Upon their scandalous deportation from the United States in 1919, famous anarchist writers and activists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman were greeted like heroes by the new Bolshevik government in Russia. Berkman described it as “the most sublime day of my life.” And yet he would flee the country after only two years. Belarus-born Ida Mett, who went through a similar experience at the time, also wrote a harrowing account of the Red Army’s brutal massacre at the Kronstadt Uprising before she too went into exile. How did each of these figures become so deeply disillusioned with Russia so quickly? And why, within a few years, did they all leave the country forever?
1917 offers a unique alternative perspective on the early years of the Russian Revolution through the narrative perspective of these three eyewitnesses. Featuring an introduction by Murray Bookchin, this book emphasizes the rarely discussed anarchist hopes for a democratic October revolution, while also critiquing the increasingly authoritarian responses of Bolshevik leaders at the time. Published for the centennial of the Russian revolutions, 1917 contains four essays by Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, Ida Mett, and Bookchin, as well as a poem by Dan Georgakas, that analyze, assess, celebrate, and bemoan both the wild successes and the bitter failures of the revolution.
Examining the significant influence of the Soviet Union on the work of four major African American authors—and on twentieth-century American debates about race—Beyond the Color Line and the Iron Curtain remaps black modernism, revealing the importance of the Soviet experience in the formation of a black transnationalism. Langston Hughes, W. E. B. Du Bois, Claude McKay, and Paul Robeson each lived or traveled extensively in the Soviet Union between the 1920s and the 1960s, and each reflected on Communism and Soviet life in works that have been largely unavailable, overlooked, or understudied. Kate A. Baldwin takes up these writings, as well as considerable material from Soviet sources—including articles in Pravda and Ogonek, political cartoons, Russian translations of unpublished manuscripts now lost, and mistranslations of major texts—to consider how these writers influenced and were influenced by both Soviet and American culture. Her work demonstrates how the construction of a new Soviet citizen attracted African Americans to the Soviet Union, where they could explore a national identity putatively free of class, gender, and racial biases. While Hughes and McKay later renounced their affiliations with the Soviet Union, Baldwin shows how, in different ways, both Hughes and McKay, as well as Du Bois and Robeson, used their encounters with the U. S. S. R. and Soviet models to rethink the exclusionary practices of citizenship and national belonging in the United States, and to move toward an internationalism that was a dynamic mix of antiracism, anticolonialism, social democracy, and international socialism. Recovering what Baldwin terms the "Soviet archive of Black America," this book forces a rereading of some of the most important African American writers and of the transnational circuits of black modernism.
Mustering out of the U.S. army in 1919, Harry Haywood stepped into a battle that was to last the rest of his life. Within months, he found himself in the middle of one of the bloodiest race riots in U.S. history and realized that he’d been fighting the wrong war—the real enemy was right here at home. This book is Haywood’s eloquent account of coming of age as a black man in twentieth-century America and of his political awakening in the Communist Party.
For all its cultural and historical interest, Harry Haywood’s story is also noteworthy for its considerable narrative drama. The son of parents born into slavery, Haywood tells how he grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, found his first job as a shoeshine boy in Minneapolis, then went on to work as a waiter on trains and in restaurants in Chicago. After fighting in France during the war, he studied how to make revolutions in Moscow during the 1920s, led the Communist Party’s move into the Deep South in 1931, helped to organize the campaign to free the Scottsboro Boys, worked with the Sharecroppers’ Union, supported protests in Chicago against Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia, fought with the International Brigades in Spain, served in the Merchant Marines during World War II, and continued to fight for the right of self-determination for the Afro-American nation in the United States until his death in 1985.
This new edition of his classic autobiography, Black Bolshevik, introduces American readers to the little-known story of a brilliant thinker, writer, and activist whose life encapsulates the struggle for freedom against all odds of the New Negro generation that came of age during and after World War I.
In December 2005, following a series of convulsive upheavals that saw the overthrow of two presidents in three years, Bolivian peasant leader Evo Morales became the first Indian president in South American history. Consequently, according to S. Sándor John, Bolivia symbolizes new shifts in Latin America, pushed by radical social movements of the poor, the dispossessed, and indigenous people once crossed off the maps of "official" history. But, as John explains, Bolivian radicalism has a distinctive genealogy that does not fit into ready-made patterns of the Latin American left.
According to its author, this book grew out of a desire to answer nagging questions about this unusual place. Why was Bolivia home to the most persistent and heroically combative labor movement in the Western Hemisphere? Why did this movement take root so deeply and so stubbornly? What does the distinctive radical tradition of Trotskyism in Bolivia tell us about the past fifty years there, and what about the explosive developments of more recent years? To answer these questions, John clearly and carefully pieces together a fragmented past to show a part of Latin American radical history that has been overlooked for far too long. Based on years of research in archives and extensive interviews with labor, peasant, and student activists—as well as Chaco War veterans and prominent political figures—the book brings together political, social, and cultural history, linking the origins of Bolivian radicalism to events unfolding today in the country that calls itself "the heart of South America."
Much attention has been given to the role of intellectual dissidents, labor, and religion in the historic overthrow of communism in Poland during the 1980s. Books Are Weapons presents the first English-language study of that which connected them—the press. Siobhan Doucette provides a comprehensive examination of the Polish opposition’s independent, often underground, press and its crucial role in the events leading to the historic Round Table and popular elections of 1989. While other studies have emphasized the role that the Solidarity movement played in bringing about civil society in 1980-1981, Doucette instead argues that the independent press was the essential binding element in the establishment of a true civil society during the mid- to late-1980s.
Based on a thorough investigation of underground publications and interviews with important activists of the period from 1976-1989, Doucette shows how the independent press, rooted in the long Polish tradition of well-organized resistance to foreign occupation, reshaped this tradition to embrace nonviolent civil resistance while creating a network that evolved from a small group of dissidents into a broad opposition movement with cross-national ties and millions of sympathizers. It was the galvanizing force in the resistance to communism and the rebuilding of Poland’s democratic society.
Heralded by Soviet propaganda as the “Path to the Future,” the Baikal-Amur Mainline Railway (BAM) represented the hopes and dreams of Brezhnev and the Communist Party elite of the late Soviet era. Begun in 1974, and spanning approximately 2,000 miles after twenty-nine years of halting construction, the BAM project was intended to showcase the national unity, determination, skill, technology, and industrial might that Soviet socialism claimed to embody. More pragmatically, the Soviet leadership envisioned the BAM railway as a trade route to the Pacific, where markets for Soviet timber and petroleum would open up, and as an engine for the development of Siberia.
Despite these aspirations and the massive commitment of economic resources on its behalf, BAM proved to be a boondoggle-a symbol of late communism's dysfunctionality-and a cruel joke to many ordinary Soviet citizens. In reality, BAM was woefully bereft of quality materials and construction, and victimized by poor planning and an inferior workforce. Today, the railway is fully complete, but remains a symbol of the profligate spending and inefficiency that characterized the Brezhnev years.
In Brezhnev's Folly, Christopher J. Ward provides a groundbreaking social history of the BAM railway project. He examines the recruitment of hundreds of thousands of workers from the diverse republics of the USSR and other socialist countries, and his extensive archival research and interviews with numerous project workers provide an inside look at the daily life of the BAM workforce. We see firsthand the disorganization, empty promises, dire living and working conditions, environmental damage, and acts of crime, segregation, and discrimination that constituted daily life during the project's construction. Thus, perhaps, we also see the final irony of BAM: that the most lasting legacy of this misguided effort to build Soviet socialism is to shed historical light on the profound ills afflicting a society in terminal decline.
Located on the shore of Lake Superior near the Iron Range of Minnesota and, for much of its history, the site of vast steel, lumber, and shipping industries, Duluth has been home to people who worked tirelessly in the rail yards, grain elevators, and harbor. Here, for the first time, By the Ore Docks presents a compelling, full-length history of the people who built this port city and struggled for both the growth of the city and the rights of their fellow workers.
In By the Ore Docks, Richard Hudelson and Carl Ross trace seventy years in the lives of Duluth’s multi-ethnic working class—Scandinavians, Finns, Italians, Poles, Irish, Jews, and African Americans—and chronicle, along with the events of the times, the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, religious traditions, and communities. But they also tell the dramatic story of how a populist worker’s coalition challenged the “legitimate American” business interests of the city, including the major corporation U.S. Steel.
From the Knights of Labor in the 1880s to the Industrial Workers of the World, the AFL and CIO, and the Democratic Farmer-Labor party, radical organizations and their immigrant visionaries put Duluth on the national map as a center in the fight for worker’s rights—a struggle inflamed by major strikes in the copper and iron mines.
By the Ore Docks is at once an important history of Duluth and a story of its working people, common laborers as well as union activists like Ernie Pearson, journalist Irene Paull, and Communist party gubernatorial candidate Sam Davis. Hudelson and Ross reveal tension between Duluth’s ethnic groups, while also highlighting the ability of the people to overcome those differences and shape the legacy of the city’s unsettled and remarkable past.
Richard Hudelson is professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Superior. He is the author of, among other works, Marxism and Philosophy in the Twentieth Century and The Rise and Fall of Communism.
Carl Ross (1913–2004) was a labor activist and the author of The Finn Factor in American Labor, Culture, and Society. He was director of the Twentieth-Century Radicalism in Minnesota Project of the Minnesota Historical Society.
In Can Politics Be Thought?—published in French in 1985 and appearing here in English for the first time—Alain Badiou offers his most forceful and systematic analysis of the crisis of Marxism. Distinguishing politics as an active mode of thinking from the political as a domain of the State, Badiou argues for the continuation of Marxist politics. In so doing, he shows why we need to recapture the emancipatory hypothesis of Marx's original gesture in order to actualize its radical potential. This volume also includes Badiou's “Of an Obscure Disaster: On the End of the Truth of the State,” in which he rebuts claims of Communism's death after the fall of the Soviet Union.
The Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs) were the largest political party in Russia in the crucial revolutionary year of 1917. Heirs to the legacy of the People’s Will movement, the SRs were unabashed proponents of peasant rebellion and revolutionary terror, emphasizing the socialist transformation of the countryside and a democratic system of government as their political goals. They offered a compelling, but still socialist, alternative to the Bolsheviks, yet by the early 1920s their party was shattered and its members were branded as enemies of the revolution. In 1922, the SR leaders became the first fellow socialists to be condemned by the Bolsheviks as “counter-revolutionaries” in the prototypical Soviet show trial.
