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Tags: castro, cuba, eduardo semtei, stalinism, the commune
Categories : cuba, stalinism, state capitalism
“Even Communist Cuba has got with the programme that we need to cut the budget deficit and actually get spending under control. We’ve got comrade Castro on the same page as the the rest of us. We’ve just got to get the Labour Party and the trade unions on to that planet at the same time.” – David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions, September 15th
This week the state-run Cuban trade union confederation announced government plans to lay off 1 million public sector employees, some 20% of the working population. Half of the cuts will be over the next six months alone, in what marks a stunning retreat for the Communist Party and a sharp attack on working-class living standards. President Raúl Castro has targeted workers’ “dependency” on the public sector: by which he means, the same bureaucratic and management apparatus which closely monitors many aspects of everyday life in the country.
In this article Eduardo Semtei, a former Venezuelan government bureaucrat, describes his impressions of ordinary Cuban citizens’ lives. Although The Commune does not share Semtei’s politics – for instance, he harshly criticises the Venezuelan government for subsidising Cuba – his comments do offer an insight into existing social relations and the warped model of “socialism” on the island. Read the rest of this entry »
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Tags: bristol, soviet union, stalinism, the commune, ussr
Categories : bristol, reading group, stalinism, state capitalism
The next Bristol reading group session will be on Sunday 25th April at 6pm in Café Kino on Ninetree Hill, Stokes Croft, Bristol.
The session will discuss the nature of the Soviet Union and the crushing of workers’ self-emancipation. Suggested background reading below. All welcome: email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. Read the rest of this entry »
Comments : 12 Comments »
Tags: 2010 general election, cuts, Labour, public services, state, the commune, tories
Categories : state capitalism, the left
by David Broder
The Labour Party’s pre-election budget has focussed attention on ‘the recovery’. In his speech to the House of Commons last Wednesday Chancellor Alistair Darling outlined a plan of government action to restore economic growth and reduce the British state’s borrowing.
The Tories and Liberal Democrats have somewhat different plans to Labour about the best means of achieving these objectives. However, what is rarely challenged, or even discussed, is the underlying consensus which structures the whole debate: the very idea of ‘the economy’ and a collective national interest. So how should communists relate to this debate? Read the rest of this entry »
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Tags: laurat, passa palavra, stalinism, the commune, ussr
Categories : passa palavra, stalinism, state capitalism, ussr
Second in a series ‘Laurat in wonderland’ by João Bernardo: see here for part 1
When free expression and open organisation was allowed – before February 1922 when Lenin authorised the political police to operate within the Communist Party itself – the leftist opposition never ceased to criticise the economic system then being established. In 1920 and 1921 the Workers’ Opposition attacked the power the old management had won back in the Soviet economy and the control political organs exercised on workplace union organisation: yet this tendency was closer to the union bureaucracy than it was to the rank-and-file workers.
Within the Communist Party the rank-and-file perspective was expressed above all by the Democratic Centralist group, formed in 1919. Contrary to what one might imagine, the name of this group was not at all a reference to the Leninist form of internal party regime, bur rather the means of economic organisation. Members of this faction admitted the necessity of central planning but considered that this must be premised on democratic bases, characterised by the management of enterprises by workers’ committees: and not Lenin and Trotsky’s system of management by a technocracy of specialists, including former administrators and even the old factory owners. Read the rest of this entry »
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Tags: communism, laurat, passa palavra, revolution, the commune
Categories : passa palavra, russia, state capitalism
by João Bernardo
After the fall of the Berlin Wall – which did not ‘fall’, but rather was cut to bits and sold at graffiti and souvenir auctions – journalists and even many historians promoted the illusion that the only critiques of the Soviet system were elaborated by the social-democratic left and the anti-communist right. Read the rest of this entry »
Comments : 12 Comments »
Tags: andrew kliman, communism, dunayevskaya, the commune
Categories : communism, hegel, state capitalism
by Andrew Kliman
I. Concretizing the Vision of a New Human Society
We live at a moment in which it is harder than ever to articulate a liberatory alternative to capitalism. As we all know, the collapse of state-capitalist regimes that called themselves “Communist,” as well as the widespread failures of social democracy to remake society, have given rise to a widespread acceptance of Margaret Thatcher’s TINA – the belief that “there is no alternative.” Read the rest of this entry »
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Tags: berlin wall, communism, eastern bloc, stalinism, the commune
Categories : former eastern bloc, notices, russia, stalinism, state capitalism, ukraine, ussr
The latest pamphlet produced by The Commune looks at the regimes which existed in the Eastern Bloc and the state of the working class in those countries today.
