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5

The Prehistory of 1917

23
terms
4
notes

Miéville, C. (2017). The Prehistory of 1917. In Miéville, C. October: The Story of the Russian Revolution. Verso, pp. 5-38

(noun) an authoritative command or order to do something; an effectual decree

6

He populates his city by fiat, ordering merchants and nobles to relocate to the nascent metropolis

Peter the Great building St Petersburg (early 1700s)

—p.6 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

He populates his city by fiat, ordering merchants and nobles to relocate to the nascent metropolis

Peter the Great building St Petersburg (early 1700s)

—p.6 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

having many varied parts or aspects; multifaceted

7

he becomes ‘Tsar of All Russias’, head of a colossal and multifarious empire

—p.7 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

he becomes ‘Tsar of All Russias’, head of a colossal and multifarious empire

—p.7 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

(adjective) requiring immediate aid or action / (adjective) requiring or calling for much; demanding

7

it is not their softening hearts that drives this. It is anxiety at waves of peasant riots and rebellions, and it is the exigencies of development

on Alexander II emancipating serfs in 1861

—p.7 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

it is not their softening hearts that drives this. It is anxiety at waves of peasant riots and rebellions, and it is the exigencies of development

on Alexander II emancipating serfs in 1861

—p.7 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

arranged (scales, sepals, plates, etc.) so that they overlap like roof tiles

8

poverty drives them to seasonal labour in construction, mining, industry and commerce legal and illegal. Thus they become imbricated with the country’s small but growing working class.

on peasants

—p.8 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

poverty drives them to seasonal labour in construction, mining, industry and commerce legal and illegal. Thus they become imbricated with the country’s small but growing working class.

on peasants

—p.8 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

difficult to control; unruly; irritable and quarrelsome

11

The Marxists are a gaggle of émigrés, reprobates, scholars and workers, in a close weave of family, friendship and intellectual connections, political endeavour and polemic. They tangle in a fractious snarl.

—p.11 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

The Marxists are a gaggle of émigrés, reprobates, scholars and workers, in a close weave of family, friendship and intellectual connections, political endeavour and polemic. They tangle in a fractious snarl.

—p.11 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

a summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of questions and answers, used for the instruction of Christians

14

They have come up against a conundrum of left catechism: how does a movement go about being socialist in an unripe country with a weak and marginal capitalism, a vast and ‘backward’ peasantry, and a monarchy that has not had the decency to undergo its bourgeois revolution?

—p.14 by China Miéville
confirm
2 years, 11 months ago

They have come up against a conundrum of left catechism: how does a movement go about being socialist in an unripe country with a weak and marginal capitalism, a vast and ‘backward’ peasantry, and a monarchy that has not had the decency to undergo its bourgeois revolution?

—p.14 by China Miéville
confirm
2 years, 11 months ago

(adjective) stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing / (adjective) hardened in feelings / (adjective) resistant to persuasion or softening influences

15

They are a close, loving family, and, given the tsar and tsarina’s obdurate myopia, they are utterly doomed.

—p.15 by China Miéville
confirm
2 years, 11 months ago

They are a close, loving family, and, given the tsar and tsarina’s obdurate myopia, they are utterly doomed.

—p.15 by China Miéville
confirm
2 years, 11 months ago

(noun, Greek mythology) protective mantle of Zeus given to Athena

16

In 1902, a police-union strike takes over the whole city of Odessa. Similar mass protests spread throughout south Russia the following year, and not all under the aegis of the authorities’ puppet bodies

—p.16 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

In 1902, a police-union strike takes over the whole city of Odessa. Similar mass protests spread throughout south Russia the following year, and not all under the aegis of the authorities’ puppet bodies

—p.16 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

a feeling of offense or deep resentment

16

But various fits of huff and dudgeon ensue on other issues

—p.16 by China Miéville
confirm
2 years, 11 months ago

But various fits of huff and dudgeon ensue on other issues

—p.16 by China Miéville
confirm
2 years, 11 months ago
17

It is in the twenty-second session of that gathering that a chasm opens between the delegates, a split remarkable not only for its depth, but also for the seeming triviality of its catalyst. The question is whether a party member should be one who ‘recognises the party’s programme and supports it by material means and by regular personal association under the direction of one of the party organisations’, or ‘by personal participation in one of the party organisations’. Martov demands the former. Lenin stakes all on the latter

Relations between the two have been cooling for some time. Now after an intense, vigorous debate, Martov wins, twenty-eight to twenty-three. But various fits of huff and dudgeon ensue on other issues, and by the time the party leadership is to be decided, walkouts by the Jewish socialist group the Bund and by the Economist Marxists mean Martov has lost eight of his original supporters. Lenin manages to push through his choices for the Central Committee. Minority in Russian is menshinstvo, majority bolshinstvo. From these words the two great wings of Russian Marxism take their names: Martov’s Mensheviks and Lenin’s Bolsheviks.

