We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Dictator, the Revolution, the Machine: A Political Account of Joseph Stalin

Click here to access article by Sean Ledwith from CounterFire (Britain).

This book review is the best portrayal I've found online regarding the personality, revolutionary role, and rule of Stalin.
This year’s one-hundredth anniversary of the Russian Revolution is partly overshadowed by the moustachioed and gimlet-eyed figure of Josef Stalin. As October draws closer we can expect a drearily predictable litany of articles and documentaries from right-wing historians (and some misguided left-wing ones) proclaiming the event as one of the great calamities of the twentieth century and the foundation of Russia’s ineluctable descent into a dark dictatorship presided over by the baleful cobbler's son from Georgia. The alleged thread of mass coercion connecting the careers of Lenin and Stalin will be one of the tropes of the right in its case against radical change of any form. Any similar project to cast off the shackles of capitalist inequality and oppression, it will be argued, can only lead inexorably to variations of the Gulag and the KGB.