A new direction needed for Extinction Rebellion?

A fellow Extinction Rebellion (XR) activist in Cork recently referred me to this interview with Roger Hallam on the BBC’s HARDtalk show:

This new approach is outlined in more detail in a recent much longer talk Hallam gave in Penzance, Cornwall:

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have been very critical of Hallam’s general perspectives on XR and its role in the struggle to avert catastrophic ecological collapse.

However on the basis of this interview and the new “Time to Act Now” presentation it seems there might be the beginnings of movement towards more of a consensus.

Hallam is correct that capitalism is destroying the very basis for its continued existence as a result of its inability to make the fundamental social changes required to avert catastrophic ecological collapse.

I have sometimes heard this recognition that capitalism is destroying itself used as a justification for opposing the idea that XR needs to take on an anti-capitalist perspective. Why bother taking on the difficult task of building an anti-capitalist movement if capitalism is going to do the job for us anyway?

But those who make such arguments would do well to dwell on Hallam’s prediction for what happens if capitalism does simply collapse as a coherent social system in the face of the ecological crisis.

Social chaos and a collapse of civilisation as a result of mass starvation with 6 billion dead by the end of the century.

Sure capitalism as we understand it won’t exist in that world but the untold horrors that will have occurred as a result of its collapse don’t bear thinking about and must be avoided at all costs.

One thing that immediately springs to mind from this interview is where does it leave XR’s demands on capitalist governments to tell the truth and take decisive action against climate change? Hallam correctly outlines the reality that the capitalist elites and their governments have lied to us, continue to do so and they show no signs of stopping telling those lies. It is effectively business as usual with even their verbal commitments to meeting the outdated and insufficient targets of the Paris Agreement barely worth the paper they are written on.

So why should XR continue to make, what must therefore be completely pointless, demands on capitalist governments to tell the truth and act accordingly when they have so clearly shown they are not prepared to do either of those things?

This is the truth of where we are and that should have some consequences for what our demands are and how we organise. Hallam is right to say in the interview that a revolution is coming. He further says:

“If the elites don’t respond to non-violent action then you know what’s going to come next – people other than Extinction Rebellion will use violence. That’s what’s coming down the road.”

Later he says:

“A critical mass of people are starting to realise what’s going on, which is that the elites and the governments aren’t actually going to do anything. They are not going to fulfill their primary responsibility which is to look after the people.”

As an aside I would dispute the idea that the primary responsibility of a capitalist government has anything to do with looking after the mass of the people – that is a myth they perpetuate to help contain social struggles within acceptable limited boundaries. Their real primary responsibility is to facilitate the operation of the market and the obscene capital accumulation that results from that.

But what is clear from this comment, even if Hallam doesn’t seem to realise it, is that he has just said that the current XR strategy of trying to force the elites and their governments into taking the action required to avert the coming catastrophe has no possibility of success.

There is an argument that making these demands on the government exposes their to either tell the truth or act accordingly. That is true but the demands don’t just do that. They also imply that the government can actually do these things.

However the more XR highlights the truth that the elites and their governments have been lying to us, are lying to us and there is no evidence that they plan to stop lying to us along with it being clear that is business as usual for them the more the demands on them to do otherwise start to lose there efficacy as a propaganda tool.

More importantly the current perspective is a problem in terms of what it means for the time and resources XR are committing to this effectively pointless strategy and associated demands.

Hallam is of course absolutely right that disruption tactics and personal sacrifice by activists will indeed be an integral part of our struggle. But without a coherent strategy for dealing with the reality of the unwillingness/inability of the elites and their governments to do what is necessary that disruption and personal sacrifice will not be enough. The level of civil disobedience disruption required to actually achieve the level of social change required to both avert the worst of the coming catastrophe and to have a just transition that can deal with the effects of ecological collapse that are already locked in is also far greater than what he is projecting.

The examples that Hallam refers to in the longer public talk of victorious campaigns of civil disobedience actually provides confirmation of my contention about their limitations.

None of these campaigns got anywhere near the level of social change that is required now. As Hallam says. we need fundamental system change – not just a change in some policies or in the specific make-up of those who rule us.

  • Are the Indian masses free of exploitation after changing their governmental rulers from British to local Indians?
  • Are African Americans in the USA free from racist persecution as a result of the formal end of Jim Crow segregation?
  • Has the fossil fuel industry, backed by trillions of $/€/£ from international finance capital, stopped, or even slowed, its operations as a result of successful direct action divestment campaigns in universities?
  • Was a real climate emergency and climate action plan worthy of the name implemented by the British government as the result of the XR disruption in central London in April?

Unfortunately the answer to each of these questions is a resounding No. While I think it is simplistic to view these campaigns in isolation from other developments in social struggle it is certainly true that these campaigns and actions resulted in immediate victories, of varying degree, which all progressive people would have supported. However they were not the kind of “structural changes” Hallam says are necessary – at least not on the magnitude of structural social change we need to confront the coming social and ecological catastrophes.

The simple truth is that we need to end the rule of private capital.

All this points to the need for XR to change its strategy to an openly anti-capitalist perspective.

Fundamental changes in how our society produces, distributes and consumes things need to be made to avert the horrors that are otherwise coming. If the capitalist elite are not going to make those changes (as Hallam states – and I agree with him) then how will it happen?

It can only be achieved by, alongside the disruptive civil disobedience, building alternative social governance structures as part of an explicitly revolutionary anti-capitalist movement. A movement which can replace capitalism before the horrors resulting from a collapsing capitalist system become too much for any kind of coherent social response to make any difference. Such a social collapse, in the absence of a revolutionary movement capable of providing an alternative social structure, would mean it was not possible to prevent a descent into horrific social barbarism and even potential extinction as a species.


A contribution to the XR discussion on strategy and non-violence

I was recently referred to a video of XR leading figure Roger Hallam where he outlines his understanding of the XR strategy and how non-violence fits into that.

Unfortunately as an XR activist in Cork I would find it impossible to promote the core elements of his message without that meaning I was lying to myself and whoever I was discussing it with.

Hallam says (at just after 6 minutes):

“…it’s about …getting things into a situation that you can actually get into the room with government and that’s what it’s about.”

Frankly that is not how I would understand a rebellion against the government and socio-economic establishment as described in the Declaration of Rebellion document circulated by XR. Instead Hallam is presenting a plan for negotiation with the political representatives of the capitalist socio-economic system that has got us into this existential crisis.

