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Post 06 Aug 2014, 04:38
I thought it would be useful if we could have a thread for discussing and analyzing interesting and relevant articles we are reading at the moment. But for shorter articles, instead of full-length books. Articles of interest, both historical and contemporary, but perhaps not necessitating its own thread. Newspapers, blog posts, encyclopedia entries, scholarly journals, academic papers, essays, opinion pieces, editorials, policy statements etc.

I'll start it off with this article ... 04549.html in recent developments in Putin's historiography of WW1 and how it relates to his anti-Bolshevism.

It seems that Putin has exploited the knee-jerk anti-communism of the west to exploit his foreign policy goals. As a post-Soviet leader he too can play the game. Such as when he blamed the Soviet Totalitarian dictatorship for the arbitrary loss of Crimea and Donbass.

Now he is justifying Russia's role in WW1 as necessary to Slavic brotherhood. While also harping back to the old Russia-Western relations, by saying Russia was aiding its western allies. He also claims that the Busilov Offensive would have won the war if not for Bolshevik treason. This is all part of Putin's brand of 'Russian Conservatism' where he can celebrate the Soviet record where it expanded Russian territory and condemn it where it retracted.
Post 08 Aug 2014, 01:04
I've been reading a little into Mengitsu and the Derg

2 interesting facts I came across. The current ruling party of Ethiopia adheres to Revolutionary Democracy and is a former Hoxhaist party, despite being a close US ally. ... atic_Front

And this:
In 1977, the Derg turned to the socialist countries for help. President Fidel Castro proposed a socialist federation of Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Yemen, Somalia and Djibouti-all the territories surrounding the Horn of Africa. At that time, Siad Barre, the president of Somalia, still professed to be a socialist. But the forces fighting Ethiopia rejected the proposal.
Post 11 Aug 2014, 06:33
heiss93 wrote:
The current ruling party of Ethiopia adheres to Revolutionary Democracy and is a former Hoxhaist party, despite being a close US ally.
In a recent official publication you can actually find a picture of Zenawi at the first congress of the EPDRF in January 1991, where he's in front of a painting of Stalin and amid a banner calling on the proletarians of all countries to unite: (see page 7)

"After the defeat at Shire, the Derg abandoned all of Tigray to the rebels, and the EPRDF's expanding guerrilla alliance started the military and political manoeuvres that would end in the takeover of Addis Ababa two years later. The Soviet bloc was close to casting Mengistu adrift. No belated acts of liberalization would save him. For his part Meles Zenawi, barely known outside Tigray, began introducing himself to a wider world.

An early encounter with the western press led to an observation that has dogged him ever since. He told an interviewer at the end of 1989 that the Soviet Union and other eastern bloc countries had never been truly socialist and added, 'The nearest any country comes to being socialist as far as we are concerned is Albania.' As Meles set off in 1990 on his first venture to the United States, his aspiration to the mantle of Enver Hoxha and to run Ethiopia on Albanian lines did not inspire much confidence.

In Washington he met the veteran Ethiopia-watcher Paul Henze. Henze was as impressed by Meles as many foreigners have been in the years since, and he made detailed notes after two long conversations. Meles had to deal first with the Albanian connection. 'I have never been to Albania,' Meles told Henze. 'We do not have any Albanian contacts. We are not trying to imitate in Tigray anything the Albanians have done.'

Meles was equally keen to reject the Marxist tag. 'We are not a Marxist-Leninist movement,' he said. 'We do have Marxists in our movement. I acknowledge that. I myself was a convinced Marxist when I was a student at [Addis Ababa University] in the early 1970s, and our movement was inspired by Marxism. But we learned that Marxism was not a good formula for resistance to the Derg and our fight for the future of Ethiopia.'

