August 28, 2010
Just two weeks ago, August the 13th 2010, saw the death of famous socialist historian Moshe Lewin in Paris. Lewin was particularly known for his works on the history of the Soviet Union, specifically his relatively recent classic The Soviet Century, which earned him a wide readership. Nonetheless, the Soviet Union was not the country of his birth. Lewin’s life itself was a representation of the vagaries of 20th century history: born in Wilno when this city was still a regional center in Poland (it is now as Vilnius the capital of Lithuania), he fled the invading armies of Nazi Germany to the USSR in 1941. Adopting the ‘bulwark of socialism’ as his new fatherland, he joined the Red Army and attended its officer training school, serving in the last years of the war that was more destructive than any in history and more in the USSR than anywhere else. Possibly the experiences of this destruction as well as the Stalin government, which he from the start seems to have disliked, caused him to attempt building up yet another life in Israel after the war. Lewin left Israel during the period of its first structural turn towards militarism and fascism, in the 1960s, to move to France to finally receive some formal higher education. Read the rest of this entry »
November 11, 2009
This interview gives a particularly sound perspective on the issues and strategic questions for Communism in Eastern Europe today, specifically in the former member states of the Soviet Union. Therefore it is reproduced in Notes & Commentaries. Read the rest of this entry »
November 9, 2009
The British Broadcasting Corporation recently held a poll in various countries of the world in which they asked the respondents’ opinions on capitalism and the fall of the Soviet Union, among other things.(1) Unsurprisingly, the opinions on the current world system were strongly divided in the world, and mostly between the rich and the poor nations. Nevertheless there were some interesting results. Only 11% of all people polled indicated the current capitalist system worked well, with many people desiring reform or regulation, and 23% indicating it was “fatally flawed”. We may take the latter position as an anti-capitalist one, meaning principled opposition to capitalism lives among a quarter of the sample polled, a better result than might be expected. Opposition to capitalism altogether was still intense in France, by far the most anti-capitalist of the Western nations: in this country 43% of the population indicated to oppose capitalism altogether, compared to 35% in Brazil and 38% in Mexico.
Opinions on the collapse and disappearance of the USSR were strongly divided by bloc. Read the rest of this entry »