The pamphlet features a symposium of critical Marxists from Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, and Bosnia on the twentieth anniversary of the historic events of 1989-91 and the lessons for communists today. Click here for PDF. Read the rest of this entry »
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Tags: bristol, capital, capitalism, marxism, reading group, the commune
Categories : 2008 financial crisis, bristol, events, marx, notices, reading group, state capitalism
The first of The Commune’s Bristol reading group sessions will be on Sunday 24th January at 6pm in Cafe Kino on Ninetree Hill, Bristol.
The series of sessions is entitled “Alternatives to capitalism”. The first session is called “Capital and capitalism”. A brief look at the features of capitalism. Capital, wage-labour, profit, capital accumulation and its effect on our lives.This first session sets the scene and will allow us to contast proposed alternatives. Read the rest of this entry »
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Tags: berlin wall, bosnia, russia, soviet union, the commune, ukraine
Categories : bosnia, communism, former eastern bloc, russia, stalinism, state capitalism, the commune, ukraine, ussr
November marks twenty years since the fall of the Berlin wall. This event represented one of the high points of a great mass struggle against the tyrannical order in the Eastern Bloc, and led to the downfall of the Soviet Union. But with the defeats of movements opposed to both these statist régimes and the free market, the popular movements of 1989 are now used to prove there is no alternative to capitalism.
Here we present sections of a series of interviews with communists from the former Eastern Bloc focussing on the struggles of the time, what system really existed in the “communist” countries and what has happened to the working class over the last twenty years. Read the rest of this entry »
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Tags: ellis hillman, stalinism, state capitalism, swp, the commune
Categories : stalinism, state capitalism, the left
note by David Black: The Nature of the Stalinist Parties – a document of several thousand words – was published in the internal discussion bulletin of the Socialist Review Group in May 1951, with five sections:
1 The Importance of the Nature of the Stalinist Parties for our Movement
2 The Classical Trotskyist Position
3 The Stalinist International as the Instrument of the State-Capitalist Bureaucracy
4 The Social Composition Of The Stalinist Parties
5 Political Conclusions
Hillman concluded that the SRG could make no impact on the membership of the Stalinist British Communist Party, which he sought to show was becoming increasingly petit-bourgeois. Therefore, he argued, the SRG should concentrate on building in the Labour Party. In practical terms, as Ian Birchall has suggested, Hillman was more in tune with Shachtmanite ‘Third Campism’ than James/Boggs/Dunayevskaya. The ‘immovability’ of the CP membership proved to be a temporary phenomenon; but it was only shaken up by world events (especially Hungary) rather than pressure from the Far Left. As regards Dunayevskaya, I should point out that her later analysis (from 1953 onwards) was markedly different to that of ‘State-Capitalism and the World Revolution’ (1950). The latter, in my view, while important, was wrong on a lot of things (such as the national question), and inadequate on others (especially philosophy).
Read the rest of this entry »
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Tags: russia, stalinism, the commune, ukraine, ussr
Categories : former eastern bloc, russia, stalinism, state capitalism, ukraine, ussr
Latest in a series of interviews with communists from the former eastern bloc upon the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Can you briefly introduce yourself/organisation?
My name is Borys Chervonyy. I’m a member of the executive committee of the “Zakhyst Pratsi” (Defence of Labour) independent trade union, a member of the “New Left” movement and a member of the organisational committee of the Ukrainian Left Party (ULP). The ULP is supposed to be an international revolutionary organisation; the program of the ULP will be based on the principles of communism and social liberation in all its forms; and will stand, in particular, on the traditions of Ukrainian left thought. Read the rest of this entry »