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From the 2015 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature comes the first English translation of her latest work, an oral history of the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a new Russia. Bringing together dozens of voices in her distinctive documentary style, Second-Hand Time is a monument to the collapse of the USSR, charting the decline of Soviet culture and speculating on what will rise from the ashes of Communism. As in all her books, Alexievich gives voice to women and men whose stories are lost in the official narratives of nation-states, creating a powerful alternative history from the personal and private stories of individuals. ‘Communism had an insane plan: to refashion the “old” breed of man, ancient Adam,’ writes Alexievich. ‘This was perhaps communism’s only achievement. Seventy plus years in the Marxist-Leninist laboratory gave rise to a new kind of man, the Homo sovieticus.’ In this magnificent requiem Alexievich’s method is simple: ‘I don’t ask people about socialism, I ask about love, jealousy, childhood, old age. Music, dances, hairstyles. The myriad sundry details of a vanished way of life… It never ceases to amaze me how interesting ordinary, everyday life is. There are an endless number of human truths… I am fascinated by people.’ From this fascination emerges a hugely important and deeply moving portrait of post-Soviet society. In a nation that likewise grapples with making sense of scattershot historical experience, Alexievich’s portraits may make the South African reader draw unexpected and uncomfortable parallels between Russia post-1990 and South Africa post-1994.
The history of the South African Communist Party (SACP), formed in 1921 as the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) and subsequently banned in 1950, has generated a very rich and fascinating literature. From its beginnings as a largely white organisation that had to adapt its Marxism-Leninism to settler colonialism and oppression of the African majority, to the days of its participation in the formation of Umkhonto weSizwe and beyond, the SACP's influence on the country has been as immense as the country's influence on it.
Follow the story of SACP leaders who were forced to flee the country and go into exile in the aftermath of the Rivonia Trial coupled with the 90 day detention act. Maloka tells of their relationship with ANC leaders and their struggles to keep the movement alive until their eventual homecoming in the early 1990s.
This volume is a revised version of The South African Communist Party in Exile, which was published by the Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA). What is covered here is the story of the SACP during the exile years until its unbanning in 1990, the 1990-94 negotiated transition, and the immediate period after the 1994 first democratic elections, which brought into being post-apartheid South Africa.
Capitalism’s addiction to fossil fuels is heating our planet at a pace and scale never before experienced.
Extreme weather patterns, rising sea levels and accelerating feedback loops are a commonplace feature of our lives. The number of environmental refugees is increasing and several island states and low-lying countries are becoming vulnerable. Corporate-induced climate change has set us on an ecocidal path of species extinction. Governments and their international platforms such as the Paris Climate Agreement deliver too little, too late. Most states, including South Africa, continue on their carbon-intensive energy paths, with devastating results. Political leaders across the world are failing to provide systemic solutions to the climate crisis. This is the context in which we must ask ourselves: how can people and class agency change this destructive course of history?
The Climate Crisis investigates ecosocialist alternatives that are emerging. It presents the thinking of leading climate justice activists, campaigners and social movements advancing systemic alternatives and developing bottom-up, just transitions to sustain life. Through a combination of theoretical and empirical work, the authors collectively examine the challenges and opportunities inherent in the current moment.
Most importantly, it explores ways to renew historical socialism with democratic, ecosocialist alternatives to meet current challenges in South Africa and the world.
The epic story of an enormous Soviet apartment building where Communist true believers lived before their destruction The House of Government is unlike any other book about the Russian Revolution and the Soviet experiment. Written in the tradition of Tolstoy (TM)s War and Peace, Grossman (TM)s Life and Fate, and Solzhenitsyn (TM)s The Gulag Archipelago, Yuri Slezkine (TM)s gripping narrative tells the chilling true story of an enormous Moscow apartment building where Soviet leaders and their families lived until hundreds of these Bolshevik true believers were led, one by one, to prison or to their deaths in Stalin (TM)s purges. Drawing on letters, diaries, and interviews with survivors, and featuring hundreds of rare photographs, this epic story weaves together biography, literary criticism, architectural history, and fascinating new theories of revolutions, millennial prophecies, and reigns of terror. The result is an unforgettable saga of a building that, like the Soviet Union itself, became a haunted house, forever disturbed by the ghosts of the disappeared.
