The Russian revolution in retreat, 1920-24: Soviet workers and the new communist elite - Simon Pirani

Lenin with Stalin

This critically acclaimed book, published in 2008, focuses on the retreat from the revolution’s aims in 1920-24, after the end of the civil war – and specifically, on the turbulent relationship between the working class and the Communist Party in those years.

The Russian revolution in retreat.pdf13.43 MB
The Russian Revolution in Retre - Pirani, Simon.mobi842.18 KB


Apr 14 2011 14:21

For those who are interested.

ISJ published a negative review by Kevin Murphy, to which Pirani responded and published additional notes on his website.

Apr 14 2011 15:37

Thanks for the links, Android.

I was in the SWP for two years, and had serious problems with their concept of 'democracy'.
After writing a contribution in the Internal Bulletin, and raising issues in district meetings, I was blanked by previously chatty comrades and slandered as being in the 'RDG', who I'd never even heard of. It was almost impossible to get hold of copies of the IB in which I had written (I was only given one copy, for a branch of six members), whereas with the next IB, in which Ged Peck (I think his name was) rebutted my points, miraculously we received numerous copies.

In the circumstances of the 1920s, given the same 'comrades', I'd have received a bullet in the back of the head. This statement is not hyperbole: I seriously believe it.

There's one good thing about the tens of thousands of workers who've erroneously joined the SWP over the years because it was the most visible of the 'revolutionary' (sic) parties, they've all been inoculated against 'democratic centralism'.

And that joker Bambery thought I was a troublemaker or a busy! He probably couldn't grasp the concept of a worker who could argue back. Infallible CC, my arse!

Jan 22 2013 03:49

This excellent book should take it's honoured place alongside Maurice Brinton's BOLSHEVIKS AND WORKERS' CONTROL.

Jul 7 2013 04:55

Simon Pirani must be thanked for writing this book, which I plan on reading in the near future. Discussions on this topic, as well as details of the Spanish Revolution, are vital. This is because, in the words of George Santayana, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it".

Both the Russian & Spanish Revolutions went wrong. Future revolutions will face many similar questions. If we don't want to repeat the tragedies of Russia & Spain, we need to learn from them.

Sep 29 2017 12:35

Read it from start to finish here online. A splendid book. Thanks for posting.