Newest issue of the revamped International Socialist Review (Winter 2013-14) now live on the website!
“Although we are in essential agreement with Marx’s theory as it applied to the very specific economic relationships he analyzed, we know that his analysis must be extended further in order for us to understand our…
We are pleased to introduce our readers to a newly formatted and reconceptualized International Socialist Review. For the last decade, the ISR has been a bimonthly magazine with a web site that mirrored its print…
Prelude to Revolution:
France in May 1968
A few years ago I was in an arts center in Southern Paris. While waiting for the play I had gone to see, I bought a…
Upcoming articles from this issue:
Explaining gender violence in the neoliberal era
by Tithi Bhattacharya
Is there anything to defend in Political Marxism?
by Neil Davidson
Race and class in the US foster care system
by Don Lash
Interview with Victor Toro
Building the revolutionary Left in Chile : The MIR, Popular Unity, and Chile’s prerevolutionary moment
Statement of the Internationalist Workers Left (DEA)
The deepening crisis and prospects for the Left in Greece
A new perspective on antiquity’s greatest slave rebel by Paul D’Amato
The backward-looking prophet? by Brooke Horvath
We are all Troy Davis by Lily Hughes
Exploring the high moments and small mountain roads of Marxism by Paul Le Blanc
Fighting Jim Crow by Marlene Martin
Socialists and the civil rights movement by Bill Roberts
War in the Shadows by Lee Wengraf
A “post-class” vision of resistance by Jason Netek
Communists Unity Panel. Frida Kahlo.
… However, if the Bolsheviks prepared the way for the October Revolution by means of active propaganda and organisational work, it must not be forgotten that it was the objective conditions themselves which created the ground for this second revolution.
The February revolution could remove none of the factors which caused it, namely war, rising prices, famine and privation. At the same time, the Russian bourgeoisie calmly continued their rule.
In July the reactionary trend in the policy of the bourgeoisie (the Cadets) was becoming increasingly obvious. The workers press was banned, Bolsheviks were arrested, and the death penalty was reintroduced for soldiers.
Then came the notorious plot between General Kornilov and the Cadet leaders. From September onwards there were signs of an approaching and increasingly bitter struggle between revolutionary democracy and the liberal bourgeoisie. Now the question was: to whom should republican Russia belong – to the capitalists, or to the workers and poor peasants? The soldiers, weary to death of war, were inclining more and more towards the Bolsheviks, while the Kerensky government was increasingly aggressive…
The dictatorship of the bourgeois parties, or the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat – that was the question facing the Second Congress of Soviets of Workers and Soldiers’ Deputies which met in Petrograd on 25 October (old style).
The people came out victorious without either a hard struggle or much bloodshed. The Soviets of Workers took power into their hands. Not one soldier, not one sailor, not one worker supported the government of Kerensky. Only individual groups from the bourgeois camp supported the government. The Congress of Soviets declared: that which we have waited for so long has happened - state power is in the hands of revolutionary democracy, i.e. in the hands of the workers, the poor peasants, the soldiers and sailors!
Alexandra Kollontai, “Why the Bolsheviks Must Win!”, Dec. 1917 (Petrograd)
Between 1920 - 1924, Helen Keller lectured regularly on the national Vaudeville circuit. Part of her routine included fielding a series of questions from the audience. Below is a sampling of her typical responses:
Q: Who is your favorite hero in real life?
A: Eugene V. Debs. He dared to do what other men were afraid to do.
Q: What do you think of the KKK?
A: I like them about as much as a hornet’s nest
Q: Who are the 3 greatest men of our time?
A: Vladimir Lenin, Thomas Edison, Charlie Chaplin.
Q: What do you think of Soviet Russia?
A: Soviet Russia is the first organized attempt of workers to establish an order of society in which human life and happiness shall be of first importance, and not the conservation of property for a privileged class.
Q: What do you think of capitalism?
A: It has outlived its usefulness.
Q: Do you believe spiritualism is the cure for the world’s troubles?
A: No. I think the world’s troubles are caused chiefly by wrong economic conditions, and the only cure for them is social reorganization.
Q: Can you suggest any tax that people would pay willingly?
A: Yes! A tax on millionaires.
Q: Do you think any government wants peace?
A: The policy of governments is to seek peace and pursue war.
Q: Do you think the voice of the people is heard at the polls?
A: No, I think money talks so loud that the voice of the people is drowned.
