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Is There a Future for Socialism?

Is There a Future for Socialism?

First entry in an exchange with Jacobin, by Asad Haider and Salar Mohan­desi: “We all won­dered, as we watched Back to the Future, how alter­na­tive futures could change the whole uni­verse while Mar­ty McFly stayed the same. Those movies amount­ed to a Rea­gan­ite phi­los­o­phy of his­to­ry: the short-cir­cuit between the Fifties and the Eight­ies which con­verts every con­tin­gent encounter into one reac­tionary loop, cen­tered on the white man who secret­ly invents rock n’ roll, seduces his moth­er, and con­quers the space-time con­tin­u­um.”

Occupy the Russian Revolution

Occupy the Russian Revolution

Mohandesi’s pic­ture of a vac­il­lat­ing, con­ser­v­a­tive, con­fused Lenin strain­ing to hold togeth­er a divid­ed Bol­she­vik lead­er­ship caught off guard by the mature rev­o­lu­tion­ary upsurge by St. Petersburg’s work­ers and sol­diers dur­ing what came to be known as “the July Days” in 1917 is incon­sis­tent with the his­tor­i­cal record. Based on his sketch, Mohan­desi con­cludes that Lenin had to catch up the­o­ret­i­cal­ly with where the mass­es were mov­ing prac­ti­cal­ly by “artic­u­lat­ing” the “actu­al­i­ty of rev­o­lu­tion,” that is, mak­ing explic­it what was implic­it in the angry mass protests that near­ly top­pled the Pro­vi­sion­al Gov­ern­ment. Both he and Chre­tien lead us to believe that Lenin’s book, State and Rev­o­lu­tion, and the Bol­she­vik-led insur­rec­tion that over­threw the Pro­vi­sion­al Gov­ern­ment were the results of Lenin’s recon­sid­er­a­tion of the Marx­ist the­o­ry of the state.

Papers and Tigers: Was Lenin Really an Anarchist?

Papers and Tigers: Was Lenin Really an Anarchist?

Com­rade Lenin is just one in a long line of heroes I don’t know a lot about. He’s the kind of his­tor­i­cal char­ac­ter engi­neered to mod­el, made for a time when rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies pinned up news­pa­per head­shots over their beds and went to bed vow­ing to wake up and be more like Che or Mao or Gaddafhi or Car­los or Ulrike or Huey or even masked Mar­cos. The 20th Cen­tu­ry saw Com­mu­nist Par­ties and par­ty­ing com­mu­nists, but both had their icons. We are, how­ev­er, icon­o­clasts; some bold sans-serif lulz-text in place of a black line.

How Does Theory Guide Practice? A Response to Salar Mohandesi on State and Revolution

How Does Theory Guide Practice? A Response to Salar Mohandesi on State and Revolution

This exchange grew out of a pan­el that Salar and I took part in at the Left Forum in New York in March 2012 called “State and Rev­o­lu­tion: Is Lenin Still Rel­e­vant?” Salar hap­pened to speak first at the pan­el and put for­ward such a thought-pro­vok­ing analy­sis of the rela­tion­ship between the­o­ry and prac­tice, using Lenin’s writ­ing of State and Rev­o­lu­tion as an exam­ple, that I large­ly set aside my pre­pared remarks and decid­ed to address some of the points he raised. What fol­lows is a ver­sion of those respons­es. I will present brief sum­maries of Salar’s case and then offer some crit­i­cal respons­es in num­bered para­graphs.

From the Front Lines of the Global Uprisings: An Interview with Brandon Jourdan

From the Front Lines of the Global Uprisings: An Interview with Brandon Jourdan

William Bran­don Jour­dan is an inde­pen­dent film­mak­er, jour­nal­ist and writer. He is cur­rent­ly based in the Nether­lands, where is work­ing on a film about reac­tions to the finan­cial cri­sis. One of his lat­est projects is the web­site Glob­al Upris­ings. In this inter­view, he dis­cuss­es his video doc­u­men­ta­tion of the last decade’s surges in pop­u­lar unrest world­wide.