Review: Revolution and counterrevolution: Class struggle in a Moscow metal factory and worker resistance under Stalin: Class and revolution on the shop floor
A review of two books on the topic of working class responses to Stalinism in the USSR.
Kevin Murphy, Revolution and Counterrevolution: Class Struggle in a Moscow Metal Factory, International Studies in Social History Series (New York: Berghahn Books, 2005).
Jeffrey J. Rossman, Worker Resistance under Stalin: Class and Revolution on the Shop Floor (Cambridge, Mass. Harvard University Press, 2005).
Benjamin Fogel on the Lonmin Massacre and the chilling bloodlust of the Stalinists in the South African Communist Party.
“Two hundred thousand subterranean heroes who, by day and by night, for a mere pittance lay down their lives to the familiar `fall of rock` and who, at deep levels, ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 feet in the bowels of the earth, sacrifice their lungs to the rock dust which develops miners` phthisis' and pneumonia.”
For what seems like forever, the Julian Assange saga has been everywhere. On TV, in the papers, on Facebook and Twitter, it's been impossible to avoid it and all the horrific misogyny and rape apologism that comes with it. Underlying all of which is a cliché - at that a fallacious one - which defines pretty much all of the worst in leftist politics: the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
This blog is not about the finer points of the Assange case itself. If you're interested in that, there's a pretty decent round up of posts about it over at The F Word. However, since everyone and their mate has blogged about that, I won't be going there. Rather, I'll be using Assange as a jumping off point.
Are free individuals the necessary prerequisites for a successful struggle for freedom? - Anselm Jappe
In this text written in late 2011, Anselm Jappe criticizes the popular slogan “We are the 99%” in the context of a discussion of the “anthropological regression” induced by capitalism that has attenuated humanity’s capacity and desire for freedom, emphasizes the continuing relevance of the core concepts of value analysis for the understanding of the current capitalist crisis, and maintains that the present task of revolutionaries “… confronted by the disasters caused by the permanent revolutions unleashed by capital … is to ‘preserve’ some of the essential acquisitions of humanity and to attempt to cultivate them so that they assume a higher form”.
Are Free Individuals the Necessary Prerequisites for a Successful Struggle for Freedom? – Anselm Jappe
This is a well-researched obituary of Ante Ciliga, the Yugoslav communist who wrote the wonderful book about the Soviet Union - The Russian Enigma in English, Au Pays du grand mensonge in French.
As this text reveals, however, Ciliga's politics took a dubious turn after WWII - he became a fervent, and even CIA-funded, Croatian nationalist. But, as the document suggests, perhaps Ciliga was always a rather ambiguous figure, with his nationalist and internationalist sentiments always in tension with each other?
This article tries to go beyond the usual Kronstadt debate between Trotskyists and anarchists on why the Russian revolution failed. It includes sections on: workers' control, soviet democracy, the Red Terror, the 1921 workers' revolt and 'Stalinism'.
BEYOND KRONSTADT - THE BOLSHEVIKS IN POWER
An understanding of the Russian revolution is vital for any understanding of why the left failed in the 20th century. Yet most discussion amongst revolutionaries never goes beyond the usual argument about the Kronstadt rebellion.