Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line: Revolutionary History, Vol. 7 No. 3

Work in Progress

Revolutionary History on the Web

APART from the changes on our own website, which has been greatly upgraded thanks to Ian Donovan and which can be found at <www.revolutionary-history.co.uk>, there have been some interesting developments that we have noticed as far as sites with Socialist material on them are concerned. The first and most striking is that the ‘Marxists’ site at <www.marxists.org> has been restructured, and a great deal more material has been posted on it, including all that Trotsky ever wrote on Britain. There is even a short history of the ‘Marxists’ web project. Partly as a result of this, I feel, other websites of the political groups bother rather less with general historical material, but give a link to ‘Marxists’. Though the task is never ending, this is now a site of some depth. If you doubt me, explore the site yourself. What is more, everything on it can be purchased on a CD-Rom for $15, and there will be an update in a year’s time with any further additions since. It would be a most useful gift for an English-speaking Socialist in any country where it is difficult to get hold of the Marxist classics, and where the Internet is regarded with suspicion.

A site new to me is that of the Socialist Union <home.inreach.com/soldoll>, kept by Solly Dollinger. This is about the so-called Cochranites, the followers of Bert Cochrane and Harry Braverman who split from the American Socialist Workers Party in the early 1950s. It gives many details and reprints from those times. This was an eye-opener, as I had only heard one side of the story previously. Since so many of us have greatly admired Harry Braverman’s work, Labour Under Monopoly Capitalism, this should not have come as such a surprise.

The split in Militant has left a smaller group around Ted Grant, whose site at <www.marxist.com> has some useful historical material, particularly on China, whilst the site of Workers Liberty <www.workersliberty.org/> contains at least one article from Kautsky in its Education section.

A group of Greek Trotskyists at <www.balkanunity.demon.co.uk/> have kindly posted three articles from Revolutionary History, Volume 4, no. 3, but these will shortly be also on our own site.

I had hoped to find a full index of the International Socialism journal of the British Socialist Workers Party, even perhaps with some past material on-line, but this was rather a disappointment. There were confusingly two indexes, the main one of the SWP’s International Socialism, and Socialist Review at <www.internationalsocialist.org/pubs/isjind.html> which only dealt with the second series of International Socialism. However, readers of Revolutionary History might be more interested in the very early numbers of the first series of International Socialism which, starting in 1960, contains many stimulating articles. These last were on <www.cix.co.uk/~lpi/ijindex_.htm>, but at the time of writing the index only started in 1969, and there were no articles on-line. I had the impression that these efforts were those of a few keen comrades, rather than a coordinated and structured attempt by the SWP to present all its very valuable past material. What is the copyright situation for Cliff’s early books? I have never read Stalin’s Satellites in Europe, and I feel strongly that some of these rare and difficult-to-get publications should be more easily available to the next generation. In the early 1960s, the old Labour Review of Gerry Healy’s Socialist Labour League also contained exciting articles. The Revolutionary History site, which has been greatly upgraded, would gladly provide a home for some of these pre-1965 articles from Labour Review and International Socialism.

The Trotsky Encyclopaedia site looks rather tired at the moment, but I believe the people involved have been concentrating their efforts on the ‘Marxists’ site. We are enormously grateful for the many Revolutionary History articles there, which were OCRed by Sally Ryan, and which are now, or shortly will be, on our new site.

Finally, readers will be interested to know that a website on dissident Cuban Communism has been set up by Gary Tennant, who has just completed a PhD study on the subject. It is <www.atlas.cs.york.ac.uk/~gat100>. Gary’s PhD is the basis of this issue of Revolutionary History.

Marxism on CD-Rom

A NON-profit MIA CD with the entire contents of marxists.org since 17 September 1999 is now available. There are CD distributors in a ‘triangle’ around the world, so CDs can be posted anywhere for a relatively low cost. The total cost of the CD, including average posting cost, is US$15. To order a CD, contact the person in or near your continent:

  • Americas: David Walters <dwalters@marxists.org>
  • Asia: Brian Baggins <brian@marxists.org>
  • Europe (Southern): Alf Pangas <alf@marxists.org>
  • Europe (Northern): Jorn Andersen <jorn@marxists.org>

Include your mailing address, and the number of CDs you would like. The area director will let you know how you can arrange payment. Send all payments to: David Walters, 643 Parkview Circle, Pacifica, CA 94044, USA. Small donations ($5 or $10), which will be used to cover the costs of MIA, are welcome. If you cannot afford the $15, contact the distributor all the same.

