The three major articles in this issue address topics related to the form and content of revolutionary democracy and the state. Loren Goldner focuses on less well-known aspects of what Spanish anarchists did and did not do during the Civil War of the mid-1930s to identify ways in which they broke new ground in comparison to revolutionaries before them and then, ultimately, failed to realize the extraordinary potentials that their actions had created. Juraj Katalenac, an activist from Croatia, provides a detailed account of the political theory and practice of Yugoslav self-management, rooted in what he argues was simply a Titoist twist of Stalinism and in no way an alternative to what he refers to as a “hoax.” Matthew Quest continues his exploration of the complex, and perhaps contradictory, views of CLR James on matters of workers’ self-activity in the developed and under-developed worlds through an accounting of James’s public and private debates with many of his political associates.
Our hope is that these articles contribute to a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the tasks facing revolutionaries at the moments when the seizure of political power emerges from the deadly routines of capitalist rule. In that regard, we would urge readers to pay close attention to Goldner’s concluding remarks on the implications of his researches into Spanish history for revolutionary organization today.
The issue includes several articles on situations and struggles around the world—a report about Madagascar, the large island nation off the eastern coast of Africa that is at the “bottom of the capitalist abyss”; an account of a recent failure to seize an opportunity for expanded struggle against layoffs at a Peugeot plant in France; and a fascinating analysis of the aftermath of the wave of protests that shook Brazil earlier this year—an analysis that reveals the potential power of new, not necessarily helpful, social groups and the failure of the left to really understand what the components of a new revolutionary opposition might consist of.
Michael Rectenwald contributes an insightful article about the workings of a group of what might be considered anti-communists of a different order—the Singulartarians, who have a vision of a decidedly non-emancipated future—but one that will attract more than a few adherents. We need to have something to say to those potential recruits.
The issue includes two book reviews—a critical assessment by Arya Zahedi of a still-relevant decade-old text by the political theorist, Susan Buck-Morss, Thinking Past Terror: Islamism and Critical Theory on the Left, that looked all too favorably on an Islamist critique of modern capitalism, and a review by Loren Goldner of Philip Mirowski’s Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown, a recent book on what might be considered the hostile takeover of the economics profession—a profession, needless to say, that had little to recommend it to begin with.
Finally, a letter from a Mexican comrade suggests that any announcements that Mexican society has recovered from its near death-bed are premature and all but certainly fraudulent.
We remind readers that we welcome comments on all articles as well as submissions for publication in future issues.