At about 7:40 he uses statistics about success vs failure for non-violent vs violent uprisings. This is used to justify his extreme “non-violence under any circumstances” position. However the actual piece of research being referred to does not define the term “non-violent” and only defines “violent” social struggles as those where more than 1,000 people died – which by implication means “non-violent” social struggles are those where 1000 or fewer people died. (https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/isec.2008.33.1.7?fbclid=IwAR3L_IOVsruDGvBeUjR0OxWeKdpq05flzNXB7g2YSQ0WG1VIVbFANAX83hc&)

Hallam is therefore making a semantic conflation of two quite different understandings of the term “non-violent”. His claim that his version of non-violence as the route to social change is “massively more effective than violence” (12:00) is not backed up by the actual research in his “gold standard” study.

My understanding that non-violent protest includes the right to self-defence if attacked would certainly fall within the research study’s implied use of the term “non-violent”. I know there are some in XR Cork/Ireland who reject that view and certainly it is at odds with Hallam’s sacrificial approach of just “taking it” (just after 11 minutes) – be that beatings or even death! But I also know that there are a good number of other XR activists who share my view.

I was involved in successful semi-mass (we were approaching the much quoted 3.5% figure of active participants in Cobh and certainly had more than that in terms of support who would come out on a protest march) non-violent direct action in Cobh during the campaign against water charges and meter installations (including being one of those arrested in non-violently disrupting meter installations). But this did not involve a perspective of rejecting the right to self-defence if things got nasty. We did not instigate any violence but the meter installers and Gardai knew that if they had been violent towards us then it would not have gone easily for them.

There are many places on the earth, primarily in the global south, where there are truly fearless activists for social change, including environmental activists, who do get beaten and killed. But unfortunately that actually doesn’t simply mean “that is when you win” (11:39) as Hallam claims.

I do not accept his false dichotomy that “for 30 years we’ve had, you know, particularly in the Western world we’ve just had the NGOs, send an email, send a cheque – obviously hasn’t worked. And then we’ve just had violence, you know with the young guys throwing stones and all the rest of it.” (12:12)

Certainly those two failed strategies have existed but to reduce all social struggle in the past 30 years to just those two alternatives is fatuous. Especially for someone who claims to have done serious study of movements for social change.

The real irony is I agree completely with his statement that “it’s over in terms of conventional campaigning right, we’ve had 30 years of it. And the reason it’s over is because we’ve all realised that it’s not going to change because there’s too many people making too much money out of destroying the world – ok. That’s just the way it is. So what we have to do is find a method of struggle that is going to deal with that in the most optimal way.” (13:08)

But then Hallam returns to his false dichotomy:

“So what I’ve been trying to communicate is the whole NGO thing is great but it doesn’t work and the whole violence thing is great but it doesn’t work – right. So what we’ve got is this thing which combines the best of both worlds – right. It’s like, it’s nice in so much as it’s non-violent but it’s super disruptive like violence – right. So it’s the best of both worlds.”

It is like the struggles of the organised working class were completely off the table as an option.

In debate terms what Hallam is doing here is creating a false dichotomy fallacy to then justify a middle-ground fallacy. And all based on an appeal to authority fallacy which is actually misrepresenting the content of the authority being appealed to.

But even if someone is convinced by Hallam’s jumbled logic chopping it gets worse:

“So what this civil resistance model means is really actually straightforward. Obviously there are variations on the theme but it means this. There are a number of key criteria. First of all you have to go to the capital city. Why? Because that’s where the elites are. That’s where the government is. That’s where the rich and powerful are. And all the rest of it. And you have to disrupt their lives. They’re not bothered about people doing things in the jungle or you know on the periphery. That’s just like ‘whatever’ for them. But if you’re going to block like Westminster for a week they’re going to get upset – you can absolutely guarantee that, right.”

There is something of a myth that “London was shut down” during the April “Rebellion”. Certainly a fair amount of disruption was caused in a few parts of the centre of the city but London was far from “shut down”. I highly doubt if any of the top layer of the rich and powerful who make all the big decisions had their lives disrupted to any significant degree. There was probably some impact on the cash flow and profits of those retailers close to the disrupted bridges and perhaps some people were late for work or had longer travel journeys but for the most part it was business as usual for British capitalism.

“So the second thing is obviously as we’ve talked about it’s got to be non-violent. Because lots of good people are going to come down onto the streets of the capital and they haven’t heard anything about non-violence and you need to have pieces of paper and people going around saying ‘this is the deal’ right. And you think that might be difficult. It’s not difficult as long as you’ve set that culture already in train. Do you see what I mean? Because most people are herd animal types. Then they are just going to go ‘they’re not going to be violent, so I’m not’ – do you see what I mean?”

Obviously the thing that jumps out here is the “most people are herd animal types” comment. Presumably that excludes the XR leaders like Hallam – who are the enlightened ones dong the herding. If this patronising approach to rank-and-file activists genuinely represents the culture of the XR leadership then something is very wrong indeed.

“The third thing is you need a load of people to do it – alright. Not millions right, you don’t need a national uprising. You need something between 20,000 and 30,000 people.”

Of course this depends on what the “it” that needs doing is. If all you want is to get enough publicity from your disruptive stunts that gets you into meetings with government ministers then he is probably more or less right on the numbers. But if you want real change in “our toxic system” so that no longer will there be “too many people making too much money out of destroying the world” then a national (actually international) uprising is exactly what will be required.

“And then this is what happens. You’ve got those three criteria. Capital city, non-violence and lots of people. There is a fourth criteria – it’s got to be fun – right. So all these big like mobilisations they have pop stars coming, and singing, and theatre and sand-pits for the kids. You know what I mean? You’re basically prefiguring a society through your resistance struggle – ok.”

So “pop stars coming, and singing, and theatre and sand-pits for the kids” is what the new society will be about? Maybe that will be part of it but far more important will be the new forms of social governance so that the decisions that affect our lives are made truly democratically and in the interests of meeting human needs and wants rather than by a tiny handful in the name of profit maximisation and maintaining and extending the current gross levels of income inequality.

Apparently what takes this strategy “into the stratosphere of political effectiveness” (16:48) is by it being not just a one-off event but day-after-day. Once again it is all about negotiation with a system where there are “too many people making too much money out of destroying the world”. It makes me wonder if the real aim is not to replace that toxic system but rather to reform it so that it is just “not so many people making not so much money out of destroying the world”. It is certainly hard to see where the idea of a “just transition” fits in to negotiating with the captialist system which is inherently unjust.

This video of Hallam was posted on 3 March 2019 before the first Rebellion week in London in April and that actually more or less went to Hallam’s plan.

XR got its meeting with senior UK government and opposition parliamentarians and the government announced a “climate emergency”.