New Publications

A NEW journal of revolutionary history has recently been added to the impressive number already appearing in France. It is the Bulletin de Liason des Études sur les Mouvements Révolutionnaires, obtainable at a cost of 20 francs from Jean-Guillaume Lanuque at Appt 107, Entrée 3, 13 Rue de Malzéville, 54000 Nancy. It went into its third issue in the September 1999, including a comprehensive series of book reviews on the history of the French revolutionary movement, an Internet reference list of the main library documentary collections, a short analysis of the Council Communist movement, a systematic bibliography of French Trotskyist history, and a courier of current magazine articles on the subject. It is supported by a group of over 20 scholars, and its main aim is to keep researchers into the history of the revolutionary movement in touch with each other and aware of the wealth of material there is to hand.

Nor have the existing journals ceased adding to our knowledge. The latest of the Cahiers Léon Trotsky (no. 66, June 1999, available from 477 Chemin du Puits, 69210 Fleurieux sur l’Arbresle at 90 francs plus postage) deals with the politics of the international Trotskyist movement during the darkest period of the Second World War, including articles by Pierre Broué, James P. Cannon, Albert Goldman, Felix Morrow and Marcel Hic. The most recent of the Cahiers du CERMTRI (no. 94, September 1999, obtainable from 28 Rue des Petites-Ecuries, 75010 Paris at 30 francs plus postage) covers the ferment produced in the same movement by the Third Chinese Revolution of 1949, including documents reproduced from La Vérité and the Internal Bulletin of the Fourth International, and translations from the Militant and Fourth International, supplementing the material that appeared in Revolutionary History, Volume 2, no. 4, Spring 1990. Amongst the contents of the most recent issue of the Cahiers du Mouvement Ouvrier (no. 7, September 1999, at 50 francs plus postage from the same address) are articles on the historical contribution of Vadim Rogovin, the Whites in 1919, the Trial of the Generals, Zborovski’s reports on Lev Sedov and the repression of his family inside the USSR, and documentary collections dealing with Bordiga and Sneevliet.

Interest in the past and present of the revolutionary movement has generally increased in France following the appearance of the LO and LCR MPs in the European Assembly. François Koch’s La vrai nature d’Arlette (Éditions du Seuil, 49 francs) is little more than a journalistic exposé, but gives many little known details of the past of Lutte ouvrière. Gérard Filoche’s 68–98, Histoire sans fin (Flammarion, 110 francs), a memoir from the JCR generation of 1968, gives us some revealing information on its history, and on that of its LCR successor. But pride of place must surely be accorded to Yvan Craipeau’s Mémoires d’un dinosaure trotskyste, published by Harmattan this year.

Meanwhile, our newly founded sister organisation, the Centro de Estudios, Investigaciones y Publicaciones Leon Trotsky, operating from Centre at CEIP, Calle Pasteur 460, 4a piso, depto ‘G’, Capital Federal, Argentina (telephone 00 541 14 952 2302, e-mail: ceiplt@usanet), is setting about its work with an energy that should put the rest of us to shame. The first issue of its newsletter, which came out in March last year, included first-time Spanish translations of Trotsky’s articles on the independence of the Ukraine and the philosophical tendencies of bureaucratism, along with a preliminary list of its archival holdings and the latest news of the campaign to restore Trotsky’s memory in history. The centre has already produced a collection of Trotsky’s writings on Latin America (cf. below, pp. 336–8), and is on the point of bringing out another devoted to his economic analyses. Plans are well advanced to publish a new edition of The Permanent Revolution, which has long been difficult to obtain in Argentina. To ease communication and cooperation between us we have formalised our fraternal links with the CEIPLT by coopting its European resident representative, Comrade Alejandra Rios, onto our own editorial board.

Yodage Ranjith Amarasinghe, to whom we were indebted for some of the materials contained in our Ceylon issue, Blows against the Empire (Volume 6, no. 4) has finally published his completed researches in Revolutionary Idealism and Parliamentary Politics: A Study of Trotskyism in Sri Lanka, obtainable from the Socialist Scientists Association at 425/15 Thimbirigasya Road, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka. Also from Sri Lanka comes Pulsara Liyanage’s Vivi: A Biography of Vivienne Goonewardena, which can be obtained from the Women’s Education and Research Centre at 58 Dharmarama Road, Colombo 6.

Updated by ETOL: 5.10.2011