Blog post

October: The Story of the Russian Revolution by China Miéville — signed giveaway!

Verso Books 2 May 2017

<i>October: The Story of the Russian Revolution</i> by China Miéville — signed giveaway!
*This competition is now over and the winners have been announced below*

Who is your favourite unsung revolutionary? We want to hear from you!

In October: The Story of the Russian Revolution award-winning author China Miéville plunges us into the year the world was turned upside down.

To celebrate publication on May 9th, we're giving away 10 advance signed copies. And you can win one by telling us who your favourite unsung revolutionary is, and why! See below for full details.

To win a signed copy of October: The Story of the Russian Revolution 
tell us who your unsung revolutionary is and why! You can enter via:

- Twitter: tell us who your favourite unsung revolutionary is & why, quote tweeting THIS TWEET (also pinned to the top of our page) and using the hashtag #unsungrevolutionaries

- Instagram: like and comment under this post, telling us who your favourite unsung revolutionary is & why (using the hashtag #unsungrevolutionaries)

- Facebook: like AND comment underneath this post pinned to the top of our facebook page, letting us know who your favourite unsung revolutionary is and why. Your reply must be public in order for us to see it!

The prize:
- A signed copy of China Miéville's new book October: The Story of the Russian Revolution (out next week!).
- A Verso "Russian Revolution" tote bag (see a photo here!)

The competition will run from May 3 (11.30 GMT) to May 4 (midnight GMT).
10 winners will be chosen; 10 prizes will be awarded. 
This competiton is open to anyone, anywhere in the world. But you must be able to provide a full postal address and telephone number for delivery.
The winners will be selected on Friday, May 5, and we will be picking 10 interesting revolutionaries. Our decision is final.
Winners will be notified in the week commencing May 8.
We will collate all the winning "unsung revolutionaries" into a blog post which will be posted in the week commencing May 8.
You can enter as many times as you like, on either or all platforms.
Good luck!


Thank you to everyone who entered! We had a phenomenal number of entries - you can read them all on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Here are the winning entries. We picked 12 winners in the end, as there were so many great suggestions! We will be in touch with you direct about claiming your prize. 


Comandanta Ramona, a tzotzil woman born in the highlands of Chiapas, and member of the Zapatista National Liberation Army command. She commanded the taking of San Cristóbal de las Casas in the 1994 uprising, and fought tirelessly for the realization of women’s rights within the movement, as an renounceable condition for the construction of autonomy. During the decade following the uprising, she—an indigenous woman of discrete demeanor and convictions tempered in the fire of ancestral poverty and revolutionary war—became one of the most powerful voices of dignity for those rendered invisible by the dark centuries of fierce racism and patriarchy that weigh over Mexican society. She died in 2006 after a decade-long battle with cancer - by Luis Andueza‪ on Facebook

Claudia Jones
- A radical intellectual, orator, feminist and dedicated communist, her tireless political and community organizing helped bring communities together and raise their awareness of the conditions of their oppression and how to overcome them. Refusing to stop sharing her views or halt her activity, she was deported from the US to England and continued her work there. - by Ariel Sheen on Facebook

I would definitely say Simon Nkoli of South Africa. He was a man born into poverty, apartheid and was gay. Even today the LGBT community suffers, but he decided to dedicate his life to overthrowing apartheid, socialism and LGBT rights. He was so close to Mandela's heart that the new south African constitution in 1994 is the only one which expressly protects LGBT rights. He'd contracted aids in the 80s and yet he struggled well until he died in the mid 90s. May he rest in peace and all similar comrades! - by Kareem Khalid on Facebook

The women involved in the Abeokuta Women's Revolt in Nigeria in the 1940s [a resistance movement led by the Abeokuta Women’s Union (AWU) against the imposition of unfair taxation by the Nigerian colonial government]. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti led the Abeokuta Women's Union in an anticolonial, anti-patriarchal resistance against regressive taxation that was eventually (somewhat) successful in 1949 - by Leif Erik‪ on Facebook

My #unsungrevolutionaries choice is Selma James. She has always provided me and many others with support, critical advice and care at the Crossroads Women Centre and continues to be an inspiring thinker. I feel that she is sometimes only remembered in her capacity as CLR James' spouse and consequently, her own work has not been engaged with adequately. I may not always agree with her politically but she is certainly one of our enduring radicals and wonderful to work with. - by 4lebi on Instragram

"In 1972, the publication The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community (authored with Mariarosa Dalla Costa) launched the "domestic labour debate" by spelling out how housework and other caring work women do outside of the market produces the whole working class, thus the market economy, based on those workers, is built on women's unwaged work. The 1983 publication of James's Marx and Feminism broke with established Marxist theory by providing a reading of Marx's Capital from the point of view of women and of unwaged work.