In Captives of the Revolution, Scott B. Smith presents both a convincing account of the defeat of the SRs and a deeper analysis of the significance of the political dynamics of the Civil War for subsequent Soviet history. Once the SRs decided to openly fight the Bolsheviks in 1918, they faced a series of nearly impossible political dilemmas. At the same time, the Bolsheviks fatally undermined the revolutionary credentials of the SRs by successfully appropriating the rhetoric of class struggle, painting a simplistic picture of Reds versus Whites in the Civil War, a rhetorical dominance that they converted into victory over the SRs and any left-wing alternative to Bolshevik dictatorship. In this narrative, the SRs became a bona fide threat to national security and enemies of the people—a characterization that proved so successful that it became an archetype to be used repeatedly by the Soviet leadership against any political opponents, even those from within the Bolshevik party itself.
In this groundbreaking study, Smith reveals a more complex and nuanced picture of the postrevolutionary struggle for power in Russia than we have ever seen before and demonstrates that the Civil War—and in particular the struggle with the SRs—was the formative experience of the Bolshevik party and the Soviet state.
China’s mid-twentieth-century wars pose extraordinary interpretive challenges. The issue is not just that the Chinese fought for such a long time—from the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of July 1937 until the close of the Korean War in 1953—across such vast territory. As Hans van de Ven explains, the greatest puzzles lie in understanding China’s simultaneous external and internal wars. Much is at stake, politically, in how this story is told.
Today in its official history and public commemorations, the People’s Republic asserts Chinese unity against Japan during World War II. But this overwrites the era’s stark divisions between Communists and Nationalists, increasingly erasing the civil war from memory. Van de Ven argues that the war with Japan, the civil war, and its aftermath were in fact of a piece—a singular process of conflict and political change. Reintegrating the Communist uprising with the Sino-Japanese War, he shows how the Communists took advantage of wartime to increase their appeal, how fissures between the Nationalists and Communists affected anti-Japanese resistance, and how the fractious coalition fostered conditions for revolution.
In the process, the Chinese invented an influential paradigm of war, wherein the Clausewitzian model of total war between well-defined interstate enemies gave way to murky campaigns of national liberation involving diverse domestic and outside belligerents. This history disappears when the realities of China’s mid-century conflicts are stripped from public view. China at War recovers them.
China’s Communist Party seized power in 1949 after a long guerrilla insurgency followed by full-scale war, but the revolution was just beginning. Andrew Walder narrates the rise and fall of the Maoist state from 1949 to 1976—an epoch of startling accomplishments and disastrous failures, steered by many forces but dominated above all by Mao Zedong.
Communism: A TLS Companion
Edited by Ferdinand Mount University of Chicago Press, 1993 Library of Congress HX40.C675 1993 | Dewey Decimal 335.43
From the overthrow of the tsars until the sudden collapse of Soviet communism, the most influential Western analysts have reflected on and debated the rise and fall of communism in the pages of the TLS. The diverse opinions gathered in Communism: A TLS Companion reflect the succession of Western attitudes to the birth, growth, and death of communism.
Contributors to this volume include Isaac Deutscher, Eric Hobsbawm, Richard Pipes, Hugh Seton-Watson, Robert Conquest, Geoffrey Hosking, C. M. Woodhouse, Max Hayward, Leszek Kolakowski, Timothy Garton Ash, and many others of equal distinction. The volume is arranged in four sections covering the period leading to the Russian Revolution, the post-Revolution era of Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin; the Soviet Union from World War II to 1968; and the final period of disillusionment and collapse.
First published in France in 2001 by Éditions Belin under the title Le communisme au quotidien, Sandrine Kott’s book examines how East German businesses and government carried out communist practices on a daily basis and how citizens and workers experienced the conditions created by the totalitarian state in their daily lives. Kott undertakes a social analysis of the Communist Party’s grasp on state enterprises and the limits of its power. She then analyzes the enterprises themselves and the social, generational, and gender tensions that had a profound impact on the lived experience of socialism. Finally, she considers the development and acceptance of a complex set of rituals and gift exchanges that masked latent conflicts while providing meaning to socialism’s role in ordinary life.
This rare grass-roots account of American communism traces the rise and fall of Maryland's Communist Party from the time of the Russian Revolution to the McCarthy era. Drawing on sources including the central archives of the Communist Party of the United States of America, recovered from remote storage in Siberia in 1993, Vernon L. Pedersen presents a sharp challenge to revisionist views of American communism as a benign domestic movement detached from Soviet interests.
Bolsheviks in Baltimore charts the uneven transformation of Baltimore's fledgling Communists into underground revolutionaries in the 1920s. Pedersen documents the mercurial careers of local organizers, their devotion to the Soviet cause, and their efforts to convert the Party from a hodgepodge of ethnic groups to an effective instrument of class interests. He also tracks the public's changing perception of the Communists, from amused unconcern to alarm, and details how the Ober antisubversive law and the HUAC hearings of the 1950s dismantled the Party from without while planting seeds of paranoia that destroyed it from within.
Behind the public fear of a Communist conspiracy against the U.S. government, Pedersen finds a party fractured by conflicting agendas, ineffectual leadership, and unstable membership. However, he also uncovers new evidence that Communists in the United States, acting on Soviet orders, used their influence in unions and front groups to sway American foreign policy in ways that benefited the Soviet Union. He documents the consolidation of an espionage apparatus in Baltimore and demonstrates that while espionage activities may have involved only a few individuals, all Party members shared an attitude of willing support for the activities of the Soviet Union that made these covert practices possible.
Paying tribute to the fervor and the effort dedicated by the Maryland Communists, often at the expense of their own physical and financial well-being, to a cause that ultimately failed them, Bolsheviks in Baltimore assesses an ambiguous legacy of admirable social vision, haphazard international conspiracy, and fierce internal conflict.
No socialist organization has ever had a more profound effect on black life than the Communist Party did in Harlem during the Depression. Mark Naison describes how the party won the early endorsement of such people as Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and how its support of racial equality and integration impressed black intellectuals, including Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, and Paul Robeson.
This meticulously researched work, largely based on primary materials and interviews with leading black Communists from the 1930s, is the first to fully explore this provocative encounter between whites and blacks. It provides a detailed look at an exciting period of reform, as well as an intimate portrait of Harlem in the 1920s and 30s, at the high point of its influence and pride.
Comrades! moves from Marx and Lenin to Mao and Castro and beyond to trace communism from its beginnings to the present day, offering vivid portraits of its protagonists and decisive events. Service looks not only at the high politics of communist regimes but also at the social conditions that led millions to support communism in so many countries.
In Confronting Communism, Victor S. Kaufman examines how the United States and Great Britain were able to overcome serious disagreements over their respective approaches toward Communist China. Providing new insight into the workings of alliance politics, specifically the politics of the Anglo- American alliance, the book covers the period from 1948—a year before China became an area of contention between London and Washington—through twenty years of division to the gradual resolution of Anglo-American divergences over the People's Republic of China beginning in the mid-1960s. It ends in 1972, the year of President Richard Nixon's historic visit to the People's Republic, and also the year that Kaufman sees as bringing an end to the Anglo-American differences over China.
Kaufman traces the intricate and subtle pressures each ally faced in determining how to approach Beijing. The British aspect is of particular interest because Britain viewed itself as being within "three circles": Western Europe, the Atlantic alliance, and the Commonwealth. Important as well to British policy with respect to China was the concern about being dragged into another Korean-style conflict. The impact of decisions on these "circles," as well as the fear of another war, appeared time and again in Britain's decision making.
Kaufman shows how the alliance avoided division over China largely because Britain did the majority of the compromising. Reliant upon the United States militarily and financially, most U.K. officials made concessions to their Washington counterparts. Readers of Confronting Communism will come away with a better understanding of alliance politics. They will learn that such decision making, for both Great Britain and the United States, was a highly complex process, one that posed serious challenges to the Anglo-American alliance. Despite those challenges, accord between London and Washington prevailed.
The Conservative Turn
Michael Kimmage Harvard University Press, 2009 Library of Congress PS3539.R56Z83 2009 | Dewey Decimal 818.5209
The Conservative Turn tells the story of postwar America's political evolution through two fascinating figures: Lionel Trilling and Whittaker Chambers, who went on to intellectual prominence, sharing the questions, crises, and challenges of their generation. Kimmage argues that the divergent careers of these two men exemplify important developments in postwar American politics: the emergence of modern conservatism and the rise of moderate liberalism.
Bertell Ollman has been hailed as "this country's leading authority on dialectics and Marx's method" by Paul Sweezy, the editor of Monthly Review and dean of America's Marx scholars. In this book Ollman offers a thorough analysis of Marx's use of dialectical method.
Marx made extremely creative use of dialectical method to analyze the origins, operation, and direction of capitalism. Unfortunately, his promised book on method was never written, so that readers wishing to understand and evaluate Marx's theories, or to revise or use them, have had to proceed without a clear grasp of the dialectic in which the theories are framed. The result has been more disagreement over "what Marx really meant" than over the writings of any other major thinker.
In putting Marx's philosophy of internal relations and his use of the process of abstraction--two little-studied aspects of dialectics--at the center of this account, Ollman provides a version of Marx's method that is at once systematic, scholarly, clear and eminently useful.
Ollman not only sheds important new light on what Marx really meant in his varied theoretical pronouncements, but in carefully laying out the steps in Marx's method makes it possible for a reader to put the dialectic to work in his or her own research. He also convincingly argues the case for why social scientists and humanists as well as philosophers should want to do so.
Despite Cultures examines the strategies and realities of the Soviet state-building project in Tajikistan during the 1920s and 1930s. Based on extensive archival research, Botakoz Kassymbekova analyzes the tactics of Soviet officials at the center and periphery that produced, imitated, and improvised governance in this Soviet southern borderland and in Central Asia more generally. She shows how the tools of violence, intimidation, and coercion were employed by Muslim and European Soviet officials alike to implement Soviet versions of modernization and industrialization.
In a region marked by ethnic, linguistic, and cultural diversity, the Soviet plan was to recognize these differences while subsuming them within the conglomerate of official Soviet culture. As Kassymbekova reveals, the local ruling system was built upon an intricate network of individuals, whose stated loyalty to communism was monitored through a chain of command that stretched from Moscow through Tashkent to Dushanbe/Stalinabad. The system was tenuously based on individual leaders who struggled to decipher the language of Bolshevism and maintain power through violent repression.
In the ten years since the last edition of this book, the world has undergone tremendous and, seemingly irrevocable change. With the virtual demise of the international communist movement and the increasing isolation of the remaining old-style regimes, communism has become history. Robert V. Daniels has updated his definitive work to chronicle the last years of international communism. It contains a new chapter with 22 documents pertaining to such key ideas and events as perestroika, the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, and the Tiananmen Massacre. Together with his Documentary History of Communism in Russia, this book provides a complete documentary history of the communist movement from Lenin and world revolution to Gorbachev and the end of world communism.
