Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lenin and the Gardeners.

BBC Radio 4 today broadcasts an investigation into the alleged secret trip Lenin made to Letchworth Garden City in England, the first of its kind town, inhabited by juice-drinking sandal-wearing hippy-socialists.

The episode is semi-legendary. It's supposed to have taken place in 1907, when Russian socialists met for a crucial conference in London. The conference was taking place in the wake of the first, unsuccessful, Russian revolution of 1905. The tsar was rolling back the limited reforms and repressing any protest. Revolutionaries were in panic and despair. The atmosphere was brilliantly captured by Maxim Gorky, who was present at the conference, in the essay 'V.I. Lenin' (text here).

The Radio 4 team of investigators includes the author Dame Antonia Byatt; the leading authority on Edwardian socialism, Professor Sheila Rowbotham; and the science fiction writer and socialist, Ken MacLeod.

Details of the programme are on the BBC website here

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