“Censorship and the Third Section: How thinking became dangerous in 19th Century Russia”, an original history research paper by rootsnwingz

Introduction

When Nicholas I succeeded his older brother Alexander and became the tsar of Russia in late 1825, the attitude of the state towards its subjects changed dramatically. Nicholas’s thirty year long autocratic rule is characterized by oppressive reforms aimed at maintaining the status quo and preventing dissent in a time of socio-political instability and uncertainty. Any kind of unconventional thought or criticism of the state had to be considered a threat to the tsar’s authority and, as a consequence, Nicholas sought complete control over what could be safely published. Strict censorship laws were enacted, while a secret police, which became known as the “Third Section”, was re-established in order to regulate the press. Writers who refused to obey the tsar’s guidelines and wished to be the sole authority over their writings’ style and content were ruthlessly persecuted.

But was Nicholas’s austerity paranoid? In fact, Nicholas had real reasons to be concerned about his position on the throne and to worry about dissent. First of all, when he came to power, he immediately had to deal with the Decembrist Uprising. This uprising is generally understood as the manifestation of the educated elite’s disappointment with Alexander’s liberal, yet ineffective, government. More notably, it “produced the first open confrontation between the autocracy and members of the intelligentsia.” (Shatz, 31)

Despite the fast suppression of the Decembrist Uprising, Nicholas was left convinced that he had to adopt stricter policies. Moreover, keeping in mind that at the same time in the 19th century, revolutionary movements were blooming all over Europe, he must have been terrified by the possibility of the creation of an influential movement of dissent. “The very foundations of autocratic rule were menaced by the changes in social thought brought about by the growth of revolutionary successes abroad and their influence on internal politics at home” (Squire, 48).

As a result, the priority of Nicholas’s reforms was to ensure that public opinion agreed with the government’s views and thus, censorship and persecution on the grounds of crimes of thought reached unprecedented heights in Russian history. The success of the French revolution was also the reason why Nicholas denounced French philosophy and the Enlightenment ideas, which had been propagated in the 18th century by Catherine the Great. In the 19th century, however, such ideologies were considered dangerous. Nevertheless, Nicholas was not afraid of all Western thought. In fact, he was particularly fond of German philosophy, such as Hegel and the other “Idealists”. Therefore, the cultural shift from France to Germany reflects that the tsar had carefully observed the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars and had thus witnessed the double risk of overexpansion and fall of autocracy, which were probably his two biggest fears.

The Decembrist Uprising played a vital role in ascertaining the divide between the government’s interests and the interests of the people, especially the educated elite. In this sense, Nicholas’s adversaries were now identifiable; they were the writers, poets and playwrights who dared to challenge –either directly or subliminally- the state’s authority over the people. Therefore, perhaps for the first time, the intelligentsia was recognized as the most influential threat to the existing order in Russia. The fact that Nicholas now regarded the intelligentsia as the state’s visible internal enemy explains the abundance of repression that freethinking intellectuals faced in the second quarter of the 19th century. In other words, the absurdity of the censorship laws and the birth of the secret police affirm Nicholas’s fearfulness of the intelligentsia.

Therefore, the present research paper is an examination of Nicholas’s censorship laws and the “Third Section’s” activity. I primarily aim to demonstrate how the intelligentsia had a real effect on the society they lived in and belonged to, which in turn became a serious cause of concern for the authorities and has led to atrocious and oppressive government responses. In addition, I intend to look into the ways “intelligenty” overcame or eluded national policing, as well as the cases where they were less fortunate and paid a heavy price for their mental freedom. Specifically, illustrative examples from the lives of Alexander Herzen and Mikhail Bakunin will be provided to help the reader get a clearer idea of the limitations and sufferings they endured due to Nicholas’s repression. The fact that poets and novelists were exiled or sent off to mental asylums suggests that, historically, Russian authorities have been deeply troubled by the intelligentsia’s activity, especially its capacity to change sociopolitical structures and express dissent from the autocracy. This is why I believe that an inquiry into the censorship laws and the “Third Section” will serve to contextualize the intelligentsia’s experience under the rule of Nicholas I.

Continue reading

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“Le Métèque” – Live Acoustic Reggae Cover of Georges Moustaki’s classic song , by Alpha Blondy

The Egyptian / French / Greek / Italian musician, Georges Moustaki released this in the late 1960s and is one of my personal favorites, both lyrically and musically.  The Ivory Coast artist, Alpha Blondy, did a great job covering this classic in a reggae style and tweaking it appropriately.   Watch & Share the original official music video by Moustaki, the live acoustic reggae version on TV5MONDE as well as the studio version off Alpha Blondy’s latest album, “Mystic Power”.  A song of love and suffering, the lyrics are so good, check them out below the videos!

http://tune.pk/player/embed_player.php?vid=1836351&folder=2014/01/11/&width=600&height=350&autoplay=no

