Get political! Occupy activists urged to engage with writings of Trotsky, Lenin and Luxemburg
February 23, 2012 -- Fifty key figures on the left including Ian Angus, John Riddell, Patrick Bond, Paul Le Blanc, China Miéville, Ken Loach, Lindsey German, Alex Callinicos, Suzi Weissman, Michael Yates and Immanuel Ness have backed a Pluto Press campaign urging activists fighting for the 99% to draw inspiration from the lives and writings of three giants of 20th century political change: Leon Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg and VI Lenin.
The "Get Political" campaign statement (see below; also at www.getpoliticalnow.com) contends that "it will not be a simple thing to win the battle of democracy ... Luxemburg, Trotsky and Lenin were among the most perceptive and compelling revolutionaries of the 20th century. The body of analysis, strategy and tactics to which they contributed was inseparable from the mass struggles of their time. Critically engaging with their ideas can enrich the thinking and practical activity of those involved in today’s and tomorrow’s struggles for a better world."
Paul Le Blanc, author and co-ordinator, outlined the purpose of the campaign: "The Occupy movement and the anti-cuts movement have made a huge impact in a short space of time, but we must build on these successes in order to advance struggles of the future. By engaging with the lives and ideas of Lenin, Luxemburg and Trotsky, activists will find vital analyses and organisational strategies which can help us overcome setbacks and cause a leftward shift of the political mainstream."
The campaign gives those involved in recent movements such as Occupy tools and inspiration to continue their struggle to build a fairer world. A campaign website, www.getpoliticalnow.com, offers the following resources.
- Extensive slideshows detailing the lives of Trotsky, Lenin and Luxemburg and an introduction to Marxism.
- Sample chapters from three Pluto Press Get Political titles on each the three figures.
- Study plans for each title, ideal for planning reading groups or lectures.
- A widget allowing users to endorse the campaign and spread the word.
Get Political statement
Ours is a time of multiple crises generated by global capitalism. It is a time of global resistance, occupation and insurgency. It is a time to connect with the ideas of Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky and Lenin – a critical-minded engagement with revolutionary resources, based on past revolutionary experience, as we consider future action for social change.
New waves of young activists are compelled to become radical – going to the root of today’s problems, demanding a shift of power in society from the super-wealthy 1% to the increasingly hard-pressed 99%.
It will not be a simple thing to win the battle of democracy, to create a world in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all. The problems we face have been more than two centuries in the making. Millions of people, generation after generation, have engaged in revolutionary struggles for basic human rights and dignity – liberty and justice for all, experiencing defeats and victories, learning and passing on an accumulation of lessons for those who would continue the struggle.
Luxemburg, Trotsky and Lenin were among the most perceptive and compelling revolutionaries of the 20th century. The body of analysis, strategy and tactics to which they contributed was inseparable from the mass struggles of their time. Critically engaging with their ideas can enrich the thinking and practical activity of those involved in today’s and tomorrow’s struggles for a better world.
A global activist collective – multiple individuals exploring texts on how to understand and change the world, proliferating study groups connecting revolutionary theory with the struggles of today and tomorrow – reaching out to the rest of the 99%, can have a powerful impact for social change. It is time, in the most revolutionary sense, to get political.
The Get Political campaign statement is endorsed by:
Alex Callinicos, editor, International Socialism
China Miéville, author, The City and the City; Embassytown; etc.
Immanuel Ness, editor, Working USA, and The Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest
Ken Loach, film-maker
Gopal Balakrishnan, ed. board, New Left Review
Dominic Alexander, book review editor, Counterfire
Brian Jones, actor (Marx in Soho), teacher, activist
Mark Abel, Lecturer, School of Humanities, University of Brighton
Kieran Allen, author, Marx and the Alternative to Capitalism
Ian Angus, editor, Climate and Capitalism
Alexander Anievas, ed. board, Historical Materialism; editor, Marxism and World Politics
Patrick Bond, Director, Centre for Civil Society (South Africa); author, Looting Africa: The Economics of Exploitation
Paul Buhle, co-editor, Encyclopedia of the American Left
Kunal Chattopadhyay, Prof. of Comparative Literature, Jadavpur University
Terry Conway, Socialist Resistance; ed. board, International Viewpoint
Ted Crawford, ed. board, Revolutionary History
Neil Davidson, ed. board, International Socialism; author, The Origins of Scottish Nationhood
Steve Edwards, ed board, Historical Materialism
Neil Faulkner, Research Fellow, University of Bristol
Des Freedman, co-editor, The Assault on the Universities
Phil Gasper, ed. board, International Socialist Review
Lindsey German, author, Sex, Class and Socialism
Jane Hardy, Prof. of Political Economy, Univ. of Hertfordshire, author, Poland’s New Capitalism
Al Hart, Managing Editor, UE News (United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America)
Tom Hickey, Lecturer, Phil. and Pol. Economy, Univ. of Brighton; author, Democracy: the Long Revolution
