A Brill publication @ the Central: Revolutionary Marxism in Spain, 1930-37 by Alan Sennett.

Alan Sennett 

The following excerpt is taken from Chapter 7, ‘Defending the Revolution’, pages 267-9 of Revolutionary Marxism in Spain, 1930-1937, published by Brill. I have omitted the footnotes and altered the tense of the first sentence to address the present reader.  This snippet is taken from the concluding section to the chapter and offers a brief assessment of the POUM, its key thinkers and leaders, their role in Spain’s revolution and relationship with both the political thought and personality of Leon Trotsky.  It follows the main body of the chapter that deals with the attacks upon the POUM and what amounted to the rolling back of revolutionary gains (especially collectivisation) in which the party had played a role alongside the much larger and more powerful Anarcho-Syndicalist CNT.  The party and its leadership were subjected to a campaign of vilification and slander – accused, among other things of being ‘Trotsky-fascists’ and part of a ‘fifth column’.  This position was put forward by the official communists, the Comintern and other national Communist parties and their press organs.  May 1937 had seen the playing out of a mini civil war in Barcelona triggered by attacks upon revolutionary gains. Defeat for the revolutionary Left was quickly followed by the Republican government outlawing the POUM, Nin’s disappearance and murder and the arrest of many militants, some of whom were later tried by the Republican government. The chapter assesses historians’ explanations for the propaganda assault and the nature of the May events and Nin’s murder, all of which are matters of some controversy. There is also major historical disagreement over the roles played by the official Communists, Soviet agents and other forces; the culpability or otherwise of the POUM leaders; and whether or not the vilification campaign was connected to Soviet foreign policy, whose logic – it has been argued – dictated terminating Spain’s social revolution and the forces supporting it.  While sympathetic to the POUM in many ways, the emphasis is upon presenting a historical analysis which will, I suspect, find little favour with any sectarian political positions.  Read more of this post

There is nothing new under the Broiling Sun (Ken Burns)

Johnny Sunshine  

Looking on the bright side is not always easy, even for me, though the words of Daniel Berrigan encourage buoyancy; as faith always starts with oneself. It means an overriding sense of responsibility for the universe, making sure that the universe is left in good hands and the belief that things will finally turn out all right if we remain faithful. That said, it`s worth remembering that the natural optimism of the spirit must contend with the equally innate pessimism of the intellect.  Especially, when looking at the political landscape from a left-wing position. In these circumstances, it’s necessary to conclude that the fight has been completely fixed, against the many by the very few.  Such sentiment only amplified when one considers the more articulate commentary emanating from the USA today. Such as Chris Hedges suggesting that the political system has undergone a corporate coup d’état. Resulting in an inverted totalitarianism, not discernible through an individual demagogue but instead expressed via the anonymity of the corporate state.  This shadowy leviathan has made a servant of the contemporary Democratic Party an organization dominated by fake liberals, masquerading as the social democrats of the past, uttering political clichés favouring the poor, while serving the interest of monopoly and capital.   The USA today resembles Pottersville rather than Bedford Falls but a progressive government tradition does exist, which was shaped both by the right as well as the left.  Read more of this post

The Greatest Speech Ever Made by Chris Hedges: Promotions@LeftCentral

Promotions@LeftCentral

Image © Jankaka

The greatest speech ever made by Chris Hedges is an in-depth examination of USA domestic and foreign policy.  This is a comprehensive and powerful analysis.  Hedges employs a wealth of sources both contemporary and classical in this 55 minute talk.

The speech is at times both depressing and inspiring but it`s always thought provoking and hugely reflective.

No commentary here can convey the incredible majesty of the words employed by Hedges.  The greatest speech ever made? Well possibly Cicero could give Hedges a run for his money.

Revolutionary Marxism in Spain, 1930-1937: Promotions@LeftCentral

Book Promotions@LeftCentral

Revolutionary Marxism in Spain, 1930-1937 examines the impact of Trotsky’s political thought upon those Spanish communists who dissented from the ‘general line’ laid down by Moscow. It explores the political ideas of leading POUM figures, Andreu Nin and Joaquín Maurín, and their complex relationship with Trotsky. The contention is that the POUM owed far more to Trotsky than many of the party’s historians care to admit. Drawing heavily upon Spanish sources, the book seeks to present and explain the POUM’s political ideas in order to understand why the party adopted the positions it did. The author engages with broader scholarly debates around the role of the POUM in the Spanish Civil War and Revolution, especially those surrounding the Popular Front.

BRILL Publication  written by Dr Alan Sennett

Book Review: Linda Palfreeman, Aristocrats, Adventurers and Ambulances.

