Roger Casement’s Bones Aug09

Roger Casement’s Bones...

It was one of those coincidences that happens to me every so often I think because I like to read. I picked up a copy of The Irish Times (Wednesday August 3rd 2016) and saw an article by Eileen Battersby: “Casement: romantic defender of the oppressed.” I knew a little about the man. He was a colourful figure, although that phrase “colourful figure” troubles me a little now as I write it. I always liked his face for some reason; it was the visage, I liked to imagine, of a man with compassion, a misunderstood man, maybe even a tormented soul. There was his involvement with the Rising of 1916, his gun-running, his subsequent arrest and execution. Hadn’t he delivered one of those masterful speeches while in the maw of destructive justice, akin to Robert Emmet? He’d served, I knew, as some kind of investigative civil servant in areas of the world still considered to be God-forsaken backwaters like Congo. His story read like a Hollywood script: a man going from being one of the Empire’s own to a wretched, traitorous homosexual with a complicated story. Battersby tells us that it’s been a hundred years since his death, “a horrible death.” He was hanged at Pentonville Prison in London at the age of 51 despite several very famous figures intervening on his behalf such as W.B. Yeats and George Bernard Shaw. Battersby predictably enough argues that his homosexuality probably didn’t help his case, being what she calls “a Victorian homosexual.” It’s hard to imagine she’s wrong. One thinks of Oscar Wilde and others who were treated shamefully because of their sexuality. Perhaps it didn’t matter that Casement was a humanitarian who exposed injustices in parts of the world most people at the time as...

Amy Winehouse Jun16

Amy Winehouse

The death of Amy Winehouse in 2011 was tragic of course; there is no “but.” It was tragic in ways that perhaps many people don’t understand. This may be because they weren’t into her music or didn’t follow her career – because those two things are not identical. If Amy showed us anything it is that her music and her public self weren’t the same though they came close to converging upon the release of Back to Black in 2006. Amy’s tragedy was twofold: firstly, it was her descent into what Elton John apparently warned John Mayer about: “the world of bullshit.” Amy was not best suited to it; she was troubled from a young age anyway and I suspect the level of talent on which she operated didn’t render her especially amenable either to what the rest of us know as ordinary life. She said herself she feared fame and defined success not in terms of money or exposure but rather the freedom to record her music as she saw fit. Her fame exploded when her troubled life became more interesting to the public than the music. This perversity is encapsulated perfectly in the song that made her a household name: Rehab. She had finally conformed to the dreaded rock ‘n’roll stereotype: she was skinny and had that “heroin chic” appeal – she looked like a drug addict; she had a destructive relationship with a drug-addicted boyfriend, later husband, Blake Fielder-Civil; she had that so-called “difficult relationship with the press” that people find so alluring; she was over-exposed, on TV all the time, “in the news,” a commodity. Her first manager, Nick Shymansky perceived that a time came when the world wanted a piece of her. He’d seen the signs of her possible self-destruction...

Cian Morey, writer May12

Cian Morey, writer

It’s my privilege to know Cian. He’s 15 but when you’ve got what we like to call “talent” (one word just doesn’t seem to contain adequately that cocktail of qualities, of enviable attributes) age doesn’t matter. Wasn’t it JFK who said that someone’s age should not necessarily factor in our assessment of them. Though we can all hope to attain greater skills and understanding with time, some – the chosen few – have it at a young age and Cian is one of those. He was published recently in “The Irish Times” (Fighting Words supplement, Wednesday, May 11th). The excerpt is from his novel “Aether.” The prose is phenomenal, dense but with a scarily ferocious energy; reading Cian’s description is like being there – no, it is being there. Take this, my favourite bit from his published excerpt: “Sinister figures stalked the alleyways; fallen women flocked in the shadows; intoxicated, boisterous brutes surged in and out of alehouses and gin mills, to stagger or brawl their way across the street. An assortment of buildings pumped an assortment of fumes into the sky from their chimneys. Silhouettes of airships and aircabs floated slowly past the lunar corona.” I know what some might say: they’ll think it’s overwrought, all that alliteration and hyperbole. But it’s like Baz Lurhmann’s movies: it’s wretched, it’s exciting, it’s lurid, it explodes with colour and darkness in equal measure and black is not a colour, technically; I bet Cian could make it so – he’d put the words to it. He’s like a conjurer in that way: “The man clasped a wine glass in his spindly hands, but I noticed that none of its contents had yet met his mouth. He stood quite still, but his eyes roved about expeditiously, settling...

