Introduction Alain Brossat and Sylvie Klingberg’s Revolutionary Yiddishland: A History of Jewish Radicalism was first published in France in 1983. A revised edition appeared in 2009 and an English translation in 2016. Intended for a mainly Jewish readership, the book is essentially an apologia for Jewish communist militants in Eastern Europe in the early to... Read More
As America braces for the annual fawn-fest on Martin Luther King Day (January 15), it’s worth noting that a recent revelation from the FBI archives might have threatened King’s hallowed status—if it had been honestly reported. But coverage in the Washington Post in particular exemplified what President Trump calls “fake news.” On November 4, 2017,... Read More
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 marked the end of the longest experiment in Communism in recent history. Many saw this event as the proof that Communism (or Marxism-Leninism, I use these interchangeably here) was not a viable ideology. After all, if in Russia Communism was formally ended in 1991, the Chinese quietly... Read More
1. A specter is haunting world capitalism: the specter of the Russian Revolution. This year marks the centenary of the world-historical events of 1917, which began with the February Revolution in Russia and culminated in October with “ten days that shook the world”—the overthrow of the capitalist provisional government and conquest of political power by... Read More
The Cold War is over, but Bernie Sanders goes marching on. Too bad. In the Baltic, the Russian air force has been having some fun harassing our planes doing routine reconnaissance flights in international airspace near Russia’s borders. [Russian Su-27 barrel rolls on U.S. spyplane over the Baltic Sea. Once again, The Aviationist, April 29,... Read More
In the preceding part (The Donald Trump Phenomenon: Part 1: The American Nations), I talked about the geographic (and hence ethnic) variation in support for the various 2016 U.S. presidential candidates. In this part, I will focus on the turmoil in this particular election cycle, and what it means for our society and acceptance of... Read More
"Dalton Trumbo was a socialist, but he loved being rich." So says Bryan Cranston, who stars in "Trumbo," out this week, and plays the screenwriter who went to prison with the Hollywood Ten in the time of Harry Truman. Actually, Trumbo was not a socialist. Bernie Sanders is a socialist. Trumbo was a Stalinist, a... Read More
Raise the scarlet banner high!
I was reading one of the angrier conservative bloggers the other day when I came to a sentence where he referred to President Obama as a “communist.” It stopped my eye. I am no fan of Obama, and I have a high tolerance for vituperation. (I like the late Auberon Waugh’s definition of opinion journalism... Read More
A remarkable historian has died -- but does it matter that he was a Stalinist?
The death of Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm at the age of 95 two days ago set me down memory lane. The one time I met this illustrious historian was when Gene Genovese (who predeceased Hobsbawm by just a few days) introduced him to me at a meeting of the American Historical Association in Boston in... Read More
Having just seen the film Julie and Julia, based on a book by Julie Powell and a screen play by Nora Ephron, I’ve certain unanswered questions about some of the historical details that went into the plot. Of the two main characters, the more interesting by far is the longtime interpreter of French cuisine for... Read More
A debate in the French weekly Courrier International (December 21, 2006) held between Polish political scientist Marek Cichocki and Claus Leggewie, a widely respected German professor at the University of Giessen, points to two diverging paths into the European future. Both commentators explain how their views about the end of the Second World War have... Read More
Do not take my polemics with Alan Woods for a learned discussion of the Russian Revolution; the argument is not about Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin (let their souls rest in peace in the bosom of Marx in the Communist paradise) but about extremely relevant issues of our day, though presented in historical perspective. Woods... Read More
The year now coming to its end has marked the centenary of three fine British anti-Communist writers: Evelyn Waugh, George Orwell, and Malcolm Muggeridge. Each tried his hand at different kinds of writing, but I do not think it seriously unfair to tag them by the work they are best known for — as, respectively,... Read More
Eric Alterman Cheapens Holocaust
On the last Nation cruise I was on a panel about nuclear proliferation. (Yes, even afloat off Baja California, the liberal conscience is always on guard duty.) Trying to juice up the panel a bit, I remarked that there was one bit of proliferation that seemed to me indisputably okay, which was when the Soviet... Read More
The sequence of capitalist expansion, destruction of traditional bonds andglobal integration was, according to Marx, the process of creating a unified working class, conscious of its class interests and linked across national boundaries. His chain of reasoning lacks a clear understanding of the importance traditions and social bonds preceding capitalism played in creating social solidarity... Read More
'How can we get rid of the ruling Pigs and join Humankind?' asks a piglet.
Recently sifting through the archives of George Orwell I came across a long letter apparently written by one of the late writer's friends. The letter purports to be a follow-up to the events which took place on Animal Farm, that unique experiment in animal self rule: Dear George, My research brought me to the Farm... Read More