Tag Archives: Russian Revolution

David Sessions: ” “The Radical Hopes of the Russian Revolution”

‘Was the October revolution bound to lead to terror? … Both Tariq Ali and China Miéville sense that our flattened, calcified versions of the revolutionary past have something to do with the absence of political imagination and emancipatory hope in the present. “Today’s dominant ideology and the power structures it defends are so hostile to the social and liberation struggles of the last century,” Ali writes, “that a recovery of as much historical and political memory as is feasible becomes an act of resistance.”’

China Miéville interviewed on “October and its Relevance”

To quote award-winning author China Miéville’s recent October: The Story of the Russian Revolution (Verso): ‘This was Russia’s revolution, certainly, but it belonged and belongs to others, too. It could be ours. If its sentences are still unfinished, it is up to us to finish them.’

Caryl Emerson: “The Revolutionary Specters of Russian Letters”

The great Russian writers between “apocalypse and nihilism.”

Tariq Ali interviewed on “The Legacy of Vladimir Lenin”

Lenin ‘was quite fond of Kropotkin, and he was quite fond of some of the anarchist militants and activists. How could he not be? They had dominated Russian politics for the whole of the nineteenth century. It wasn’t Marxism that was dominant. It was anarchism. This was the ideology the young people liked. These were the ideas of Kropotkin and Bakunin, which they adopted and which led them to a form of anarcho-terrorism because they said, “There’s nothing left for us to do.”’

China Miéville: “Why does the Russian revolution matter?”

“Why does the revolution matter? Because of what was right about it, and what went wrong. It matters because it shows the necessity not only of hope but of appropriate pessimism, and the interrelation of the two. Without hope, that millennial drive, there’s no drive to overturn an ugly world. Without pessimism, a frank evaluation of the scale of difficulties, necessities can all too easily be recast as virtues.”

“Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths”

At the British Library:  “From the fall of Russia’s last Tsar to the rise of the first communist state, this definitive exhibition takes a fresh look at the Russian Revolution 100 years on.”

Alvaro Bianchi & Daniela Mussi: “Gramsci and the Russian Revolution”

‘For Gramsci, the Russian Revolution was very different than the Jacobin model, seen as a mere “bourgeois revolution.” In interpreting the events of Petrograd, Gramsci exposed a political program for the future. In order to continue the movement, to move towards a workers’ revolution, the Russian socialists should definitely break with the Jacobin model — identified here with the systematic use of violence and with low cultural activity. … Gramsci saw in Lenin and the Bolsheviks the embodiment of a program of renewal of the uninterrupted revolution. A revolution that he wanted to become real also in Italy.’

Tariq Ali: “Top 10 books about the Russian Revolution”

Some of the best books about an uprising that changed the world forever.

Tariq Ali: “How Lenin’s love of literature shaped the Russian Revolution”

Literature shaped Russian political culture:  “The classicism that was so deeply rooted in Lenin acted as a bulwark to seal him from the exciting new developments in art and literature that had both preceded and accompanied the revolution. Lenin found it difficult to make any accommodations to modernism in Russia or elsewhere. The work of the artistic avant garde – Mayakovsky and the constructivists – was not to his taste.  In vain did the poets and artists tell him that they, too, loved Pushkin and Lermontov, but that they were also revolutionaries, challenging old art forms and producing something very different and new that was more in keeping with Bolshevism and the age of revolution. He simply would not budge.”

 

Sheila Fitzpatrick: “What’s Left?”

Review of 5 new books:  “Nothing fails like failure, and for historians approaching the revolution’s centenary the disappearance of the Soviet Union casts a pall. In the rash of new books on the revolution, few make strong claims for its persisting significance and most have an apologetic air. … On top of that, the revolution, stripped of the old Marxist grandeur of historical necessity, turns out to look more or less like an accident. Workers – remember when people used to argue passionately about whether it was a workers’ revolution? – have been pushed off stage by women and non-Russians from the imperial borderlands. Socialism is so much of a mirage that it seems kinder not to mention it. If there is a lesson to be drawn from the Russian Revolution, it is the depressing one that revolutions usually make things worse, all the more so in Russia, where it led to Stalinism.”