In October 1917, the people of Russia overturned the rule of their despots and began to establish a new society. The founding principles of the Russian Revolution were that the economy should be organized to meet everyone’s needs, not to secure profits; democracy should be incorporated in the workplace as well as in the government; cooperation should replace competition as the basis of human relations; and minorities should gain self-determination.
One-hundred years later, there are many important lessons we can learn from the successes and failures of those days that shook the world. Can socialism be built in one country? Is there an alternative to professionalization and its attendant inequality? Is hierarchy the natural order of things? Can we develop a society in which it is “possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman, or critic?”
A series of speakers will be joining the School of Social Work (SSW) over the next several weeks to discuss what we can learn from the Russian Revolution concerning social work and our quest for social justice.
- On Nov. 6 at noon in the SSW auditorium, Bob Seidel of the Revolutionary Workers Group will offer an introduction to the Russian Revolution, followed by SSW Professor Michael Reisch, PhD, speaking on “Lessons of October for Social Work and Social Welfare.”
- On Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. in the SSW auditorium, Professor William Mello, PhD, of the Indiana University School of Social Work, Department of Labor Studies, will reflect on “Lessons from October for Organizing against Oppression in a Diverse and Divided Society.”
Light refreshments will be available outside the auditorium before the events, and the audience will have an opportunity to engage with the speakers. All are welcome to attend — including members of the University and the broader community.
— Jeff Singer