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Trotsky’s Challenge

The ‘Literary Discussion’ of 1924 and the Fight for the Bolshevik Revolution

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Frederick Corney

In Trotsky’s Challenge: The ‘Literary Discussion’ of 1924 and the Fight for the Bolshevik Revolution, Frederick C. Corney examines the political polemic surrounding the publication of Trotsky’s The Lessons of October. Trotsky’s analysis ran counter to the efforts of Bolshevik leaders to fashion the narrative of October as a foundation event in which the Bolshevik Party, under the clear-sighted leadership of Lenin, played a major role in bringing about a radical socialist revolution in Russia. Corney has translated into English the major contributions to this polemic, annotated them, and written an extensive contextualising introduction, examining the polemic for its impact not only on the figure of Trotsky, but also on the changing political culture of the 1920s and 1930s.

The Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, 1899‒1904

Documents of the 'Economist' Opposition to Iskra and Early Menshevism

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Richard Mullin

Much has been written about the activity of Lenin and his colleagues on the editorial board of the Iskra newspaper, whereas little has been said about the opponents of Leninism, who unsuccessfully fought for control of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party during the Iskra period. To redress the balance, Richard Mullin has translated 25 documents from this period, most of which express an anti-Lenin view. They include articles from Rabochee Delo, the Jewish Bund's Poslednie Izvestiia and the post-Lenin Iskra, pamphlets by Plekhanov and Martov, the resolutions of Party meetings and some very revealing private correspondence. However, the result is not an anti-Bolshevik polemic: through these documents a clearer, and curiously flattering picture of Lenin's thought and activity is obtained.

The Dimensions of Hegemony

Language, Culture and Politics in Revolutionary Russia

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Craig Brandist

Though generally associated with the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, the idea of hegemony had a crucial history in revolutionary Russia where it was used to conceptualize the dynamics of political and cultural leadership. Drawing on extensive archival research, this study considers the cultural dimensions of hegemony, with particular focus on the role of language in political debates and in scholarship of the period. It is shown that considerations of the relations between the proletariat and peasantry, the cities to the countryside and the metropolitan centre to the colonies of the Russian Empire demanded an intense dialogue between practical politics and theoretical reflection, which led to critical perspectives now assumed to be the achievements of, for instance, sociolinguistics and post-colonial studies.

Dialectics of the Ideal

Evald Ilyenkov and Creative Soviet Marxism

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Edited by Alex Levant and Vesa Oittinen

In Dialectics of the Ideal: Evald Ilyenkov and Creative Soviet Marxism Levant and Oittinen provide a window into the subterranean tradition of ‘creative’ Soviet Marxism, which developed on the margins of the Soviet academe and remains largely outside the orbit of contemporary theory in the West. With his ‘activity approach’, E.V. Ilyenkov, its principal figure in the post-Stalin period, makes a substantial contribution toward an anti-reductionist Marxist theory of the subject, which should be of interest to contemporary theorists who seek to avoid economic and cultural reductionism as well as the malaise of postmodern relativism. This volume features Levant’s translation of Ilyenkov’s Dialectics of the Ideal (2009), which remained unpublished until thirty years after the author’s tragic suicide in 1979.

Contributors include: Evald Ilyenkov, Tarja Knuuttila, Alex Levant, Andrey Maidansky, Vesa Oittinen, Paula Rauhala, and Birger Siebert.