In 1903, at the Second Congress of the RSDWP

—p.17 by China Miéville 2 years, 11 months ago

It is in the twenty-second session of that gathering that a chasm opens between the delegates, a split remarkable not only for its depth, but also for the seeming triviality of its catalyst. The question is whether a party member should be one who ‘recognises the party’s programme and supports it by material means and by regular personal association under the direction of one of the party organisations’, or ‘by personal participation in one of the party organisations’. Martov demands the former. Lenin stakes all on the latter

Relations between the two have been cooling for some time. Now after an intense, vigorous debate, Martov wins, twenty-eight to twenty-three. But various fits of huff and dudgeon ensue on other issues, and by the time the party leadership is to be decided, walkouts by the Jewish socialist group the Bund and by the Economist Marxists mean Martov has lost eight of his original supporters. Lenin manages to push through his choices for the Central Committee. Minority in Russian is menshinstvo, majority bolshinstvo. From these words the two great wings of Russian Marxism take their names: Martov’s Mensheviks and Lenin’s Bolsheviks.

In 1903, at the Second Congress of the RSDWP

—p.17 by China Miéville 2 years, 11 months ago

express vehement protest

19

That evening, Gapon, his world view shattered, ‘red hot’, Krupskaya will recall, ‘from the breath of the revolution’, fulminates to a crowd of survivors: ‘We have no Tsar!’

on Bloody Sunday (Jan 9, 1905)

—p.19 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

That evening, Gapon, his world view shattered, ‘red hot’, Krupskaya will recall, ‘from the breath of the revolution’, fulminates to a crowd of survivors: ‘We have no Tsar!’

on Bloody Sunday (Jan 9, 1905)

—p.19 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago
20

Prominent in the Zhitomir attack were the Black Hundreds, an umbrella name for various cells of proto-fascist ultra-reactionaries, which sprang up out of authoritarian outrage at the 1905 revolution. They are apt to sprinkle a few populist calls, such as for land redistribution, atop fervour for an autocratic tsar – Nicholas II is an honorary member – and murderous spite against non-Russians, most particularly Jews [...]

sounds terrifyingly familira

—p.20 by China Miéville 2 years, 11 months ago

Prominent in the Zhitomir attack were the Black Hundreds, an umbrella name for various cells of proto-fascist ultra-reactionaries, which sprang up out of authoritarian outrage at the 1905 revolution. They are apt to sprinkle a few populist calls, such as for land redistribution, atop fervour for an autocratic tsar – Nicholas II is an honorary member – and murderous spite against non-Russians, most particularly Jews [...]

sounds terrifyingly familira

—p.20 by China Miéville 2 years, 11 months ago

the part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind

21

directing the enthusiasms of Orthodoxy against ‘Christ-killers’, fever dreams of blood-drinking Jews, icons and eschatology and mysticism in the service of depravity

on the Black Hundreds

—p.21 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

directing the enthusiasms of Orthodoxy against ‘Christ-killers’, fever dreams of blood-drinking Jews, icons and eschatology and mysticism in the service of depravity

on the Black Hundreds

—p.21 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

(noun) the quality or state of being pusillanimous; cowardliness

23

The Bolsheviks, by contrast, contend that in the context of pusillanimous liberalism, the working class itself must lead the revolution, in alliance not with those liberals but with the peasantry

the big internecine fight of the era

—p.23 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

The Bolsheviks, by contrast, contend that in the context of pusillanimous liberalism, the working class itself must lead the revolution, in alliance not with those liberals but with the peasantry

the big internecine fight of the era

—p.23 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

(noun) a movement made by bending the last joint of the finger against the thumb and suddenly releasing it; a flick of the finger OR something which acts as a stimulus or boost to an activity

23

In a fillip to Russian liberalism, Nicholas concedes the principles of legislative powers for the Duma and limited suffrage for urban male workers.

I think this uses the latter meaning

—p.23 by China Miéville
uncertain
2 years, 11 months ago

In a fillip to Russian liberalism, Nicholas concedes the principles of legislative powers for the Duma and limited suffrage for urban male workers.

I think this uses the latter meaning

—p.23 by China Miéville
uncertain
2 years, 11 months ago

(adjective) keen, sharp / (adjective) vigorously effective and articulate / (adjective) caustic / (adjective) sharply perceptive; penetrating / (adjective) clear-cut, distinct

26

A trenchant sense of culture, discipline and consciousness, of outright irreconcilability with the bourgeoisie

—p.26 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

A trenchant sense of culture, discipline and consciousness, of outright irreconcilability with the bourgeoisie

—p.26 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

(adjective) of or resembling Proteus in having a varied nature or ability to assume different forms / (adjective) displaying great diversity or variety; versatile

26

In this fraught and protean political culture, the pride and shame of the oppressed are inextricable.

—p.26 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

In this fraught and protean political culture, the pride and shame of the oppressed are inextricable.

—p.26 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

(noun) a low or downcast state; degradation / (noun) the act of making abject; humbling rejection

28

Cities full of cutting-edge industries imported from Europe punctuate a vastness where four-fifths of the people are peasants tied to the soil, in near-feudal abjection.