Parisienne scene Apr26

Parisienne scene

No. 1 Rue Auber, 75009 Paris: Entracte Opera opposite the Academie Nationale de Paris. There’s some kind of commotion, a congregation of youths on the steps. I spot a Chinese tourist with one of those awful selfie-sticks, a boy with wide-brimmed black hat, a performing hat, takes it and attempts a photo with the facade behind. Locals walk by and look down at our table and see a breadbasket, a beer, a glass of wine and the little dish of butter and me, writing this, in my little black notebook. A black guy with a silk scarf and blue headphones wears cool sunglasses and saunters past; a mother and daughter hold hands, trailed by their husband, father respectively at a distance of ten feet. A moustachioed man rubs his jaw at the bus stop to our left; a rickshaw pursued by a bicycle; talk of how delicious the bread is; three Asian women cackle in the corner behind us as the food arrives. An old guy comes along to talk with our waiter. The hair on his head is erect, deliberately so – bouffant? – like he’d just come from a bungee jump or maybe he jumped off a high wall and passed through a bucket of hair gel on the way down. A girl passes with tissue shoved up each nostril; another man who looks a lot like Ho Chi Minh passes two Asians who smile at his appearance. One of them has a duck packpack, trying to stand on her boyfriend’s heels as a joke. Because of the tables, pedestrians have to slow as they bunch up in front of us and they take a moment to look at us looking at them. There’s a pink 81 and black 95 bus stop...

2016 Unfinished Business by Graham Harringtom Feb24

2016 Unfinished Business by Graham Harringtom...

The idea that 1916 was a simple blood sacrifice or a romantic and spontaneous uprising by a group of fanatics will be parroted out to no end in the coming months. It doesn’t help that this is a revisionist myth. The reality is the Easter Rising was a product of certain conditions, conditions which the Establishment certainly won’t want admit today. The question must be asked, what makes 1916 different from other uprisings like 1798, 1803, 1867? All showed grand feats of heroism and sacrifice. All failed from a military point of view. However, 1916 stands out because it ignited a series of events afterwards – the rise of Sinn Féin, the 1918 election and the first Dáíl, the Tan War and Civil War. Collectively, these events can justly be called the Irish Revolution. However, it would be ridiculous to say a revolution can be caused by the executions of 16 individuals. 1798, 1867 and others  all had executions  and in their own way inspired other uprisings, but yet they did not lead to revolution. But why? It wasn’t that 1916 stood apart in terms of its egalitarian demands – “cherish all the children of the nation equally” and so on. It could be argued the Fenian Proclamation of 1867 was superior to the 1916 proclamation in terms of its social radicalism, demands for the end of the exploitation of labour, appeals to English workers and so on. The firm reality is that  1916 did not set off a revolution;  rather it was itself an event in a wider revolutionary period, in Ireland and Europe. 1916 could not have happened were it not for the Gaelic Revival which began as far back as the late 1800s. This led to a new-found pride in the...

Enda’s Been Shouting Again Feb22

Enda’s Been Shouting Again...

Recently, Enda Kenny, our Taoiseach, shouted. Loud. Ly. He was, erm…exhorting us, the electorate, (people who can vote) to ensure that Fianna Fail don’t get into power after the next election. They’re the bad guys; you’ve heard the argument by now. Many. Times. Loud. Ly. Don’t do it! said Enda. That would be bad. His shouting. Loud. Ly reminds me of what all teachers are told when they’re training: “Don’t smile til Christmas.” Well Enda hasn’t forgotten that sage advice and now he uses it to run the country, or to win elections: are they the same thing? I don’t know. Do nurses win elections? Or engineers? Teachers do! There are many of them in government: Enda Kenny; Michael Martin; Michael Noonan and lots more. I recall a scene in Blackadder the Third. Edmund, butler to the Prince Regent, is disguised as the Prince Regent; the Prince Regent is dressed as Edmund; Baldrick can’t tell the difference now. Enter Stephen Fry who plays The Duke of Edinburgh. They discuss tactics; Edinburgh is assured of one thing at least – the only way to win a war is “Shout, shout and shout again!” It be may that Enda shouts Loud. Ly because of his teacher training all those years ago. Was he told way back when that you don’t smile til Christmas and shout every so often, Loud. Ly to scare the bejayzus out of them? And who is “them”? Enda seems to think that people fall for that shouting routine; it’s the words, Enda…the words and the speaker. Not the volume. Churchill didn’t shout; he just chose really great words. But Enda ain’t no Churchill I guess. Who in the Dail is? And isn’t that the real issue here? Isn’t this why shouting is...

