Battle of Ideas

The Russian civil war, 1917-22

A discussion of Jean-Jacques Marie's book La guerre civile russe, 1917-22

Notice the dates: 1917-22. Jean-Jacques Marie, in his history, establishes that the conventional account, according to which the civil war was over by the start of 1921, and all the “emergency” measures by the Bolsheviks after that stemmed only from the Bolsheviks’ supposed lack of democratic understanding, is false.

Unions and the Inland Empire

Pic: The Warehouse Workers' Resource Centre marches with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights on May Day 2018 in Southern California

Review of "Choke Points: Logistics Workers Disrupting the Global Supply Chain", edited by Jake Alimahomed-Wilson and Immanuel Ness

The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach employ about 14,000 dockworkers, with the number fairly static as throughput has risen. The whole logistics industry around those ports employs over 500,000, with the number increasing.

Bolshevism, the civil war, and Stalinism

A review of Samuel Farber, Before Stalinism (Polity Press, 1990), re-posted from here.

Sam Farber, justly respected for his critical Marxist writings on Cuba, sums up his attitude in this book by quoting Victor Serge, an anarchist who rallied to the Bolsheviks after October 1917, became an activist in the Left Opposition, and then parted ways with Trotsky over his, Serge’s, rejection of Trotsky’s criticisms of the POUM in the Spanish Civil War.

Bolivarianism and Bonapartism

El Cinco de Julio (July 5) is Venezuelan Independence Day. It marks the day in 1811 when a congress of Venezuelan provinces declared Venezuela’s separation from the Spanish Crown. In doing so, Venezuela became the first Spanish American colony to declare independence. For most Venezuelans, this is a day to commemorate not only the initial signatories to the Declaration of Independence, but also the major figures in the broader fight for national liberation from Spanish rule. Chief amongst these is Simón Bolívar, popularly known as El Libertador.

A heroine of Poplar

Minnie Lansbury was one of the rebel Labour councillors of Poplar (East London) who in 1921 forced the Tory¬Liberal coalition government to start central government payments to equalise resources between councils in poor and in well¬off areas.

Janine Booth’s biography of Lansbury is rich in detail about her life; working¬class conditions at the time; and much more. It is a solid achievement given the scarcity of material available on Lansbury to work on.

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