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Paul Le Blanc

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Socialist convergence and the Green New Deal: Notes on the actuality of revolution

 

 

By Paul Le Blanc

December 6, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — It is possible and necessary to build a powerful mass socialist movement in the United States by 2030 that could be in a position to provide an effective challenge to capitalism and transition to a socialist democracy. Both the objective possibility and the objective need exist. Revolutionary socialists have an opportunity to make it so – if we are willing to be serious, not just analytically and rhetorically, but in practice.

We must move beyond commentary and aspirations to actualities. We have limited time. At present we are woefully unprepared – we must change that. The growth of socialist consciousness in the political mainstream of our country, and the conception of the Green New Deal as a response to the socio-economic and environmental crises of our time, provide the basis for changing what must be changed.

Paul Le Blanc: Bernie Sanders, US politics & socialism today

 

 

August 13, 2019 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from GreenLeftTV — Long time socialist activist & author Paul Le Blanc discusses the current juncture in US politics, the Bernie Sanders campaign and the prospects of organising for socialism.

 

Not a manifesto but part of a discussion: A review of Bhaskar Sunkara's 'The Socialist Manifesto'

 

 

The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality.
By Bhaskar Sunkara.
New York: Basic Books, 2019.
276 pages, including index. Hardcover, $28.00.

 

Review by Paul Le Blanc

 

Trotsky in Cuba, 2019

 

 

 

By Paul Le Blanc

 

May 12, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  More than one friend has expressed the hope that I would write a report on my experience in attending an international conference on Leon Trotsky held in Havana, May 6-8, 2019 – so I have felt even more compulsion to craft such a report than I would have otherwise. Since I have come down here earlier than the dates of the conference, I find that I have time to begin shaping such an account as I am living through what I describe. My take on all of this is influenced, naturally, by my understanding of the Cuban Revolution – which can be found in “Origins and Trajectory of the Cuban Revolution,” in my collection Revolutionary Studies (Chicago: Haymarket 2017), first published in the journal Against the Current, January/February 2007 (which can be found online https://solidarity-us.org/atc/126/p319). My experience now seems to me consistent with what I wrote then.

 

Trotsky’s revolutionary ideas – originality or continuity?

 

 

By Paul Le Blanc

 

 

December 2, 2018 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Although I consider myself a Trotskyist (just as I consider myself a Leninist and a Marxist), there is something that has gotten me into trouble with some friends who also identify as Trotskyists.[1]

 

Antonio Gramsci and the Modern Prince

 

 

 

By Paul Le Blanc

 

December 1, 2018 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – In this period of global crises and ferment, radical and revolutionary activists are reaching for modes of organization and political practice that can help advance their struggle for human liberation. For growing numbers, the political and organizational perspectives of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin are becoming a pole of attraction – providing an increasingly desired coherence and revolutionary edge. Yet the Leninist tradition can most fruitfully be understood not as providing dogmatic Truths fashioned by a revolutionary genius, but rather as a collective project and process, creatively fashioned and made relevant by insightful, passionate activists engaging with a variety of contexts. 

 

Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) offers an incredibly rich way of articulating and applying Leninist perspectives.

‘October Song’ – A challenging portrayal of the Russian Revolution

 

 

Review of Paul Le Blanc, October Song:Bolshevik Triumph, Communist Tragedy, 1917-1924, Chicago: Haymarket, 2017, 479 pp., US$19.56.

By John Riddell

 

Ocotber 26, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentaries — Amid a flock of volumes marking the Russian revolution’s centenary last year, Paul Le Blanc’s October Song is set apart by its unique method. Working from English-language sources, Le Blanc offers us an anthology of assessments and viewpoints on the revolution with “a strong inclination to privilege older things” – that is, testimony and opinions from its early years.

 

The result is a kaleidoscope of observations, some by respected historians and many by unknown or forgotten voices, which, taken together, constitute a far-ranging debate over the meaning of these world-shaking events.