The National Front by Daniel Dilworth Dec24

The National Front by Daniel Dilworth...

  The past couple of years have seen meteoric rises of the political extremes; we have seen the likes of Syriza (the Greek socialists) ascend to power under Tsipras and more recently a bloc of leftists in Portugal. Simultaneously, the far-right has also gained popularity: many cite the examples of Golden Dawn in Greece, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, and Nigel Farage’s UKIP in the UK. And amongst these is one of the original “far-right” and “bigoted” and “racist” of all European parties: the infamous Front National in France. The Front National (FN) was founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen in the early 1970s as just another small political party. Influenced by the nationalist Action Française, FN gradually moved to its extremest incarnation. Immigration and racism soon became entwined in party doctrine, FN espoused a France where immigrants from North Africa were to be returned to their native lands and immigration from such areas ended.  For many years, FN remained a minor party, seldom troubling the more mainstream parties in France. Le Pen cut a divisive figure, one who could never realistically ascend to the French presidency, a position he coveted.  In 2011, he stood aside and was replaced at the top by his daughter, Marine. Le Pen Senior remained in the shadows witnessing his daughter change the party’s xenophobic image to a much more republican one whereby the traditional secular values were to be defended first and foremost; the previous racism which had been associated with FN was shed. It hung on, and still does. Earlier this year, Marine Le Pen was involved in a spat with her father over his alleged remarks that the Holocaust was a “detail” of World War Two. Marine wanted a retraction but Jean-Marie refused. In the end daughter had to...

A Beautiful Life Dec14

A Beautiful Life

While at Arles, Van Gogh tore his pants and used them as a canvas. He improvised reed pens and drew on the material. He was aware that he was broken, damaged. Art was a means for him to join the world, to manage. He sat in fields in Arles and painted “A View of Arles with Irises in the Foreground.” What could be simpler? Most of his paintings have similar titles: “Irises;” “Almond Blossom;” “Wheatfield with a Reaper;” “Cypresses and Two Women.” I imagine the silence of his work, the patience and the hope that he’d be okay, at least for today. When inspiration didn’t come so easily he’d ask his brother to send to him copies of paintings by Millet and he’d paint them; one such endeavour is known as “The Sheepshearer, after Millet.” His brother Theo loved him and supported him, perhaps understanding that without his paintings, Vincent would be destroyed. Vincent wrote him letters, articulate and tender, and they are a great example of brotherly love. He ended his life in a village outside Paris. His last painting is called “Tree Roots;” later that day he walked into the countryside and shot himself. Then he walked back and spent the evening talking and smoking with his landlord even though he was in great agony. On July 29 1890, he died in his brother’s arms. He said, “I want to die like this.” The local priest refused to bury him because he was a suicide so they waked him at his little hostel where he had finished 80 paintings in 70 days. One of his last paintings is called “Wheatfield with Crows,” and it depicts a wheatfield and a winding road and of course some crows. But what the title doesn’t advertise is the troubled blue sky – dark, uneven, laden with tears. I wonder if he painting it with the decision to end his life settling on his shattered soul like rain on a campfire. Six months later, Theo died too. Vincent is reputed to have said, “Art is long and life is short.” His life is a beautiful testament to such truth....

Smoking Makes Me Feel Epic Nov11

Smoking Makes Me Feel Epic...

I used to smoke Marlboro Reds, still to my mind the best tasting cigarette out there. I can remember opening a second box once because I was enjoying them so much, though that didn’t happen often. I might have got through as many as thirty that day. As a rule though, I smoked about ten in a day. Part of me misses that old self, before the intolerance. I envy heavy smokers. I imagine they are the least bored, most creative of people, and because they persist with it while the rest of us – ex-smokers and non-smokers – judge them as ignorant or irresponsible or maybe simply a bit too cavalier, they effectively tell us, “I don’t care what you think.” It’s this tendency some people have to not care (or at least not to care in any demonstrable way) that I think helps to explain the continuing appeal of smoking. Smoking is a way to stick two fingers up at the world but it can also be a means for those with low self-esteem to fit in. I remember watching an acquaintance pretend to inhale a cigarette. He was an accomplished athlete and relied on that for popularity but his need for acceptance occasionally grew enough for him to bum a fag. I disliked the practice of pretending to smoke and still do today. Smoking is dangerous and ill-advised; that’s the whole point. It’s not like having one last drink in the pub even though you’ve had enough already or eating too much on Christmas day. Smoking is a way to express things all too often discouraged in us: defiance; rebelliousness; nonchalance; rage; disregard for one’s own well-being; fascination with death. It’s not unfortunate that it’s bloody unhealthy and can kill you:...