In this startling, intensively researched book, bestselling historian Paul Kengor shines light on a deeply troubling aspect of American history: the prominent role of the “dupe.” From the Bolshevik Revolution through the Cold War and right up to the present, many progressives have unwittingly aided some of America’s most dangerous opponents.
Based on never-before-published FBI files, Soviet archives, and other primary sources, Dupes exposes the legions of liberals who have furthered the objectives of America’s adversaries. Kengor shows not only how such dupes contributed to history’s most destructive ideology—Communism, which claimed at least 100 million lives—but also why they are so relevant to today’s politics.
• Shocking reports on how Senator Ted Kennedy secretly approached the Soviet leadership to undermine not one but two American presidents
• Stunning new evidence that Frank Marshall Davis—mentor to a young Barack Obama—had extensive Communist ties and demonized Democrats
• Jimmy Carter’s woeful record dealing with America’s two chief foes of the past century, Communism and Islamism
• Today’s dupes, including the congressmen whose overseas anti-American propaganda trip was allegedly financed by foreign intelligence
• How ’60s Marxist radicals—Tom Hayden, Mark Rudd, Jane Fonda, Jeff Jones, Bill Ayers, and more—have suddenly reemerged as “progressives for Obama”
• How Franklin Roosevelt was duped by “Uncle Joe” Stalin—and by a top adviser who may have been a Soviet agent—despite clear warnings from fellow Democrats
• How John Kerry’s accusations that American soldiers committed war crimes in Vietnam may have been the product of Soviet disinformation
• The many Hollywood stars who were duped, including Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Katharine Hepburn, Gene Kelly—and even Ronald Reagan
• Soviet records that demonstrate beyond doubt the Communists’ expansionist aims and their targeting of American liberals, especially academics and the Religious Left
• How liberals still defend the same Communists who trashed Democratic icons like Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Harry Truman, and JFK—and still attack the anti-Communists who tried to spare them from manipulation
• Details on many other dupes (and dupers), including Arthur Miller, Dr. Benjamin Spock, John Dewey, H. G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Lillian Hellman, Howard Zinn, Walter Cronkite, and Helen Thomas
• A new chapter on the War on Terror.
Packed with stunning revelations, Dupes shows in frightening detail how U.S. adversaries exploit the American home front. Now with an updated introduction to the paperback edition.
For over thirty years, the work of E. P. Thompson as historian, socialist, and peace activist has been enormously influential. Yet attempts to assess the impact of his work as a whole have been rare. This book brings together a wide range of authors who, in original essays, discuss the historical, theoretical, and political problems that have been central to Thompson's work. The contributors assess the limits and achievements of his writings, and add to the discussion of issues that remain important for both intellectual and political work.
Earl Browder, the preeminent 20th-century Communist party leader in the United States, steered the CPUSA through the critical years of the Great Depression and World War II. A Kansas native and veteran of numerous radical movements, he was peculiarly fitted by circumstance and temperament to head the cause during its heyday.
Serving as a bridge between American Communism’s secret and public worlds, Browder did more than anyone to attempt to explain the Soviet Union’s shifting policies to the American people in a way that would serve the interests of the CPUSA. A proud and loyal follower of Joseph Stalin, Browder nevertheless sought to move the party into the U.S. political mainstream. He used his knowledge of domestic politics to persuade the Communist International to modify Popular Front (1935-1939) tactics for the United States.
Despite his rise in the hierarchy, he possessed an independent streak that ultimately proved his undoing. Imprisonment as he neared age 50 left permanent psychological damage. After being released with the approval of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Browder lost his perspective and began entertaining delusions of grandeur about his status in American politics and in the world Communist movement. Still, he could never quite bring legitimacy to the CPUSA because he lacked the vision and moral courage to separate himself totally from the Soviet Union. Ryan concludes that Browder was not so much insincere as deluded. His failure contributed to the demise of the popularity of the Communist party in the United States.
In preparation for this book, the author consulted the Browder Papers at Syracuse University and U.S. Government documents, particularly the F.B.I. files. In addition, he traveled to Russia for research in the Soviet Archives when recently opened to Western scholars, including the records of the former Communist International and a collection of American Communist party files, 1919-1944, shipped secretly to Moscow long ago. Indeed, until 1992, the existence of the CPUSA collection was only rumored.
Among early directors, Sergei Eisentein
stands alone as the maker of a fully historical cinema. James Goodwin treats
issues of revolutionary history and historical representation as central to
an understanding of Eisentein's work, which explores two movements within Soviet
history and consciousness: the Bolshevik Revolution and the Stalinist state.
Goodwin articulates intersections
between Eisentein's ideas and aspects of the thought of Walter Benjamin, Georg
Lukács, Ernst Bloch, and Bertolt Brecht. He also shows how the formal
properties and filmic techniques of each work reveal perspectives on history
. Individual chapters focus on Strike, Battleship Potemkin, October, Old and New, projects of the 1930s, Alexander Nevsky, and Ivan the Terrible.
Winner of the Social Science History Association President’s Book Award
East Germany was the first domino to fall when the Soviet bloc began to collapse in 1989. Its topple was so swift and unusual that it caught many area specialists and social scientists off guard; they failed to recognize the instability of the Communist regime, much less its fatal vulnerability to popular revolt. In this volume, Steven Pfaff identifies the central mechanisms that propelled the extraordinary and surprisingly bloodless revolution within the German Democratic Republic (GDR). By developing a theory of how exit-voice dynamics affect collective action, Pfaff illuminates the processes that spurred mass demonstrations in the GDR, led to a peaceful surrender of power by the hard-line Leninist elite, and hastened German reunification. While most social scientific explanations of collective action posit that the option for citizens to emigrate—or exit—suppresses the organized voice of collective public protest by providing a lower-cost alternative to resistance, Pfaff argues that a different dynamic unfolded in East Germany. The mass exit of many citizens provided a focal point for protesters, igniting the insurgent voice of the revolution.
Pfaff mines state and party records, police reports, samizdat, Church documents, and dissident manifestoes for his in-depth analysis not only of the genesis of local protest but also of the broader patterns of exit and voice across the entire GDR. Throughout his inquiry, Pfaff compares the East German rebellion with events occurring during the same period in other communist states, particularly Czechoslovakia, China, Poland, and Hungary. He suggests that a trigger from outside the political system—such as exit—is necessary to initiate popular mobilization against regimes with tightly centralized power and coercive surveillance.
Kenneth Straus weaves together many threads in Russian social history to develop a new theory of working-class formation in the years of Stalin’s First Five Year Plan. In so doing, he addresses a long-standing debate among historians by suggesting new answers to an old question: Was there social support for the Stalin regime among the Soviet working class during the 1930s, and if so, why?
Straus argues that the keys for interpreting Stalinism lie in occupational specialization, on the one hand, and community organization, on the other. He focuses on the daily life of the new Soviet workers in the factory and community, arguing that the most significant new trends saw peasants becoming open hearth steel workers, housewives becoming auto assembly line workers and machine operatives, and youth training en masse rather than occupations categories in the vocational schools in the factories, the FZU.
Tapping archival material only recently available and a wealth of published sources, Straus presents Soviet social history within a new analytical framework, suggesting that Stalinist forced industrialization and Soviet proletarianization is best understood within a comparative European framework, in which the theories of Marx, Durkheim, and Weber best elucidate both the broad similarities with Western trends and the striking exceptional aspects of the Soviet experience.
In recent decades the American labor movement has fallen on hard times, in part due to its long reliance on blue-collar workers for its membership despite the growing importance of retail and service jobs. In For All White-Collar Workers: The Possibilities of Radicalism in New York City’s Department Store Unions, 1934–1953, Daniel Opler examines early efforts to unionize workers in department and retail stores. Beginning with the origins of the modern labor movement in the mid-1930s, Opler argues that Communist labor organizers created vibrant and powerful unions in New York City’s department stores, only to see those unions—and the CIO’s powerful retail workers’ union—destroyed during the McCarthy era.
In the process of examining these unions, Opler takes the reader far beyond union meetings and contract negotiations, exploring the ways in which consumption, urban life, and changing understandings of public space affected the unions in these eras. As a result, For All White-Collar Workers becomes an exploration of such diverse subjects as the conflicts over midtown Manhattan, the 1939–1940 New York World’s Fair, the link between consumption and patriotism during World War II, private housing developments in 1940s New York City, and suburbanization, all viewed through the lens of the rise and fall of New York City’s department store unions.
Here is the history of the disintegration of the Russian Empire, and the emergence, on its ruins, of a multinational Communist state. In this revealing account, Richard Pipes tells how the Communists exploited the new nationalism of the peoples of the Ukraine, Belorussia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Volga-Ural area--first to seize power and then to expand into the borderlands.
The Formation of the Soviet Union acquires special relevance in the post-Soviet era, when the ethnic groups described in the book once again reclaimed their independence, this time apparently for good.
In a 1996 Preface to the Revised Edition, Pipes suggests how material recently released from the Russian archives might supplement his account.
Reviews of this book: Reviews of the First Edition:
"Simply to chronicle the highly complicated sequence of events in the ethnic borderlands of Russia during the tumultuous years between 1917 and 1923 is a difficult problem by itself. Richard Pipes has not only accomplished this task...but he has given this complex story meaning and perspective."
--Political Science Quarterly
"The most lucid description of the nationalist revolutionary upheavals following the October revolution."
"Pipes has succeeded remarkably well in elucidating a most complex subject and in giving a systematic, well-documented, and well-written account of the stormy years, 1917-1923."
From Reform to Revolution
Minxin PEI Harvard University Press, 1994 Library of Congress HX418.5.P43 1994 | Dewey Decimal 321.920947
The demise of communism in the former Soviet Union and the massive political and economic changes in China are the stunning transformations of our century. Two central questions are emerging: Why did different communist systems experience different patterns of transition? Why did partial reforms in the Soviet Union and China turn into revolutions?
To understand how North Korea has survived as the worlds last Stalinist regime despite international isolationand at enormous human costs to its peopleone must look at how its political system was created. The countrys foundations were laid in the late 1940s and 1950s as a result of interaction between the Soviet Stalinist model, imposed from outside, and local traditions.
Andrei Lankov traces the formation of the North Korean state and the early years of Kim Il Sungs rule, when the future "Great Leader" and his entourage were consolidating their power base. Surveying the situation in North Korea after 1945, Lankov explores the internal composition of the ruling elite, the role of the Soviets, and the uneasy relations between various political groups. He also focuses on how in 1956 Kim Il Sung defeated the only known attempt to oust him and thereby established absolute personal rule beyond either Soviet or Chinese control.
