Posted: 1 year ago

Eric Lee Hosts a Lecture „Why the Georgian Experiment Matters“

On May 25, at 19:00, in relation to Georgia's Independence Day, American writer and journalist Eric Lee will deliver a public lecture at Ilia State University on the topic "Why the Georgian Experiment Matters".

The writer is in Georgia within the framework of a joint residency program of the Writers' House and the US Embassy - Writer-in-Residence, with the support of Ilia State University.

After the lecture, Eric Lee will be awarded the title of Honorary Doctor of Ilia State University.

Until 1917 there was great expectation that the victory of the Socialist Party would bring more freedom to people anywhere in the world. This was the promise of all socialists after the famous words of Karl Marx, "The first step of the revolution ... [is] to win the fight for democracy." But after the victory of the communists in Russia, instead of democracy, the first modern totalitarian state in the world was formed. What happened? - 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 existed for only three years, was eagerly accepted by social-democratic leaders, including Karl Kautsky, as an alternative to Bolshevism. The delegation of European Social-Democratic leaders, who arrived in Georgia in the fall of 1920, and the parties under their leadership, formed a new vision of a socialist society in the light of what had been created in Russia and Georgia. After the suppression of the 1924 uprising in Georgia, two camps that coexisted within the European leftists disintegrated, with the Communists on one side and the Socialists on the other.

Although the historical memory of the Republic of Georgia largely disappeared in Europe, their vision of "democratic socialism" as an alternative to communism became even more important, especially during the Cold War. This vision of liberatory and democratic socialism still remains relevant today.

Eric Lee (b. 1955) is an American writer, journalist, and trade union activist. The website, LabourStart, which was founded by him and of which he is the editor-in-chief, covers trade union news and campaigns around the world.

Eric Lee has dedicated thirty years to the study of various aspects of Georgian history and has written two books: The Experiment: Georgia's Forgotten Revolution 1918-1921, which is also published in Georgian (Poetry Publishing House, 2018) and in Russia. And second-Night of the Bayonets: The Texel Uprising and Hitler’s revenge (GreenHill Books, 2020)

The book "Georgian Uprising on Texel: The Last Battle in Europe" is also published in Georgian (Poetry Publishing House, 2020), Dutch and Czech languages.

The public lecture and ceremony will be held in a hybrid format. Participants can choose the preferred format of attendance based on pre-registration.