Q: Which is the greatest affliction—deafness, dumbness, or blindness?
Q: What then is the greatest human affliction?
Q: Do you desire your sight more than anything else in the world?
A: No! No! I would rather walk with a friend in the dark than walk alone in the light.
(Photo: Helen Keller and Charlie Chaplin, 1919).
In a 1943 article, the Trinidad-born socialist outlines the role of the Black struggle in the political development of U.S. society.
This article by Trinidad-born socialist New International. It was republished in C.L.R. James on the “Negro Question,” (Scott McLemee, ed., University Press of Mississippi, 1996).
, written under the pseudonym J.R. Johnson, was originally circulated as an internal memorandum of the Workers Party in December 1943, under the title “The Historical Development of the Negro in the United States.” It was published in 1945 as “Negroes and the Revolution: Resolution of the Minority” in
Sneak preview of new Rosa Luxemburg graphic novel | rosaluxemburgblog
We have a sneak preview of the wonderful new graphic novel currently being created by graphic artist Kate Evans (twitter: @cartoonkate). The editor is Paul Buhle and the project is funded by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung in Berlin.
The graphic novel is due for publication in 2014.
The first issue of the new International Socialist Review journal format is off to the printer! Featuring:
Black feminism and intersectionality by Sharon Smith
Explaining gender violence in the neoliberal era by Tithi Bhattacharya
Race and class in the US foster care system by Don Lash
Is there anything to defend in Political Marxism? by Neil Davidson
Building a revolutionary Left in Chile - an interview with Victor Toro
Plus new book reviews by Ian Birchall, Paul D’Amato, Brooke Horvath, Lily Hughes, Paul Le Blanc, Marlene Martin, Bill Roberts, Lee Wengraf, and Jason Netek.
The Socialist candidate for Seattle city council expanded her lead by ten-fold Wednesday.
"The socialist label was not a barrier, my name was not a barrier, the fact that I am an immigrant was not a barrier … "
- Newly-elected socialist city council member Kshama Sawant explaining how people voted for her because her politics resonated with them, despite the fact that the media and politicians in this country have tried to scare people into seeing all Socialist Foreigners With Non-Anglo Names as the evil enemy.
There are so many people in prison who should be out — with their minds and bodies given a chance to grow straight. There are so many out of prison who more deserve to be inside. There are those who enslave men and women and little children, paying wages that will not let them live…. It is them and the system under which they live that are responsible for the unemployed who have been treated like inhuman things by our society.
I am a socialist because I believe that socialism will solve the misery of the world — give work to the man who is hungry and idle and at least give to little children the right to be born free … I believe socialism is practical.
Helen Keller (“Brutal Treatment of the Unemployed,” Sacramento Star, 16 March 1914)
For the first time in recent history, an open socialist has won an elected seat on the Seattle City Council, beating out the long-standing Democratic Party incumbent and lone rival in the race.
This was a very interesting piece of semi-fictional biography. Check it out!
Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller, Georgina Kleege
As a young blind girl, Georgina Kleege repeatedly heard the refrain, “Why can’t you be more like Helen Keller?” Kleege’s resentment culminates in her book Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller, an ingenious examination of the life of this renowned international figure using 21st-century sensibilities. Kleege’s absorption with Keller originated as an angry response to the ideal of a secular saint, which no real blind or deaf person could ever emulate. However, her investigation into the genuine person revealed that a much more complex set of characters and circumstances shaped Keller’s life.
Blind Rage employs an adroit form of creative nonfiction to review the critical junctures in Keller’s life. The simple facts about Helen Keller are well-known: how Anne Sullivan taught her deaf-blind pupil to communicate and learn; her impressive career as a Radcliffe graduate and author; her countless public appearances in various venues, from cinema to vaudeville, to campaigns for the American Foundation for the Blind. But Kleege delves below the surface to question the perfection of this image. Through the device of her letters, she challenges Keller to reveal her actual emotions, the real nature of her long relationship with Sullivan, with Sullivan’s husband, and her brief engagement to Peter Fagan. Kleege’s imaginative dramatization, distinguished by her depiction of Keller’s command of abstract sensations, gradually shifts in perspective from anger to admiration. Blind Rage criticizes the Helen Keller myth for prolonging an unrealistic model for blind people, yet it appreciates the individual who found a practical way to live despite the restrictions of her myth.
Well, would you look at that. The mainstream media takes notice.