`Without a revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement.' Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik Revolution and founder of the USSR, was profoundly aware of the power of words. As a zealous orator and prolific writer, he used his words to launch a soaring critique of imperialist society and to theorize the development of the world's first socialist state. Much of his writing was translated into English in order to further the Socialist cause. This book is a compilation of some of Lenin's most famous sayings, taken from speeches, tracts, letters and recorded conversations. They expose his views on topics ranging from democracy to terrorism, from religion to Stalin's untrustworthiness and from education to music. Accompanied by a range of arresting images, including contemporary propaganda posters, photographs, portraits, illustrations and Soviet art, these aphoristic proclamations offer an insight into the atmosphere of pre- and post-Revolutionary Russia and the mind of one of the twentieth century's most defining political figures.
The 2019 Verso Radical Diary and Weekly Planner is a beautifully designed week-to-view planner where you can keep track of your coming year. Alongside illustrations, it features significant dates in radical history, drawn from events such as the English Civil War and Castro's victory march in Havana, and touches on the lives of characters such as Rosa Luxemburg and Gil Scott Heron, and includes movements such as #blacklivesmatter and the Suffragettes.
Winner of the Duff Cooper and Lionel Gelber prizes In 1932-33, nearly four million Ukrainians died of starvation, having been deliberately deprived of food. It is one of the most devastating episodes in the history of the twentieth century. With unprecedented authority and detail, Red Famine investigates how this happened, who was responsible, and what the consequences were. It is the fullest account yet published of these terrible events. The book draws on a mass of archival material and first-hand testimony only available since the end of the Soviet Union, as well as the work of Ukrainian scholars all over the world. It includes accounts of the famine by those who survived it, describing what human beings can do when driven mad by hunger. It shows how the Soviet state ruthlessly used propaganda to turn neighbours against each other in order to expunge supposedly 'anti-revolutionary' elements. It also records the actions of extraordinary individuals who did all they could to relieve the suffering. The famine was rapidly followed by an attack on Ukraine's cultural and political leadership - and then by a denial that it had ever happened at all. Census reports were falsified and memory suppressed. Some western journalists shamelessly swallowed the Soviet line; others bravely rejected it, and were undermined and harassed. The Soviet authorities were determined not only that Ukraine should abandon its national aspirations, but that the country's true history should be buried along with its millions of victims. Red Famine, a triumph of scholarship and human sympathy, is a milestone in the recovery of those memories and that history. At a moment of crisis between Russia and Ukraine, it also shows how far the present is shaped by the past.
'Revelatory and instructive... [a] beautifully written and accessible book' The Times For decades, the West has dismissed Maoism as an outdated historical and political phenomenon. Since the 1980s, China seems to have abandoned the utopian turmoil of Mao's revolution in favour of authoritarian capitalism. But Mao and his ideas remain central to the People's Republic and the legitimacy of its Communist government. With disagreements and conflicts between China and the West on the rise, the need to understand the political legacy of Mao is urgent and growing. The power and appeal of Maoism have extended far beyond China. Maoism was a crucial motor of the Cold War: it shaped the course of the Vietnam War (and the international youth rebellions that conflict triggered) and brought to power the murderous Khmer Rouge in Cambodia; it aided, and sometimes handed victory to, anti-colonial resistance movements in Africa; it inspired terrorism in Germany and Italy, and wars and insurgencies in Peru, India and Nepal, some of which are still with us today - more than forty years after the death of Mao. In this new history, Julia Lovell re-evaluates Maoism as both a Chinese and an international force, linking its evolution in China with its global legacy. It is a story that takes us from the tea plantations of north India to the sierras of the Andes, from Paris's fifth arrondissement to the fields of Tanzania, from the rice paddies of Cambodia to the terraces of Brixton. Starting with the birth of Mao's revolution in northwest China in the 1930s and concluding with its violent afterlives in South Asia and resurgence in the People's Republic today, this is a landmark history of global Maoism.
