The Woman Worker by N K Krupskaya
"The Woman Worker" Originally published in 1901,
the pamphlet was banned following the
supression of the abortive 1905 revolution.

A revolutionary voice for women’s freedom available in English for the first time

Liz Payne reviews The Woman Worker by Nadezhda K Krupskaya

MANIFESTO PRESS has brought us a treasure that has never before appeared in English.

The Woman Worker will be of interest to historians, sociologists, political theorists and educationalists.

But most of all it will be of interest to the women and men who continue in 21st-century Britain the struggle in their workplaces and in their communities for the defeat of capitalism and for a more just and equal society.

Fresh and vibrant, it is as relevant today to our fight for women’s freedom from oppression and exploitation as it was in pre-revolutionary Russia almost 120 years ago.

A quarter of a century after it had first been published, Nadezhda K Krupskaya revisited the pamphlet she had written in 1899 while exiled in the village of Shushenskoye in Siberia with her husband, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.

At the time she had not been confident that she could manage to produce what was to be her first pamphlet.

Now she was being asked to agree to its reprinting and wide redistribution. Thinking that what it raised might be worth reconsideration in the post-revolution Soviet Union, she gave her consent, writing a brief reflective introduction.

International Women’s Day Thursday 8th March 2018

"A STATUE of Mary Barbour will be unveiled in Govan on International Women’s Day.

Andrew Brown's was the winning design (far left)

The Remember Mary Barbour Association (RMBA) has announced the date for the unveiling of the statue of Mary Barbour, a key figure in the 1915 Rent Strikes.

Mary Barbour campaigned to improve housing and conditions for working people during the 1915 Rent Strikes. The 1915 Rent Strikes exposed and protested against landlords who took advantage of the wartime economy to hike up rents for workers, evicting those who could not pay. The city-wide rallies and demonstrations forced a change in the Government’s rent legislation. A social pioneer, Mary was also elected as one of the first woman councillors for Glasgow in 1920, and appointed the first woman Bailie of the City of Glasgow in 1924." (from the Evening Times)


11.00am Assemble at Govan Cross, near the subway station.

Entertainment from Susan Morrison, Maeve Mackinnon, Whistlebinkies, Govan Allsorts Choir, People’s Past, People’s Future Choir

11.30am Unveiling ceremony

12.00pm Unveiling and end of ceremony

Early feedback suggests that there will be a sizeable presence at the event. The area immediately around the statue will be reserved for the local schoolchildren who will be representing Mary Barbour’s Army as they parade from the Pearce Institute to the Cross, led by the Govan Schools Pipes & Drums Band.

There will also be a cordoned area for a stage, a press and T.V. area, and a reserved space for our very senior citizens and wheelchair users.

For safety reasons they have requested the closure of Govan Road between the Cross and the Pearce Institute. This will make additional standing area available if required.

MARY DAVIS explains the historic significance of Sylvia Pankhurst and the East London Federation of Suffragettes

This year we celebrate the centenary of the Representation of the People Act when women over 30 with a small property qualification were enfranchised, even though the 1918 Act gave all men over 21 the vote.

For some reason there appears to be a greater preference to mark the 1918 anniversary than 1928 when, at last, all women over 21 were enfranchised.

We need to re-examine suffrage history.

We are accustomed to thinking that the historic demand for “votes for women” meant votes for all women. At the time it was formulated in the late 1860s, the demand was that women should obtain the vote “on the same terms as that agreed or may be accorded to men.”

However, the 1884 Reform Act only enfranchised 40 per cent of adult males. Thus, this formula excluded most women, despite the fact that all the suffrage societies including the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) adopted it.

The working class in Britain is not only made up of white, male, middle-aged, manual workers. Whilst some of the most class-conscious, politicised sections of the working class are those working for capitalist employers in manufacturing, transport, energy, construction etc. Over the last thirty years all workers (especially in the public sector) have become increasingly exploited under capitalism and have becoming increasingly organised and ready to take action in defence of their class interests.

But the working class extends beyond this to all those who sell their labour power and are exploited directly or indirectly by the capitalist class, whether in the past, present or future. More than 80 per cent of Britain's population can be classified as part of the working class.

Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya

the woman workerNadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya (1869– 1939) has been overshadowed as a revolutionary and essayist in the popular perception by the figure of Lenin and unfortunately became known by many simply as ‘Lenin’s wife’. 

The Woman Worker, Krupskaya’s first pamphlet, was written in Siberian exile where she had joined Lenin, following their arrest in 1896 and sentencing to three years internal exile in Shushenskoye. Krupskaya and Lenin married in July 1898. Krupskaya wrote The Woman Worker in 1899 under the pseudonym ‘Sablina’, one of several she used before the Bolshevik revolution. Other pseudonyms she employed included; Lenina, Artamonova, Onegina, Ryba, Rybkina, Katya, Frey and Gallilei.

Women are usually paid less than men. 

The Woman Worker was originally published and circulated in 1901 before being banned following suppression of the 1905 revolution. It was republished in 1925 with a new preface by the author (included in this translation). Its significance stems from being the first Marxist work on the situation of women in Russia. The author analyses in some depth the causes of women’s lack of rights under tsarism. She calls on women to join the ranks of fighters for a better life, as equals and alongside men workers. “The woman worker is a member of the working class” she writes “and all her interests are closely tied to the interests of that class.” Krupskaya vividly describes the plight of peasant women in the family, their powerlessness and wholesale dependence on the husband. “The woman is ‘brought into the house’” she writes. “That is why the person of the woman is rated so low, and why according to peasant custom the woman is seen as property, which is valued in the main only for her capacity for work.” The Woman Worker continued to be published in Soviet times, in the first volume of Krupskaya’s complete works published in 1957 by the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (available to download at https://tinyurl.com/ycgylbzx) and republished in 1964

Taken from the introduction by Dmitriy Kolesnik, a Ukrainian journalist and former editor of online journal Liva and Ukrainian communist newspaper, New Wave (now suppressed) whose editor was recently arrested by Ukraine’s security service and accused of treason. Dmitriy Kolesnik contributes to German newspaper, Junge Welt and Melodie und Rhytmus magazine and coordinates antifascist and communist activists in his homeland. Taken from the website https://21centurymanifesto.wordpress.com/

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Professor Mary Davis, lecturer, campaigner, trade unionist, Communist and author of the important Marxist works "Comrade or Brother" and "Women & Class", addressed an evening audience after giving a special guest lecture in Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow November 2010.

In a presentation which was kept short to maximise audience discussion, Prof Davis gives a Marxist analysis of the role of women in historical and modern Capitalist society, focusing also on exploitation through prostitution and the commodification of sex.