The book is based on previously secret Soviet documents from Russian archives, as well as interviews with Russian and Korean participants.
Acknowledged as one of the classics of twentieth-century Marxism, Antonio Gramsci's Prison Notebooks contains a rich and nuanced theorization of class that provides insights that extend far beyond economic inequality. In Gramsci's Common Sense Kate Crehan offers new ways to understand the many forms that structural inequality can take, including in regards to race, gender, sexual orientation, and religion. Presupposing no previous knowledge of Gramsci on the part of the reader, she introduces the Prison Notebooks and provides an overview of Gramsci’s notions of subalternity, intellectuals, and common sense, putting them in relation to the work of thinkers such as Bourdieu, Arendt, Spivak, and Said. In the case studies of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements, Crehan theorizes the complex relationships between the experience of inequality, exploitation, and oppression, as well as the construction of political narratives. Gramsci's Common Sense is an accessible and concise introduction to a key Marxist thinker whose works illuminate the increasing inequality in the twenty-first century.
In this fresh appraisal of communism and anti-communism, with an emphasis on the American case, respected scholar Michael E. Brown examines the methods, controversies and difficulties involved in writing the history of communism. Arguing that one important way of understanding communism—other than as a concrete political or ideological force—is as an expression of an essentially reflexive aspect of society that typically manifests itself in social movements. In this regard, Brown understands the history of communism as part of the history of society. Examining works by E. P. Thompson, Karl Marx, and Pierre Clastres, Brown develops the idea of history as an immanent feature of human activities. Taken together, the essays in this book—written over a period of 20 years–offer a distinctive approach to the connections between social theory, criticism, and historiography and to what is “social” about “social movements.”
This book presents G. A. Cohen's Gifford Lectures, delivered at the University of Edinburgh in 1996. Focusing on Marxism and Rawlsian liberalism, Cohen draws a connection between these thought systems and the choices that shape a person's life. In the case of Marxism, the relevant life is his own: a communist upbringing in the 1940s in Montreal, which induced a belief in a strongly socialist egalitarian doctrine. The narrative of Cohen's reckoning with that inheritance develops through a series of sophisticated engagements with the central questions of social and political philosophy.
In the case of Rawlsian doctrine, Cohen looks to people's lives in general. He argues that egalitarian justice is not only, as Rawlsian liberalism teaches, a matter of rules that define the structure of society, but also a matter of personal attitude and choice. Personal attitude and choice are, moreover, the stuff of which social structure itself is made. Those truths have not informed political philosophy as much as they should, and Cohen's focus on them brings political philosophy closer to moral philosophy, and to the Judeo-Christian ethical tradition, than it has recently been.
In June 1990, Indigenous peoples shocked Ecuadorian elites with a powerful uprising that paralyzed the country for a week. Militants insisted that the government address Indigenous demands for land ownership, education, and economic development. This uprising was a milestone in the history of Ecuador’s social justice movements, and it inspired popular organizing efforts across Latin America. While the insurrection seemed to come out of nowhere, Marc Becker demonstrates that it emerged out of years of organizing and developing strategies to advance Indigenous rights. In this richly documented account, he chronicles a long history of Indigenous political activism in Ecuador, from the creation of the first local agricultural syndicates in the 1920s through the galvanizing protests of 1990. In so doing, he reveals the central role of women in Indigenous movements and the history of productive collaborations between rural Indigenous activists and urban leftist intellectuals.
Becker explains how rural laborers and urban activists worked together in Ecuador, merging ethnic and class-based struggles for social justice. Socialists were often the first to defend Indigenous languages, cultures, and social organizations. They introduced rural activists to new tactics, including demonstrations and strikes. Drawing on leftist influences, Indigenous peoples became adept at reacting to immediate, local forms of exploitation while at the same time addressing broader underlying structural inequities. Through an examination of strike activity in the 1930s, the establishment of a national-level Ecuadorian Federation of Indians in 1944, and agitation for agrarian reform in the 1960s, Becker shows that the history of Indigenous mobilizations in Ecuador is longer and deeper than many contemporary observers have recognized.
In a work of encyclopedic scope, International Trotskyism, 1929–1985 is sure to become the definitive reference work on a movement that has had a significant impact on the political culture of countries in every part of the world for more than half a century. Renowned scholar Robert J. Alexander has amassed, from disparate sources, an unprecedented amount of primary and secondary material to provide a documentary history of the origins, development, and nature of the Trotskyist movement around the world. Drawing on interviews and correspondence with Trotskyists, newspaper reports and pamphlets, historical writings including the annotated writings of Trotsky in both English and French, historical memoirs of Trotskyist leaders, and documents of the Fourth International, Alexander recounts the history of the movement since Trotsky’s exile from the Soviet Union in 1929. Organized alphabetically in a double-column, country-by-country format this book charts the formation and growth of Trotskyism in more than sixty-five countries, providing biographic information about its most influential leaders, detailed accounts of Trotsky’s personal involvement in the development of the movement in each country, and thorough reports of its various factions and splits. Multiple chapters are reserved for countries where the movement was more active or fully developed and various chapters are organized around crucial thematic issues, such as the Fourth International. The chapters are followed by extensive name, organization, publication, and subject indexes, which provide optimal access to the wealth of information contained in the main body of the work.
Intimate Enemies is a brilliant study of the transformation of Bolshevik Party ideology, language, and power relations during the crucial period leading up to Stalin's seizure of power. Combining extensive research in recently opened Soviet archives with an insightful rereading of intra-Party struggles, Igal Halfin uncovers this evolution in the language of Bolshevism. This language defined the methods for judging true party loyalty-in what Halfin describes as an examination of the 'hermeneutics of the soul,' and became the basis for prosecuting the Party's enemies, particularly the “intimate enemies” within the Party itself. Halfin argues that Bolshevism-which claimed sole access to truth and morality-ultimately demonized its enemies, and became in effect a theology that facilitated a monumental power shift.
Bryan D. Palmer's award-winning study of James P. Cannon's early years (1890-1928) details how the life of a Wobbly hobo agitator gave way to leadership in the emerging communist underground of the 1919 era. This historical drama unfolds alongside the life experiences of a native son of United States radicalism, the narrative moving from Rosedale, Kansas to Chicago, New York, and Moscow. Written with panache, Palmer's richly detailed book situates American communism's formative decade of the 1920s in the dynamics of a specific political and economic context. Our understanding of the indigenous currents of the American revolutionary left is widened, just as appreciation of the complex nature of its interaction with international forces is deepened.
After decades of bloody revolutions and political terror, many scholars and politicians lament the rise and brief influence of the left in Latin America; since the triumph of Castro they have accused the left there of rejecting democracy, embracing Communist totalitarianism, and prompting both revolutionary violence and a right-wing backlash. The Last Colonial Massacre challenges these views.
Using Guatemala as a case study, Greg Grandin argues that the Cold War in Latin America was a struggle not between American liberalism and Soviet Communism but between two visions of democracy. The main effect of United States intervention in Latin America, Grandin shows, was not the containment of Communism but the elimination of home-grown concepts of social democracy.
Through unprecedented archival research and gripping personal testimonies, Grandin uncovers the hidden history of the Latin American Cold War: of hidebound reactionaries intent on holding on to their own power and privilege; of Mayan Marxists, blending indigenous notions of justice with universal ideas of freedom and equality; and of a United States supporting new styles of state terror throughout the continent. Drawing from declassified U.S. documents, Grandin exposes Washington's involvement in the 1966 secret execution of more than thirty Guatemalan leftists, which, he argues, prefigured the later wave of disappearances in Chile and Argentina.
Impassioned but judicious, The Last Colonial Massacre is history of the highest order—a work that will dramatically recast our understanding of Latin American politics and the triumphal role of the United States in the Cold War and beyond.
After decades of bloodshed and political terror, many lament the rise of the left in Latin America. Since the triumph of Castro, politicians and historians have accused the left there of rejecting democracy, embracing communist totalitarianism, and prompting both revolutionary violence and a right-wing backlash. Through unprecedented archival research and gripping personal testimonies, Greg Grandin powerfully challenges these views in this classic work. In doing so, he uncovers the hidden history of the Latin American Cold War: of hidebound reactionaries holding on to their power and privilege; of Mayan Marxists blending indigenous notions of justice with universal ideas of equality; and of a United States supporting new styles of state terror throughout the region.
With Guatemala as his case study, Grandin argues that the Latin American Cold War was a struggle not between political liberalism and Soviet communism but two visions of democracy—one vibrant and egalitarian, the other tepid and unequal—and that the conflict’s main effect was to eliminate homegrown notions of social democracy. Updated with a new preface by the author and an interview with Naomi Klein, The Last Colonial Massacre is history of the highest order—a work that will dramatically recast our understanding of Latin American politics and the role of the United States in the Cold War and beyond.
“This work admirably explains the process in which hopes of democracy were brutally repressed in Guatemala and its people experienced a civil war lasting for half a century.”—International History Review
“A richly detailed, humane, and passionately subversive portrait of inspiring reformers tragically redefined by the Cold War as enemies of the state.”—Journal of American History
In The Left Side of History Kristen Ghodsee tells the stories of partisans fighting behind the lines in Nazi-allied Bulgaria during World War II: British officer Frank Thompson, brother of the great historian E.P. Thompson, and fourteen-year-old Elena Lagadinova, the youngest female member of the armed anti-fascist resistance. But these people were not merely anti-fascist; they were pro-communist, idealists moved by their socialist principles to fight and sometimes die for a cause they believed to be right. Victory brought forty years of communist dictatorship followed by unbridled capitalism after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Today in democratic Eastern Europe there is ever-increasing despair, disenchantment with the post-communist present, and growing nostalgia for the communist past. These phenomena are difficult to understand in the West, where “communism” is a dirty word that is quickly equated with Stalin and Soviet labor camps. By starting with the stories of people like Thompson and Lagadinova, Ghodsee provides a more nuanced understanding of how communist ideals could inspire ordinary people to make extraordinary sacrifices.
This first full-length treatment of Lenin's studies of Hegel presents Lenin as a major figure in Hegelian Marxism, providing a more nuanced portrait of his work than that of either official Marxist-Leninism or most Western accounts.
"With impressive argumentation
and wide-ranging scholarship, Anderson presents us with a Lenin that no
one seriously interested in current debates over the relevance of Marxist
theory to socialist practice can afford to miss." -- Bertell Ollman,
author of Dialectical Investigations
"An important contribution
to grasping the conceptual roots of Marxist theory and practice."