A VISIT FROM CIARÁN COLLINS Nov08

A VISIT FROM CIARÁN COLLINS...

Every new school year brings with it hopefully a new year for CloudofThink. It must be admitted, however, that the creative writing club has struggled somewhat to get off the ground this year. We decided then that it was about time to raise a greater awareness of the club and of the general pastime of writing by inviting an author to the school to speak to students. Ciarán Collins, a Cork writer and teacher, kindly consented to come along to our school on Tuesday 20th, and discuss both his new book and the process of writing. This book, Mr Collins’ first, is called The Gamal. It tells the story of Charlie, a lad from a small West Cork village, who keeps mainly to the sidelines of life but, contrary to the popular belief that he is a bit of a fool or “gamal,” notices anything and everything from joy to sorrow to the book’s central doomed romance. Charlie’s first-person narration meanders from the realms of the hilarious to the heart-wrenching in a touchingly real and relatable account of the life of a teenager. It was with a reading from the first pages of this novel that Mr Collins began the event on Tuesday, a reading which I could see left the whole audience enthralled and determined to read more of the book themselves. I then sat down with Mr Collins for what proved to be a fascinating and very informative discussion about his work. He described how, when he was beginning The Gamal, he thought it very important to “be as ambitious as I could… to try and write the very best deepest, funniest, most heartbreaking, engaging, insightful kind of a book that I could come up with,” a sentence which captures perfectly the...

Bad TV Oct31

Bad TV

There’s an ad for RTE out at the moment. Four young, clean-limbed, reasonable, middle-class, college-educated lads are sitting together watching a TV screen. You can’t see what’s on but the lads are having the craic. They’re extremely pleased with the fare. One of them even uses the phrase “gone through the roof” in his effort to convince us that RTE is great. Then they all laugh again, heartily, some more heartily than others. I wonder if the likely lads are thinking of “Winning Streak” as they ruminate on the fabulousness of it all. “Winning Streak” always features old people. I’ve nothing against old people, you understand. They’re always old. They buy lots of lotto tickets. This is a perfect show for old people because all they have to do for money is choose a number from 1 to 5. That’s not quite true. Now and again they are asked to press a button that sits atop a kind of pedestal well within arm’s reach. They like being asked to do simple things for money. It’s only fair. Their arthritis won’t allow anything more challenging. But wait…it’s not so easy. They need to consult their families in the audience. They can’t decide which of the numbers 1 to 5 they want. Ooh, it’s so agonising; what if they pick 3 and it turns out to be 2 or 4 behind that yoke that turns? That would be maddening. So close! But it’s okay. Ask the family… because with three or more people on the case, you’ve a much better chance of guessing that elusive number. Phew, glad we brought the family now. You stick it out ( it moves at a blistering pace) and you might get to spin the wheel. You have to spin...

OPEN NIGHT ’15 Sep17

OPEN NIGHT ’15

Imagine that the world has been conquered by aliens….  The big, scary, aliens crawled out of the high-tech space ship. They asked could they conquer the world, but I said no. They did not listen. Within a day they had taken over the world. I started a rebellion…… Timmy O’Riordan     Imagine that you have been stranded on the moon for weeks… Only two days ago I landed on the moon and the rocket blew up I barely survived. I would not be here if it was not for my beautiful leather wallet that sacrificed itself for me. There is barely enough food and water to survive on… Cian Hourigan     Imagine that you live in the Middle Ages…..  I made a fire and ran around it for a while. I went to bed… Adam Laverty     Imagine that a real zombie apocalypse has suddenly happened… I would go to scatter Lego on the floor, grab bear traps, scatter them across the house, grab as much food as possible, grab the hammer at home, buy a second hammer, grab the two sharpest and longest knives in the kitchen, grab as much money as possible, sell anything that wouldn’t help, set a ladder up at my bedroom window and bring a friend for shared equipment, extra brains, for my sanity and a night shift. Billy     Describe a dangerous sea journey on a small, old ship… One night out at sea, a really foggy, a small oil liner was heading towards a few rocks that were just ahead. The coast guard reckoned they had about ten minutes to locate the small ship. So, as quickly as possible they sent out a big lifeboat, and the lifeboat was able to locate the...

