Stalinism

The historical significance of the POUM - Wilebaldo Solano

In this text based on a presentation delivered in 1985 at a conference on the POUM held in Madrid, the former leader of the Iberian Communist Youth, and the last general secretary of the POUM, reviews the history of the POUM and discusses the background of its leading militants in anarchosyndicalism and Spanish communism, its leading role in the founding of the Workers Alliance and the October 1934 insurrection in Asturias, it founding in 1935, the Popular Front and the February 1936 elections, its fight against Stalinist repression and its persecution under the Negrín government during the civil war, and the fates of the party’s militants underground and in exile.

State capitalism in Russia - Murray Bookchin

Murray Bookchin

Murray Bookchin's critique of the USSR's economy as state capitalist. Published in Contemporary Issues 7, Autumn 1950 (under pseudonym M. S. Shiloh).

Lessons of the counterrevolutions - Amadeo Bordiga

A 1953 text in which Amadeo Bordiga examines the lessons of counterrevolutions from the defeat of Spartacus to the Battle of Legnano in 1176 and from the Peasant War in Germany of 1525 to Stalinism (“State capitalism is not a semi-socialism, but just plain capitalism”) and recapitulates some “fundamental positions of Marxism”, which he describes as a “doctrine for the understanding of ... counterrevolutions”, since “everyone knows how to orient themselves at the moment of victory, but few are those who know what to do when defeat arrives” and “it is necessary to understand the counterrevolution in order to prepare the revolution of tomorrow”.

The theorization of historical experiences - Agustín Guillamón

A critique of Roi Ferreiro’s critique of Andrés Devesa’s essay on the Spanish civil war and revolution, in which Guillamon derides Ferreiro for idealism and the use of elitist jargon, and for his failure to “perceive that the battle for revolutionary history is not just a bookish, theoretical and abstract question, but another battlefield in the class war between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat”.

Spain, 1936: the exorcism of the ghost of the revolution - Andrés Devesa

A brief 2006 essay on the topic of the “domestication of memory” perpetrated by the mainstream Spanish historians with regard to the Spanish Civil War, with particular emphasis on the whitewashing of the role of the Stalinists in the counterrevolution.

Theses on the Spanish Civil War and the revolutionary situation created on July 19, 1936 - BALANCE (Agustín Guillamón)

A 2001 text summarizing the results of the research carried out by Agustín Guillamón for the Spanish journal, BALANCE, concerning the lessons of the Spanish Civil War in Catalonia, denying the existence of “dual power” in Catalonia in 1936, discussing the struggles of the CNT rank and file against militarization and in favor of socialization, emphasizing the revolutionary potential of the ubiquitous committees and their neutralization and eventual destruction due to a lack of coordination and centralization, and claiming that the proletarian revolution requires the destruction of the capitalist state and the creation of a centralized workers power based on workers councils.

Amadeo Bordiga and the myth of Antonio Gramsci - John Chiaradia

Plaque commemorating Gramsci in Moscow

Useful article about the relationship between Bordiga and Gramsci and the stalinisation of the Italian workers' movement.

Interview with José Peirats – Josep Alemany

A complete transcript of a 1977 interview with José Peirats, in which the Spanish historian and former militant of the CNT and FAI reminisces about his youth and discusses many of the controversies that plagued the CNT before as well as during the civil war, including the impact of the Russian Revolution, Angel Pestaña’s mission to Russia in 1920, the Asturian insurrection of October 1934, the CNT’s policy of collaboration with the government during the war, and the role of the Stalinists in the Republican coalition government’s counterrevolution against the anarchist revolutionary achievements of July 1936.

Darkness at Noon - Arthur Koestler

Darkness at Noon dramatises the Moscow show trials and the elimination of the Bolshevik old guard by "No.1" In the Fatherland of Revolution. Told primarily from the point of view of N.S. Rubashov a fictitious merging of real Bolsheviks known to Koestler

The Case of Comrade Tulayev - Victor Serge

Case of Comrade Tulayev cover

Masterful fictionalisation of the purges and how they affected the various character types in the political upheaval of Stalinist Russia.