Brendan McGeever

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Thursday 24 November 2016, 6.30 pm at: Birkbeck, University of London, Lecture Theatre B34, .

Antisemitism and the Russian Revolution

When the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917, they did so with the promise of building a world free of class exploitation and other forms of oppression and domination. In the very moment of revolution, however, these sentiments were put to the test as a devastating wave of anti-Jewish violence broke out across the western borderlands of the former Russian empire. The pogroms posed fundamental questions of Marxist theory and practice, since they revealed the nature and extent of working class and peasant attachments to antisemitism and other forms of racism.

Based on archival materials gathered in Ukraine, Russia and the United States, this talk will explore the participation of Red Army soldiers in antisemitic pogroms during the revolution. In doing so, it will also analyse attempts by Bolsheviks and other revolutionaries to put a stop to antisemitism within the working class and peasantry.


Brendan McGeever is Lecturer in the Sociology of Racialization and Antisemitism at Birkbeck, University of London. He is the author of The Bolsheviks and Antisemitism in the Russian Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 2017), which offers an analysis of antisemitism and class politics in the Russian Revolution of 1917. He is currently working on a new study of racism and anti-racism in the contemporary Russian Federation. University web page Twitter: @b_mcgeever

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