-- Tom Rockmore, author of Hegel's Circular Epistomology
"Today Lenin looks like
he did little more than prepare the way for Stalin. You will find the
opposite view in this novel study. . . . I recommend the book to anyone
seriously interested in Russia and revolution." -- George Uri Fischer,
author of The Soviet System and Modern Society
Lenin Reloaded is a rallying call by some of the world’s leading Marxist intellectuals for renewed attention to the significance of Vladimir Lenin. The volume’s editors explain that it was Lenin who made Karl Marx’s thought explicitly political, who extended it beyond the confines of Europe, who put it into practice. They contend that a focus on Lenin is urgently needed now, when global capitalism appears to be the only game in town, the liberal-democratic system seems to have been settled on as the optimal political organization of society, and it has become easier to imagine the end of the world than a modest change in the mode of production. Lenin retooled Marx’s thought for specific historical conditions in 1914, and Lenin Reloaded urges a reinvention of the revolutionary project for the present. Such a project would be Leninist in its commitment to action based on truth and its acceptance of the consequences that follow from action.
These essays, some of which are appearing in English for the first time, bring Lenin face-to-face with the problems of today, including war, imperialism, the imperative to build an intelligentsia of wage earners, the need to embrace the achievements of bourgeois society and modernity, and the widespread failure of social democracy. Lenin Reloaded demonstrates that truth and partisanship are not mutually exclusive as is often suggested. Quite the opposite—in the present, truth can be articulated only from a thoroughly partisan position.
Contributors. Kevin B. Anderson, Alain Badiou, Etienne Balibar, Daniel Bensaïd, Sebastian Budgen, Alex Callinicos, Terry Eagleton, Fredric Jameson, Stathis Kouvelakis, Georges Labica, Sylvain Lazarus, Jean-Jacques Lecercle, Lars T. Lih, Domenico Losurdo, Savas Michael-Matsas, Antonio Negri, Alan Shandro, Slavoj Žižek
Neil Harding Duke University Press, 1996 Library of Congress HX311.5.H37 1996 | Dewey Decimal 335.43
In this volume, Neil Harding presents the first comprehensive reinterpretation of Leninism to be produced in many years. Challenging much of the conventional wisdom regarding Leninism’s effectiveness as a mobilizing body of ideas, its substance, and its origins and evolution, Harding offers both a controversial exposition of this ideology and a critical engagement with its consequences for the politics of contemporary communism. Rather than tracing the roots of Leninism to the details of Lenin’s biography, Harding shows how it emerged as a revolutionary Marxist response to the First World War and to the perceived treachery—the support of that war—by social democratic leaders. The economics, politics, and philosophy of Leninism, he argues, were rapidly theorized between 1914 and 1918 and deeply imprinted with the peculiarities of the wartime experience. Its complementary metaphysics of history and science was as intrinsic to its confidence and sureness of purpose as it was to its contempt for democratic practice and tolerance. But, as Harding also shows, although Leninism articulated a complex and coherent critique of capitalist civilization and held a powerful appeal to a variety of constituencies, it was itself caught in a timewarp that fatally limited its capacity to adapt. This book will engage not only Russian and Soviet specialists, but also readers concerned with the varieties of twentieth-century socialism.
François Furet needs little introduction. Widely considered one of the leading historians of the French Revolution, he was a maverick for his time, shining a critical light on the entrenched Marxist interpretations that prevailed during the mid-twentieth century. Shortly after his death in 1997, the New York Review of Books called him “one of the most influential men in contemporary France.” Lies, Passions, and Illusions is a fitting capstone to this celebrated author’s oeuvre: a late-career conversation with philosopher Paul Ricoeur on the twentieth century writ large, a century of violence and turmoil, of unprecedented wealth and progress, in which history advanced, for better or worse, in quantum leaps.
This conversation would be, sadly, Furet’s last—he died while Ricoeur was completing his edits. Ricoeur did not want to publish his half without Furet’s approval, so what remains is Furet’s alone, an astonishingly cohesive meditation on the political passions of the twentieth century. With strokes at once broad and incisive, he examines the many different trajectories that nations of the West have followed over the past hundred years. It is a dialogue with history as it happened but also as a form of thought. It is a dialogue with his critics, with himself, and with those major thinkers—from Tocqueville to Hannah Arendt—whose ideas have shaped our understanding of the tragic dramas and upheavals of the modern era. It is a testament to the crucial role of the historian, a reflection on how history is made and lived, and how the imagination is a catalyst for political change. Whether new to Furet or deeply familiar with his work, readers will find thought-provoking assessments on every page, a deeply moving look back at one of the most tumultuous periods of history and how we might learn and look forward from it.
In the early 1930s, the American Communist Party attracted support from a wide range of liberal and radical intellectuals, partly in response to domestic politics, and also in opposition to the growing power of fascism abroad. The Long War, a social history of these intellectuals and their political institutions, tells the story of the rift that developed among the groups loosely organized under the umbrella of the Party—representing communist supporters of the People’s Front and those who would become anti-Stalinists—and the evolution of that rift into a generational divide that would culminate in the liberal anti-communism of the post-World War II era. Judy Kutulas takes us into the debates and outright fights between and within the ranks of organizations such as the League of American Writers, the John Reed Clubs, the Committee for Cultural Freedom, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners. Showing how extremist views about the nature and value of communism triumphed over more moderate ones, she traces the transfer of the left’s leadership from one generation to the next. She describes how supporters of the People’s Front were discredited by the time of the Nazi-Soviet Pact and how this opened the way for a new generation of leaders better known as the New York intellectuals. In this shift, Kutulas identifies the beginnings of the liberal anti-communism that would follow World War II. A book for students and scholars of the intersection of politics and culture, The Long War offers a new, informed perspective on the intellectual maneuvers of the American left of the 1930s and leads to a reinterpretation of the time and its complex legacy.
Maoism at the Grassroots
Jeremy Brown Harvard University Press, 2015 Library of Congress DS777.6.M36 2015 | Dewey Decimal 951.05
Maoism at the Grassroots challenges state-centered views of China under Mao, providing insights into the lives of citizens across social strata, ethnicities, and regions. It reveals how ordinary people risked persecution and imprisonment in order to assert personal beliefs and identities, despite political repression and surveillance.
José Carlos Mariátegui, the Peruvian political theorist of the 1920s, was instrumental in developing an indigenous Latin American revolutionary Marxist theory. He rejected a rigid, orthodox interpretation of Marxism and applied his own creative elements, which he believed could move a society to revolutionary action without the society having to depend upon more traditional economic factors. His interpretation of Peruvian history had a profound effect upon subsequent social movements throughout Latin America.
This volume reviews the essential elements of Mariátegui's thought and important influences on his intellectual development. It demonstrates the role he played in defining a Latin american identity, the nature of his intellectual contribution to the development of indigenous revolutionary movements in Latin America, and the inflluence he had on successful revolutionary movements in Cuba and Nicaragua. An understanding of Mariátegui's thought is fundamental to understanding the nature of revolutionary changes in Latin America.
Two centuries after his birth, Karl Marx is read almost solely through the lens of Marxism, his works examined for how they fit into the doctrine that was developed from them after his death.
With Marx’s Dream, Tom Rockmore offers a much-needed alternative view, distinguishing rigorously between Marx and Marxism. Rockmore breaks with the Marxist view of Marx in three key ways. First, he shows that the concern with the relation of theory to practice—reflected in Marx’s famous claim that philosophers only interpret the world, while the point is to change it—arose as early as Socrates, and has been central to philosophy in its best moments. Second, he seeks to free Marx from his unsolicited Marxist embrace in order to consider his theory on its own merits. And, crucially, Rockmore relies on the normal standards of philosophical debate, without the special pleading to which Marxist accounts too often resort. Marx’s failures as a thinker, Rockmore shows, lie less in his diagnosis of industrial capitalism’s problems than in the suggested remedies, which are often unsound.
Only a philosopher of Rockmore’s stature could tackle a project this substantial, and the results are remarkable: a fresh Marx, unencumbered by doctrine and full of insights that remain salient today.
Thomas P. Anderson Northwestern University Press, 1971 Library of Congress F1487.5.A67 1992 | Dewey Decimal 972.8405
This authoritative account of the matanza narrates the circumstances leading up to the 1932 communist revolt in El Salvador, a pivotal event in Central American history. It investigates the proximate and underlying causes of the conflict and follows the progression of the rebellion and subsequent slaughter (matanza) of thousands of peasants, even those merely suspected of participating in the uprising. It provides a vivid, detailed chronicle of the revolt in various Salvadoran towns as well as the social aspects, battles, military engagements, and innumerable casualties.
In light of the scarcity of first-hand information and primary sources, Anderson makes remarkable use of interviews and oral histories to develop this invaluable and searing record of injustice.
Messiah of the New Technique: John Howard Lawson, Communism, and American Theatre, 1923–1937 is a critical and political biography and a cultural and social history that focuses on Lawson’s career in the theatre. Using a materialist methodology, Jonathan L. Chambers emphasizes the evolution and interplay of the playwright’s artistic vision and political ideology, considering his art as both a documentation of this evolution and a product of the socio-political and cultural matrix in which he was immersed.
Spanning the playwright’s career, the volume details Lawson’s early indoctrination in and commitment to the avant-garde, his use and development of various nonrealistic playwriting techniques, his subtle though unfocused attacks on bourgeois society, and the varied critical responses he received. Chambers addresses Lawson’s involvement with the New Playwrights’ Theatre and his participation in the protests surrounding the case of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, which stimulated his growing commitment to left-wing politics and radical causes.
Chambers also analyzes the social and cultural factors that shaped Lawson’s growing interest in revolutionary politics, his tutelage in Marxism under Edmund Wilson, and his tenure as president of the Screen Writers Guild. He also covers the final phase of Lawson’s playwriting career, which reveals the playwright’s internal struggle. That struggle, suggests Chambers, pitted Lawson’s view of aesthetics against his political ideology and is reflected in his scripts and theoretical writings.
Messiah of the New Technique provides a wealth of new material about both the playwright and the period, offering a critical synopsis of the artist’s career, addressing his often vehement rebuttals to his critics, and summarizing both his political activism and his creative and critical endeavors in the last forty years of his life.
Moscow, the Fourth Rome
Katerina Clark Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress DK601.2.C55 2011 | Dewey Decimal 947.310842
The sixteenth-century monk Filofei proclaimed Moscow the Third Rome. By the 1930s, intellectuals and artists all over the world thought of Moscow as a mecca of secular enlightenment. Clark shows how Soviet officials and intellectuals sought to establish their capital as the Fourth Rome—a cosmopolitan post-Christian beacon for the rest of the world.