But of course it was a completely insufficient “climate emergency” with a “climate action plan” based on carbon neutrality by 2050 at best and it does not legally compel the UK government to take any action so who knows whether even these insufficient targets will be met. Given that the actual “emergency” that will overshadow everything for the next few years is likely to be Brexit any talk of measures to act against climate change which will negatively affect profits will be completely off the table.

A lot more is going to be required if there is to be any chance of averting a catastrophic ecological collapse. Instead of symbolic protests in big cities aimed at causing traffic disruption there has to be a move towards disruption of the productive processes of those contributing to green house gas emissions – through both blockades and strikes. And part of that will be creating a movement that knows that self-defence is no offence because when profits are directly threatened the state will take off the kid gloves that have, for the most part, governed their response to XR protests. A movement that is about building alternative forms of social governance rather than the fantasy of pressuring the capitalist government to stop capitalism being capitalist.


“We need to be together” in fighting climate change?

Gail Bradbrook, one of the central figures in XR, spoke last week at CogX – a big business conference in London on “The Festival of AI and Emerging Technology.

The bulk of her presentation was about outlining just how dire the situation is – that we stand on the precipice of ecological collapse, and possibly even extinction of the human species.

During this she made the what for me was a quite amazing statement (9:10 into the video) – “I’m not organising protests, I’m organising a rebellion against my government.”

Firstly it should be noted that “I’m organising…” is quite an interesting way to describe her role in what it supposed to be a leaderless organisation – must have been a Freudian slip of the pen (in this pre-written presentation).

But the main point of this blog post is to compare that sentiment about being part of a rebellion against the government with her later comment (10:59) – “We need to be together through that crisis” – directed at the assembled capitalists in the audience.

Firstly climate change activists must recognise the reality that there is no “we” in the context of fighting to make the massive changes in the processes of production, distribution and exchange that will be necessary to limit the extent of ecological collapse to a level that does not result in the end of civilisation as we know it – and to cope in a socially just way with the significant negative effects already baked into the environmental degradation that has already occurred.

International capitalism is simply incapable of making the changes necessary as that will interfere with the insatiable drive for profit maximisation and capital accumulation at any social/environmental cost that drives this insane social system. This was made clear in a Guardian article on Saturday “Hopes for climate progress falter with coal still king across Asia” which referenced another report from the previous day “Carbon emissions from energy industry rise at fastest rate since 2011“.

Secondly the idea that XR is a rebellion against the government is bizarre. Those of us who try to pose a more rebellious and openly anti-capitalist perspective run up against the realpolitik of the XR leadership who are doing all they can to keep the demands and actions of XR within a framework of applying moral pressure on the government to get to the negotiating table to talk about green reforms within capitalism.

Unless the XR and the wider environmental movement against climate change adopt an openly anti-capitalist approach as part of building a “rebellion” worthy of the name then to quote Bradbrook, no doubt wanting to prove her rebellious credentials, – “we are fucked”.


What would a real climate emergency look like?

A contribution to the discussion in XR Cork on strategy

Thinking about the upcoming meeting to discuss strategy it struck me that it would be useful for us to be clear about what we understand our starting point to be as that will necessarily frame any detailed discussion on strategy.
XR in Ireland faces something of a problem because two of the initial demands – for the government to declare a climate emergency and for the government to implement the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly – have been met (the second of these is of course still a work in progress but the proposed legislation based on the report of the JOCCA is very similar to the recommendations of the CA).

As we all know the government’s proposal for concrete implementation of the climate emergency is grossly insufficient given that it is based on a target data of 2050 for zero net carbon emissions. And this is assuming they meet 100% of their objectives – which given their approach to other “emergencies”, such as health and housing, is highly doubtful to say the least.

The government’s target date is based on the Paris Agreement of 2016 which all recent evidence indicates was too conservative as the speed of change has been far greater than was expected at the time – as per XR Ireland’s much more realistic demand for a target date of 2030 for zero net carbon emissions.

I therefore propose that a central strategic task for the coming period is to educate the public about this reality of the insufficiency of the government’s plan and the key elements of a plan that might actually work. It is obviously not enough to just be critical of the government’s plan. We will need to provide an alternative vision of what we believe a real climate emergency would look like. Given our resources this will necessarily be more broad-stroke than the fine detail of the government’s proposal but the difference in approach should still be clear enough. I would expect that the core difference would be that we need to assert that in the overriding interests of preventing a climate apocalypse it will be necessary to aggressively infringe on traditional private property ‘rights’ – this core elements of the system maximising private profit, which has created the problem in the first place, needs to be negated if viable solutions are to be implemented.

Such a vision could also have an impact on more than just the content of our education material for the public but also affect how we organise, what our targets for disruption will be and what forms that disruption will take.

If this suggested approach is accepted I would like to make some further suggestions to start discussion on what might form part of an alternative to the government’s inadequate “climate emergency”.

– The scientific and technical resources available in society should be mobilised for the implementation of the concrete details of the climate emergency action plan and research into more efficient responses, while maintaining sufficient resources for the operation and maintenance of essential infrastructure, education & medical facilities and other necessary social functions.

– Full transparency about all decisions regarding the processes of production and distribution, both in the public and private sector, to assess their impact on climate change and biodiversity. Processes with a negative impact on the climate or biodiversity required to have a concrete plan outlining the pathway to their removal/replacement as part of the overall climate action plan.

– The climate action plan will extend to cover all the productive capacity in society so that rational decisions can be made about prioritising the fast and extensive development of renewable energy sources while making sure to guarantee pathways for retraining and new jobs for anyone working in areas of economic activity being phased out due to their negative impact on the climate action plan.

– Social and economic inequality must be addressed as an integral element in the fight to stave off ecological collapse — therefore all actions by the central climate action committee as part of the necessary climate action plan must be in keeping with the ideas of a just transition, where protection of the living standards of working people and ensuring adequate living standards for the most vulnerable will be prioritised.

– A fast transition away from all fossil fuel powered transport. All new vehicles, in both the sphere of distribution and private transport, to be electrically powered. A massive expansion of electrified free public transport to incentivise a move away from reliance on private cars.

– A clear pathway for a transition from an agricultural sector dominated by beef and dairy production to a more diversified farming model with an emphasis on sustainable, rather than industrial, farming methods.

– Climate action committees in every workplace, town and city suburb linked in a delegate based national network to facilitate implementation of the concrete action plans of the climate emergency by monitoring the activities of all public and private organisations in their area to ensure their operations are in line with the climate action plan as well as providing feedback from the grassroots up to the central climate action committee on possible improvements to the climate action plan.