An illuminating history of Marx's thought and intellectual influence from a leading historian of socialism Why was Marx so successful as a thinker? Did he have a system and if so, what does it consist of? How did Marxism develop in the twentieth century and what does it mean today? Karl Marx remains the most influential and controversial political thinker in history. The movements associated with his name have lent hope to many victims of tyranny and aggression but have also proven disastrous in practice and resulted in the unnecessary deaths of millions. If after the collapse of the Soviet Union his reputation seemed utterly eclipsed, a new generation is reading and discovering Marx in the wake of the recurrent financial crises, growing social inequality and an increasing sense of the injustice and destructiveness of capitalism. Both his critique of capitalism and his vision of the future speak across the centuries to our times, even if the questions he poses are more difficult to answer than ever. In this wide-ranging account, Gregory Claeys, one of Britain's leading historians of socialism, considers Marx's ideas and their development through the Russian Revolution to the present, showing why Marx and Marxism still matter today.
A SUNDAY TIMES HISTORY BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017 'A brilliant, compelling, propulsively written, magnificent tour de force' Simon Sebag Montefiore, Evening Standard 'The second volume of what will surely rank as one of the greatest historical achievements of our age ... The War and Peace of history: a book you fear you will never finish, but just cannot put down' Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times Well before 1929, Stalin had achieved dictatorial power over the Soviet empire, but now he decided that the largest peasant economy in the world would be transformed into socialist modernity, whatever it took. What it took, and what Stalin managed to force through, transformed the country and its ruler in profound and enduring ways. Rather than a tale of a deformed or paranoid personality creating a political system, this is a story of a political system shaping a personality. Building and running a dictatorship, with power of life or death over hundreds of millions, in conditions of capitalist self-encirclement, made Stalin the person he became. Wholesale collectivization of agriculture, some 120 million peasants, necessitated levels of coercion that were extreme even for Russia, but Stalin did not flinch; the resulting mass starvation and death elicited criticism inside the party even from those Communists committed to the eradication of capitalism. By 1934, when the situation had stabilized and socialism had been built in the countryside too, the internal praise came for his uncanny success in anticapitalist terms. But Stalin never forgot and never forgave, with bloody consequences as he strove to consolidate the state with a brand new elite. Stalin had revived a great power with a formidable industrialized military. But the Soviet Union was effectively alone, with no allies and enemies perceived everywhere. The quest to find security would bring Soviet Communism into an improbable pact with Nazi Germany. But that bargain did not work out as envisioned. The lives of Stalin and Hitler, and the fates of their respective countries, drew ever closer to collision. Stalin: Waiting for Hitler: 1929-1941 is, like its predecessor Stalin: Paradoxes of Power: 1878-1928, nothing less than a history of the world from Stalin's desk. It is also, like its predecessor, a landmark achievement in the annals of the biographer's art. Kotkin's portrait captures the vast structures moving global events, and the intimate details of decision-making.
The Cambridge History of Communism is an unprecedented global history of communism in the twentieth century. With contributions from a team of leading historians, economists, political scientists and sociologists, the three volumes examine communism in the context of wider political, social, cultural, and economic processes, while at the same time revealing how it contributed to shaping them. Volume One deals with the roots, impact, and development of communism, analysing the tumultuous events from the Russian Revolution of 1917 to the Second World War, and historical personalities such as Lenin, Stalin, and Trotsky. Volumes Two and Three then review the global impact of communism, focusing on the Cold War, the Chinese Revolution, the Vietnam War and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union. Together, the volumes explain why a movement that sought to bring revolution on a global scale, overthrowing capitalism and parliamentary democracy, acquired such force and influence.
There was life before the fall. 1989 was a year of astonishing and rapid change: the fall of the Berlin Wall marked the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and an end to an entire way of life for millions of people behind the Iron Curtain. Bloc Life collects first hand testimony of the people who lived in East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Romania during the Cold War era, and reveals a rich tapestry of experience that goes beyond the headlines of spies and surveillance, secret police and political corruption. In fact, many of the people remember their lives under communism as 'perfectly ordinary' and even hanker for the 'security' that it offered. From political leaders, athletes and pop stars, to cooks, miners and cosmonauts, the stories collected in Bloc Life evoke the moods, preoccupations and experiences of a world that vanished almost overnight.
Political economy, defined in the study of social relations and culture. Originally published in the former Soviet Union, was suppressed and after 1928 it was never re-issued. This is the first English-language edition. Includes an outstanding introductory essay on "Commodity Fetishism" by Freddy Perlman.
