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Women and the struggle for socialism

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3. What happened in Russia?

Alexandra Kollontai was a member of the Bolsheviks, the party which in 1917 led a revolutionary mass movement of workers and peasants to overthrow capitalism and landlordism and introduced a workers' state in Russia.

This was a momentous historic event which inspired working class people around the world, raising their confidence that an alternative to the horrors of capitalism existed and that a socialist transformation of society was possible.

The subsequent rise of a Stalinist bureaucracy undermined many of the gains that the revolution had achieved. It strengthened the argument of those who maintained that a socialist revolution is bound to degenerate, and of those who claimed that women's oppression and patriarchy would still continue to exist in a socialist society.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern European states at the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s unleashed a further barrage of propaganda against socialism in favour of capitalism as the only viable and credible economic and social system.

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