– The central climate action committee have unrestricted access on demand to every component of the mass media, both private and public sector, for the purposes of informing the public about the climate and biodiversity emergency, mobilising popular support, communicating the urgency of the need for change and the consequences of not doing so and providing regular updates on the status of current implementation plans and future proposals.

Alan Gibson


CO2 emissions are right on target…

Earlier this week it was reported that carbon dioxide levels had hit a new high, not just in terms of human history but for hundreds of thousands of years – https://www.fin24.com/Economy/carbon-dioxide-levels-hit-800-000-year-record-20190509

As this chart from a 1982 Exxon report shows this was completely in line with the expectations of scientists working for this fossil fuel giant:

(Full 1982 report available at http://bit.ly/2W1bBDZ)

This is all explained in more detail in this analysis from 2015:




Bringing the revolution to the women of the East. The Zhenotdel experience in Soviet Central Asia through the lens of Kommunistka.

Anne Mcshane has recently completed a PhD thesis looking at the work of the Bolshevik’s women’s organisation, the Zhenotdel, in the early years of the Russian Revolution – with a particular emphasis on the experience in Central Asia.

I think her work highlights the importance of women’s liberation and how it needs to stand at the heart of the communist project.

I reproduce her introduction and chapter outline below. The full thesis is available to download as a PDF


In this thesis I consider the role of the Women’s Department of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Zhenotdel) in early Soviet Central Asia, and primarily in Uzbekistan. The historical period under examination begins in 1920, in the months leading up to the conclusion of the civil war and ends in March 1930 in the first years of Stalin’s Five Year Plan.1 This was a time of momentous change, not least for the women’s movement that had emerged after the revolution. The first leaders of the Zhenotdel believed that finally the time had come for them to lead the way in transforming the lives of Soviet women and thus provide an example to the wider world. It was a period when debate still took place within Communist Party journals, and when some of those debates centred on issues of sexual equality and the development of a new type of human relationships in a society free from capitalist repression.

My research is based on a close reading and original analysis of articles from the journal Kommunistka,2 the central organ of the Zhenotdel, which was the forum for theoretical debates, meeting and congress reports and discussion of strategy. It provides a window into the world of Zhenotdel activists in the first years of the Soviet Union. I initially considered exploring Russian archival materials on the Central Asian Zhenotdel, either as an alternative or a supplement to Kommunistka. However, I decided that a focus on Kommunistka was an important opportunity to obtain an insight into what was within the knowledge of activists and subscribers who did not have access to private meetings. It would also allow an understanding of the degree to which Zhenotdel activists were willing and able to publicly fight for and debate their ideas and the manner in which they expressed criticism. Finally, it would provide an opportunity to review previous analyses which drew on Kommunistka in a limited way as a supplement to other materials, by using it instead as a key source for extensive and targetted analysis of reports and articles concerning the Zhenotdel’s work in Central Asia over the entire ten years of its existence.

I initially planned to consider the entire region described in Kommunistka as the ‘East’. This encompassed the Caucuses, including Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, as well as the Tatar and Chuvash oblasts of Soviet Russia, the Soviet ‘Far East’ bordering Korea and China, the North Eastern region which included Siberia, and Central Asia. The peoples of this vast region had extremely diverse histories, languages, cultures and religions. The diversity was reflected in the position of women within those societies, from the relatively secular Tatar women who engaged in public life, to the secluded Uzbek women, to the semi-nomadic women of the Yakut peoples. Having translated a number of articles from across the entire region, I decided that the experiences were too varied to allow for a systematic analysis of the ideological and policy agenda of the Zhenotdel.

Another key reason for focusing on Central Asia, and particularly on Uzbekistan, connects with the reason for focusing on Kommunistka as my sole primary source. It was because of my wish to relate my research to existing literature on the role of the Zhenotdel in the region. I wanted to recontextualise existing studies which have focused in the main on the dramatic events of 1927 in Uzbekistan, when the Sredazburo (CPSU Central Asian Bureau) used the language of women’s liberation to launch an attack on the social fabric of that society.3The current literature on this attack on indigenous society, known as the Hujum (meaning ‘assault’ in Turkic); which was aimed primarily at the public unveiling of secluded women in Uzbekistan, has largely considered the Zhenotdel to be either a loyal ally, or a servant of the Central Party leadership during what was essentially a struggle for authoritarian domination. This seems to me to be a problematic analysis, especially when viewed in the wider context of literature on the Zhenotdel in other parts of the Soviet Union, which demonstrates a great deal of conflict between the Zhenotdel and the Party, both centrally and locally.4 Such analyses are limited, further, by their consideration of the Hujum as an isolated or abrupt moment of change; instead, mid-term patterns of change and continuity need to be explored. With this in mind, my research sets out to answer the question of how exactly the Zhenotdel approached ‘the woman question’ in Central Asia? This inquiry demands a study of the Zhenotdel’s key policies in the region from the outset of its involvement and an examination of how those policies were shaped by factors such as its relationship to the Party, by the political trajectory of its leading figures, and by its engagement with local women and local culture. It also necessitates an analysis of the Zhenotdel’s methods of transformation, economically socially and legally, and how they interacted with the Party, the state, and the indigenous population.

In her study of the Zhenotdel, Elizabeth Wood sets out how activists battled continually against attempts to close the organisation down.5 Barbara Evans Clements points to the disparity between the Zhenotdel’s conception of socialism and that of the Central Committee. She mentions Armand and Kollontai for their “distinctive form of utopianism…widely shared among less prominent zhenotdelovki”, and argues that these activists “crafted from the Marxist analysis of women’s emancipation a vision of the socialist future and the means to achieve it that diverged in very significant ways from those articulated by the Party’s male leaders”.6 Moreover, she argues that the Zhenotdel’s leaders and key thinkers believed in localised woman-centred co-operative economic forms, rather than the male-dominated large scale industrial model which was advocated by leading members of the Central Committee, including Lenin and Trotsky. 7 Richard Stites has observed:

The Zhenotdel represented a combination of class and sexual struggle and thus was a working out not only of Marxist notions about the female half of the labor movement, not only of the revolutionary Populist tradition of the “common cause”, but also, in some ways, of the much more feminist belief, given expression by Lenin in 1919 that “the emancipation of working women is a matter for working women themselves.”8

Others such as Carol Eubanks Hayden have highlighted the central contradiction at the core of the Zhenotdel, of attempting to combine a fight for women’s self-emancipation with loyalty to an increasingly authoritarian Central Committee.9 This contradiction seriously restricted the potential of a post-revolution women’s movement to act autonomously. Yet, as almost all of the above agree, the initial Zhenotdel leadership saw itself as a voice for those women and fought hard for its programme in difficult circumstances. Wendy Goldman has shown how this struggle was not confined to the leadership and how activists continued to battle on right up until March 1930 when the Zhenotdel was dissolved, while at the same time protesting its closure.10 Indeed, even after the Zhenotdel was shut down on the orders of Stalin, those same activists continued to fight for women’s rights within difficult and repressive conditions and without the aid of a journal. Studies of the struggle of the Zhenotdel within the CPSU have thus far been largely confined to experiences within European parts of the Soviet Union. My research therefore, aims to bring a much needed perspective from Central Asia, so as to add to the understanding of the scope and scale of the Zhenotdel’s work, and as outlined above, to challenge some assumptions about its role in relation to the Hujum and other CPSU campaigns in the region.

