'The blood of martyrs is the seed of progress'.The role of martyrdom in socialist death culture in Belgium and the Netherlands, 1880-1940.

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Abstract

The rhetoric and forms of representation of martyrdom in the death culture of interna-
tional socialism is explored in relation to Belgium and the Netherlands, notably in Ghent and
Amsterdam, 1880-1940. Press material reveals the way forms of commemoration combined Chris-
tian and socialist imagery to galvanise followers and offer them a frame of transcendence. The link
between narratives of commemoration and social agitation in relation to strikes and other events
illustrates the way claims of martyrdom had distinctive functions in generating revolutionary con-
sciousness. The leaders and militants of the socialist movements in both countries made much of the
blood split by national and foreign socialist martyrs and of the repression they had to deal with. The
memory of certain martyrs was also used as a divisive force between different currents of socialism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalMortality
Issue number2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2014

Keywords

  • socialism
  • death culture
  • Belgium
  • the Netherlands
  • martyrdom

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