As the EPRDF moved out of the countryside to take over the towns and the cities, it emerged into a post-communist world, and a rapid political make-over was needed. 'When we entered Addis Ababa, the whole Marxist-Leninist structure was being disgraced,' said General Tsadkan. 'We had to rationalize in terms of the existing political order . . . capitalism had become the order of the day. If we continued with our socialist ideas, we could only continue to breed poverty.'"
(Peter Gill. Famine and Foreigners: Ethiopia Since Live Aid. New York: Oxford University Press. 2010. pp. 74-75.)

It's funny though 'cause the EPDRF quite obviously continues to use vaguely Marxist rhetoric to this day. "Revolutionary democracy" in particular, though, has been made so vague as to mean anything. The overall rhetoric and organization of the EPDRF is "leftist" but its actual policies are anything but. It's like how ZANU-PF still use left-wing rhetoric when they feel like it.

I have a book (Talk of the Devil) which contains a late 90s interview with Mengistu. He called Gorbachev a traitor to socialism, praised Brezhnev, Castro and Kim Il Sung, and said he was never pro-Albanian but admired the Albanians for their resoluteness.
Post 15 Aug 2014, 02:07
Thanks for the reply Ismail, you are always knowledgeable on the history of the Hoxhaist movement. I had always assumed that Mengitsu had been defeated by freedom-loving Americans, and I had no idea that he had been defeated by Hoxhaists. The wikipedia article makes it seem like they are still a Marxist-Leninist party today. But wiki has to be taken with a grain of salt, and Im glad you were able to add confirmation and more details. The main international Hoxhaist journal is called Revolutionary Democracy.

My knowledge of African Communism is not as developed as it should be, as shown by my reliance on wikipedia as a major source. But it could be seen as the Continent in which Communism won the Cold War. Ironically in 1989, just as the Eastern Bloc was collapsing, Socialist forces in Africa were winning their final victories against Apartheid South Africa, thus completing the sweep of the continent. Certainly if there is any place in the world that could benefit from a centralized Leninist government it is Africa. When one sees the anarcho-capitalism of Somalia today, it is hard to believe that it was ever home to a Marxist-Leninist state. Somalia is certainly a place that could use a little KGB.

But Africa was a major front of the Cold War, that does not receive as much attention as Europe, Latin America, and Asia.

You had the complex power politics of the Red Sea, where Hoxhaists, Romanians, North Koreans and Communist Somalia all battled the Derg, with US and Chinese support. And the internationalist Cubans served in Ethiopia, despite having no material incentive to do so.

An inspiring part of African Marxist history, was the battle of the Frontline Parties to defeat the Fascist Apartheid regime. Which in the 1970s still had complete dominance over southern Africa, including Rhodesia, Southwest Africa, Portuguese Africa and the puppet Mobutu regime in Congo. And one by one the dominoes fell. Until the liberation struggle was brought to Apartheid's doorstep. Nelson Mandela has never shied away from crediting the aid of liberation struggles, including from such pariahs of the West like Qaddafi, Castro and Mugabe.

1redItalian posted a wonderful history of Cuba's internationalist commitment to Angola, including the Black Stalingrad at Cuito Cuanavale, the largest land battle ever fought in Africa. In which the armies of Apartheid were finally defeated in combat by Black Africans.


China's role in Cold War Africa is mixed with their support for UNITA. But they did perform the useful task of building the Tanzania railroad which broke the isolation of Zambia, which had been surrounded and dependent on Apartheid South Africa, and instead linked Zambia to the Indian Ocean ports of Tanzania. This allowed Zambia to perform a more direct role in the liberation struggles. And they eventually expelled UNITA and switched to supporting the MPLA.

The liberation struggles in Africa only concluded in recent memory. UNITA was only finally defeated in 2002. And the victorious Angolan state, spread the revolution into Congo, where Che's old protege Kabila finally defeated Mobutu, and Republic of Congo, where the former Marxist-Leninist President was restored with Angolan aid.

