This quarter’s selection

Issue: 144

The most recent issue of Socialism and Democracy celebrates the 150th anniversary of The First International. Marcello Musto recalls the history of the International and Patrick Bond traces the history of and barriers to working class internationalism in South Africa from the apartheid era to today. Tony Daley’s article in the same issue addresses the extraordinary attempts made by German-owned T-Mobile USA to harass its call centre workers and prevent them from forming a trade union.

The latest History Workshop Journal (issue 78) features a free access article by Charles Forsdick and Christian Høgsbjerg on the Soviet film director Sergei Eisenstein’s project to make a film about the Haitian Revolution. The film, set to star Paul Robeson, was never completed, becoming “one of the great unmade films of the 20th century”. Forsdick and Høgsbjerg show how the attempt to portray the Haitian Revolution took on a new significance in the context of the shifting power struggles within the Soviet Union of the 1930s as counter-revolution took hold and Eisenstein himself was increasingly subject to censorship.

The same issue also includes an interesting article by Catherine Hall which raises timely and thought-provoking questions about the historiography of slavery on the 70th anniversary of the publication of Eric Williams’s classic Capitalism and Slavery.

The latest issue of New Left Review (II/88) includes some interesting pieces. An interview with Gleb Pavlovsky, ex-adviser to Vladimir Putin, is revealing about the Russian president’s ultra-capitalist worldview:

He understood the coming of capitalism in a Soviet way. We were all taught that capitalism is a kingdom of demagogues, behind whom stands big money, and behind that, a military machine which aspires to control the whole world. It’s a very clear, simple picture which I think Putin had in his head—not as an official ideology, but as a form of common sense. His thinking was that in the Soviet Union, we were idiots; we had tried to build a fair society when we should have been making money. If we had made more money than the Western capitalists, we could have just bought them up, or we could have created a weapon which they didn’t have. That’s all there is to it. It was a game and we lost, because we didn’t do several simple things: we didn’t create our own class of capitalists, we didn’t give the capitalist predators on our side a chance to develop and devour the capitalist predators on theirs.

The same issue carries an important 1961 lecture by Jean-Paul Sartre on Marxism and subjectivity. It includes a critique of Georg Lukács’s History and Class Consciousness and is introduced by Fredric Jameson.