In the Mind, But Not From There: Real Abstraction and Contemporary Art considers how the Marxian concept of Real Abstraction--originally developed by Alfred Sohn Rethel, and recently updated by Alberto Toscano--might help to define the economic, social, political, and cultural complexities of our contemporary moment. In doing so, this volume brings together noted contemporary artists, literary critics, curators, historians, and social theorists who connect the concept of Real Abstraction with contemporary cultural production. Theoretical and artistic contributions from Benjamin Noys, Paul Chan, Joao Enxuto and Erica Love, Marina Vishmidt, Sven Lutticken, and many others help to map out the relationship between political economy and artistic production in the realm of contemporary, globalized cultural exchange. This anthology places economic and social analyses alongside creative projects and visual essays to consider the many angles of contemporary art, and how inquiry into the the production of abstraction through material and social processes can be used to better understand, and hopefully change, the conditions under which art is made, seen, and circulated today. Published in collaboration with [NAME] publications.
Cedric Robinson was one of the most important and influential Black radical scholars of recent times, best known for the pathbreaking Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition. In this late major work, he turns his attention to European radical traditions and explores a genealogy of emancipatory thought and practice that predates Marxism and capitalism itself, and which continues to guide struggles for liberation today. Accompanied by a foreword by H. L.T. Quan and a preface by Avery Gordon, this invaluable text reimagines the communal ideal from a broader perspective that transcends modernity, industrialisation and capitalism.
Few writers have had a more demonstrable impact on the development of the modern world than has Karl Marx (1818-1883). Born in Trier into a middle-class Jewish family in 1818, by the time of his death in London in 1883, Marx claimed a growing international reputation. Of central importance then and later was his book Das Kapital, or, as it is known to English readers, simply Capital. Volume One of Capital was published in Paris in 1867. This was the only volume published during Marx's lifetime and the only to have come directly from his pen. Volume Two, published in 1884, was based on notes Marx left, but written by his friend and collaborator, Friedrich Engels (1820-1895). Readers from the nineteenth century to the present have been captivated by the unmistakable power and urgency of this classic of world literature. Marx's critique of the capitalist system is rife with big themes: his theory of 'surplus value', his discussion of the exploitation of the working class, and his forecast of class conflict on a grand scale. Marx wrote with purpose. As he famously put it, 'Philosophers have previously tried to explain the world, our task is to change it.'
“It is practically unprecedented to take two such monsters as Hitler and Stalin, who never met, and interweave their lives chronologically, chapter by chapter, often paragraph by paragraph, as Bullock has done. It sounds like a recipe for confusion, irritation and indigestion. In fact, it works brilliantly. the book is a triumph of organisation, lucidity and perspective.”
“A magnificent piece of historical writing which, despite its massive size, makes for compulsive reading. The sweep is broad and the information concisely conveyed without any sign of pedantry. The judgements are sane and balanced…The grasp of the biographical material is matched by a multitude of interpretations which are the mark of a master historian.”
“A titanic narrative history…Bullock is a master-builder who constructs his edifice beautifully, underpinning the narrative mass with analytical supports to prevent the story collapsing into detail and burying the reader, Yet he can slow the momentum for a vivid vignette or apt quotation.”
“A magnetic chronicling…which, by dint of its distillation of a vast amount of matter, and by virtue of its author’s consummate powers of analysis and narrative, becomes a standard work from the very instant of publication.”
“Lord Bullock has carried out to perfection an artistic revenge on Public Enemies Numbers One and Two. This enormous book is a fitting tombstone to their world.”
'The superb, funny, fascinating story of Lenin's trans-European rail journey and how it shook the world' Simon Sebag Montefiore, Evening Standard, Books of the Year 'Splendid ... a jewel among histories, taking a single episode from the penultimate year of the Great War, illuminating a continent, a revolution and a series of psychologies in a moment of cataclysm and doing it with wit, judgment and an eye for telling detail' David Aaronovitch, The Times By 1917 the European war seemed to be endless. Both sides in the fighting looked to new weapons, tactics and ideas to break a stalemate that was itself destroying Europe. In the German government a small group of men had a brilliant idea: why not sow further confusion in an increasingly chaotic Russia by arranging for Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the most notorious of revolutionary extremists, currently safely bottled up in neutral Switzerland, to go home? Catherine Merridale's Lenin on the Train recreates Lenin's extraordinary journey from harmless exile in Zurich, across a Germany falling to pieces from the war's deprivations, and northwards to the edge of Lapland to his eventual ecstatic reception by the revolutionary crowds at Petrograd's Finland Station. With great skill and insight Merridale weaves the story of the train and its uniquely strange group of passengers with a gripping account of the now half-forgotten liberal Russian revolution and shows how these events intersected. She brilliantly uses a huge range of contemporary eyewitnesses, observing Lenin as he travelled back to a country he had not seen for many years. Many thought he was a mere 'useful idiot', others thought he would rapidly be imprisoned or killed, others that Lenin had in practice few followers and even less influence. They would all prove to be quite wrong.
