Red memoirs from a ’black time’ in Finland : radical working class reminiscences of the 1920s and 30s

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Communism : national & international, s. 273-298

Title: Red memoirs from a ’black time’ in Finland : radical working class reminiscences of the 1920s and 30s
Author: Peltonen, Ulla-Maija
Other contributor: Rentola, Kimmo
Saarela, Tauno
Contributor organization: Institute for Cultural Research
Kulttuurien tutkimuksen laitos
Kulturforskning, Institutionen för
Publisher: Finnish Historical Society
Date: 1998
Language: eng
Belongs to series: Studia historica ; 58
ISBN: 951-710-079-5
ISSN: 0081-6493
Abstract: In clarifying the culture of contestation in the memoirs, I examine manifestations of power and resistance which appear in memoirs depicting the 1920s and 30s. The themes of these memoirs are 1) narratives from childhood, experiences of 1918, motives for participation in the labour movement; 2) narratives of open resistance, that is, descriptions of public demonstrations on May Day, Red Day or Anti- War Day (August 1), on the Three L’s Day (Lenin, Luxemburg, Liebknecht), of demonstrations against the death penalty as well as other public demonstrations, on International Youth Day and Women’s Day, for example. Public resistance is also reflected in stories of job strikes and prison strikes organized by political prisoners, the singing of labour songs as well as the display of the colour red or Red symbolism; 3) narratives of covert resistance, circumvention of the law or opposition to it, which were expressed in descriptions of May Day or other labour movement holiday celebrations in Hämeenlinna and Tammisaari prisons, the holding of illegal meetings during such general celebrations as name days, birthdays, weddings and engagement parties, the distribution of banned literature or flyers, jokes and humour as well as the humming or whistling of labour songs; 4) narratives of power which are found in descriptions of the working climate, of unemployment, of the black lists kepts by employers, and of violence and house searches carried out by the police.
Subject: communists
oral history
worker's movement
Subject (ysa): muistitieto

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