In this study, Bennigsen and Wimbush trace the development of the doctrine of national communism in Central Asia and the Caucasus. At the heart of this doctrine—as elaborated by the Volga Tatar, Mir-Said Sultan Galiev—was the concept of "proletarian nations," as opposed to the traditional notion of a working class. With such ideological innovations, Sultan Galiev and his contemporaries were able to reconcile Marxist nationalisms and Islam and devise an "Eastern strategy" whereby the national revolution was to be spread.
The authors show that the ideas of Muslim national communism persist in the land of their birth and have spread to such developing societies as China, Algeria, and Indonesia. This doctrine is an important factor in the ideological split and increasing tensions between industrial and nonindustrial nations, East and West, and now North and South, which grip the world communist movement.
A revealing exploration of the origins and development of People's Songs, Inc., "My Song Is My Weapon won the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award. In it, Robbie Lieberman brings to life the hootenannies, concerts, and rallies of the time, paying special attention to the politics of culture of the Old Left. Her analysis of the communist movement culture, coupled with interviews with former members of People's Songs, sheds new light on Cold War America, the American Communist movement, and the experience of left-wing cultural workers.
Patrick Iber tells the story of left-wing Latin American artists, writers, and scholars who worked as diplomats, advised rulers, opposed dictators, and even led nations during the Cold War. Ultimately, they could not break free from the era’s rigid binaries, and found little room to promote their social democratic ideals without compromising them.
New Asian Marxisms
Tani E. Barlow, ed. Duke University Press, 2002 Library of Congress HX376.A6N48 2002 | Dewey Decimal 335.4098
Displaying the particular vitality of the global traditions of Marxism and neomarxism at the beginning of the twenty-first century, New AsianMarxisms collects essays by a diverse group of scholars—historians, political scientists, literary scholars, and sociologists—who offer a range of studies of the Marxist heritage focusing on Korea, Japan, India, and China.
While some of these essays take up key thinkers in Marxist history or draw attention to outstanding problematics, others focus on national literature and discourse in North and South Korea, the "Mao Zedong Fever" of the 1990s, the implications of Li Dazhao's poetry, and the Indian Naxalite movement. Illustrating the importance of central analytical categories like exploitation, alienation, and violence to studies on the politics of knowledge, contributors confront prevailing global consumerist fantasies with accounts of political struggle, cultural displacement, and theoretical strategies.
Contributors. Tani E. Barlow, Dai Jinhua, Michael Dutton, D. R. Howland, Marshall Johnson, Liu Kang, You-me Park, William Pietz, Claudia Pozzana, Alessandro Russo, Sanjay Seth, Gi-Wook Shin, Sugiyama Mitsunobu, Jing Wang
Shortlisted for the New India Foundation Book Prize
Anthropologist Alpa Shah found herself in an active platoon of Naxalites—one of the longest-running guerrilla insurgencies in the world. The only woman, and the only person without a weapon, she walked alongside the militants for seven nights across 150 miles of dense, hilly forests in eastern India. Nightmarch is the riveting story of Shah's journey, grounded in her years of living with India’s tribal people, an eye-opening exploration of the movement’s history and future and a powerful contemplation of how disadvantaged people fight back against unjust systems in today’s world.
The Naxalites have fought for a communist society for the past fifty years, caught in a conflict that has so far claimed at least forty thousand lives. Yet surprisingly little is known about these fighters in the West. Framed by the Indian state as a deadly terrorist group, the movement is actually made up of Marxist ideologues and lower-caste and tribal combatants, all of whom seek to overthrow a system that has abused them for decades. In Nightmarch, Shah shares some of their gritty untold stories: here we meet a high-caste leader who spent almost thirty years underground, a young Adivasi foot soldier, and an Adivasi youth who defected. Speaking with them and living for years with villagers in guerrilla strongholds, Shah has sought to understand why some of India’s poor have shunned the world’s largest democracy and taken up arms to fight for a fairer society—and asks whether they might be undermining their own aims.
By shining a light on this largely ignored corner of the world, Shah raises important questions about the uncaring advance of capitalism and offers a compelling reflection on dispossession and conflict at the heart of contemporary India.
On the Picket Line uncovers the voices of working-class women, particularly those active in the Communist Party, U.S.A., in order to examine how these individuals confronted the tensions between their roles as workers, wives, mothers, and consumers. Combining critical analysis, Marxist and feminist theory, and labor history, Mary E. Triece analyzes the protest tactics employed by working class women to challenge dominant ideologies surrounding domesticity.
She details the rhetorical strategies used by women to argue for their rights as workers in the paid labor force and as caregivers in the home. Their overtly coercive tactics included numerous sit-ins, strikes, and boycotts that won tangible gains for working poor and unemployed women. The book also gives voice to influential figures in the 1930s labor movement (many of whom were members of the Communist Party, U.S.A.), such as Ella Reeve Bloor, Margaret Cowl, Anna Damon, Ann Burlak, and Grace Hutchins. Triece ultimately argues that these confrontational protest tactics of the 1930s remain relevant in today’s fights for more humane workplaces and better living conditions.
THE PARTY LINE is a historical drama. Using real and fictional characters, it intermingles the story of Walter Duranty – the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Moscow correspondent in the 1930s – with the more contemporary story of Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn who was assassinated in 2002, on the eve of becoming prime minister. Sheryl Longin and Roger L. Simon have accomplished a breathtaking feat in their imaginative and topical play, The Party Line. The title, as students of Communism know, refers to one’s adherence to the current position on an issue as outlined by the Communist Party in its heyday. . . .
François Furet was acknowledged as the twentieth century's preeminent historian of the French Revolution. But years before his death, he turned his attention to the consequences and aftermath of another critical revolution—the Communist revolution. The result, Le passé d'une illusion, is a penetrating history of the ideological passions that have fueled and characterized the modern era.
"This may well be the most illuminating study ever devoted to the question of appeal exerted not only by Communism but also by the Nazi and other fascist varieties of totalitarianism in this century."—Hilton Kramer, New Criterion
"A subtle, nuanced but gripping study of the most pervasive and destructive illusion in the 20th century." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"The Passing of an Illusion . . . is both a profound work of intellectual history that takes its place alongside other great studies of the leftist heresy . . . and a relentless diagnosis of the self-subversive risks that are inherent in democratic regimes. "—Roger Kaplan, Washington Times
" A remarkable book. . . . Stimulating and challenging. . . . A man widely read in several languages, Furet clearly knew his way around 20th-century Europe, even unto the dark alleys that figure on no existing map. "—Mark Falcoff, Commentary
"A history of ideas, this work is not for the faint of heart, yet those who challenge it will discover a signal contribution to the literature of Communism."—Booklist
"Imperious and stunningly confident, grand in conception and expansive in manner, packed with fascinating detail and often incisive judgements."—John Dunn, Times Higher Education Supplement
"The Passing of an Illusion is brilliant, and one would be hard pressed to find better writing of history than the first chapter, which traces the roots of modern political thinking back to the nineteenth century."—J. Arch Getty, Atlantic Monthly
"A brilliant and important book. . . . The publication of the American edition makes accessible to the general reader the most thought-provoking historical assessment of communism in Europe to appear since its collapse."—Jeffrey Herf, Wall Street Journal
François Furet (1927-1997), educator and author, was a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor and was elected, in 1997, to become one of the "Forty Immortals" of the Académie Française, the highest intellectual honor in France. His many books include Interpreting the French Revolution, Marx and the French Revolution, and Revolutionary France. Deborah Furet, his widow, collaborated with him on many projects.
Passionate Amateurstells a new story about modern theater: the story of a romantic attachment to theater’s potential to produce surprising experiences of human community. It begins with one of the first great plays of modern European theater—Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya in Moscow—and then crosses the 20th and 21st centuries to look at how its story plays out in Weimar Republic Berlin, in the Paris of the 1960s, and in a spectrum of contemporary performance in Europe and the United States. This is a work of historical materialist theater scholarship, which combines a materialism grounded in a socialist tradition of cultural studies with some of the insights developed in recent years by theorists of affect, and addresses some fundamental questions about the social function and political potential of theater within modern capitalism. Passionate Amateurs argues that theater in modern capitalism can help us think afresh about notions of work, time, and freedom. Its title concept is a theoretical and historical figure, someone whose work in theater is undertaken within capitalism, but motivated by a love that desires something different. In addition to its theoretical originality, it offers a significant new reading of a major Chekhov play, the most sustained scholarly engagement to date with Benjamin’s “Program for a Proletarian Children’s Theatre,” the first major consideration of Godard’s La chinoise as a “theatrical” work, and the first chapter-length discussion of the work of The Nature Theatre of Oklahoma, an American company rapidly gaining a profile in the European theater scene.
Passionate Amateurscontributes to the development of theater and performance studies in a way that moves beyond debates over the differences between theater and performance in order to tell a powerful, historically grounded story about what theater and performance are for in the modern world.
The Cuban model of communism has been an inspiration—from both a positive and negative perspective—for social movements, political leaders, and cultural expressionists around the world. With changes in leadership, the pace of change has accelerated following decades of economic struggles. The death of Fidel Castro and the reduced role of Raúl Castro seem likely to create further changes, though what these changes look like is still unknown. For now, Cuba is opening in important ways. Cubans can establish businesses, travel abroad, access the internet, and make private purchases. Paths for Cuba examines Cuba’s internal reforms and external influences within a comparative framework. The collection includes an interdisciplinary group of scholars from around the world to explore reforms away from communism.
Communism, once heralded as the "radiant future" of all humanity, has now become part of Eastern Europe's past. What does the record say about the legacy of communism as an organizational system?
Michael Burawoy and Janos Lukacs consider this question from the standpoint of the Hungarian working class. Between 1983 and 1990 the authors carried out intensive studies in two core Hungarian industries, machine building and steel production, to produce the first extended participant-observation study of work and politics in state socialism.
"A fascinating and engagingly written eyewitness report on proletarian life in the waning years of goulash communism. . . . A richly rewarding book, one that should interest political scientists in a variety of subfields, from area specialists and comparativists to political economists, as well as those interested in Marxist and post-Marxist theory."—Elizabeth Kiss, American Political Science Review
"A very rich book. . . . It does not merely offer another theory of transition, but also presents a clear interpretive scheme, combined with sociological theory and vivid ethnographic description."—Ireneusz Bialecki, Contemporary Sociology
"Its informed skepticism of post-Communist liberal euphoria, its concern for workers, and its fine ethnographic details make this work valuable."—"àkos Róna-Tas, American Journal of Sociology
The Red Atlantis
J. Hoberman Temple University Press, 2000 Library of Congress HX40H5673 1998 | Dewey Decimal 335.43097
For most of the twentieth century, American and European intellectual life was defined by its fascination with a particular utopian vision. Both the artistic and political vanguards were spellbound by the Communist promise of a new human era -- so much so that its political terrors were rationalized as a form of applied evolution and its collapse hailed as the end of history.