 

Lenin for today

 

 

Lenin for Today
By John Molyneux
Bookmarks, 2017
289 pages
£12.99; $44.01
Paperback

 

Reviewed by Paul Le Blanc

 

March 27, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The first chapter of John Molyneux’s newest book, Lenin for Today, is one of the best discussions one can find of the relevance of Lenin. It is also the best part of the book. Far from being an organic whole, Lenin for Today offers seven distinct essays, each of which can more or less stand alone. Some offer analysis and explication of Lenin’s own ideas and perspectives, with indications of their continuing relevance. Others – increasingly as the book goes along – present discussions of current issues and recent events from the standpoint of the author and his organization (the Socialist Workers Party in Britain and its sister organization of the same name in Ireland, where he currently resides.)

 

Building on the legacy of socialism

 

 

 


 

By Vaios Triantafyllou

 

November 30, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from MR Online — Following the intense revolutionary experiences and struggles of the past century, intense debate has emerged on the relationship between socialist theory and practice. How is socialist theory applied during struggles for civil and economic rights, and how is it applied when a revolutionary struggle is successful? What is the role of democracy in such a process, and how are democratic principles incorporated in the pursuit of socialism? Were the mistakes and failures in the effort to build a socialist society inherent to its premises, or were there other factors that led to those failures?

 

The Russian Revolutions of 1917

 

 

By Paul Le Blanc

 

Russian Revolutions of 1917, two revolutions that occurred in Russia in 1917. The first revolution, in February, overthrew the Russian monarchy. The second revolution, in October, created the world’s first Communist state.

 

The Russian revolutions of 1917 involved a series of uprisings by workers and peasants throughout the country and by soldiers, who were predominantly of peasant origin, in the Russian army. Many of the uprisings were organized and led by democratically elected councils called soviets. The soviets originated as strike committees and were basically a form of local self-government. The second revolution led to the rise of the modern Communist movement and to the transformation of the Russian Empire into what became known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The goal of those who carried out the second revolution was the creation of social equality and economic democracy in Russia. However, the Communist regime that they established eventually turned into a bureaucratic dictatorship, which lasted until 1991.

 

Redeeming the revolution: A review of “October 1917 - Workers in Power”

 

 

Reviewed by Doug Enaa Greene

 

October 1917 – Workers in Power.
Paul Le Blanc, Ernest Mandel, David Mandel, François Vercammen, and contemporary texts by Rosa Luxemburg, Lenin, Leon Trotsky.
Edited by Fred Leplat and Alex de Jong
London: Merlin Press, the IIRE and Resistance Books, 2016. 256 pages

 

The darker the night, the brighter the star: Leon Trotsky’s struggle against Stalinism

 

 

By Paul Le Blanc

 

July 18, 2016 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – The title of this session – “the darker the night, the brighter the star” – is the title of the fourth and final volume of Tony Cliff’s biography of Leon Trotsky, who was a central leader of the 1917 Russian Revolution of workers and peasants, which turned the Russian Tsarist empire into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. One of the founders of modern Communism and the Soviet state, Trotsky is also the best known of those who fought against the degeneration of that revolution and movement brought on by a vicious bureaucratic dictatorship led by Joseph Stalin.[1]

 

The Struggle for India's Future (Part Three of Three Part Series)

 

Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya addresses a mass rally.

 

By Paul Le Blanc 

 

[This article was inspired by a recent tour of India, in the summer of 2015.  It is the conclusion to an exploration initiated in two previous articles: “India Yesterday: Development and Revolution” and “India Today”.]

 

In two previous contributions on India, I have explored the history of its development, including the great revolution which resulted in its independence, and also the nature and problems of capitalist development in that country more or less up to the present time. What is presented here is necessarily more fragmentary and tentative, and should be seen more as notes than as any kind of complete report or finished analysis.

India Yesterday: Development and Revolution (Part 1 of Three-Part Series)

 

Front page of The Times of India on 15 August 1947, carrying news reports on the first Independence Day. - See more at: http://www.historytoday.com/benjamin-zachariah/gandhi-non-violence-and-indian-independence#sthash.0QqEQhxT.dpuf
Front page of The Times of India on 15 August 1947, carrying news reports on the first Independence Day. - See more at: http://www.historytoday.com/benjamin-zachariah/gandhi-non-violence-and-indian-independence#sthash.0QqEQhxT.dpuf

 Front page of the Times of India on August 15, 1947.