To Be Extraordinary No Longer Matters Sep07

To Be Extraordinary No Longer Matters...

Carpe Diem “Carpe Diem, Be Extraordinary,” says Robin Williams inspiring his students in the film “Dead Poet’s Society.” I was inspired by this yesterday while I was planning a careers class for my Transition Year group. Today, I am heartbroken – not by the quote itself – but by the image of toddler Aylan found washed up on the shore of Bodhrum, Turkey. I just can not get it out of my head. As a daughter, mother, sister, aunt, teacher – what more could I want for the next generation, whether it is my sons or Aylan. Aylan is my son, my son’s brother, my son’s friend. To be extraordinary no longer matters. It should never matter – as long as our sons and daughters are safe, healthy and happy, there is not one other thing that really matters. It now feels indulgent and over the top to be filling their heads with such quotes. To think we live in a society which festoons such sentiments disgusts me when every effort and energy should be put into helping those around us. Overall, I am angry with myself. I have been reading about our naval crews on the LE Eithne and LE Niamh over the past few months rescuing refugees in the Mediterranean. On finishing each article I have thought to myself, “Isn’t that great, that the Irish Navy is out there helping those poor people.” But I have not really thought about these poor people, who are not economic migrants but refugees. You see, sometimes it is just easier not to think about these things and not to care. In first year Geography class, twenty four years ago, we learned for the first time about the push and pull factors that force people to...

WorkMustPay by Graham Harrington Aug18

WorkMustPay by Graham Harrington...

“Yes friends, governments in capitalist society are only committees of the rich to better manage the affairs of the capitalist class.” – James Connolly WorkMustPay is a campaign of young trade unionists and political activists against the JobBridge internship racket. JobBridge is a state scheme which forces young workers to work for periods of 6-9 months for only €50 euro on top of their dole. This is unacceptable. The minimum wage in this state is €8.65 per hour yet interns under the scheme only receive €3.65 on average. The purpose is quite clear: it is to provide employers with slave labour and encourage workers to engage in a race to the bottom against each other. The Department of Social Protection provided interested businesses with a subsidy to take on people from social welfare. This massages unemployment figures and alleviates the burden on the state of providing jobs for people. It is a scheme designed solely to make Joan Burton and her Labour colleagues feel as if they are doing something when in reality what they are doing is destructive. It will only lead more people below the poverty line and more young people to the plane to Australia. If a business has a vacant position then they at least should owe any potential applicant the basic respect of the minimum wage. JobBridge waives that responsibility for employers and promotes a mentality of “Don’t like it, feck off.” Employers have the right to sever any agreement with interns and interns do not have any right to trade union representation. If the intern has any problems with conditions then they have to be silent or will lose even the meagre allowance of €50 a week. This allowance is merely a token amount and in many instances is not...

A WEEK AT THE WEST CORK LITERARY FESTIVAL by Cian Morey Jul19

A WEEK AT THE WEST CORK LITERARY FESTIVAL by Cian Morey...

The West Cork Literary Festival, centred on the town of Bantry, is one of those wonderful but rare weeks in which one can focus completely on books, on either their reading or their writing. Featuring readings and talks from established authors and poets, Q and A sessions with literary agents and editors, and even nightly open-mic events in which one can showcase one’s own talents, the West Cork Literary Festival has become an annual highlight in the Irish literary calendar. This year’s Festival was just as enjoyable, interesting and informative as I had hoped. The first talk I attended was aptly entitled “An Evening with S. J. Watson”, the author of the hit thriller novel Before I Go To Sleep. Watson read from his latest book, Second Life, before discussing writing techniques, the publishing process and the fascinating impact of the internet on humanity in what was quite an intriguing hour and a half. The next talk I attended was rather different, and proves that everybody will always be able to find something that appeals to them at the West Cork Literary Festival. Nuala O’Connor, previously known as Nuala Ní Chonchúir, read in the Bantry Library from her new historical fiction novel Miss Emily, which deals with the relationship between the real-life poet Emily Dickinson and her fictional Irish maid. Most of the talk related to history, which was of particular interest to me as it is my favourite subject, but towards the end the discussion became more general, and Nuala O’Connor, like S. J. Watson, gave insights into the world of writing and publishing. That evening saw David Nicholls, whose latest work, Us, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, give an entertaining and inspirational talk to almost 270 people in the Windward...

