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The Radiant Past
Ideology and Reality in Hungary's Road to Capitalism
Michael Burawoy and János Lukács
University of Chicago Press, 1992
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

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The Red Atlantis
J. Hoberman
Temple University Press, 2000
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.

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Red Chicago
American Communism at Its Grassroots, 1928-35
Randi Storch
University of Illinois Press, 2007

Red Chicago is a social history of American Communism set within the context of Chicago's neighborhoods, industries, and radical traditions. Using local party records, oral histories, union records, party newspapers, and government documents, Randi Storch fills the gap between Leninist principles and the day-to-day activities of Chicago's rank-and-file Communists.

Uncovering rich new evidence from Moscow's former party archive, Storch argues that although the American Communist Party was an international organization strongly influenced by the Soviet Union, at the city level it was a more vibrant and flexible organization responsible to local needs and concerns. Thus, while working for a better welfare system, fairer unions, and racial equality, Chicago's Communists created a movement that at times departed from international party leaders' intentions. By focusing on the experience of Chicago's Communists, who included a large working-class, African American, and ethnic population, this study reexamines party members' actions as an integral part of the communities and industries in which they lived and worked.


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Red Diapers
Edited by Judy Kaplan and Linn Shapiro
University of Illinois Press, 1998
      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.

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A Red Family
Junius, Gladys, and Barbara Scales
Mickey Friedman. Afterword by Barbara Scales. Historical Essay by Gail O'Brien.
University of Illinois Press, 2008
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.


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Red International and Black Caribbean
Communists in New York City, Mexico and the West Indies, 1919-1939
Margaret Stevens
Pluto Press, 2017
Too often grouped together, the black radicalism movement has a history wholly separate from the international communist movement of the early twentieth century. In Red International and Black Caribbean Margaret Stevens sets out to correct this enduring misconception. Focusing on the period 1919-39, Stevens explores the political roots of a dozen Communist organizations and parties that were headquartered in New York City, Mexico, and the Caribbean. She describes the inner workings of the Red International—the revolutionary global political network established under the Communist International—in relation to struggles against racial and colonial oppression. In doing so, she also highlights how the significant victories and setbacks of black people fighting against racial oppression developed within the context of the global Communist movement.
Challenging dominant accounts, Red International and Black Caribbean debunks the “great men” narrative, emphasizes the role of women in their capacity as laborers, and paints the true struggles of black peasants and workers in Communist parties. 

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Red Star Over Malaya
Resistance and Social Conflict During and After the Japanese Occupation, 1941-1946
Cheah Boon Kheng
National University of Singapore Press, 2012
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.

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Red Star Over the Third World
Vijay Prashad
Pluto Press, 2019
“An original and much needed analysis of an important but neglected aspect of the legacy of the Russian Revolution…. Essential reading.”—Mary Davis, Marx Memorial Library
From Cuba to Vietnam, China to South Africa, the October Revolution of 1917 inspired millions of people beyond the territory of Russia. It proved that the masses could not only overthrow autocratic governments, but that they could also form an opposing government in their own image.
The new idea that the working class and the peasantry could be allied, combined with the clear strength and necessity of a vanguard party, guided multiple revolutions across the globe.  Here is much-needed antidote to all the glum histories written on the demise of the Soviet Union. Vijay Prashad throws a spotlight on the way the Russian Revolution was seen and received in the countries colonized by European empires. With Russia as an inspiration and providing support, suddenly workers and peasants, those left out of capitalist prosperity, organized and attempted to create for themselves real socialist revolution. Prashad’s chapters include:
*Eastern Graves
*Red October
*Follow the Path of the Russians
*The Lungs of Russia
*Soviet Asia
*Enemy of Imperialism
*Eastern Marxism
*Colonial Fascism
*Polycentric Communism
*Memories of Communism
The author writes in this Preface, “It has been a quarter-century since the demise of the USSR. And yet, the marks of the October Revolution remain—not just in the territories of the USSR but more so in what used to be known as the Third World. From Cuba to Vietnam, from China to South Africa, the October Revolution remains as an inspiration. After all, that Revolution proved that the working class and the peasantry could not only overthrow an autocratic government but it could form its own government.”
This book explains the power of the October Revolution in the Global South. From Ho Chí Minh to Fidel Castro, reflections on polycentric communism, and collective memories of communism, it shows how, for a brief moment, another world was possible.   

