Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Learning about Lenin
From Brian's school portfolio (October 2008):
The theme was "How we organise ourselves", an exploration of human systems and communities, of the world of work, its nature and its value, of employment and unemployment and their impact on us and the world around us.
The title of the Unit of Inquiry was "Who's Got the Power" and the central idea is that government has power and influence on people and that people have power and influence on government.
Brian and his classmates led an inquiry into the function of government, the rights and responsibilities of governments and citizens, the different types of government systems and the reasons they change.
Russia was used as a case study to investigate the impact of rule by the tsarist, communist and democratic systems on the people. The kids visited the Contemporary History of Russia Museum and the Armoury at the Kremlin.
In one assignment, the kids had to choose a character in Russian history and make a 2-minute speech as that character. To do so, they would have to do research about that character's life and try to understand his motivations and what he might have said in a speech. Amongst the girls, some chose to be daughters of the Tsar, another boy chose Alexander, the only son of the Tsar.
Brian gave his 2-min speech as Lenin.
"TO THE CITIZENS OF RUSSIA!
The Provisional Government has been deposed. The cause for which the people have been struggling, the immediate offer of a democratic peace, the abolition of landlord property rights over the land, worker control over production, the creation of a Soviet Government -- the cause has been achieved.
Long live the revolution of Workers, Soldiers and Peasants!"
That was what I said on the day the Bolsheviks launched their bid for power. After that day, after Russia turned Communist, the Bolsheviks would do great things. We would fight off a civil war and even modernize Russia. But, let's start from the beginning.
My name is Lenin, and I dedicated my life to the cause of the workers and peasants because my brother was executed unfairly. I then realized that the Tsar, Nicholas II, was useless. He spent too much time with his family and not enough time doing the actual ruling. The Tsar should put his country first, not his family. I decided to plot against the Tsar, but I was exiled to Siberia. I became leader of the Bolsheviks there, editing newspapers that were smuggled into Russia.
I returned to Russia in 1917. When I arrived, I was pleased to see that the Provisional Government had taken control over Russia, because the peasants were worse off and more likely to fight.
As soon as I arrived, I called for another revolution. Everyone was shocked. Some critics even called me a madman because I wanted another revolution right after Russia had just experienced one.
But, like I always say, sometimes history needs a push. History will not forgive us if we don't take power now. My wishes were granted. On November 6, the Provisional Government virtually fell right into our hands when they lost military support. Their leader, Alexander Kerensky, had fled the city.
We, the Bolsheviks, were finally in charge of Russia.
The Russian Revolution by Tony Allen
Russia, Enchantment of the Worlds by Stillman D Rogers