—p.28 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

Cities full of cutting-edge industries imported from Europe punctuate a vastness where four-fifths of the people are peasants tied to the soil, in near-feudal abjection.

—p.28 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

(adjective) mournful / (adjective) exaggeratedly or affectedly mournful / (adjective) dismal

28

he Orthodox Church propagates its lugubrious and ornate moralism – against which chafe dissenting sects, minorities, sexual dissidents in the cities’ queer hinterlands, radicals.

—p.28 by China Miéville
uncertain
2 years, 11 months ago

he Orthodox Church propagates its lugubrious and ornate moralism – against which chafe dissenting sects, minorities, sexual dissidents in the cities’ queer hinterlands, radicals.

—p.28 by China Miéville
uncertain
2 years, 11 months ago

(noun) ; something that connects; as / (noun) the connecting link between subject and predicate of a proposition / (noun) linking verb

30

They want increased pay, the dismissal of hated supervisors and – again that copula of economic and political demands – the eight-hour day

—p.30 by China Miéville
confirm
2 years, 11 months ago

They want increased pay, the dismissal of hated supervisors and – again that copula of economic and political demands – the eight-hour day

—p.30 by China Miéville
confirm
2 years, 11 months ago

the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation (adj: semiotic)

31

In August 1914, the name of St Petersburg itself is changed to the more Slavonic Petrograd: in semiotic rebellion against this idiocy, the local Bolsheviks continue to style themselves the ‘Petersburg Committee’.

—p.31 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

In August 1914, the name of St Petersburg itself is changed to the more Slavonic Petrograd: in semiotic rebellion against this idiocy, the local Bolsheviks continue to style themselves the ‘Petersburg Committee’.

—p.31 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

a hardening of tissue and other anatomical features / becoming rigid and unresponsive; losing the ability to adapt

31

Liberals now pledge themselves again to the sclerotic regime the modernisation of which is their notional raison d’être. ‘We demand nothing’, simpers Milyukov, ‘and impose no conditions.’

some things never change I guess

—p.31 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

Liberals now pledge themselves again to the sclerotic regime the modernisation of which is their notional raison d’être. ‘We demand nothing’, simpers Milyukov, ‘and impose no conditions.’

some things never change I guess

—p.31 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

insulting, abusive, or highly critical language

32

Lenin will not call him comrade, will not shake his hand. Lenin damns his old collaborator with remorseless cold invective.

this guy can be such a drama queen

—p.32 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

Lenin will not call him comrade, will not shake his hand. Lenin damns his old collaborator with remorseless cold invective.

this guy can be such a drama queen

—p.32 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

(adjective) full of danger or uncertainty; precarious

32

But the country’s armed forces, albeit somewhat modernised since 1904, are still in a parlous state.

—p.32 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

But the country’s armed forces, albeit somewhat modernised since 1904, are still in a parlous state.

—p.32 by China Miéville
notable
2 years, 11 months ago

(adjective) prophetic, oracular; describing or predicting what will happen in the future

35

he certainly emanates a vatic intensity reminiscent of its practices

Rasputin

—p.35 by China Miéville
uncertain
2 years, 11 months ago

he certainly emanates a vatic intensity reminiscent of its practices

Rasputin

—p.35 by China Miéville
uncertain
2 years, 11 months ago
36

Nicholas receives word after desperate word that he must alter course to survive. The British ambassador transgresses protocol to warn him he is on the brink of 'revolution and disaster'.

Nothing seems to stir behind those placid tsarry eyes.

hahaha this is gold

—p.36 by China Miéville 2 years, 11 months ago

Nicholas receives word after desperate word that he must alter course to survive. The British ambassador transgresses protocol to warn him he is on the brink of 'revolution and disaster'.

Nothing seems to stir behind those placid tsarry eyes.

hahaha this is gold

—p.36 by China Miéville 2 years, 11 months ago
38

The tsarina is overcome with pious grief. The right are delighted, hoping Alexandra will now repair to an asylum, and that Nicholas will magically gain a resolve he has never had. But Rasputin, colourful as he was, was only ever a morbid symptom. His murder is not a palace coup. It is not a coup at all.

What will end the Russian regime is not the gruesome death of that pantomime figure too outlandish to be invented; nor is it the epochal tetchiness of Russian liberals; nor the outrage of monarchists at an inadequate monarch.

What will end it comes up from below.

after Rasputin is murdered

—p.38 by China Miéville 2 years, 11 months ago

The tsarina is overcome with pious grief. The right are delighted, hoping Alexandra will now repair to an asylum, and that Nicholas will magically gain a resolve he has never had. But Rasputin, colourful as he was, was only ever a morbid symptom. His murder is not a palace coup. It is not a coup at all.

What will end the Russian regime is not the gruesome death of that pantomime figure too outlandish to be invented; nor is it the epochal tetchiness of Russian liberals; nor the outrage of monarchists at an inadequate monarch.

What will end it comes up from below.

after Rasputin is murdered

—p.38 by China Miéville 2 years, 11 months ago