What changes in China (TM)s modern military policy reveal about military organizations and strategy Since the 1949 Communist Revolution, China has devised nine different military strategies, which the People (TM)s Liberation Army (PLA) calls oestrategic guidelines. What accounts for these numerous changes? Active Defense offers the first systematic look at China (TM)s military strategy from the mid-twentieth century to today. Exploring the range and intensity of threats that China has faced, M. Taylor Fravel illuminates the nation (TM)s past and present military goals and how China sought to achieve them, and offers a rich set of cases for deepening the study of change in military organizations. Drawing from diverse Chinese-language sources, including memoirs of leading generals, military histories, and document collections that have become available only in the last two decades, Fravel shows why transformations in military strategy were pursued at certain times and not others. He focuses on the military strategies adopted in 1956, 1980, and 1993 "when the PLA was attempting to wage war in a new kind of way "to show that China has pursued major change in its strategic guidelines when there has been a significant shift in the conduct of warfare in the international system and when China (TM)s Communist Party has been united. Delving into the security threats China has faced over the last seven decades, Active Defense offers a detailed investigation into how and why states alter their defense policies.
One of early-twentieth-century America's most fertile grounds for political radicalism, the Pacific Northwest produced some of the most dedicated and successful socialists the country has ever seen. As a radicalized labor force emerged in mining, logging, and other extractive industries, socialists employed intensive organizational and logistical skills to become an almost permanent third party that won elections and shook the confidence of establishment rivals. At the height of Socialist Party influence just before World War I, a Montana member declared, "They are all red out here."
In this first book to fully examine the development of the American Socialist Party in the Northwest, Jeffrey A. Johnson draws a sharp picture of one of the most vigorous left-wing organizations of this era. Relying on party newspapers, pamphlets, and correspondence, he allows socialists to reveal their own strategies as they pursued their agendas in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. And he explores how the party gained sizable support in Butte, Spokane, and other cities seldom associated today with left-wing radicalism.
" "They Are All Red Out Here" " employs recent approaches to labor history by restoring rank-and-file workers and party organizers as active participants in shaping local history. The book marks a major contribution to the ongoing debate over why socialism never grew deep roots in American soil and no longer thrives here. It is a work of political and labor history that uncovers alternative social and political visions in the American West.
Afterlives of Chinese Communism comprises essays from over fifty world-renowned scholars in the China field, from various disciplines and continents. It provides an indispensable guide for understanding how the Mao era continues to shape Chinese politics today. Each chapter discusses a concept or practice from the Mao period, what it attempted to do, and what has become of it since. The authors respond to the legacy of Maoism from numerous perspectives to consider what lessons Chinese communism can offer today, and whether there is a future for the egalitarian politics that it once promised. Co-published by ANU Press: https://press.anu.edu.au/publications/afterlives-chinese-communism
The Hegelian-Marxist idea of alienation fell out of favor after the postmetaphysical rejection of humanism and essentialist views of human nature. In this book Rahel Jaeggi draws on the Hegelian philosophical tradition, phenomenological analyses grounded in modern conceptions of agency, and recent work in the analytical tradition to reconceive alienation as the absence of a meaningful relationship to oneself and others, which manifests in feelings of helplessness and the despondent acceptance of ossified social roles and expectations. A revived approach to alienation helps critical social theory engage with phenomena such as meaninglessness, isolation, and indifference. By severing alienation's link to a problematic conception of human essence while retaining its social-philosophical content, Jaeggi provides resources for a renewed critique of social pathologies, a much-neglected concern in contemporary liberal political philosophy. Her work revisits the arguments of Rousseau, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Heidegger, placing them in dialogue with Thomas Nagel, Bernard Williams, and Charles Taylor.
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