Dave Hill,Prof./Visiting Prof. of Education at Universities of Middlesex (England), Limerick (Ireland), Athens (Greece)
Andy Kilmister, editor Debatte: Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe
Stathis Kouvelakis, author, Philosophy and Revolution
Costas Lapavitsas, Prof. of Economics, School of African & Oriental Studies, Univ. of London
Paul Le Blanc, author, A Short History of the US Working Class
Esther Leslie, Prof. in Political Aesthetics, Birkbeck University
John Lister, Sr. Lecturer, Health Journalism, Coventry University
Michael Löwy, author, Theory of Revolution in the Young Marx; The Marxism of Che Guevara
Soma Marik, author, Reinterrogating the Classical Marxist Discourses of Revolutionary Democracy
Bryan Palmer, author, James P. Cannon and the American Revolutionary Left
William A. Pelz, Director, Institute of Working Class History
Shalini Puri, Director of Literature, Univ. of Pittsburgh; author, The Post-Colonial Caribbean
John Rees, ed. board, Counterfire; author, The Algebra of Revolution
John Riddell, editor, of multi-volume documentary, The Communist International in Lenin’s Time
Ingo Schmidt, Academic Coordinator, Labour StudiesAthabasca University (Canada)
Helen C. Scott, Prof. of English, University of Vermont
George Shriver, writer & translator
Kostas Skordoulis, Prof. of Physics, Univ. of Athens; OKDE–Spartakos
Sharon Smith, author, Subterranean Fire
Bhaskar Sunkara, Editor, Jacobin
Peter Thomas, ed. board, Historical Materialism; author, The Gramscian Moment
Alan Thornett, veteran trade union activist; author, Militant Years: car workers’ struggles in Britain in the 60s and 70s
Achin Vaniak, Prof. of Political Science, Delhi University; author, Globalization and South Asia
Alan Wald, ed. board, Against the Current
Victor Wallis, managing editor, Socialism and Democracy
Susan Weissman, ed. board, Critique; author, Victor Serge: The Course is Set on Hope
Michael Yates, assoc. editor, Monthly Review; editorial director, Monthly Review Press
Leon Trotsky, edited by Kunal Chattopadhyay and Paul Le Blanc
“Leon Trotsky stands as a shining beacon amid the revolutionary events of our epoch. Out of the vast ideological arsenal he produced, Trotsky always considered that his most important works were those from his years in exile, which remain essential reading for those seeking to bring about fundamental change today. Kunal Chattopadhyay and Paul Le Blanc have done a great service in helping to make available, in a single volume, these texts to new generations of revolutionary activists.” – Esteban Volkow, Grandson of Leon Trotsky and President of the Board, Leon Trotsky House Museum, Coyoacan, Mexico
“This bracing book provides theoretical nourishment for our times, just as millions take to the streets worldwide demanding a just economic system. Leon Trotsky hit the world stage as President of the St. Petersburg Soviet in the 1905 Russian Revolution. … Trotsky continues to educate and inspire, his flame refuses to be extinguished.” – Suzi Weissman, Professor of Politics, Saint Mary’s College of California
edited by Paul Le Blanc and Helen C. Scott
The best introduction to the range of Rosa Luxemburg’s thought, including a number of writings never before anthologised.
“Rosa Luxemburg has never been more relevant! Here, at last, in a single volume is an accessible introduction to one of the most important radical political thinkers of the 20th century with analysis and insight for a new generation of activist.” – Elaine Bernard, Executive Director of the Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School
Selected Writings of V.I. Lenin
V. I. Lenin, edited by Paul Le Blanc
The first serious collection of Lenin’s writings for decades. Editor Paul Le Blanc argues that Lenin was committed to democracy.
“We desperately need the resurrection and revival of the kind of strategic thinking and principled commitment that Lenin epitomised in the era of 1917, and all that it promised. For those interested in this rebirth of the politics of alternative to capitalism, Paul Le Blanc’s account of the democratic, socialist, and revolutionary Lenin will prove indispensable. Reading it is a reminder that what is, need not be, and that what has, seemingly, failed, can be reconstituted anew.” – Professor Bryan Palmer, Trent University
About the Get Political series
The Get Political series is a response to the unconvincing and desperate rhetoric from politicians on both sides of the Atlantic. As the crisis of neoliberalism develops, the established order becomes ever more helpless to improve things.
About Pluto Press
Pluto Press has a proud history of publishing progressive critical thinking across politics and the social sciences. Since the 1960s, Pluto Press has provided a home to progressive thinkers and dissenting voices from across the world. They have been published works by the likes of Karl Marx, Frantz Fanon, Noam Chomsky, bell hooks, Edward Said, Augusto Boal, Vandana Shiva and Susan George.
The current roster of authors includes historians such as Ilan Pappe and Nick Robins, political and economic analysts such as Graham Turner, Alastair Crooke and Gabriel Kolko, leading dissident thinkers such as Hamid Dabashi and Tommy McKearney and fearless investigative journalists such as Syed Saleem Shahzad, David Cronin and Jonathan Cook.
About Paul Le Blanc
Paul Le Blanc is professor of history at La Roche College, Pittsburgh. He is the author of Marx, Lenin and the Revolutionary Experience (2006), A Short History of the US Working Class (1999) and editor or co-editor of the Get Political books on Trotsky, Lenin and Luxemburg. To interview Paul le Blanc or a Pluto Press representative about the Get Political campaign, email email@example.com.