Eric Lee's Public Lecture: “Why the Georgian Experiment Matters”
American writer and journalist, Eric Lee, will deliver a public lecture on “Why the Georgian Experiment Matters” at Ilia State University on May 25th, with regards to Georgia's Independence Day.
The writer is staying in Georgia within the framework of the Writer-in-Residence joint program of the Writers' House and the U.S. Embassy in Georgia, and with the support of Ilia State University.
Eric Lee will be awarded the title of Honorary Doctor of Ilia State University after the lecture.
About the lecture
Until 1917, it was widely expected that the victory of a socialist party anywhere in the world would lead to an expansion of human freedom. That is what all socialists had been promising since Karl Marx famously wrote that "the first step in the revolution ... [is] to win the battle of democracy." But instead of democracy, the victory of the Russian Communists resulted in the world's first modern totalitarian state. What had gone wrong? Did socialism mean a new form of tyranny? And was there an alternative to the dictatorship established by Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin?
The first Georgian republic, which lasted barely three years, was embraced by social democratic leaders including Karl Kautsky as the alternative to Bolshevism. The delegation of European social democratic leaders who visited Georgia in late 1920 -- and the parties they led -- began to rethink their own vision of a new society in light of what they saw emerging in Russia and Georgia at that time. Even more so in the aftermath of the crushing of the 1924 uprising in Georgia, the two camps which had co-existed on the European Left came apart, with Communists on the one side and Socialists on the other.
Though the historic memory of the Georgian Republic had largely disappeared in Europe, their vision of "democratic socialism," an alternative to Communism, became increasingly important, especially during the Cold War. That vision of liberating and democratic socialism remains relevant today as well.
About the Speaker
Eric Lee (b. 1955) is an American writer, journalist, and trade unionist. He is the founding editor of the website LabourStart, which covers trade union media and campaigns around the world.
Eric Lee devoted thirty years to the study of various aspects of Georgian history and wrote two books:
- The Experiment: Georgia's Forgotten Revolution 1918-1921 (Zed, 2017) The book is also published in Georgian (Publishing House “Poetry”, 2018) and in Russian.
- Night of the Bayonets: The Texel Uprising and Hitler’s revenge (GreenHill Books, 2020) The book entitled “Georgian Uprising on Texel: The Last Battle in Europe” is also published in Georgian (Publishing House “Poetry”, 2020), Dutch and Czech.
In addition to these books, Eric Lee is the author of four other books:
- Britain's Plot to Kill Hitler: The True Story of Operation Foxley and SOE (GreenHill Books, 2022)
- Operation Basalt: The British Raid on Sark and Hitler's Commando Order (The History Press, 2016)
- The Labour Movement and the Internet: The New Internationalism (Pluto Press, 1996)
- Saigon to Jerusalem: Conversations with Israel's Vietnam Veterans (McFarland, 1992)
The public lecture and the ceremony will be held in a hybrid format. Participants can choose the preferred format of attendance through the pre-registration.
Follow the link to register: https://bit.ly/3EVcsua
English (simultaneous interpreters will be provided)
Time: May 25th, 19:00