SOAS University of London

Centre of Contemporary Central Asia & the Caucasus

Democratic Socialism: The Georgian Experiment 1918-1921

20180823 - Eric Lee
Eric Lee

Date: 1 November 2018Time: 5:30 PM

Finishes: 1 November 2018Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 4426

Type of Event: Seminar


The Russian Revolution of 1917 was full of hope. But Stalinist totalitarianism and the horrors of the gulags have led to the revolution becoming synonymous with oppression, tainting the very idea of socialism.  The experience of Georgia, which declared its independence from Russia in 1918 and which was ruled by democratic socialists (the Mensheviks), offered a humane and democratic vision of socialism that featured multi-party elections, freedom of speech and assembly, a free press, a mixed economy and a civil society grounded in powerful trade unions and cooperatives. Though the Georgian Democratic Republic lasted for just three years before it was brutally crushed on the orders of Stalin, it showed that another revolution was possible.

Speaker Biography

Eric Lee is a London-based author, journalist and political activist. His most recent book is The Experiment: Georgia's Forgotten Revolution, 1918-21. He is also the author of two books of military history (Saigon to Jerusalem: Conversations with Israel's Vietnam Veterans and Operation Basalt: The British Raid on Sark and Hitler's Commando Order) and several books about the labour movement and the Internet. His next book is Texel 1945, the story of the last battle of the Second World War in Europe. He is also the founding editor of LabourStart, the news and campaigning website of the international trade union movement.

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