In 1972 Selma James founded the International Wages for Housework Campaign, which demands money from the State for the unwaged work in the home and in the community. A raging debate followed about whether caring full-time was "work" or a "role" — and whether it should be compensated with a wage. James is the first spokeswoman of the English Collective of Prostitutes, which campaigns for decriminalisation." - Wikipedia

Maud Gonne, an Irish revolutionary and suffragette. She is the inspiration behind some of my favourite poems by Yeats. She was a fearless leader who tirelessly worked for the causes she believed in - improving conditions of Irish political prisoners, Irish freedom from England and women empowerment - by karachigeek on Instagram

In her autobiography she wrote, "I have always hated war and am by nature and philosophy a pacifist, but it is the English who are forcing war on us, and the first principle of war is to kill the enemy."

The Lowell 'Mill Girls' from Boston, 1840s. Working class women agricultural workers brought into the factories, created their own radical newspapers and demonstrated against wage labour, never having read Marx or anything similar. Self-evident that industrial capitalism was a form of wage slavery, they organised strikes throughout at a time when to do so meant being crushed by the State. Wrote badass marching songs too #unsungrevolutionary - by 89et on Instagram

Eufrosina Cruz, the first indigenous woman elected president of Mexico's state congress - by @domkippin on Twitter

“Eufrosina Cruz Mendoza (born 1 January 1979 in Santa María Quiegolani, Oaxaca) is a Zapotec woman from the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. She is an activist for gender equality and the rights of indigenous women and communities. In November 2010 she became the first indigenous woman in Oaxacan politics, assuming the position of deputy of the PAN (Partido Acción Nacional or National Action Party (Mexico)) and president of the board of the local congress. In December of the same year Eufrosina was appointed as coordinator of indigenous affairs of the National Executive Committee of the PAN.[1] She is also the founder and director of the QUIEGO, AC association, which promotes gender equality in Oaxaca. The starting-point for her fight for gender equality was that she was not permitted to participate in the municipal elections of her home town Santa María Quiegolani, for the single reason that she is a woman. This was a valid reason according to the usos y costumbres (local traditional laws). Because of Eufrosina Cruz’s fight, the constitution was later reformed to give women equal voting rights. On October 3, 2008 Cruz received the National Youth Award for her contribution to political culture” - Wikipedia

Sara Bertić, she was agriculture student at the University of Belgrade and a member of KPJ youth wing, involved in students' protests taking place at the time. After the outbreak of WWII she returned to Osijek, then border town between the so called Independent State of Croatia and Hungary. As her family had farm in countryside across the border she served as a messenger between partisan cells on both sides of the border. While she was preparing a diversion against oil refinery in Osijek, her cover was blown and she was arrested along with her mother Agripina. After the arrest, she was heavily tortured and questioned for weeks by Gestapo and Ustasha secret police, but she never gave them information on her comrades. After she proved as a useless captive, she and her mother were sentenced to death and executed by firing squad. Although some streets and schools were named after her, she was never named People's Hero of Yugoslavia. by eccesulemme on Instagram

For a South African the choice is obvious: Robert Sobukwe, whose absence is the defining feature of our decline. - by Simon Shear‏ ‪@axaxaxasimon on Twitter

“Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe (5 December 1924 – 27 February 1978) was a prominent South African political dissident, who founded the Pan Africanist Congress in opposition to South Africa under apartheid.

During his lifetime, Sobukwe was considered to be so dangerous by the apartheid government that it arranged for its parliament to enact the "Sobukwe clause", a statute which on its face seemed to grant broadly applicable powers, but was specifically intended to authorize the arbitrary extension of Sobukwe's imprisonment.” - Wikipedia

For #unsungrevolutionaries in Aotearoa/New Zealand, it's hard to go past Rewi Maniapoto, whose slogan reverberates through history: ka whawhai tonu mātou - ake! ake! ake!/we will fight on - for ever and ever. - by @BenRosamondNZ on Twitter

"Rewi Manga Maniapoto (1807–1894) was a Ngāti Maniapoto chief who led rebel Kīngitanga forces during the New Zealand government Invasion of Waikato during the New Zealand Wars." - Wikipedia

Maria Nikiforova, known as Marusya, anarchist during the Russian Revolution, leader of the Black Guards, and ally/mentor of Nestor Makhno, cause she kept reappearing many times after been thought dead, and I'd bet there are still people in Ukraine who think she's alive. Basically an anarchist cat. ‪- by Leonardo Sias‪ on Facebook

Maria Grigor'evna Nikiforova (1885–1919), was an anarchist partisan leader. A self-described terrorist from the age of 16, she was known widely by her nickname, Marusya. Through her exploits she became a renowned figure in the anarchist movement of 1918–1919 in Ukraine during Russian Civil War. - Wikipedia

Thank you to everyone who entered! There were many amazing suggestions - you can read them all on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Keep your eyes peeled on our website and social media in the next couple of weeks as we have lots more Russian Revolution related material (and sales) happening *spy eyes*

Filed under: russian-revolution