The Red Atlantis argues that Communism produced a complex culture with a dialectical relation to both modernism and itself. Offering examples ranging from the Stalinist show trial to Franz Kafka's posthumous career as a dissident writer and the work of filmmakers, painters, and writers, which can be understood only as criticism of existing socialism made from within, The Red Atlantis suggests that Communism was an aesthetic project -- perhaps the aesthetic project of the twentieth century.
Considering the meaning of Communist culture in its absence, these essays sift through the wrecking age of Marxist fantasy to exhibit exhumed fossils (Socialist Realist canvases), vanished monuments (the Berlin Wall), imaginary territories (the Jewish state, Birobidzhan), and ideological memories (the Crime of the Century). The Cold War notwithstanding, the greatest of these exotic artifacts and obsolete scenarios is the lost Communist utopia, which, in fact, never existed.
Red Diapers is the
first anthology of autobiographical writings by the children of American
communists. These memoirs, short stories, and poems reflect the joys and
perils of growing up in a subculture defined by its opposition to some
of society's most deeply held values. How red diaper babies have come
to terms with their political inheritance is the theme of this compelling
Some contributors have fond
memories of family activism; others recall the past with ambivalence or
even pain. The authors range in age from their twenties to their eighties.
Some, such as Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein and sixties activist Bettina
Aptheker, are widely known themselves; some are the children of well-known
American leftists, including Jeff Lawson, son of blacklisted screenwriter
John Howard Lawson, and Robert Meeropol, son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.
In disparate voices, the contributors elaborate on how their parents attempted
to pass on to them the torch of radical politics.
One of the few publicly known communists in the South, Junius Scales organized textile workers, fought segregation, and was the only American to be imprisoned under the membership clause of the Smith Act during the McCarthy years. This compact collective memoir, built on three interconnected oral histories and including a historical essay by Gail O'Brien, covers Scales's organizing activities and work against racism in the South, his progressive disillusionment with Party bureaucracy and dogmatic rigidity, his persecution and imprisonment, as well as his family's radicalism and response to FBI hounding and blacklisting.
Through the distinct perspectives of Junius, his wife Gladys, and his daughter Barbara, this book deepens and personalizes the story of American radicalism. Conversational, intimate, and exceptionally accessible, A Red Family offers a unique look at the American communist experience from the inside out.
Red Star Over Malaya is an account of the inter-racial relations between Malays and Chinese during the final stages of the Japanese occupation. In 1947, none of the three major race of Malaya - Malays, Chinese, and Indians - regarded themselves as pan-ethnic "Malayans" with common duties and problems. With the occupation forcibly cut them off from China, Chinese residents began to look inwards towards Malaya and stake political claims, leading inevitably to a political contest with the Malays. As the country advanced towards nationhood and self-government, there was tension between traditional loyalties to the Malay rulers and the states, or to ancestral homelands elsewhere, and the need to cultivate an enduring loyalty to Malaya on the part of those who would make their home there in future.
As Japanese forces withdrew from the countryside, the Chinese guerrillas of the communist-led resistance movement, the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA), emerged from the jungle and took control of some 70 per cent of the country's smaller towns and villages, seriously alarming the Malay population. When the British Military Administration sought to regain control of these liberated areas, the ensuing conflict set the tone for future political conflicts and marked a crucial stage in the history of Malaya. Based on extensive archival research, Red Star Over Malaya provides a riveting account of the way the Japanese occupation reshaped colonial Malaya, and of the tension-filled months that followed Japan's surrender. This book is fundamental to an understanding of social and political developments in Malaysia during the second half of the 20th century.
In the 1920s, cultural and political reactions to the Red Scare in America contributed to a marked shift in the way Americans thought about sexuality, womanhood, manhood, and family life. The Russian Revolution prompted anxious Americans sensing a threat to social order to position heterosexuality, monogamy, and the family as a bulwark against radicalism.
In her probing and engaging book, Red War on the Family, Erica Ryan traces the roots of sexual modernism and the history of antiradicalism and antifeminism. She illuminates how Americans responded to foreign and domestic threats and expressed nationalism by strengthening traditional gender and family roles-especially by imposing them on immigrant groups, workers, women, and young people.
Ryan argues that the environment of political conformity in the 1920s was maintained in part through the quest for cultural and social conformity, exemplified by white, middle-class family life. Red War on the Family charts the ways Americanism both reinforced and was reinforced by these sexual and gender norms in the decades after World War I.
The final destination of the Long March and center of the Chinese Communist Party's red bases, Yan'an acquired mythical status during the Maoist era. Though the city's significance as an emblem of revolutionary heroism has faded, today's Chinese still glorify Yan'an as a sanctuary for ancient cultural traditions. Ka-ming Wu's ethnographic account of contemporary Yan'an documents how people have reworked the revival of three rural practices--paper-cutting, folk storytelling, and spirit cults--within (and beyond) the socialist legacy. Moving beyond dominant views of Yan'an folk culture as a tool of revolution or object of market reform, Wu reveals how cultural traditions become battlegrounds where conflicts among the state, market forces, and intellectuals in search of an authentic China play out. At the same time, she shows these emerging new dynamics in the light of the ways rural residents make sense of rapid social change. Alive with details, Reinventing Chinese Tradition is an in-depth, eye-opening study of an evolving culture and society within contemporary China.
In this work of political philosophy, Cohen sets out to rescue the egalitarian thesis that in a society where distributive justice prevails, people’s material prospects are roughly equal. Arguing against the Rawlsian version of a just society, Cohen demonstrates that distributive justice does not tolerate deep inequality.
This magisterial study of international Communism presents the whole mighty drama of global socialism and Marxism: from its pre-Bolshevik origins through the establishment of a Communist empire over one third the world population to the shattering defeat of the Soviet state in 1991. A landmark work of history, exhaustively documented and narrated in a compelling style.
Terry A. Cooney traces the evolution of the Partisan Review—often considered to be the most influential little magazine ever published in America—during its formative years, giving a lucid and dispassionate view of the magazine and its luminaries who played a leading role in shaping the public discourse of American intellectuals. Included are Lionel Trilling, Philip Rahv, William Phillips, Dwight Macdonald, F. W. Dupee, Mary McCarthy, Sidney Hook, Harold Rosenberg, and Delmore Schwartz, among others.
“An excellent book, which works at each level on which it operates. It succeeds as a straightforward narrative account of the Partisan Review in the 1930s and 1940s. The magazine’s leading voices—William Phillips, Philip Rahv, Dwight MacDonald, Lionel Trilling, and all the rest—receive their due. . . . Among the themes that engage Cooney. . . . are: how they dealt with ‘modernism’ in culture and radicalism in politics, each on its own and in combination; how Jewishness played a complex and fascinating role in many of the thinkers’ lives; and, especially, how ‘cosmopolitanism’ best explains what the Partisan Review was all about.”—Robert Booth Fowler, Journal of American History
In 1989 and 1990, Eastern European Communist regimes and opposition groups conducted a series of roundtable talks to peacefully negotiate the abolition of authoritarian rule and the transition to democratic governance. This volume documents that unprecedented process of national reinvention and constitution making.
These essays capture the historical circumstances of these countries—their traditions, customs, and the balance of influence between competing factions—that often took precedence over constitutional ideals. In five country-specific reports, senior scholars provide detailed accounts of the talks in Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and the German Democratic Republic. Also included is an essay on the political factors underlying the failure of negotiations between reform groups and the Chinese regime, providing an illuminating counterpoint to the path taken in Eastern Europe.
This book is an invaluable resource for scholars of constitutional design and democratization and for specialists in Eastern Europe.
During World War I, fear that a network of German spies was operating on American soil justified the rapid growth of federal intelligence agencies. When that threat proved illusory, these agencies, staffed heavily by corporate managers and anti-union private detectives, targeted antiwar and radical labor groups, particularly the Socialist party and the Industrial Workers of the World.
Seeing Reds, based largely on case files from the Bureau of Investigation, Military Intelligence Division, and Office of Naval Intelligence, describes this formative period of federal domestic spying in the Pittsburgh region. McCormick traces the activities of L. M. Wendell, a Bureau of Investigation “special employee” who infiltrated the IWW’s Pittsburgh recruiting branch and the inner circle of anarchist agitator and lawyer Jacob Margolis. Wendell and other Pittsbugh based agents spied on radical organizations from Erie, Pennsylvania, to Camp Lee, Virginia, intervened in the steel and coal strikes of 1919, and carried out the Palmer raids aimed at mass deportation of members of the Union of Russian Workers and the New Communist Party.
McCormick’s detailed history uses extensive research to add to our understanding of the security state, cold war ideology, labor and immigration history, and the rise of the authoritarian American Left, as well as the career paths of figures as diverse as J. Edgar Hoover and William Z. Foster.
"This important book explores one of the most pivotal periods in Polish history and deals with a topic nearly everyone else overlooked. Shana Penn's study begins with a simple question I wish I had thought more about myself: once the leadership of Solidarity had been arrested during the 1981 military coup, who kept the movement alive over the following months and years? The answer will surprise you, as Penn delves into the lives of seven Polish women activists who rose to the call, set about saving an entire political movement, and in time turned themselves into some of the most powerful women in Poland today."
---Lech Walesa, former President of Poland and winner of the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize
Solidarity's Secret is the first book to record the crucial yet little-known role women played in the rise of an independent press in Poland and in the fall of that country's communist government.
Shana Penn pieces together a decade of interviews with the women behind the Polish pro-democracy movement-women whose massive contributions were obscured by the more public successes of their male counterparts.
Penn reveals the story of how these brave women ran Solidarity and the main opposition newspaper, Tygodnik Mazowsze, while prominent men like Lech Walesa were underground or in jail during the 1980s martial law years. The same women then went on to play influential roles in post-communist Poland.
Solidarity's Secret gives us a richly detailed story-within-a-story-unheard of not only in the West, but until recently even within Poland itself-from one of the most important eras in modern history.
“Masterful…An indispensable warning for our own time.”
“Magisterial…Covers this dark history with insight and skill…A major intervention into our understanding of 20th-century Europe and the lessons we ought to take away from its history.”
For much of the last century, Europe was haunted by a threat of its own imagining: Judeo-Bolshevism. The belief that Communism was a Jewish plot to destroy the nations of Europe took hold during the Russian Revolution and quickly spread. During World War II, fears of a Judeo-Bolshevik conspiracy were fanned by the fascists and sparked a genocide. But the myth did not die with the end of Nazi Germany. A Specter Haunting Europe shows that this paranoid fantasy persists today in the toxic politics of revitalized right-wing nationalism.