Marianne Kamp has studied the experiences of indigenous Zhenotdel activists in Uzbekistan and detailed the merger of their ideas with the national Zhenotdel programme.11 In contrast my research considers this history from the perspective of Zhenotdel leaders and activists as gleaned through their writings in the Russian language Kommunistka. Thus, rather than an examination of personal stories, my research presents an analysis of the political views, debate and methodology of the Zhenotdel. A close reading of Kommunistka from the inception of coverage of Central Asia, allows me to build on existing analyses by exploring the Zhenotdel’s own strategic priorities in the region in the decade from 1920.

Kommunistka has already been drawn on by a number of writers who have considered the role of the woman question within Soviet Central Asia. For example, Gregory Massell has referred to Kommunistka in some depth in his ground-breaking study of the imperatives of the CPSU Central Party leadership in launching the Hujum, and has connected it with a deepening authoritarianism within the Party.12 Douglas Northrop has drawn on Kommunistka in his examination of the imperialist attitudes of the CPSU in Central Asia and the backlash by the indigenous population against a deeply repressive mass unveiling campaign.13 Kommunistka has also been included as a component of other research, such as for example, a study by Shoshanna Keller of the role of the Hujum in a full-frontal attack on the influence of Central Asian Islam14and the research by Marianne Kamp into the views and political histories of the indigenous women who joined the Zhenotdel and Uzbek Communist Party and who rallied in their thousands in March 1927 to take part in dramatic unveilings.15

Notwithstanding the inclusion of Kommunistka in previous research, a systematic and detailed study of the journal from 1920 to 1930 has been lacking, in particular one that considers all aspects of the Zhenotdel experience in Central Asia in that period. Such a study is critical in order to see more precisely how the Zhenotdel interacted both with Soviet policy in the region and the local population. It can consider to what extent the ideological and programmatic tensions at the heart of the Zhenotdel expressed themselves in Central Asia, if at all. Furthermore, there has not been a study of the Zhenotdel’s role in the region from the perspective of its programme to achieve women’s liberation in the post-revolution period – for which I use the term ‘Zhenotdel socialism’.16 This is a useful definition in that it combines concepts of women’s emancipation and socialism within a state-building programme. Its support for the Soviet state can be distinguished from the policy of opposition of Bolshevik women to all state involvement in women’s lives prior to the revolution.17

Kommunistka began publication under the editorship of Nadezhda Krupskaya in June 1920 and the final issue was published in March 1930 when the Bureau was closed down by the CPSU Central Committee. The journal was published on a monthly or bi-monthly basis until 1929 when it became a fortnightly publication for the last year of its existence. It began with a reported print-run of 30,000 in 1921, which decreased to 20,000 by 1923. This drop was despite a drive launched in October 1923 calling on “every activist working with working class and peasant women to subscribe to Kommunistka”.18 The biggest slump in circulation occurred in 1926, from 24,000 in April to 11,000 in December of that year. This smaller print-run continued for the remainder of the journal’s existence, averaging between 10,000 and 13,000 per issue. The target audience was a layer of women activists in and around the Zhenotdel. In a special issue of the journal to mark the third anniversary of its launch, then national Zhenotdel secretary, Sofia Smidovich, wrote that “Kommunistka provides direction to activists on issues which are of importance to the mass of working class and peasant women” and “informs them on how to engage with mass work from a correct political positon”.19 It connected theory with practice, and “was prepared to discuss difficult questions like child mortality, abortion, birth control”.20 The editorial board aimed to “engage activists in local areas in developing resolutions for Zhenotdel and Party meetings”.21

Issues of the journal comprised on average between 50 and 90 pages of feature articles, theoretical contributions, reports, discussions of strategy, meetings and membership debates. This focused on discussion of the ‘woman question’ both in the wider Soviet Union and internationally, as the Zhenotdel sought to encourage other parties of the Comintern to follow suit and establish their own women’s departments.

Discussion of ‘women of the East’ did not properly begin until Kollontai took over as National Secretary of the Zhenotdel in late 1920. Coverage in the first issues of the journal had been limited to very short reports on work among ‘Muslim women’. Reportage increased significantly from October 1920 under Kollontai’s leadership, and from this point indigenous women were described as ‘Eastern Women’ or ‘Women of the East’.22 From then until early 1923, when Serafima Liubimova was appointed as Head of the Turkestan (Central Asia) Zhenotdel, the proportion of the journal given over to the topic was less than 10%. Liubimova’s appointment in February 1923 introduced more focus on the East, and particularly on Central Asia, with coverage averaging between 12-15% up until the end of 1924. This included specific articles on Turkestan or on specific questions for Eastern women, within which Uzbek, Kirghiz, Turkmen and Kazakh women were included.

From 1925, with the implementation of National Delimitation and the creation of Soviet republics and oblasts, Central Asia began to emerge more clearly from other discussion on the East. Between 1926 and 1927 there was a regular section of Kommunistka dedicated to work in the Soviet East, at times making up almost 20% of the journal. This development saw specific articles on Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and what was then known as Kirgizia (later Kyrgyzstan). A number of issues focused on organisational questions such as women-only clubs and delegate meetings. Others dealt with legal issues and the conditions of life of women in Central Asia or the East generally.

Reports of activist gatherings were described geographically or as all-Union meetings of activists among ‘Women of the East’. From 1927 until the end of 1928, articles focused mainly on Uzbekistan. Articles on Kazakhstan did not emerge in the journal until 1926 and became more prominent in 1928 and 1929, with the introduction of the Five Year Plan.