Alan Sennett

Image © Bas de Jong

Linda Palfreeman’s new book, Aristocrats, Adventurers and Ambulances. British Medical Units in the Spanish Civil War, makes an important contribution to the historiography of Spain’s bitter civil war. Building upon her earlier ¡Salud! British Volunteers in the Republican Medical Services During the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 (2012), the author offers a well-documented account of two hitherto neglected British humanitarian initiatives. While British relief efforts for Republican Spain have been well documented and analysed, there remain notable silences in the historical record. Read more of this post

Sybil Oldfield ‘Thinking Against the Current’: Literature and Political Resistance – Book Review

Lincoln Green

Image © Adam Jones, Ph D

Sybil Oldfield’s collection of twenty one essays is wide-ranging in scope.  She discusses the work and activities of such diverse figures as Thomas Paine, Charles Dickens, Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, Simone Weil, Virginia Woolf, Sophie Scholl and Helen Keller.  What ties these figures together is their concern for emancipation – social, economic and political.  In their different ways and times they all acted to liberate human potential from the control of a dominant state or a socially endemic mind-set which inhibited the development of what we might be as people and as a society.  Another theme which runs through these essays is the kindness which her subjects demonstrate to others, to those dispossessed from those conditions which promote well-being.  The word ‘kindness’ has perhaps rather meek and passive associations, but Oldfield’s subjects often worked in terrifying circumstances, facing terror and a horrendous death whilst they sought to apply such gentle concerns to their dealings with fellow human beings.   Read more of this post

The Tories – From Winston Churchill to David Cameron by Timothy Heppell book review

LeftCentral Book Review 

It’s true; progressives should never judge a book by its cover because this is an outstanding in-depth analysis of the Tories by Timothy Heppell. Napoleon said luck was the attribute all Generals should have; a useful trait in politics too.  And for the majority of the time good luck is a strong feature of the post-war Tories. The transformed party took power with a slim majority in 1951; just as a world economic upturn was emerging, which helped reconcile the party in government to the Attlee Consensus.  The 1951 election providing another lucky break for the Tories in a bizarre anomaly, more votes were cast for the defeated Labour Party.  Read more of this post

Historical Materialism Book Series promotion@LeftCentral

Book Promotions@LeftCentral

The Historical Materialism Book Series is a major publishing initiative of the radical left. The capitalist crisis of the twenty-first century has been met by a resurgence of interest in critical Marxist theory. At the same time, the publishing institutions committed to Marxism have contracted markedly since the high point of the 1970s. The Historical Materialism Book Series is dedicated to addressing this situation by making available important works of Marxist theory. The aim of the series is to publish important theoretical contributions as the basis for vigorous intellectual debate and exchange on the left. We are convinced that a project of this kind can make an important contribution to the revitalisation of critical politics and intellectual culture.

The peer-reviewed series publishes original monographs, translated texts and reprints of ‘classics’ across the bounds of academic disciplinary agendas, and across the divisions of the left. The series is particularly concerned to encourage the internationalisation of Marxist debate, and aims to translate significant studies from beyond the English speaking world. We have previously published important studies of Marxist thinkers, key collections of sources from the socialist movement, works of philosophy, history and literary criticism, as well as political and economic studies. Future publication plans include texts in the fields of cultural and aesthetic theory, sociology and geography.  Read more of this post

Studies in Critical Social Sciences book promotion@LeftCentral

Edited by David Fasenfest, Wayne State University 

Modern capitalism began the 21st century seemingly victorious as the dominant social and economic organizing principle in the world. Rampant re- and de-regulation accompanied a wholesale attack on social, economic and political gains of the prior century under the guise of increasing competitiveness and the need to respond to the forces of globalization. The end of the cold war, the decline of the former Soviet Union, and the increasing foothold of capitalism in China all point to an unchallenged reorientation of the global political economy to reflect this ascendence of capitalist social relations. The peer-reviewed Studies in Critical Social Sciences book series, through the publication of original manuscripts and edited volumes, offers insights into the current reality by exploring the content and consequence of power relationships under capitalism, by considering the spaces of opposition and resistance to these changes, and by articulating capitalism with other systems of power and domination – for example race, gender, culture – that have been defining our new age.

Authors are cordially invited to submit proposals and/or full manuscripts to either the series editor David Fasenfest, or the publisher at BRILL, P.O. Box 9000, 2300 PA Leiden, The Netherlands.

Studies in Critical Social Science includes the subseries Studies in Critical Research on Religion and Critical Global Studies. The series have independent editorial teams that work closely together. For the volumes published in the subseries, please visit their webpage.

Unsafe God`s book promotion@LeftCentral

Book promotion@LeftCentral 

This book makes the compelling argument that religion can be complicit in conflict and that a new secularism is vital to foster security. Using insights from complexity science, it shows how dynamic secularism can be used to accommodate diverse faiths and beliefs within worldly politics.

Exploration of the interplay of religion and education in the context of security and notions of safe schools offers new understandings of how religions learn – or instead remain frozen accidents that hinder societies from adapting to change. The book shows how turbulence and amplification underscore the necessity for an education that is critical even of patriarchal religious texts and that recognizes the power of satire and humour.

Lynn Davies follows her groundbreaking work on education and extremism to draw on work in mentoring those at risk of radicalization and consider how the radicalized learn and unlearn their behaviours. She presents international examples to show how a foundation in secular rights and freedoms can enable young people to develop the skills and networks to create change without turning to violence.

Author: Lynn Davies

See more at: http://ioepress.co.uk/books/social-justice-equality-and-human-rights/unsafe-gods/#sthash.IlOKIRHi.dpuf

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