Africa was a forgotten front in the Cold War, and I would also add the contributions of Thomas Sankara, Lumumba, and Nkrumah.
Last edited by heiss93 on 15 Aug 2014, 16:06, edited 1 time in total.
Post 15 Aug 2014, 08:23
heiss93 wrote:
Burkina Faso, where the former Marxist-Leninist President was restored with Angolan aid.
Who are you referring to? To my knowledge Blaise Compaoré has been in power continuously since 1987 and was one of those behind the murder of Sankara. He abandoned Sankara's programs and embraced neo-liberalism.

As for Angola, it is not at all revolutionary. Its government intervened in the Congo first because Mobutu was UNITA's main supporter after the USA switched to supporting the Angolan government (once said government embraced multi-party "democracy" and neo-liberalism), and second in order to gain access to the mineral wealth of the country. Kabila himself made it clear he was not a communist as of 1997, although he did use vague "revolutionary" rhetoric.
Post 15 Aug 2014, 16:03
Sorry I meant the Republic of the Congo, not Burkina Faso. It had previously been a Marxist state the People's Republic of Congo, but had been overthrown by rightwing forces. With help from Angola, the previous president Denis Sassou Nguesso was restored. While MPLA is no longer a Marxist party, in foreign relations, it still played a progressive role in its intervention in the two Congos, in both case aiding in overthrowing rightwing despots, to help install former Marxists. ... _Civil_War

Its true, the MPLA officially abandoned Marxism and adheres to Social Democracy and is a full member of the Socialist International. Castro in his memoirs writes about giving advice to an unnamed fraternal party about abandoning Marxism, which Im nearly sure was the MPLA, and basically telling them, they have to do what they have to do.

Interestingly, wikipedia claims, that even during its revolutionary days, the MPLA still carried out a purge of those who favored more orthodox Leninism and closer alignment with the USSR, supposedly with the help of Cuban troops.

While Kabilla was not a Marxist in 1997, he still was a progressive step over Mobutu who had long been the most reactionary ruler in Africa. And in the African Great War, he maintained the support of all the Left-Nationalist states in Africa including Angola, Zimbabwe and Libya.

Workers World has interpreted the overthrow of Mobutu as a playing out of US-French rivalry in Africa, in that while rightist, he was too pro-French for US liking.

However they still consider Kabila a relatively progressive figure, since once in power he defied the strings of his puppetmasters.

"But once Kabila became president, he surprised his former allies by refusing to be a puppet and trying to rally the Congolese people to unite and defend their country's sovereignty."
Post 21 Aug 2014, 03:17
Zhang Tiesheng became a hero during the Cultural Revolution for handing in a blank exam and refusing to meet capitalist education standards. But is today a major Chinese capitalist. ... blogs&_r=0

The Socialist Workers Party's new position on Israel

A new round of negotiations between the Israeli regime and representatives of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas has begun. Under current conditions, a foundation for a way forward can only be built on an agreement that includes:

❖ Recognition of a Palestinian state, as it is today, as a stepping stone to fight for a single, viable geographical homeland for the Palestinian people.

❖ Recognition of Israel, as it is today, both a Jewish and increasingly multinational secular state. This includes the right of return for the Jews, which will become increasingly relevant as the world crisis of capitalism kindles Jew hatred as a reactionary bludgeon against fighting labor.

Hamas’ course has increased not only its own unpopularity, but the isolation of the Palestinian national struggle. For the first time, virtually no Arab government has felt enough pressure even to feign support for the Palestinian cause. And Hamas is becoming increasingly unpopular in Gaza, the West Bank and throughout the Middle East, as it violently suppresses political opposition to its rule and time and again hurls missiles and builds tunnels into Israel with full expectation that its actions will precipitate an Israeli military response whose only result will be death and destruction in Gaza. Its only “strategy” is to appeal to bourgeois public opinion at the cost of Palestinian lives and limbs taken by Israeli attacks, hoping to push Washington and other imperialist powers to withhold military aid from Tel Aviv and exert diplomatic pressure on it.

