A new podcast discussing events in Latin America from a Libertarian Communist perspective. This first episode looks at the rise and legacy of Hugo Chávez. He may have died but his project – misleadingly named ‘revolutionary socialism for the 21st century’ – continues unabated in Venezuela.
What, therefore, is the legacy of Chávez? How can genuine revolutionaries cut through the polarised red herrings about the true nature of the Venezuelan regime? And what can we expect of Nicolas Maduro, Chávez’ successor?
Further reading guide about "state socialist" countries. Unlike many books on Stalinist societies, these texts emphasise struggles from below:
Aufheben, 'What was the USSR?' Part I: Trotsky and state capitalism; Part II: Russia as a non-mode of production; Part III: Left communism and the Russian revolution; Part IV: Towards a theory of the deformation of value.
Bring Fire to the Castle: crisis, militant social democracy, insurrection, and existing means of settling disputes
An exploration of the 2008 global crisis and responses. This article looks at militant reformism and the role of existing means and channels of settling disputes in society. Equilibrium and social forces of stability are identified for their central role in determining the depth and potential of crises, and distinguish simple crisis from situations with more radical potential.
“Es siempre la descomposición del viejo régimen, del Viejo sistema de Estado, acentuado por el impulso de las masas escalavas hacia la libertad, lo que hace surgir y desarrolla esos elementos”. Peter Arshinov, Historia del Movimiento Maknovista
Benjamin Fogel on the attempt by the South African Communist Party to take over the trade union movement in South Africa.
COSATU is in the midst of the biggest crisis in its 27-year history. This crisis has arisen from an SACP-driven attempt to oust democratically elected COSATU General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, under the guise of corruption charges. The conflict’s roots are in longstanding political contradictions and ideological tensions between COSATU and its Alliance partners – the ANC and the SACP.
1994 text by Stephen Ellis in African Affairs about events in the African National Congress, particularly the 1984 mutiny in ANC camps in Angola. Ellis has since written a book on this topic, which includes invaluable new material from the Stasi archives. He writes from a liberal perspective, but the facts that he has uncovered are very important for understanding the political culture of the ANC.
Using four official investigations by the ANC into human rights abuses perpetrated by the organization during its years in exile, as well as a number of other sources, this article summarizes what has been established concerning the ANC's security apparatus in the 1980s, and in particular its response to indiscipline, espionage and widespread criticism by rank and file members of its armed wing, '
The following text is taken from the memoirs of Jesús Hernández, published in 1953 in Mexico as Yo fuí un ministro de Stalin (I Was a Minister of Stalin). The memoirs have never been translated in full to english. The sections reproduced below are about the stalinist persecution and suppression of the POUM. They were originally serialised during 1953 in Labor Action, the US socialist paper published by Max Shachtman’s Workers Party.
WHEN I ARRIVED at the ministry, Cimorra handed me a small closed envelope. Inside was a card. I read: ‘Dear friend: If you have nothing more important to do, I expect you for tea at six in the evening. I must speak to you urgently. Greetings, Rosenberg.’ I had spoken with the Soviet ambassador only a few times. Almost always I had visited him about some celebration or official reception.
The defeat of Rivoluzione Civile (Civil Revolution, a newly-established party) in the recent elections was much worse than expected. The coalition led by Antonio Ingroia (a former public magistrate involved in the investigation about state-mafia dealings) had little appeal for the electorate nationally, receiving 2.25% of the vote for the Camera (lower house) and 1.79% for the Senate.
In the lower house, the combined votes of Rivoluzione Civile and Sinistra Ecologia e Libertà (SEL – Left, Ecology and Freedom) did not even reach 5.5%. This was a total debacle especially as in the 2008 elections – which also resulted in a crushing defeat of the left – other parties in broadly the same political arena as Rivoluzione Civile and SEL managed to get 8.27% of the vote.
The UK Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party (SWP) is in deep crisis after rape accusations and faction fights have ended in the leadership reimposing some 'order' , and oppositionists leaving the party in droves. Some analysis, and some ideas on what attitude anti-authoritarians might fruitfully take.
The SWP crisis and ongoing implosion is a horrible, yet fascinating, development. It is horrible, for – again – hundreds of serious people will drift out of the party, and many of them will be too demoralized and exhausted to pick up class struggle activity. Those among them that will remain active will not necessarily turn to anti-authoritarian revolutionary theory and practice.
This article takes ‘dinosaur marxists’ to task for refusing to treat rape as a political issue. The author looks at events in the SWP, RMT and across the British left in the light of what Marx and Engels – so often invoked by these ‘dinosaurs’ – wrote about sex and its connection with class.
‘Feminism is a Dirty Word’. What Would Marx and Engels Think Today?
A number of pieces have been written recently on “unity” amongst the left and the ways we can achieve that. What follows are the reasons I reject left unity as a notion and the kind of real unity that the workers' movement needs – and, to a large extent, already has.