In 1928, Kommunistka featured a significant debate in the run-up to an All-Union Meeting of Activists among Women of the East in December of that year. Coverage on the Soviet East rose to almost a fifth of the journal that year. This pattern was reversed in 1929, with less than 10% of the journal dedicated to discussion of work among Eastern or Central Asian women. Also in 1929 there was a shift away from reports on Uzbekistan or other parts of Central Asia to themes concerned with the implementation of the Five Year Plan and the War on Religion throughout the Soviet East. In March 1930, the final issue of Kommunistka was published, with an article announcing the re-organisation of work and the closure of the Zhenotdel.

An analysis of coverage over the decade reveals that the Central Asian experience, though highly specific, was a microcosm of a greater, multi-layered history of how the new Soviet State attempted to transform local societies and cultures, specifically in relation to women and gender relations. This thesis demonstrates not only how Central Asian Zhenotdel activists tailored their strategy to the broader project of the Zhenotdel, but also, how they tried to impact on, and give specific meaning to that broader project. It shows how the Central Asian Zhenotdel’s attempt to articulate its vision interacted with local and central Party policy and the attitudes of the local and central male membership. Finally this thesis aims to demonstrate that, while the fundamental problems of male chauvinism and authoritarianism the Zhenotdel grappled with were not unique to Central Asia, they had a particular expression within a society deeply divided on grounds of gender.

In using Kommunistka to trace the experience of the Zhenotdel in Central Asia, I should stress that I am not treating this journal as an unbiased reflection of historical reality. While it published statistical material on the way of life, social and economic interaction of indigenous women, analysis of the relevance of this material varied according to the individual author’s own views or the agreed line of the Zhenotdel or Party on schools, women’s clubs, childcare provision etc. At times claims of the “potential for revolution” among indigenous Central Asian women or of their support for Soviet and Zhenotdel policies were clearly exaggerated – along with a minimisation of the hurdles which needed to be overcome. This does not lead to the conclusion that there was any deliberate motivation to mislead. Instead, the articles on Central Asia and Kommunistka itself must be seen as the voice of an organisation committed to bring about what it described as the “emancipation” of women against the odds. It was a partisan project, committed to the programme of introducing Zhenotdel Socialism to Central Asia, and the analyses and views published in Kommunistka were situated within the parameters of this programme.

An analysis of the Zhenotdel activist base in Central Asia illustrates some of the contradictions at the core of its project. The regional department was initiated by Russian female members of the CPSU, dispatched there by Alexandra Kollontai to “awaken” the women of the East to the news of the revolution and their impending liberation.23 These women were relatively recent recruits to the Party, and came from urban working class or middle class backgrounds. Women like Serafima Liubimova and Zinaida Prishchepchik had worked in the Central Department of the Zhenotdel before being sent to Central Asia. They were young women who burned with enthusiasm for the challenge ahead, but had little or no experience of working with Muslim women, or within a peasant community. They did not speak indigenous languages and had to engage translators.24

From 1924 there appears to be a shift within the Russian speaking activist base in Central Asia. While Kommunistka does not distinguish between those sent from Moscow and those from the local Russian population, a number of writers emerge who focus on local issues alone and appear to have a more nuanced understanding of local culture. A recruitment drive to train Uzbek, Kirghiz and Turkmen women as Zhenotdel organisers coincided with a reported increase of Russian speakers who could also speak indigenous languages.25 However, this appears to have been simply a secondary layer of leadership, and the Central Asia Zhenotdel continued to be dominated by women from outside the region.

A major boost to the organisation of indigenous women came in 1924, with the launch of an Uzbek language journal, Yangi Yol (meaning ‘New Life’) by the Zhenotdel. Sobira Xoldarova, a young Jadid radical was appointed as its first editor.26 In terms of age and social profile Xoldarova reflected a group of urban based Jadid women who merged their aspiration for modernity with the Soviet project. Kamp describes how Xoldarova was unique among them in being able to speak Russian and how, as editor, she translated articles by Russian Zhenotdel leaders into Uzbek as the lead articles in Yangi Y’ol. Unlike Kommunistka, Yangi Yo’l was a mass popular journal and aimed to win the female population over to uniquely indigenous notions of modernity.

The divisions between Russian and indigenous Zhenotdel activists were based on nationality, ethnicity, language and political ideas. Having two separate journals in different languages did not assist the overcoming of divisions. And while Kommunistka was aimed at educating activists, it could not reach the majority of indigenous women. The lack of indigenous women who joined the Communist Party was an additional barrier. The percentage of women members of the Party in the CPSU as a whole was tiny, remaining below 10% before 1927 then rising to 13.9% in 1929.27 As I discuss in Chapter 6, this number was even smaller in Central Asia, in large part because of the seclusion of women within that society. Of the 12,401 members of the Uzbek Communist Party, less than half were of indigenous origin. Women of both Russian and indigenous origin – comprised less than 3% of that membership in 1927, with approximately 400 female members. No official membership figures appear to be available, but from an analysis of Kommunistka and secondary sources, it seems that less than a dozen of Communist Party members were Uzbek women.28 The indigenous membership of the Kirghiz Party was 80%, with 1,401 members. Of these only three were women.29 I will explore the reasons behind these low figures in chapter 6, along with a discussion of debates and conflicts around the failure to recruit indigenous women to the Communist Party.

Kommunistka provides fascinating insights into the conflicts engendered by the issues of nationality, race and gender described above. And, as well as reflecting the tensions, it reveals surprisingly creative approaches taken by Russian activists in adapting their methods of work, and in learning from indigenous activists. It also reveals the frequent frustration of activists at lack of support from the Central Committee and local Party organisations.

Kommunistka also has a wider significance in reflecting the fluctuating political climate of 1920s Soviet Union, from the confusion and indifference of the NEP years to the instigation of dictatorial methods to mobilise women in 1927. Kommunistka illustrates how Stalin’s growing dominance over the Central Committee impacted on Zhenotdel activists and how they responded to the increasing interventionism of the Central Committee and Sredazburo in their work. Through the publication of a range of views, from both Party loyalists and more oppositional voices, Kommunistka provides unique insights into the Zhenotdel’s struggle for change in Central Asia.

My research methodology involves following the focus of debate and work in Central Asia reflected in Kommunistka over the decade of its existence. Thus, after reading the initial articles on Muslim women, I moved on to consider discussion of Central Asia within articles on the Soviet East, and then to examine Central Asia specifically, as it emerged more clearly within coverage of the Soviet East. In 1927 and 1928 I concentrated on articles which dealt with Uzbekistan or the debates around questions which involved that region. This approach was prompted because the majority of coverage focused on Uzbekistan during this period and I was able to follow the main themes in the debate. I did consider including other parts of the Soviet East within my research and translated articles on Azerbaijan, Georgia and Tartaria. Azerbaijan also experienced the unveiling campaign in 1927. However, I finally decided to narrow my research to Central Asia, because the Zhenotdel’s experience in that region has been at the centre of significant academic debate and is of great interest in terms of the treatment of the ‘woman question’ in the Soviet Union.

