In this second episode, Kristen Ghodsee takes a moment to introduce herself and to give some background on Alexandra Kollontai. Ghodsee then reads the first section of Kollontai's report from the First International Socialist Women's Conference held in Stuttgart, Germany in 1907. This was an historic meeting of socialist women from across Europe. It was attended by 58 delegates from 14 countries, and Kollontai represented Russia. The congress of socialist women convened to discuss the issue of universal suffrage for the working class, including women, and the need for a special international movement to agitate among women. Kollontai argued that as long as the working class was divided by sex, the bourgeois owners of the means of production would rest easy because any strike by male workers could easily be broken by calling up the "army" of "submissive" female workers to replace them. But once women workers joined with their male comrades, the bourgeois would have no choice but to listen to proletarian demands.
Kristen R. Ghodsee is a Professor of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence. More information about Kristen R. Ghodsee can be found at www.kristenghodsee.com