Socialism: What is it and why do we need it? by Graham Harrington Apr27

Socialism: What is it and why do we need it? by Graham Harrington...

Socialism is a system whereby the means of production, distribution and exchange are publicly owned and used for the benefit of society as a whole. In English, this means that the natural resources of a country (oil, land, gas, water), the infrastructure (power stations, roads) as well as the commanding heights of the economy (the large industries, factories and essentially anything that produces anything on a large scale) are owned by the state. However, this is not the same as what we currently recognise in Ireland as state ownership. Under Socialism, the working class, i.e. the vast majority of society who do the vast majority of the work, take ownership of the state and make the decisions through a direct, participatory democracy, such as in Cuba. This ensures that the production and distribution of goods and services is done to meet the needs of people rather than for the profits of a small elite in society. I’ll explain this in more detail later on. Socialism would be ideal for Ireland. We possess a hugely skilled and educated workforce, have decent natural resources and we have excellent access to raw materials for production. For instance, we have a lot of rain here in Ireland, which is quite obviously a huge nuisance. However, under a democratically planned economy, we could develop ideas on the harnessing of rainwater which could be used to provide water services for everybody in Ireland without having to worry about water conservation. Under the current Capitalist system, this wouldn’t be done until it would become profitable and as we know, privatising water services is far more profitable than making clean, renewable water available for everyone. Our natural resources are privatised and given to foreign multi-national companies such as Shell to make a...

Iconography: What’s that? Feb10

Iconography: What’s that?...

On a trip to Mayo we spotted Croagh Patrick and thought, “Let’s have it.” Turns out it’s quite pretty and very manageable really. At the top it was very cold. I met a few stalwarts who filled me in on some of the history; one man remembers when they’d ascend in darkness with candles, throngs of people on a pilgrimage. Of course they banned that. Others still go up barefoot. Even with Zamberlans on with Vibram soles I found it fairly challenging; barefoot was never going to be an option for me, not that my soul is as pure all that, you understand. There were a couple of young fellas hanging around there, about thirteen or so. I asked one of them, the one with straw-coloured hair (which is uncommon nowadays) to take a photo. We were perched behind the sign announcing the summit, four of us. The sun was out, the view was wonderful and on the other side of the little chapel the wind was a bit Tom Crean. The photo caught us with smitten faces, pinkish and weathered, as if we’d been on foot for months in this terrain. I zoomed in later and took a screen grab of my face and altered it with an app and suddenly (to myself at least) I appeared more, well…heroic. My facial features were virtually annihilated yet it was instantly recognisable as a face. I think what the modification added was a kind of logo, the power of which I know advertisement agencies understand and exploit to the max. I could have been anyone to the untrained eye and yet I was me all the while. My expression was rendered more inscrutable and the scarf I’d worn as a hat obscured the precise dimensions...

Achievements of the USSR by Graham Ó hArrachtáin Jan08

Achievements of the USSR by Graham Ó hArrachtáin...

The Soviet Union achieved more in its first few decades than any other nation could ever even dream of replicating. The USSR originated in the baptism of fire that was the October Socialist Revolution. In this revolution, the exploited working class took state power and began administering the Dictatorship of the Proletariat under the leadership and guidance of the Bolshevik Party. The revolutionaries faced vociferous opposition from the dispossessed landowners and big bourgoisie and their supporters. Not to be out done by their Russian allies,16 countries such as the USA, Canada, Japan and Britain sent an expeditionary force to help the White Russians. The Bolsheviks successfully marshalled the support of the masses and the Red Army crushed the counter-revolutionaries. The young USSR achieved much in women’s emancipation. Women were given a right to vote, a right to education and the pay gap between men and women was abolished. Day care centres and créches were set up and provided to women to allow them to work without worrying about their children’s welfare. Women were also allowed play an equal part in the Red Army and in the protection of their country. The 5-year plans created a new era of industrial progress with industry growing by over 800% from Tsarist times during the first two 5-year plans. All this occurred at the same time the Capitalist countries were enduring the Great Depression! Magnificent feats of Socialist construction such as the Stalingrad grain factory and the industrial city of steel, Magnitogorsk showed the benefits of a planned economy. The Bolsheviks believed in cheap and effective transport for all citizens, with the construction of the Moscow Metro in 1931. Socialist architecture dominated the cities with beautiful buildings such as the Red Army Theatre, made in the shape of...