Place: Russia/USSR

Beyond Fake News

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1. “All Governments Lie”

As 1950s investigative reporter I.F. (“Izzy”) Stone famously stated: “All governments lie.”[1] Fake news has historically been the weapon of the rulers, especially when in need of excuses for military aggression.

Theoretical Lessons of the Russian Revolution

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Often, it seems that the legacy of the Russian Revolution of November 1917 lays like a dead weight upon the living. Everywhere voices are raised – from anarchists to social democrats and from liberals to conservatives – telling us that we need to jettison its legacy of authoritarian socialism, of prison camps, and ultimately, of economic and social collapse.  At the same time, the left of today stands for grassroots democracy, opposition to war and imperialism, opposition to racial and gender oppression, and once we move to the left of social democracy, abolition of capitalism and of the state.

Russiagate or Deep State? What Some Progressives Get Wrong on Russia

The bizarre denialism of some on the left and right about Russiagate doesn't bode well for the future of American politics

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When it comes to the Russiagate scandal, progressives usually take one of two positions.

They either dismiss the scandal as a lot of hooey, a “nothingburger,” just a way for warmongers and the “Deep State” to revive a cold war between Washington and Moscow. Or they treat the scandal as just a means to an end, a way to cast doubt on the 2016 presidential election, implicate the administration in a variety of crimes, and ultimately impeach the president.

Stalinism: The Complete Negation of Socialism

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This is the last of three articles commemorating the Russian Revolution of 1917 and analyzing its fate under Stalin. The first part, “Glorious Harbinger of a New Society: The Bolshevik Revolution,” was published in New Politics, number 62, winter 2017, and the second part, “The Tragic Fate of Workers’ Russia,” in New Politics, number 63, summer 2017. 

On the One Hundredth Anniversary of Two Revolutions: Russia and Georgia, Bolshevism or Menshevism

Book Review

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Eric Lee. The Experiment: Georgia’s Forgotten Revolution, 1918-1921. London: Zed Books, 2017. 259 pages. Timeline. Notes. Index. (For further information see: http://www.ericlee.info/theexperiment/)

In his new book The Experiment: Georgia’s Forgtten Revolution, 1918-1921 the journalist and historian Eric Lee does two things. First, he tells the little known and complicated story of the Georgian Revolution and the short-lived independent state that it created.

Bolshevism, Real and Imagined: A Reply to Mitchell Cohen

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The greatest flaw of Mitchell Cohen’s “What Lenin’s Critics Got Right” in the most recent Dissent is that it repeats what Lars T. Lih, independent researcher and author of Lenin Rediscovered:‘What Is To Be Done’ In Context (Haymarket, 2008) and a biography of Lenin (Reaktion Books, 2011), calls the “standard textbook interpretation” of Lenin’s thought and, by extension, Bolshevism as a movement.

Herman Axelbank, Max Eastman, and the Documentary “Tsar to Lenin”

ImageThe Russian Revolution, the only—if only briefly—successful workers’ revolution took place in the era of photography and film, consequently thousands of hours of film footage from the revolutionary period existed. In the late 1920s, as the revolution’s red star was fading, a Russian-born man decided to collect as much as possible of the existing film—some of it shot by individuals, some by governments, some by new agencies, some by who-knows-who. Eventually, over 50 years this man collected some 271 motion picture film reels. He was a fanatic. Glad he was.

From Russia With Love: Lenin's Letter to American Workers

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Just before Christmas, on December 21, 1917, a strange freighter pulled into Elliott Bay in Seattle. This vessel bore an unfamiliar flag—a red flag. This was a Russian ship, the Shilka, out of Vladivostok, Russia. Only a few weeks before, on November 7, the Bolshevik Revolution had taken place in Russia and its leader, Vladimir Lenin, proclaimed a workers' and farmers' state.

Bolsheviks and Beyond: Revisiting John Reed’s "Ten Days that Shook the World"

ImageTen Days That Shook the World By John Reed(Introduction by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and A. J. P. Taylor) Penguin Classics / Random House, 368 pages revised ed., 2007 (originally published 1919) Paperback:  $13.44 (available from numerous retailers) ISBN: 978-1420-930-252

The Tragic Fate of Workers’ Russia

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[This is the second of three articles commemorating the Russian Revolution of 1917 and analyzing its fate under Stalin. The first part, “Glorious Harbinger of a New Society: the Bolshevik Revolution,” was published in the previous issue of New Politics, number 62, winter 2017. The text below is slightly expanded from what appeared in the print issue.]

