The Russian Revolution in Latin America —call for papers

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In 2017, we commemorate the first centenary of the Russian Revolution. The World Tensions journal is seeking for articles on the legacy of this major event in Latin America. We are therefore happy to share the following call for papers: 

“1917–2017: One Hundred Years of the Russian Revolution in Latin America”

The October revolution had far more profound and global repercussions than its ancestor. For, if the ideas of the French Revolution have, as is now evident, outlasted Bolshevism, the practical consequences of 1917 were far greater and more lasting than those of 1789. The October revolution produced by far the most formidable organised revolutionary movement in modern history. Its global expansion has no parallel since the conquests of Islam in its first century.” (Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914-1991, Abacus, London, 1997).

The confluence of the rise of late capitalism, the neoliberal university, the precariousness of intellectual work, the weakening of the labor movement, the retreat of the Latin American left and ultra-right populisms have stimulated the idea that the transformations provoked on different levels by the Russian Revolution—which affected the lives of millions of human beings—are today part of the past, an anachronistic legacy. The rise of such phenomena has contributed to distortions and even falsifications not only of the Russian Revolution itself, but of its global influence. The revolutionary experience is commonly dismissed with such arguments as “power was seized by only a few”; “the Bolshevik party replaced the class”, “a red terror was applied to those who sustained the revolutionary process”, and “Bolshevism is the past”, amongst others.

The immediate consequences of this have included the invisibilization of the enormous achievements of the Russian Revolution in terms of social, cultural and political-economic issues and the gradual corrosion of the contribution of Lenin, Trotsky and Gramsci to history; not to mention the legacy of women peasant fighters, Krupskaya, Stassova, Kollantai or women allies such as Rosa Luxemburg.

The Russian Revolution has strongly influenced the Latin American-Caribbean continent with processes such as the aftermath and distortions of the Mexican Revolution; the anarchist workers’ demonstrations of Brazil in 1917 (see the iconic book 1917: The Red Year); in Chile, the military rebellion led by the socialist Marmaduke Grove (1932), and the decades from the Popular Front (1936-1941) to Popular Unity (1970-1973); the anti-imperialist revolutions in Bolivia (1952), Cuba (1959-), Nicaragua (1979-1990) and Granada (1983); from the post-war armed resistances of Nicaragua, El Salvador, Colombia, Venezuela, Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil to the Bolivarian revolution of Hugo Chávez and the Movement Sem Terra (MST) in Brazil; the student movements from the university reform in Cordoba, Argentina (1918) until the present; and the communist, socialist and revolutionary parties of all Latin America; as well as various feminist movements.

Nonetheless the spread of processes and ideas is not linear. Social movements often mix different influences (for example, the MST). Indeed one could argue that the history of the last hundred years responds—in one way or another—to the influence of the events that gave birth to the Soviet Union. Throughout the epoch Marxist-Leninist, Trotskyist and Stalinist variants have emerged, influencing different feminisms. These have been accompanied by a spectrum of politics from the “revolution by stages” to its rejection by the armed guerrillas. Typically these limits have been defined by the question: Reform or Revolution? Often defeated by imperialism in conjunction with its neocolonial allies, these experiences have tended to be reconstituted, going through constant processes of composition, decomposition and recomposition.

World Tensions journal seeks articles for a special issue focused on critical reflection upon the legacy of the Russian Revolution in Latin America and the Caribbean. Our main objective is to open debate on the many and varied influences of the Russian Revolution in Latin America and the Caribbean. They include, for example, the fields of social life, culture, art, education, science, health, architecture, and politics. We seek articles on the following non-exclusive list of topics:

  1. The Latin American revolutions and their relationship with Soviet Marxism. (Case studies could include Soviet influence in the historical praxis of education, medicine, cooperatives, film, international politics, or internationalist guerrillas).
  2. Successful revolutions, failed revolutions: their relationship with Red October (e.g., the Mexican Revolution, the Cuban Revolution, the Sandinista Revolution, the Bolivian Revolution).
  3. Marxist feminisms and feminists: their social projects after October 1917.
  4. Latin American social classes and their relationship to Red October.
  5. Utopias, Romanticism and Revolution.
  6. The Marxism of intellectuals such as Mariátegui, Marta Harnecker, Che Guevara, Celia Hart Santamaría: how did it respond to the legacy of October?
  7. October in the projects of the pink tide: socialism and populism.
  8. Marxist parties in political practice and the paths of democratic centralism.

Please prepare your original article according to the journal guide for authors, and lodge it electronically (see

We also seek book reviews relevant to the theme of this issue, and suggest contacting us first regarding the relevance of the text.

Deadline for manuscripts:     30 April 2017

Deadline for corrections:       30 July 2017

Publication date for issue:     September 2017


Camila Costa (Portuguese): [email protected]

Débora D’Antonio (Spanish): [email protected]

Robert Austin (English): [email protected]



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