One hundred years ago, “October 1917” galvanized leftists and oppressed peoples around the globe, and became the lodestar for 20th century politics. Today, the left needs to reckon with this legacy—and transcend it. Social change, as it was understood in the 20th century, appears now to be as impossible as revolution, leaving the left to rethink the relationship between capitalist crises, as well as the conceptual tension between revolution and reform.
Populated by an array of passionate thinkers and thoughtful activists, Rethinking Revolution reappraises the historical effects of the Russian revolution—positive and negative—on political, intellectual, and cultural life, and looks at consequent revolutions after 1917. Change needs to be understood in relation to the distinct trajectories of radical politics in different regions. But the main purpose of this Socialist Register edition—one century after “Red October”—is to look forward, to what might happen next.
Table of Contents:
- Bryan D. Palmer & Joan Sangster, “The distinctive heritage of 1917: revolution’s longue durée”
- Leo Panitch & Sam Gindin, “Class, party and state transformation”
- Jodi Dean, “The actuality of revolution”
- Hilary Wainwright, “Radicalizing party-movement relationships: Ralph Miliband to Jeremy Corbyn”
- Fabien Escalona, “The heritage of Eurocommunism in the contemporary radical left”
- Andreas Malm, “Revolution in a warming world: lessons from the Russian to the Syrian revolutions”
- David Schwartzman, “Beyond eco-catastrophism: the conditions for solar communism”
- Patrick Bond, “South Africa’s next revolt: Eco-socialist opportunities”
- Robert Cavooris, “Turning the tide: revolutionary potential and Bolivia’s ‘process of change’”
- Steve Striffler, “Something left in Latin America: Venezuela and twenty-first century socialism”
- Pierre Beaudet, “In search of the ‘modern prince’: the new Québec rebellion”
- August H. Nimtz, “Marx and Engels on the revolutionary party”
- A W Zurbrugg, “1917 and the ‘workers’ state’: looking back”
- Wang Hui, “The ‘people’s war’ and the legacy of the Chinese revolution”
- Adolph Reed, Jr., “Revolution as ‘National Liberation’: the origins of neoliberal antiracism”
- Walter Benn Michaels, “Picturing the whole: form, reform, revolution”
- Slavoj Zizek, “Addressing the impossible”
- Leo Panitch, “On revolutionary optimism of the intellect”
An erudite body of original and seminal scholarship, Rethinking Revolution is an exceptionally timely and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and academic library Political Science collections in general, and Contemporary Socialism supplemental studies reading lists in particular.
The Socialist Register has been the intellectual lodestar for the international left since 1964.
I know the Register very well and have found it extremely stimulating, often invaluable.
Compulsory reading for people who refuse to be resigned to the idea that there can be no alternative to our unacceptable society.