Alexandra Kollontai: biography and main ideas

Alexandra Kollontai is one of the main representatives of socialist feminism. He born in Sant Petersburg, Russia, on March 31, 1872 and moved many of the fundamental issues of the feminist movement of the twentieth century, such as sexual freedom, free love, the care economy or the abolition of prostitution, which considered a kind of violence caused by the capitalist system.

Kollontai was born into a family belonging to the aristocracy but from a young age became interested in the ideas of Marxism and in 1899 joined the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. Marxism and feminism are merged into their thinking. For her, achieve the rights of women is not possible within the class system and the real feminist revolution would have as architects to workers after an international proletarian revolution. It thus distanced itself from the ‘bourgeois’ and specifically feminist suffragists who criticized the individualism and claimed that only used the struggle for political rights of women to achieve equality within the ruling upper class.

Kollontai studied history of work in Switzerland and, already immersed in trade unionism and defense of the rights of workers, he supported Lenin and joined the Bolshevik Party. It was the only member woman of the Party Central Committee (equivalent to minister) in 1917 decided the assault on the Winter Palace and the establishment of a proletarian state, which was named commissioner of public assistance. From this position he led out pioneering reforms to facilitate civil proceedings both marriage and divorce, promote free abortion, take a maternity salary or open care centers, soup kitchens and schools to protect children. He signed the suppression of religious cults and the distribution of monastic lands among the workers,. He also iderĂ³ information campaigns on sexual and reproductive freedom and thus aspired to socialism would bring a “new woman” equal to men in rights political and salary. Most of these developments and measures were revoked by Stalin, after taking office in 1941.

In 1918, Kollontai was part of the organization of the First Congress of Women Workers of Russia and the consequent creation of the Department of Women to combat illiteracy and increase the participation of women in political and civic life.

At this stage he wrote some of his most representative tests as ‘The social foundations of the woman question’, ‘Sex and the class struggle’ or ‘Communism and the family’.

The 20s were decisive in the career of Kollontai, which was relegated from the first line of the government after co-founding the leader of the metalworkers ‘union Aleksandr Shlyapnikov’ Workers ‘Opposition’, syndicalist current Bolshevik party critical of the government which argued that control and the organization of factories should cede to the workers themselves.

Congress ordered its dissolution and Kollontai joined diplomacy in 1923. So, she was the first woman in history named ambassador, in this case representative of the Soviet Union in Norway, Mexico and Sweden. Thanks to this ‘exile’, survived the deportations and killings, and in the early 30s, Bolshevik leaders. In Sweden participated in the preparation of the Treaty of Peace with Finland and in 1943 was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

At this stage, his role as a writer develops and publishes works like “Autobiography of a sexually emancipated woman ‘(1922) and collections of short stories’ Women in Crisis’ and’ Love of worker bees’ (1923).

Alexandra Kollontai returned to his country in 1945 and died in 1952 in Moscow, at 79.