On a roll, no.2

Continuing where we left off here

Three blogs

A Very Public Sociologist

A blog by a Political Education Officer of a Labour Party branch, a former member of the Socialist Party of England and Wales, resident in the darkest Potteries, whose PhD was on British Trotskyism. Both a deservedly popular and pleasantly generous blogger, one of Phil’s regular features is listing some new blogs on the (mainly British) left. Also worth reading for his long, thoughtful posts on Marxist theory, often taking their lead from Gramsci.

Tragic Life Stories

Also from the British left, but a very different corner of it. An extremely infrequently updated blog that  focuses more or less exclusively on the sort of left sectariana that fascinates trainspottery types like me, from the perspective of Communist Students, a loosely affiliated section of the CPGB. Get the dirt on the Communist Party of Britain, the Revolutionary Communist Party, and other sects.

Totalitarianism Today

A fascinating blog, which I don’t visit often enough. Good-looking, intelligent, erudite. Read about Alexander Blok and the internet, Octave Mirbeau on the voters’ strike, the non-friendship between Golda Meir and Hannah Arendt, and lots more. Check out some of the names from a daunting list of intellectual kin:  Dwight MacdonaldCzeslaw MiloszIsaac Bashevis SingerIsaiah BerlinNicolae IorgaRandolph BourneRaymond AronSimone WeilVaclav HavelVoltairine de CleyreWalter Benjamin.

Tony Cliff: A World to Win

A hagiographic blog created by a true believer over three months in 2009. Tony Cliff, the heterodox Trotskyist leader who came to Britain shortly after WWII, broke with the official movement over his (correct) belief that the Soviet Union was state capitalist and not a deformed workers’ state, and went on to lead “the smallest mass party in history”, the IS, later the SWP. Many of his twists and turns, particularly after around 1980, were emphatically in the wrong direction, but Cliff was one of the (few) towering geniuses of post-Trotsky Trotskyism. This site is a great work of “citizen scholarship”, both archiving and providing very informative introductions and contextualisations to Cliff’s political developments.

Three Way Fight

This blog is the platform for a North American political tendency, primarily inspired by Don Hamerquist, a veteran of the American New Left and specifically of the Sojourner Truth OrganizationThis post by Mike S, one of the key members of the tendency, sums up their position, i.e. that revolutionary forces are engaged in a fight with capitalism, but also with reactionary forms of anti-capitalism. For related reading, check this post at Gathering Forces. The blog is very interesting, but I wish they would put a bit more work into it!

Three non-blogs

Young Democratic Socialists

This is the site of the youth arm of Democratic Socialists of America. My politics draw on four or five distinct political traditions, including anarchism, left communism, centrist Marxism, Trotskyism, and democratic socialism. That last tradition is the tradition of Eugene Debs, Norman Thomas, Michael Harrington, Irving Howe and Bayard Rustin – the tradition of Democratic Socialists of America. From the label on the tin:

Democratic Socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically to meet the needs of all, not to merely make profits for a select few. Democratic Socialism is a philosophy based on empowerment, liberty, democracy, and feminism, where community well being and individual development are the metrics of success.  We advocate for stronger public goods like universal healthcare and free higher education in addition to more democracy in the work place.  Our method is one of empowering communities and engaging in the politics of the possible while being guided by our ideals.

I don’t really have anything else to say about these guys.

Victor Serge Papers

Victor Serge, you may have noticed, is one of my heroes. He stands at the intersection of all of the traditions mentioned above. This is the website of his papers at Yale University.

The Victor Serge Papers contain correspondence; writings; immigration and identification documents for Serge and his wife, Liouba; death masks of Serge and of Leon Trotsky; and various materials concerning Serge (including correspondence, clippings, and photocopies of writings) that were collected by his son, Vlady Kibalchich. The correspondence includes letters between Serge and his wife, son, and other relatives; a few letters between third parties; letters between Serge and his friends and colleagues, including André Breton, Michael Fraenkel, André Gide, Julián Gorkin, Daniel Guérin, Lucien Laurat, Dwight Macdonald, Jean Malaquais, Marcel Martinet, Magdeleine Marx (Paz), Emmanuel Mounier, Natalii︠a︡ Ivanovna Trot︠s︡kai︠a︡, Leon Trotsky, Leon Werth, and Maurice Wullens; and letters between Serge and publishing companies, journals, and organizations, including The New Leader and Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista.
The writings include holograph and typescript notes and drafts for Serge’s articles, books (including “L’Affaire Toulaév”, “Les Derniers temps”, and “Mémoires d’un révolutionnaire”, among others) and poems. There are also several notebooks, including two daybooks for 1936.

Victor Serge Internet Archive

And this is the Serge section of the wonderful Marxist Internet Archive, the current contents of which are below the fold.


June 1908 The Illegals
February 1909 Anarchists – Bandits
February 1910 Our Anti-Syndicalism
April 1910 The Revolutionary Illusion
June 1911 The Individualist and society
June 1911 An Honest Gentleman
January 1912 The Bandits
January 1912 Expedients
January 1912 On the Bonnot Affair
April 1912 Two Lectures
January 1913 Egoism
March 1917 Letter to Emile Armand
May 1919 Frame of mind of the French proletariat
July 1919 Machine Gun (poem)
1920/21 Flame on the Snow (prose)
1923 Five Years’ Struggle
1926 What everyone should know about repression
Aug. 1926 New Aspects of the Problem of War
1926-1929 Year One of the Russian Revolution
(Alternative translation of extracts)
1932 Conquered City (novel)
1936 Open Letter to André Gide
10 August 1936 Letter to Trotsky
13 August 1936 Letter to Andres Nin
14 August 1936 Letter to Trotsky
29 August 1936 The Death of Ivan Nikitich Smirnov
13 August 1937 Farewell to Andres Nin
December 1937 Portraying the men and events of our times
1938 Marxism in Our Time
1938 Secrecy and Revolution
1938 Twice Met
February 1938 Obituary: Leon Sedov
28 April 1938 Once More: Kronstadt
October 1938 Kronstadt: Trotsky’s Defense. Response to Trotsky
1939 A Letter and Some Notes
1938-44 Excerpts from the “Notebooks”
1944 A New International
1945 In a time of duplicity
July 1945 Recollections of Maxim Gorki
1945 On the French Anarchists
1945 On Second Congress of Comintern
1945 Kronstadt ’21
1945 On Third Congress of Comintern


The document below was not written by Victor Serge, but was ascribed to him by Trotsky in his polemic against Serge in the essay Moralists and Sychpohants Against Marxism. The text was included in a promotional leaflet for Trotsky’s book Their Morals and Ours, which Serge had translated into French. In his book The Serge-Trotsky Papers, David Cotterill points to suspicions that it may actually have been written by or under the influence of Marc Zborowski (known as Comrade Etienne), who was effectively running the Fourth International in Paris at that time, but was in reality an agent of the NKVD. Whatever the case may be, this document effectively destroyed the relationship between the last two surviving members of the Russian Left Opposition of the 1920s. For this reason we include it here in this archive.

September 1938 On Their Morals and Ours

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Poumista,

    As you are aware,I am a big fan of this blog. Having said that, I cannot concur with you description of Tony Cliff as a “towering genius.” That really is one stage too far.

  2. God, did I say that!? I know I am prone to hyperbole, but you’re right, that’s several stages too far. But he was clever.

  3. […] On a roll, no.2 (poumista.wordpress.com) […]

  4. […] the very slow tour through the links roll, from the bottom […]

  5. […] On a roll, no.2 (poumista.wordpress.com) […]

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