 Soon after the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed on March 3, 1918, the Soviet republic was under siege. Various anti-Bolshevik forces, some supported by the Allies or the Central Powers, were gathering. If these forces succeeded in reversing the October Revolution, what would be the result?

US enforces its No Fly Zone over Rojava, leading to World War III…Or Not

The continuation of six years of genocidal war

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For the first time in the six-year Syrian war, the US shot down an Assadist warplane on June 18, in defence of its allies in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the US-backed military and political front dominated by the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG). Assadist warplanes had carried out the highly unusual act of bombing the SDF in the town of Ja’Din, near Tabqa in Raqqa Province.

One Hundred Years of the Russian Revolution: A Retrospective View

 

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At a distance of one hundred years, the Russian Revolution, which truly shook the world, deserves to be remembered once more in terms of its emancipatory significance and its downfall and betrayal. This revolution would not have happened had it not been for the crucial role played by the Bolshevik party. It is true that the profound crisis affecting the Russian society, worsened by the country’s disastrous participation in World War I, could have sooner or later led to a massive upheaval. But it is questionable that a socialist revolution would have taken place without the organizational skills of the Bolshevik party and the political, strategic, and tactical genius of V.I. Lenin.

Antonio Gramsci: From War to Revolution

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Eighty years after his death, Antonio Gramsci is among the most influential Marxist intellectuals across the board. By the end of World War II, liberal intellectuals had already found in him “a Marxist you can take home to Mother.” The tone was set by Benedetto Croce, who allegedly gushed in 1947, upon reading Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, “He’s one of us!”1 It reached the point that the Sardinian activist can be presented today as no less than the guarantor of “Italian Democracy.”2

The Russian Revolution, Soviets, and Socialist Democracy

An Interview with Suzi Weissman

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“Revolutions are the mad inspiration of history”

Leon Trotsky, My Life

 

Russia, the Supposed New Cold War, and Russiagate

A Letter of Engagement to the Broad Left

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Fellow socialists and leftists, it is time to dispel that illusion that somehow Putin’s Russia of today is somehow positively connected to the USSR of yesterday.  That simply is not the case. 

"Glorious Harbinger of a New Society"

The Bolshevik Revolution

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One hundred years ago the most democratic revolution in history took place. Led by the Bolshevik Party, the Russian working class, allied with the peasantry and organized into mass democratic institutions—the soviets—took power.

On the Centennial of Lenin’s Imperialism Thesis

Neoliberal Imperialism, The Latest Stage of Capitalism

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One hundred years ago, in exile in Zurich during the spring of 1916, Lenin started writing one of his most important and influential works, his pamphlet on imperialism. What is the relevance of this work today?

Redeeming the revolution: A review of “October 1917 – Workers in Power”

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Fred Leplat and Alex de Jong, eds. October 1917 – Workers in Power. London: Merlin Press, the IIRE and Resistance Books, 2016. 256 pages

Nearly a century ago, the workers and peasants of Russia overthrew the Provisional Government and established the world’s first socialist republic. It was a seminal moment in human history. For the capitalists of the world, it was an event to be feared and they marshaled their forces to contain Bolshevism.

This Changed Everything—Twice

Russia, Revolution, and Counter-revolution

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During the tumultuous years that followed the horrors of World War I, especially in the period of 1917 to the early 1920s, the Russian working class became an inspiration to workers around the world.

review

Samir Amin’s Russian Campist Anti-Imperialism

ImageFor some time now, many of us have wondered how it is that a number of left-wing writers and some political organizations could support Vladimir Putin and the Russian government’s role in international affairs.

review

1939: Soviets Invade Poland. Defensist? Imperialist?

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When the Stalin-Hitler pact triggered World War II in 1939, and Soviet troops occupied half of Poland and then invaded Finland, the Socialist Workers Party in the United States was plunged into crisis.

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