june revolution

On this morning’s Today programme, Tory MP Owen Paterson said that as part of its coalition agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party, the May government will introduce a bill to reduce the term limit on abortions.

Not only is this government willing to openly violate the Good Friday agreement (which requires the Westminster government to be a neutral arbitrator in Northern Ireland), but it’s also perfectly happy to use women’s bodies as a bargaining chip for its own clutching on to power.

June Must End May

Grand Duke Nicholas Arrested

Grand Duke Nicholas (1856-1929), pictured in 1915.

June 2 1917, Tiflis [Tblisi]–The Russian royal family had been largely not been interfered with since the Revolution.  Although the former Czar and his immediate family had been prevented from leaving the country, he had even appeared in public a number of times, telling soldiers to obey the Provisional Government and to continue the war.  The royals in the Army had largely been removed; the most prominent of these was Grand Duke Nicholas, his first cousin once removed.  He had been in charge at Stavka in the first year of the war, until the Czar took command himself after the defeats in the summer of 1915.  He had spent the next two years in nominal command in the Caucasus, until recalled by the Czar to replace him at Stavka immediately before his abdication.

The Provisional Government obviously did not want a Romanov in charge of the Army, and quickly dismissed him in favor of Alexeyev (who by now was on his way out in favor of Brusilov).  He returned to his own stomping grounds in the Caucasus, where he ran afoul of the Provisional Government.  On June 2, he was arrested on a charge (of unknown accuracy) that he was plotting against the government.  He would be kept under house arrest in a dacha in the Crimea until White forces took over the area during the Russian Civil War; unlike many other Romanovs, he would ultimately escape the country.

Today in 1916: Germans Attack Canadians at Ypres
Today in 1915: Britain Announces Blockade of Turkey

Let’s be quite clear: Theresa May is forming a coalition with a racist, homophobic, misogynistic, climate-change-denying political party which has been vocally backed by active terror organisations such as the Ulster Volunteer Force, the Ulster Defense Association and the Red Hand Commando.

This is not a UKIP/Tory coalition. This is not even a BNP/Tory coalition. This is the effective sacrifice of the Good Friday peace agreement - which bound stalemated unionist and republican paramilitaries into networks of clientalist patronage in order to suppress the armed struggle - on the altar of Tory desperation.

The quiet assassination of Northern Irish peace which will surely follow the elevation of the DUP to the level of national kingmakers, even though they represent fewer than 1% of UK electors, makes the nation a more dangerous place for any right-thinking democrats who seek to defend the interests of their class and their communities.

If this Frankenstein coalition of ultras is permitted to come to maturity, a return to the political strangulation and even the outright military repression of dissenting communities seen across the UK during the Troubles is a very real possibility with such a weak and ransomed government.

June Must End May

Russia Rejects German Armistice Offer

June 9 1917, Petrograd–Since the Revolution, many of Russia’s soldiers had questioned why Russia should remain in the war.  The Provisional Government had (despite some objections) sworn off any goal of annexing territory or receiving reparations from the war, and urged other countries to do the same.  Despite this, they were unwilling to conduct a separate peace with Germany, a position they reiterated on June 9 by rejecting an armistice offer the Germans had broadcast by radio.  There were several reasons for this.  The new political leaders took Russia’s commitments to her Allies seriously, and did not want autocratic Germany to win the war in the west; if Russia pulled out now, there could very well be annexations elsewhere.  Furthermore, Russia, having suffered grave defeats in 1915, and now dealing with the aftermath of the Revolution, would be negotiating from a position of weakness, and would likely have to make many concessions to the Central Powers.  While much of the land occupied was in Poland (which the Provisional Government had promised independence anyway), a peace would likely still be humiliating for Russia and her government.

Lastly, the revolutionaries hoped (despite copious evidence to the contrary) that the war would unify Russia around the revolution, by defending it from a foreign threat.  Their favorite analogy was to France in the 1790’s, but this was flawed; Germany was not attempting to restore the Czar or undo the revolution.  

Often, the soldiers took matters into their own hands.  Around the same time, the soldiers’ committees of XXXIII Corps received a German officer, Lt. Bauermeister, who gave lectures well behind the Russian lines, saying that Germany wanted peace and that the Provisional Government was a tool of Allied bankers.  The speeches were well-received, and the men of XXXIII Corps declared that they wanted an armistice, raising white flags along their front, despite vehement protests from the officers.  The Germans were more than glad to go along with this, until the Russians launched a general offensive a few weeks later.  Elsewhere, soldiers increasingly found themselves drawn to the Bolsheviks, the only party advocating for an immediate peace.

Today in 1916: Franklin Roosevelt Promotes “Plattsburgh of the Sea”
Today in 1915: Italians Take Monfalcone, Repulsed Near Sagrado

Sources include: Orlando Figes, A People’s Tragedy.

say it with me kids:

Les Mis was the June Rebellion, not the french revolution

Les Mis was the June Rebellion, not the french revolution

Les Mis was the June Rebellion, not the french revolution

LES MIS WAS THE JUNE REBELLION, NOT THE FRENCH REVOLUTION

The continent-shaking Arab Spring began with the public self-immolation of a despairing fruit vendor in the bitter winter of 2010. Within a few short years, dictators had been brought down by the masses in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen.

What flows from the deaths of as many as ONE HUNDRED AND FUCKING FIFTY PEOPLE in a tower block fire which was explicitly caused by external cladding installed to appease the wealthy residents of neighbouring mansions - when the current government minister for fire safety is one of 72 Tory slum landlord MPs who voted against a motion to make social housing ‘fit for human habitation’?

That’s for us to decide.