all kinds of violence, and cannot mean a change made mechanically and in the teeth of opinion by a group of men who have somehow managed to seize on the executive power for the moment. Even when we explain that we use the word revolution in its etymological sense, and mean by it a change in the basis of society, people are scared at the idea of such a vast change, and beg that you will speak of reform and not revolution. As, however, we Socialists do not at all mean by our word revolution what these worthy people mean by their word reform, I can't help thinking that it would be a mistake to use it, whatever projects we might conceal beneath its harmless envelope. So we will stick to our word, which means a change in the basis of society."

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