state socialism

Soviet Union, China and other Stalinisms - reading guide

Further reading guide about "state socialist" countries. Unlike many books on Stalinist societies, these texts emphasise struggles from below:

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.

A house divided: The state of the trade union movement in South Africa

Benjamin Fogel on the attempt by the South African Communist Party to take over the trade union movement in South Africa.

Mbokodo: Security in ANC camps, 1961-1990 - Stephen Ellis

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.

How the NKVD framed the POUM - Jesús Hernández

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.

The defeat of the Italian left in the recent elections

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.

SWP crisis: some analysis, some thoughts

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.

‘Feminism is a dirty word’. What would Marx and Engels think today? - Camilla Power

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.

“The real enemy?” Why we should reject left unity as a concept

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.

Understanding left cults (SWP, SP, Spiked, WRP) - a reading list

Animal Farm

Selected reading on cultlike behaviour of left-wing parties in the UK.