Front page of The Times of India on 15 August 1947, carrying news reports on the first Independence Day. - See more at: http://www.historytoday.com/benjamin-zachariah/gandhi-non-violence-and-indian-independence#sthash.0QqEQhxT.dpuf
Front page of The Times of India on 15 August 1947, carrying news reports on the first Independence Day. - See more at: http://www.historytoday.com/benjamin-zachariah/gandhi-non-violence-and-indian-independence#sthash.0QqEQhxT.dpuf

By Paul Le Blanc

Paul Le Blanc on Tamás Krausz's 'Reconstructing Lenin': Sorting through Lenin’s legacy


Reconstructing Lenin: An Intellectual Biography
By Tamás Krausz
New York: Monthly Review Books, 2015
564 pages; Order HERE

For more discussion on Lenin, click HERE. For more by Paul Le Blanc, click HERE

Review by Paul Le Blanc

March 10, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This edition of Tamás Krausz’s study of Russian revolutionary Vladimir Ilyich Lenin is compelling and imposing in more than one way. It is not, strictly speaking, an intellectual biography. So much is offered in this remarkable volume, however, that many readers will not complain that they are not actually treated to a chronological narrative tracing the evolution of Lenin’s thought.

Paul Le Blanc: Explorations in plain Marxism: revolutionary theory, practical action

"For many developing intellectually in the English-speaking world during the early 1960s, the radical sociologist C. Wright Mills (on his way to work above) was an incredibly important influence."

For more by Paul Le Blanc, click HERE. For more discussion of Marxist theory, click HERE.

By Paul Le Blanc

January 15, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The ideas of Karl Marx are often put forward as an invaluable resource for those wishing to understand the world in order to change it for the better. Yet various people who speak as Marxists often insist upon divergent ways of understanding even the most basic concepts associated with Marxism – such as capitalism and the working class.

Leninism, No? Paul Le Blanc replies to Ian Birchall

For more by Paul Le Blanc, click HERE. For more discussion of "Leninism", click HERE.

August 6, 2014 -- Socialist Worker (USA) -- Paul Le Blanc is a veteran socialist and author, most recently, of Unfinished Leninism: The Rise and Return of a Revolutionary Doctrine. In response to an article by British socialist Ian Birchall published at the Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century website [published by the socialist group of the same name, abbreviated as RS21], Le Blanc wrote this commentary to contribute to the discussion of "Leninism".

* * *

Ian Birchall has made an important contribution to the ongoing discussion on the international left about the meaning and value of Leninism, which is one of the focal points of my recent collection Unfinished Leninism: The Rise and Return of a Revolutionary Doctrine. Here I would like to make a few comments about what this esteemed comrade has to say.

Paul Le Blanc reviews Daniel Bensaïd's memoir, 'An Impatient Life'

An Impatient Life: A Memoir
by Daniel Bensaïd, translated by David Fernbach, with an introduction by Tariq Ali,
Verso Books, 2014.

Readers of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal are urged to order a copy HERE. You can download an excerpt HERE (PDF).

Review by Paul Le Blanc

May 11, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Daniel Bensaïd (1946-2010) was one of the most respected theorists to emerge from the 1960s radicals of Western Europe. Always inclined to think “outside the box”, waving aside venerable dogmas and shrugging off standard formulations, he found fresh ways, energised with the aura of unorthodoxy, to express and apply truths from the revolutionary Marxist tradition.

Open Marxism and the dilemmas of coherence: Paul Le Blanc's reflections on the contributions of Michael Löwy

Michael Löwy.

More by Paul Le Blanc can be found HERE.

By Paul Le Blanc

September 8, 2013 -- ESSF, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Paul Le Blanc's permission and urging -- The discovery of a wondrous continent is what it felt like when some of my closest comrades and I connected with Michael Löwy, this remarkable revolutionary Marxist intellectual and activist -- himself a blend of Austrian Jew, Brazilian, Parisian, seeming to reach out to the world in all directions, an outstanding modern-day representative of Trotsky’s Fourth International. [1]

Socialism and the workers' movement: comments on Lars Lih on the narrative of their merger

Lars Lih.

By Jonathan Strauss

[This is an edited text of a presentation made on June 9, 2013, at the “Organising for 21st century socialism” seminar, held in Sydney. Strauss is a member of the Socialist Alliance in Cairns.]

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