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Red War on the Family
Sex, Gender, and Americanism in the First Red Scare
Erica J Ryan
Temple University Press, 2016
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. 

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Reinventing Chinese Tradition
The Cultural Politics of Late Socialism
Ka-ming Wu
University of Illinois Press, 2015
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.


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Rejuvenating Communism
Youth Organizations and Elite Renewal in Post-Mao China
Jérôme Doyon
University of Michigan Press, 2023
Working for the administration remains one of the most coveted career paths for young Chinese. Rejuvenating Communism: Youth Organizations and Elite Renewal in Post-Mao China seeks to understand what motivates young and educated Chinese to commit to a long-term career in the party-state and how this question is central to the Chinese regime’s ability to maintain its cohesion and survive. Jérôme Doyon draws upon extensive fieldwork and statistical analysis in order to illuminate the undogmatic commitment recruitment techniques and other methods the state has taken to develop a diffuse allegiance to the party-state in the post-Mao era. He then analyzes recruitment and political professionalization in the Communist Party’s youth organizations and shows how experiences in the Chinese Communist Youth League transform recruits and feed their political commitment as they are gradually inducted into the world of officials. As the first in-depth study of the Communist Youth League’s role in recruitment, this book challenges the assumption that merit is the main criteria for advancement within the party-state, an argument with deep implications for understanding Chinese politics today.

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Rescuing Justice and Equality
G. A. Cohen
Harvard University Press, 2008

In this stimulating work of political philosophy, acclaimed philosopher G. A. Cohen sets out to rescue the egalitarian thesis that in a society in which 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.

In the course of providing a deep and sophisticated critique of Rawls’s theory of justice, Cohen demonstrates that questions of distributive justice arise not only for the state but also for people in their daily lives. The right rules for the macro scale of public institutions and policies also apply, with suitable adjustments, to the micro level of individual decision-making.

Cohen also charges Rawls’s constructivism with systematically conflating the concept of justice with other concepts. Within the Rawlsian architectonic, justice is not distinguished either from other values or from optimal rules of social regulation. The elimination of those conflations brings justice closer to equality.


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Revolution in Rojava
Democratic Autonomy and Women's Liberation in the Syrian Kurdistan
Michael Knapp, Ercan Ayboga, and Anja Flach
Pluto Press, 2016
“Their first-hand experiences and active participation in the anti-capitalist society being built in the region make this the first detailed account of the popular revolution….The definitive book so far on Rojava."― Morning Star                                         
Revolution in Rojava tells the story of Rojava's groundbreaking experiment in what they call democratic confederalism, a communally organized democracy that is fiercely anti-capitalist and committed to female equality, while rejecting reactionary nationalist ideologies.
Rooted in the ideas of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, the system is built on effective gender quotas, bottom-up democratic structures, far-sighted ecological policies, and a powerful militancy that has allowed the region to keep ISIS at bay.
Given the widespread violence and suffering in Syria, it's not unreasonable that outsiders look at the situation as unrelentingly awful. And while the reality of the devastation is undeniable, there is reason for hope in at least one small pocket of the nation: the cantons of Rojava in Syrian Kurdistan, where in the wake of war people are quietly building one of the most progressive societies in the world today. Chapters here include:
*Rojava's Diverse Cultures
*Democratic Confederalism 
*The Liberation
*A Women's Revolution
*Democratic Autonomy in Rojava
*Civil Society Associations
*The Theory of the Rose: Defense 
*The New Justice System
*Democratization of Education
*Health Care 
*The Social Economy
*Ecological Challenges 
This first full-length study of democratic developments in Rojava tells an extraordinary and powerfully hopeful story of a little-known battle for true freedom in dark times. With excellent first-hand background information about this important, but little understood struggle, Revolution in Rojava will educate and inspire the reader to learn more about Rojava, Syria, and the fight for change in one of the world’s most dangerous regions.

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The Rise of the New York Intellectuals
Partisan Review and Its Circle, 1934–1945
Terry A. Cooney
University of Wisconsin Press, 1986

Cosmopolitan visions

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


front cover of The Roundtable Talks and the Breakdown of Communism
The Roundtable Talks and the Breakdown of Communism
Edited by Jon Elster
University of Chicago Press, 1996
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.

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