One hundred years ago, on 1 March 1921, sailors at the Kronshtadt naval base took up arms against the Russian Soviet government. In 1917, those sailors were on the front lines of Russia’s two revolutions, which overthrew tsarist autocracy and the capitalist government that succeeded it. Those struggles brought to power the Soviet government, the first in the world claiming to rule on behalf of working people. (The soviets were workers’ councils.) After defeating the counter-revolutionary “Whites” in the civil war of 1919-20, that government’s Bolshevik leaders faced an explosion of protest by the very workers they claimed to speak for, that culminated in the Kronshtadt revolt. The movement demanded not only action against economic inequality, but also the restoration of the soviet democracy and free speech won in 1917. Today People & Nature publishes an article by Simon Pirani, describing the 1921 workers’ movement, its political aspirations, and how the Bolsheviks, by suppressing it, took a decisive step towards authoritarianism. The article builds on research for Pirani’s book, The Russian Revolution in Retreat: Soviet workers and the new communist elite (2008). CONTINUE HERE
Electric cars are no panacea. The government’s focus on them is a shamFebruary 23, 2021
By SIMON PIRANI
The UK government has put electric cars at the centre of its disastrous climate strategy, which doesn’t even aim for half the needed greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
The focus on electric cars – which goes together with a gigantic £27 billion road-building programme – is opposed by researchers of climate science, transport policy, engineering and urban planning. Their advice has in practice been ignored.
The Labour leadership is happy with the electric cars narrative, leaving researchers and campaigners outside parliament to point out that electrification, without an immediate, giant
shift towards public transport, cycling and walking – and away from individually-owned cars – will never come close to decarbonising transport at any meaningful pace.
In the run-up to the international climate talks in Glasgow in November, it is vital that the government’s cynical PR strategy is unmasked.
Support for electric cars was a highlight of the government’s ten-point plan for a “green industrial revolution”, announced in November. Sales of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030 – that is, after the most vital decade for action on climate has already passed.
The plan includes a promise of about £2.8 billion to subsidise manufacture of, and infrastructure for, electric cars – just over one-tenth of the cost of the £27 billion national road-building Read the rest of this entry »