Avec ma gueule de nègre métèque
De Juif errant, de rasta grec
Et mes dreadlocks aux quatre vents
Avec mes yeux tout délavés
Qui me donnent l’air de rêver
Moi qui ne rêve plus souvent
Avec mes mains de maraudeur
De musicien et de rôdeur
Qui ont pillé tant de jardins
Avec ma bouche qui a bu
Qui a embrassé et mordu
Sans jamais assouvir sa faim
Avec ma gueule de nègre métèque
De Juif errant, de rasta grec
De voleur et de vagabond
Avec ma peau qui s’est frottée
Au soleil de tous les étés
Et a tout ce qui portait jupon
Avec mon cœur qui a su faire
Souffrir autant qu’il a souffert
Sans pour cela faire d’histoires
Avec mon âme qui n’a plus
La moindre chance de salut
Pour éviter le purgatoire
Avec ma gueule de nègre métèque
De Juif errant, de rasta grec
Et mes dreadlocks aux quatre vents
Je viendrai, ma douce captive
Mon âme sœur, ma source vive
Je viendrai boire tes vingt ans
Et je serai prince de sang
Rêveur ou bien adolescent
Comme il te plaira de choisir
Et nous ferons de chaque jour
Toute une éternité d’amour
Que nous vivrons à en mourir
Et nous ferons de chaque jour
Toute une éternité d’amour
Que nous vivrons à en mourir

2 Brand New Original & Amazing Reggae Music Videos recommended by rootsnwingz

These two excellent videos were an impressive and wonderful way for Midnite and Chronixx with Inner Circle to kick off 2015.  Roots & Culture Everytime!

Midnite x I Grade – “Credited” (Official Music Video January 2015 – Directed By Royal Ras Productions)

The music video for “Credited”, off Midnite’s new I-Grade produced album, “Ride Tru”, was filmed at Mount Victory Camp, St. Croix and was directed by Birhan Tonge of Royal Ras Productions, a NYC-based film company that has previously collaborated on film projects with both Buss Pipe Records and I Grade Records. The innovative music video for “Credited” utilizes the original artwork created at the scene of the filming by artists Marcus Wilson and Omar Boothman. Marcus Wilson is the official Midnite artist who has painted the vast majority of Midnite’s 52 album covers.

“Credited” (V. Benjamin, L. Alfred, D. Goldfine)
Lyrics and vocal melodies by Vaughn Andre Benjamin (BMI)
Song Produced by: Zion I Kings
Drums, Percussion: Lloyd “Junior” Richards
Bass, Percussion: David “JAH David” Goldfine
Keyboards, Melodica & Guitars: Laurent “Tippy I” Alfred
Lead Guitar: Padraic Coursey
Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by: Laurent “Tippy I” Alfred at Aqua Sounds Studio, STX

Credited Music Video
Directed, filmed & edited by: Birhan Tonge
Additional camera work by: Ajani Clunie, Josiah Winans
& Paul Cusin
Original artwork: by Marcus Wilson & Omar Boothman
Produced by: Royal Ras Productions & I Grade Records


Inner Circle featuring Chronixx & Jacob Miller – Tenement Yard / News Carryin’ Dread [Full Movie Version](January 2015)

Video directed by Gil Green & Damian Fyffe
Label: Soundbwoy Entertainment

Mutiny Aboard the Slave Ships in the 18th century: Implications for the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Original Research Paper written by rootsnwingz 3 years ago on the historical significance of mutiny during the slave trade.  Many thanks to my professor, classmates and the librarians who helped me with my research. 


Mutiny Aboard the Slave Ships in the 18th century: 
Implications for the Transatlantic Slave Trade

mutinyMural painted by Hale Woodruff.

“The trade of slaves is in a more peculiar manner the business of kings, rich men, and prime merchants, exclusive of the inferior sort of Blacks.”
– John Barbot, European Slave Trader (1682)

The present research paper primarily deals with the phenomenon of resistance onboard ships by Africans against their enslavement during what is commonly referred to as the “Middle Passage”, i.e. the voyage across the Atlantic from the West Coast of Africa to the Americas. Insurrections of this kind flourished in the 17th and 18th centuries and had an undeniable impact on numerous aspects of the slave trade, including the slave traders themselves, who were forced to adapt to these new conditions of the transatlantic slave trade.

Therefore, I will make use of primary accounts of mutiny aboard the slave ships from the 18th century with the hopes of gaining a better understanding of its impact on the slave trade. In short, I intend to argue that the slave traders generally considered mutiny as merely a financial setback and thus the adoption of measures to prevent or restrain insurrections became a priority for the management and organization of slave ships. The ultimate point this paper hopes to make is that mutiny had a real effect on the slave trade, in the sense that it made the business of trading slaves more costly and risky for the European traders, which consequently reduced shipments to the New World. Continue reading

N.A.S.A. – “Money” (feat. David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge, & Z-Trip) (Official Music Video)

Amazing animation music video. A successful fusion of Reggae, Hip Hop, Funk and Brazilian sound by an all star collective of musicians. Both the music and video are guaranteed to blow your mind! N.A.S.A. never fails to create timeless music with an message against corruption and injustice. No surprise that 6 years after its release, this track is still hot and original… Brace yourself for a quite trippy audiovisual experience!

© 2008 Spectrophonic Sound under license to Anti- Records

Art by Shepard Fairey
Directors: Syd Garon & Paul Griswold
Producer: Susan Applegate

N.A.S.A.’s debut album “The Spirit of Apollo” hit the shelves 2/17/09 on Anti-/Spectrophonic Sound.

Zagoraios – Proseuxh (Souljazz Orchestra Mashup), by Matina Sous Peau

Matina Sous Peau has once again created an awesome mashup! This one features legend Greek folk singer and musician Spyros Zagoraios and the Canadian soul, jazz, afrobeat, funk band The Souljazz Orchestra Mashup. The music reminds me of Fela Kuti and, surprisingly, Zagoraios’ voice goes amazingly with it. A truly original groove…