New AWL study course starts 9 May

Submitted by martin on 4 May, 2002 - 6:38

The AWL in London will start a new study course on Thursday 9 May: "Understanding the history of the 20th century in order to make the history of the 21st - A Marxist study course on the rise and the nature of Stalinism". Each session will be run three times - on Thursday evening, and on the following Sunday afternoon and Sunday evening - and you can attend at any one of the three times each week, so as few people as possible miss sessions.
Time and place: Thursdays, 7pm at the Exmouth Arms, Starcross St, London NW1.
Sundays, please phone or email for details.

The basic reading is excerpts from the book, The Fate of the Russian Revolution: Lost Texts of Critical Marxism, which is available from the AWL or can be bought online.

For more details of this course - or of other courses, round Karl Marx's Capital, volume 1, being run by AWL branches outside London - please email the AWL office, or phone 020 7207 3997 or 07748 185 553.

There are springs of revival on the left after the defeats of the 1980s and 1990s. This revival, unlike any previous radicalisation for many decades past, can make its way without finding the landscape of left politics dominated by forms and variants of Stalinism. That gives us great possibilities so long as, by understanding the past, we can identify and rid ourselves of the shadows of Stalinism in the stock of radical ideas handed down to us by the last century.

Week 1
The 1917 Revolution
Basic reading: The Fate of the Russian Revolution: Lost Texts of Critical Marxism, volume 1, introduction, pp.11-13

Further reading: The Fate, chapter 1

Week 2
War communism and NEP
Basic reading: The Fate, intro, pp.17-24

Week 3
Socialism In One Country
Basic reading: The Fate, intro, pp.14-17

Week 4
The Stalinist counter-revolution
Basic reading: The Fate, intro, pp.24-32
Further reading: intro, pp.32-45; chapter 2

Week 5
Trotsky's assessment of the USSR in the 1930s
Basic reading: The Fate, pp.225-9
Further reading: The Fate, intro, pp.46-81

Week 6
The USSR at the start of World War 2
Basic reading: The Fate, intro, pp.82-109
Further reading: The Fate, intro, pp.110-114; chapters 3, 4, 5, and 14; Trotsky, The USSR in War

Week 7
The USSR at the end of the World War 2
Basic reading: The Fate, intro, pp.115-139
Further reading: The Fate, chapters 6, 10, 11, 12

Week 8
Misrepresenting Trotsky: "In Defence of Marxism"
Basic reading: intro, pp.117-119
Further reading: to be supplied.

Week 9
Misrepresenting Trotsky: Isaac Deutscher
Basic reading: The Fate, chapter 13
Further reading: to be supplied

Week 10
Stalinism in the perspective of the 20th century
Basic reading: The Fate, intro pp.140-143, and Workers' Liberty 14, editorial.
Further reading: The Fate chapter 14, chapter 4

Extra session
Debate on "state capitalism" and "bureaucratic collectivism"
Basic reading: Workers' Liberty 14, pp.42-44.

Reading:

Basic readings are taken from The Fate of the Russian Revolution: Lost Texts of Critical Marxism volume 1, available from Workers' Liberty for ÂŁ16.99.
Short extra readings will be provided for some sessions.
Those ready to undertake more extensive background reading are asked to study:
Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed
Trotsky, In Defence of Marxism
Alec Nove, An Economic History of the USSR
Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet Outcast

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Registration form

I want to attend the study course on the rise and nature of Stalinism

Name ..............................................................................................................................................................................

Address ..........................................................................................................................................................................

.........................................................................................................................................................................................

Phone ............................................... Email ...................................................................................................................

Please email this form to the AWL office, and send ÂŁ5 registration fee towards the costs of room-bookings and course materials to: AWL, PO Box 823, London SE15 4NA. (Cheques payable to "AWL").

Comments

Submitted by martin on Sun, 05/05/2002 - 12:53

Stalinism course week 1 - The 1917 Revolution - discussion points

1. What do you think were the five or six most important political turning points in the year 1917?

2. In what ways was the October 1917 Revolution more democratic than the February 1917 Revolution? Or than other previous revolutions? Or than an ordinary parliamentary transfer of power?

3. In what ways was the revolutionary government formed after October 1917 more democratic than the Provisional Governments which had existed since February 1917?

4. In what ways was the revolutionary government formed after October 1917 a workers' government rather than just a democratic government? Why did the Bolsheviks call it a workers' and peasants' government?

5. What would have happened in Russia if the Bolsheviks had made more mistakes and there was no successful workers' revolution?

6. We now know that the Russian workers' republic was left isolated, driven to maintain itself as best it could in impossible conditions, with terrible results. Does that mean that the revolutionaries' perspective was always false?

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