Transpontine channels Victor Serge. James Horrox channels Gustav Landauer. Jill Mountford channels Mary MacArthur, the chainmaker’s champion. The AWL channels Pierre Broue on the Bolsheviks as they really were. Lars Lih channels Lenin.
The past in the present: After last week’s echoes of the Spanish civil war in the UK student protests, here is a superb post by Marko Hoare finding echoes of Trotsky’s vacillations in contemporary Lib Dem policy: “Trotsky ‘massively regrets’ breaking pre-revolution pledge to give power to the proletariat”.
From the vaults: Black Flag 1976 with some wonderful insane leftist comments on sex (hat-tip me). And “What is the trad left?” Maurice Brinton from 1969.
Marxist theory/anarchist theory: Andrew Coates on Lars Libs’ Lenin Rediscovered: good analysis of some of Lenin’s (and Leninism’s) strengths and weeknesses. At Anarchist Writers, a Freedom text against Leninist distortions of anarchism from ca.2000. As they say, “With anarchism back in the news thanks to the student protests in 2010, we can expect the likes of the Socialist Workers Party to have patronising and inaccurate articles on “anarchism” in their publications.” Along the same lines, two anarchist letters to Socialist Resistance from 2004. Into more esoteric territory, they have a long critique of Allan Engler’s Economic Democracy: The Working-Class Alternative to Capitalism. And slightly less esoterically, here is “Bob” on some influential left-wing ideas, and here is Norman Geras’ take on a couple of them.
Anti-communism: This week Barry Rubin at PJM on Bertram Wolfe, right-Communist turned apostate turned Cold Warrior. I will at some point return to this, because Wolfe is an interesting and important figure, badly served in this hatchet job.
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On February 28 1921, in response to the growing authoritarianism of the Bolshevik regime, the Kronstadt sailors raised their 15 demands. By March 19, the Red Army had defeated the uprising, drowning it in a sea of blood, and in doing so defeated the last hope for a genuine revolution.
The Red Army takes Kronstadt, March 1921.
Image from Locust St.
1. Hal Draper’s piece on Israel posted by angelus novus at Contested Terrain (and linked to here) has prompted a very thoughtful, intelligent response by Mira Vogel, posted at Engage and Greens Engage, two excellent British left-wing anti-racist sites.
2. Larry Gambone has a couple of recent articles of interest, most notably his dissection of the myth of Lenin’s “libertarian” State and Revolution (a myth that Draper contributed to).
3. Via Bermuda Radical (a bit Pabloite for my liking), I came across Sebastian Lamb’s critique of J Sakai and his theory of “settler” racism – useful.
5. Principia Dialectica lay into Amadeo Bordiga and his cult here.
Below the fold: From the archive of struggle, no.22
Meanwhile, Roland, having heard that Hugo Chavez is planning to give Barack Obama a copy of Lenin’s What is to be Done next time he sees him, conjures up the appalling spectacle of a Chavez book club. On the Lenin gift, Jams comments “That should save Obama a few prescriptions for sleeping tablets”, and Bob adds “Personally, I think that, if books can be called evil, that What is to be Done is up there with Mein Kampf. And it’s boring!”
Meanwhile, Obama himself, interviewed on Radio 4 on his way to Cairo, mentioned he was currently reading Joseph O’Neil’s Netherland, a book heavily influenced by one of my heroes (and part of Trotsky’s legacy), CLR James.