I accessed the majority of Kommunistka on microfilm with the assistance of Glasgow University Library. There were a number of significant gaps in the earlier years of the Zhenotdel and I obtained access to these issues at the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg. I began translation from a broad chronological perspective. I considered Central Asia through the prism of the Soviet East and mapped the shifts in the views and work of the Zhenotdel over the decade. On completion of translation, I pinpointed the themes which reflected the experience of the Zhenotdel in the region. I reconsidered translated articles a number of times in order to explore these themes more fully and to ascertain if there were other matters which could throw light on the views of leading activists and the interaction with the Soviet project as a whole. I focused in particular on the views of Liubimova, because of her centrality to the project, and also because of the overlap between many of her views and those of Alexandra Kollontai, the driving force behind the Zhenotdel and initiator of its work in Central Asia.

Thesis Structure

In chapter one of this thesis, I consider the secondary literature on the Zhenotdel’s genesis as an organisation and the main influences on the ideas of its leading members. I consider, in particular, the views of Alexandra Kollontai, the most important proponent of Zhenotdel Socialism as well as the most pro-active advocate of a separate women’s bureau within the Party. I then examine the resistance of Zhenotdel activists to being described as feminists and their fears that advocacy of women’s rights would be dismissed because of this apparent association in the minds of Bolshevik leaders. I then proceed to consider the contradictory position of the Zhenotdel as a self-appointed voice for women’s rights within a Party that was extremely dismissive of practice around the ‘woman question’, despite its formal programmatic adherence. This chapter concludes with a summary of the experiences of Zhenotdel Directors and what this reflects regarding their struggle for autonomy throughout the decade.

In chapter two, I consider the existing literature on the role of the CPSU in Central Asia, and, in particular, the various attempts to politically and socio-culturally incorporate the region into the Soviet Union. I analyse the views of the Zhenotdel on indigenous women and the organisational initiatives that it was involved in prior to 1927. I argue that I believe there is a contradiction between the methods of the Zhenotdel before 1927 and the claims made by some historians that it was an enthusiastic supporter of the Hujum. To this end, I refer to existing studies, in particular that of Marianne Kamp, which shows the disquiet of Russian activists when informed that they were to lead a mass unveiling campaign.30 I then explore existing literature on the call for a ban on the veil in the aftermath of the Hujum, and the fact that despite apparent support from the Uzbek government, no decree was ever passed. I point to the various inconsistencies in accounts that see the Zhenotdel as a voice of the Central Party leadership, before turning to the articulation of my original view on the organisation’s role in the events, discussed in the following chapters.

In chapter three I consider the views on and strategy for women’s emancipation of Zhenotdel members as expressed in Kommunistka. I look initially at the difficulty of adapting its core programmatic goal of transcending the traditional family to the conditions of Central Asia. I analyse how the Zhenotdel originally believed that the Russian revolution would spread to the region and inspire indigenous women to rise up against their oppression. This conviction connected with its establishment of non-Party forms of organisation among indigenous women in this period, as the Zhenotdel leadership hoped that indigenous women would develop their own forms of struggle. I explore the loss of the initial leadership with the deaths of Inessa Armand in 1920 and Konkordiia Samoilova in 1921 and the expulsion of Alexandra Kollontai in 1922, and the shift to a more paternalistic approach to indigenous women. I illustrate how the Zhenotdel’s methods connected with the view that there should be incremental change that did not put indigenous women in any jeopardy from their family and community. This culturally sensitive approach contrasted with a continuing negative interpretation of indigenous society and the manner in which women lived. I then consider the response to the Hujum as reflected in Kommunistka and the various problems which this campaign presented for the Zhenotdel, not least the destruction of its existing work.

In chapter four I undertake a detailed examination of reports of the organisational initiatives developed by the Zhenotdel. I consider the discussions on how to develop economic independence among indigenous women and how to provide them with a support system to allow them to become involved in Soviet society. I consider the various problems encountered by the Zhenotdel in developing these initiatives, the breakthroughs that began to emerge after 1924, and the growing involvement of indigenous women. I then explore the impact of the Hujum on this work and the continued efforts to sustain earlier initiatives despite the odds. Finally, I discuss the new situation which emerged in 1929 and the forced collectivisation of indigenous women.

In chapter five, I consider the legal strategy of the Zhenotdel and how it sought to implement a programme of transformation through Soviet law. I trace how activists began with interventions in the indigenous Court system and then rejected this work because of the obstacles involved, only to face the same problems in the Soviet People’s Courts. I explore the contradiction between facilitating women’s economic and social engagement in a culturally sensitive way, while at the same time attempting to impose a European family form on them. Returning to a central theme of the thesis, I consider claims made by Gregory Massell and Douglas Northrop that the Zhenotdel’s legalism and negativity toward indigenous culture led it to embrace the Hujum.31 I show that this is not evidenced in my study of Kommunistka and that, in fact, the Zhenotdel wanted to use legislation in an incremental way and believed that it could provide indigenous women with safety. Thus, the debate in the aftermath of the Hujum reflects calls for a legal ban on the veil in order to send a message out that indigenous women were protected by Soviet society.

In chapter six, I explore the difficult and contradictory relationship with the Central Committee, Sredazburo and the local indigenous membership. I show how the Zhenotdel was able to act with a degree of autonomy precisely because of its isolation from local Party organisations. I also discuss the continued struggles for support and the refusal to accept that the Central Committee had no genuine interest in advances for indigenous women. The negative attitudes of Zhenotdel activists toward indigenous Party members and the frustration with the obstacles to the recruitment of women are also discussed. I then analyse the debate on autonomy which emerged in 1928 and the struggle over that question within the Zhenotdel. Finally I explore the clampdown on debate within Kommunistka and the consequent involvement of the Zhenotdel in a purge of male communist party members in the region.

In each of the chapters outlined above, I note the significant shifts in the final year of the Zhenotdel’s existence and how Kommunistka changed from being a journal where criticisms and debate could be expressed to one where the only issue was the successful implementation of the Five Year Plan. The Zhenotdel went from being of no interest to the Central Committee to being forced into giving up its own programme and instructed to lead a campaign which many members opposed.