“It is both salutary and depressing to be reminded of how enduring the trope of an exploitative global Jewish conspiracy against pure, humble, and selfless nationalists really is…A century after the end of the first world war, we have, it seems, learned very little.”
—Mark Mazower, Financial Times
“From the start, the fantasy held that an alien element—the Jews—aimed to subvert the cultural values and national identities of Western societies…The writers, politicians, and shills whose poisonous ideas he exhumes have many contemporary admirers.”
—Robert Legvold, Foreign Affairs
The Turkestano-Siberian Railroad, or Turksib, was one of the great construction projects of the Soviet Union’s First Five-Year Plan. As the major icon to ending the economic "backwardness" of the USSR’s minority republics, it stood apart from similar efforts as one of the most potent metaphors for the creation of a unified socialist nation.
Built between December 1926 and January 1931 by nearly 50,000 workers and at a cost of more 161 million rubles, Turksib embodied the Bolsheviks’ commitment to end ethnic inequality and promote cultural revolution in one the far-flung corners of the old Tsarist Empire, Kazakhstan. Trumpeted as the "forge of the Kazakh proletariat," the railroad was to create a native working class, bringing not only trains to the steppes, but also the Revolution.
In the first in-depth study of this grand project, Matthew Payne explores the transformation of its builders in Turksib’s crucible of class war, race riots, state purges, and the brutal struggle of everyday life. In the battle for the souls of the nation’s engineers, as well as the racial and ethnic conflicts that swirled, far from Moscow, around Stalin’s vast campaign of industrialization, he finds a microcosm of the early Soviet Union.
Arwa Salih was a member of the political bureau of the Egyptian Communist Workers Party, which was founded in the wake of the Arab–Israeli War and the Egyptian student movement of the early 1970s. Written more than a decade after Salih quit the party and left political life—and published shortly after she committed suicide—the book offers a poignant look at, and reckoning with, the Marxism of her generation and the role of militant intellectuals in the tragic failure of both the national liberation project and the communist project in Egypt. The powerful critique in The Stillborn speaks not only to and about Salih’s own generation of left activists but also to broader, still salient dilemmas of revolutionary politics throughout the developing world in the postcolonial era.
The Strange Death of Marxism seeks to refute certain misconceptions about the current European Left and its relation to Marxist and Marxist-Leninist parties that existed in the recent past. Among the misconceptions that the book treats critically and in detail is that the Post-Marxist Left (a term the book uses to describe this phenomenon) springs from a distinctly Marxist tradition of thought and that it represents an unqualified rejection of American capitalist values and practices.
Three distinctive features of the book are the attempts to dissociate the present European Left from Marxism, the presentation of this Left as something that developed independently of the fall of the Soviet empire, and the emphasis on the specifically American roots of the European Left. Gottfried examines the multicultural orientation of this Left and concludes that it has little or nothing to do with Marxism as an economic-historical theory. It does, however, owe a great deal to American social engineering and pluralist ideology and to the spread of American thought and political culture to Europe.
American culture and American political reform have foreshadowed related developments in Europe by years or even whole decades. Contrary to the impression that the United States has taken antibourgeois attitudes from Europeans, the author argues exactly the opposite. Since the end of World War II, Europe has lived in the shadow of an American empire that has affected the Old World, including its self-described anti-Americans. Gottfried believes that this influence goes back to who reads or watches whom more than to economic and military disparities. It is the awareness of American cultural as well as material dominance that fuels the anti-Americanism that is particularly strong on the European Left. That part of the European spectrum has, however, reproduced in a more extreme form what began as an American leap into multiculturalism. Hostility toward America, however, can be transformed quickly into extreme affection for the United States, which occurred during the Clinton administration and during the international efforts to bring a multicultural society to the Balkans.
Clearly written and well conceived, The Strange Death of Marxism will be of special interest to political scientists, historians of contemporary Europe, and those critical of multicultural trends, particularly among Euro-American conservatives.
Stumbling Its Way through Mexico records the early attempts by the Moscow-based Communist International to organize and direct a revolutionary movement in Mexico. The period studied, from 1919 to 1929, was characterized at the beginning by a wave of revolutions in Europe that the Bolsheviks expected to grow into an international phenomenon. However, contrary to their expectations, the revolutionary tide ebbed, and the new age they had expected receded into an uncertain future. In response, Moscow sent agents and recruited local leaders worldwide to sustain and train local revolutionary movements and to foment what they saw as an inevitable seizure of power by Communist-led workers.
Unlike the Soviet seizure of power in Russia, the Mexican Revolution of 1910–1920 had not changed the fundamental character of the nation-state. However, it did represent a sea change in the relationship between the state and society. When the Bolshevik Revolution broke out in Russia in 1917, Mexican workers already had generations of experience in the struggle against oppression, in forming class solidarity, in organizing strikes, and had tasted both success and failure. For decades in their workplaces, Mexicans had debated how to end the exploitation of labor and practice international solidarity. Mexico had an indigenous labor movement acting with some success to establish a place in a new Mexico. The agents that Moscow chose to lead the Communist movement in Mexico lacked an understanding of the local situation and presumed a lack of indigenous confidence and experience that doomed to failure their efforts to impose external control over the labor movement.
Based on documents found principally in the Soviet archives recently opened to the public, Stumbling Its Way through Mexico is an invitation to rethink the history of Communism in Mexico and Latin America.
Copublication with the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropologia Social.
The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the beginning of the collapse of the Soviet Union, as well as many other communist totalitarian regimes around the world. But it would be naive to assume that this historic, symbolic event and its aftermath have completely rid the world of totalitarianism. Instead, we should ask, what is the totalitarian experience and how does it survive today?
This is the imposing question raised by acclaimed philosopher and writer Tzvetan Todorov in this compact, highly personal essay. Here, he recounts his own experiences with totalitarianism in his native Bulgaria and discusses the books he has written in the last twenty years that were devoted to examining such regimes, such as Voices from the Gulag, his influential analysis of Stalinist concentration camps. Through this retrospective investigation, Todorov offers a historical look at communism. He brings together and distills his extensive oeuvre to reveal the essence of totalitarian ideology, the characteristics of daily life under communism, and the irony of democratic messianism.
Bringing his thoughts and insights up to the present, Todorov explores how economic ultraliberalism may be considered just another form of totalitarianism. And his conclusion leads us to ask ourselves another challenging question: Are liberal democratic societies actually totalitarian experiences in disguise?
“In this honed, finely calibrated essay, Todorov refutes the notion that good can be imposed by force. More efficient is to embody one’s values and demonstrate their worth. . . . This is a concise and eloquent defence of what makes us truly human.”—Age, on Torture and the War on Terror
A groundbreaking contribution to scholarship of the African American Left, We Shall Be Free! gives voice to black Communists and recognizes the intellectual contributions found in their protest writings. Walter Howard provides a fascinating documentary history of seven diverse and historically significant black Communists--B.D. Amis, Harry Haywood, James W. Ford, Benjamin J. Davis, Jr., Louise Thompson Patterson, William Patterson, and Claudia Jones--who attempted to foster a black culture of resistance to white racism within the workings of the Communist Party.
Howard draws on FBI files, Moscow documents, and the records of the U.S. Communist Party. He surveys these black Communists addressing a wide range of vital issues such as the Great Depression, World War II, genocide and the Cold War.
We Shall Be Free! presents an important section of the African American community whose thought has been minimized, discounted, or overlooked altogether by the historical profession in general.
In this trenchant work, James Barrett traces the political journey of a leading worker radical whose life and experiences encapsulate radicalism's rise and fall in the United States.
A self-educated wage earner raised in the slums of a large industrial city, William Z. Foster became a brilliant union organizer who helped build the American Federation of Labor and, later, radical Trade Union Educational League. Embracing socialism, syndicalism, and communism in turn, Foster rose through the ranks of the American Communist Party to stand at the forefront of labor politics throughout the 1920s. Yet by the time he died in 1961, in a Moscow hospital far from the meat-packing plants and steel mills where he had built his reputation, Foster's political marginalism stood as a symbol for the isolation of American labor radicalism in the postwar era.
Integrating both the indigenous and the international factors that determined the fate of American communism, William Z. Foster and the Tragedy of American Radicalism provides a new understanding of the basis for radicalism among twentieth-century American workers.
In Wives, Mothers, and the Red Menace, Mary Brennan examines conservative women's anti-communist activism in the years immediately after World War II.
Brennan details the actions and experiences of prominent anti-communists Jean Kerr McCarthy, Margaret Chase Smith, Freda Utley, Doloris Thauwald Bridges, Elizabeth Churchill Brown, and Phyllis Stewart Schlafly. She describes the Cold War context in which these women functioned and the ways in which women saw communism as a very real danger to domestic security and American families. Millions of women, Brennan notes, expanded their notions of household responsibilities to include the crusade against communism. From writing letters and hosting teas to publishing books and running for political office, they campaigned against communism and, incidentally, discovered the power they had to effect change through activism.
Brennan reveals how the willingness of these deeply conservative women to leave the domestic sphere and engage publicly in politics evinces the depth of America's postwar fear of communism. She further argues that these conservative, anti-communist women pushed the boundaries of traditional gender roles and challenged assumptions about women as political players by entering political life to publicly promote their ideals.Wives, Mothers, and the Red Menace offers a fascinating analysis of gender and politics at a critical point in American history. Brennan's work will instigate discussions among historians, political scientists, and scholars of women's studies.
Originally published in 1937, C. L. R. James's World Revolution is a pioneering Marxist analysis of the history of revolutions during the interwar period and of the fundamental conflict between Trotsky and Stalin. James, who was a leading Trotskyist activist in Britain, outlines Russia's transition from Communist revolution to a Stalinist totalitarian state bureaucracy. He also provides an account of the ideological contestations within the Communist International while examining its influence on the development of the Soviet Union and its changing role in revolutions in Spain, China, Germany, and Central Europe. Published to commemorate the centenary of the Russian Revolution, this definitive edition of World Revolution features a new introduction by Christian Høgsbjerg and includes rare archival material, selected contemporary reviews, and extracts from James's 1939 interview with Trotsky.
Worlds of Dissent
Jonathan Bolton Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress DB2228.7.B65 2012 | Dewey Decimal 943.7043
Worlds of Dissent analyzes the myths of Czech resistance popularized by Western journalists and historians, and replaces these heroic victory narratives with a picture of the struggle against state repression as dissidents themselves understood and lived it. Their diaries, letters, and essays convey the texture of dissent in a closed society.