Overall, the material presented in this thesis demonstrates that, rather than being willing servants of the Central Committee, Zhenotdel activists in Central Asia had their own independent aspirations which were generally in conflict with, or of no interest to, the Central Party leadership. Their work was based on a commitment to incremental change. However their simultaneous commitment to the Soviet project and the belief that the CPSU represented the only way forward meant that they would find themselves in perpetual conflict. By the end of the 1920s, in a situation where the balance of forces was ranged against them, Zhenotdel activists were finally forced to give up on their programme of transformation and, instead, to try to survive the dictatorial environment of 1929 and 1930. It was only in these years, when all avenues for discussion were closed, that the Zhenotdel eventually suspended its criticism of the Central Committee and its separate approach to the woman question in Central Asia. Thus, an in-depth study of the Zhenotdel and Kommunistka does much more than simply offer an organisational history: it maps the tensions inherent in the early Soviet ambitions to enact profound socio-cultural change; it traces what became of such aspirations in the context of turbulent political upheaval across the USSR and in the Party; and it explores the complex local impacts of attempts at utopian construction and destruction.

I use the term ‘activist’ to describe members of the Zhenotdel. While Zhenotdel leaders were undoubtedly members of the CPSU, it does not appear that all members of the Zhenotdel were members of the Party. Being a journal for activists, Kommunistka assumes a level of knowledge on the part of the readership about general events in the Soviet Union at that time. It therefore does not always provide background and context in the way a more general publication might. It does not provide a great deal of information on the Communist Party sections in the region, perhaps because of its general isolation from those organisations. Finally, I use the term ‘Hujum’ and ‘unveiling campaign’ interchangeably throughout this thesis, denoting that in my view they were essentially the same policy. I have translated the Russian word ‘soveshchanie’ as ‘meeting’ throughout this thesis, making it clear when these are all-Union or local meetings.

1 S. Fitzpatrick, The Russian Revolution (Oxford University Press, 1994), pp. 68-92 for a summary of that period.
2 The articles which are the subject of this research do not always have the full name of the writer and this is reflected in the fact that generally surnames, rather than full names, are used.
G. J. Massell, The Surrogate Proletariat: Muslim Women & Revolutionary Strategies in Soviet Central Asia 1919-1929 (Princeton University Press 1974); D. Northrop, Veiled Empire: Gender & Power in Stalinist Central Asia (Cornell University Press 2004); S. Keller, To Moscow not Mecca: The Soviet Campaign against Islam in Central Asia, (Praeger Press 2001) and M. Kamp, The New Woman in Uzbekistan: Islam Modernity and Unveiling Under Communism (University of Washington Press 2006) are central contributions on the woman question in 1920s Central Asia which focus on Uzbekistan and on the Hujum (unveiling campaign)
4 W. Z. Goldman, Women at the Gates Gender & Industry in Stalin’s Russia (Cambridge University Press 2002); E. A. Wood, The Baba and the Comrade: Gender & Politics in Revolutionary Russia (Indiana University Press 1997); R. Stites, The Women’s Liberation Movement in Russia – Feminism Nihilism & Bolshevism 1860-1930 (Princeton University Press 1990) and B. Evans Clements, Bolshevik Women (Cambridge University Press 1997) are just four examples of an extensive literature on the relationship of the Zhenotdel to the Party as a highly contradictory and problematic one
5 E. A. Wood, The Baba and the Comrade: Gender & Politics in Revolutionary Russia
6 B. Evans Clements, ‘The Utopianism of the Zhenotdel’ in Slavic Review Vol 51 No 3 (Autumn 1992), pp. 485-496 pg. 485.
7 B. Evans Clements, ‘The Utopianism of the Zhenotdel’, pg. 488.
8 R. Stites, The Women’s Liberation Movement in Russia, pg. 345.
9 C. Eubanks Hayden, ‘The Zhenotdel and the Bolshevik Party’ in Russian History Vol. III, 2 (1976), pp.150-173
10 W. Z. Goldman, ‘Industrial Politics, Peasant Revolution and the Death of the Proletarian Women’s Movement in the USSR’ in Slavic Review Vol 55, No 1 (Spring 1996), pp.46-77
11 M. Kamp, The New Woman in Uzbekistan.
12 G. J. Massell, The Surrogate Proletariat.
13D. Northrop, Veiled Empire: Gender & Power in Stalinist Central Asia (Cornell University Press 2004)
14 S. Keller, To Moscow not Mecca: The Soviet Campaign against Islam in Central Asia, (Praeger Press 2001)
15 M. Kamp, The New Woman in Uzbekistan.
16 B. Evans Clements, ‘The Utopianism of the Zhenotdel’ where Clements describes the Zhenotdel’s vision as utopian.
17 C. Porter, Alexandra Kollontai A Biography (Merlin Press 2015)
18 ‘Dorogie toverishchi’, Kommunistka 10 (1923) pg. 1
19 S. Smidovich, ‘Znachenie Kommunistka dlia raboty sredi zhenshchin’ Kommunistka, 7 (1923) pp. 7-9
20 Quote from N. Krupskaya in ER ‘Nesmeniaemyi pedaktor Kommunistka N.K Krupskaya’, Kommunistka 7 (1923) pp. 6-7
21 S. Smidovich, ‘Znachenie Kommunistka dlia raboty sredi zhenshchin’ Kommunistka, 7 (1923) pp. 7-9
22 All references in this section to Kommunistka
23 A. Kollontai, ‘Posledniaia rabynia (k s’ezdu zhenshchin narodov Vostoka)’, Kommunistka, 7 (1920), pp. 24-26
24 M. Kamp, The New Woman of Uzbekistan p. 267, where she identifies Oiposho Jalilova, a prominent Jadid and teacher from Tashkent as one of Liubimova’s translators.
25 E. Butusova, ‘Zhenskie lavki v Uzbekistane’, Kommunistka, 9 (1927), pp.62-67
26 M. Kamp, The New Woman of Uzbekistan pg. 100-107 for a history of the leading women involved in Yangi Yol
27 T.H Rigby, Communist Party Membership in the USSR 1917-1967 (Princeton University Press) Princeton New Jersey, 1968 pg 361 table 31 Sex Structure of CPSU Membership 1922-1967
28 A. Khalid, Making Uzbekistan, Nation Empire and Revolution in the early USSR (Cornell University Press), Ithaca & London 2015, pg. 176
29 T.H. Rigby, Communist Party Membership, pg. 360 note 16
30 M. Kamp, The New Woman in Uzbekistan, pp.164-165.
31 G. J. Massell, The Surrogate Proletariat, pp. 185-212 and D. Northrop, Veiled Empire, pp. 46-68

The full thesis is available to download as a PDF