Israel has existed for 66 years. Revolutionary-minded working people have ceased some time ago being able to effectively set Israel apart from every other country on earth. The Palestinian and other Arab masses, too, will pay a big price for continuing to do so — and they recognize this fact more than ever before and are willing to act on it, if a leadership steps forth to lead the political fight.
Post 21 Aug 2014, 15:36
Meles was equally keen to reject the Marxist tag.

I'll be honest, I think everyone is keen on rejecting the Marxist tag these days.. Anyhow, the EPRDF are Marxist in a sense; they are very interested on Marxist writings regarding the national question (in contrast to Mengistu who supported having Ethiopia remain a highly centralized state). Politically they are very Leninist; while Ethiopia has a multi-party system, no opposition parties have managed to "win" seats (in other words, they are smarter then their Eastern European counterparts).. However, there is a load of parties, who are in all practical purposes independent from the EPRDF (but because of this independence, they support the EPRDF). In other words, the EPRDF has created a multi-party system were the only alternative is themselves. It should be added that EPRDF writings do refer themselves to as a vanguard party of the peasant and working class... However, it must be added, for some reason, the EPRDF is very secret about its ideological posture - so few party documents are actually available to the general populace in Ethiopia or outside.

Economically they are not orthodox communists, but there isn't much "real" private sector either. The majority of the largest private companies are controlled by the EPRDF through appointments. In other words, Ethiopia has state capitalism (considering that the public sector is also very large), its not free market capitalism. Similar to China/Vietnam I'd guess, but just with much bigger chances of corruption.

But to the point, what article am I reading know; this, "China's 'Quiet Diplomacy': The International Department of the Chinese Communist Party".
Post 28 Aug 2014, 16:15
General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Federation ... inear-war/

Article from Voenno-promyshlennyi kur’er, the Military-Industrial Courier, about the application of the lessons of the Arab Spring to Russian military doctrine, with commentary by a Western Sovietologist.
Post 04 Sep 2014, 14:56
The complete archives of Marxism Today, served as the theoretical journal of CPGB

Marxism Today – established after the crisis of 1956 to enable ‘discussion’ between CPGB members, the journal was a pretty standard publication under the editorship of James Klugmann. When Martin Jacques took it over in 1977, it marked the beginning of the journal as a lightning rod for the ‘Eurocommunist’ wing of the Party.
Post 04 Sep 2014, 15:13
Pretty cool stuff, thanks.
Post 11 Sep 2014, 16:59
Communist Party Statment on Referendum on Scottish Independence May 2014 ... e-may-2014

Scottish Communist Party opposes independence, they seem to be in general agreement with the Labour Party claim that more small nations will only fuel the neoliberal race to the bottom.
Post 11 Sep 2014, 22:38
I totally agree with the SCP here. Scotland only stand to lose and any "independence" is simply dependence on England being transferred to dependence on Europe or whomever. And even worse local bourgeoisie will hold this up as some great accomplishment of the People.
Post 15 Sep 2014, 02:12
I have been looking through the archives of Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie
It was the official academic philosophy journal of East Germany, published by Akademie Verlag. Given the strong German tradition in philosophy, much of the most important theoretical work in dialectical materialism was carried out in its pages. It also included important contributions from progressive scholars around the world.

I'm particularly interested in the Hegel Scholarship that took place in DDR. ... ue-5-6.xml

Just looking over the list of articles on the topic of Hegel, using Google Translate, gives you an idea of the type of Hegel scholarship that was conducted in the DDR. Much groundbreaking work was done, and I can only hope that it will become more available in the West. I think the philosophical advances of the Eastern Bloc, will play an important role in the revitalization of a dialectical materialist philosophy.
Post 20 Sep 2014, 07:08
Trotskyist article on Assad and Syria. While arguing against the "false idea that the Assad regime is somehow progressive", it also includes background historical information about how the Ted Grant and the CWI once considered Syria a 'deformed workers state' in line with China, Russia, Korea, based largely on the nationalization of industry. ... come-2.htm

Also with Google Translate, the Utopia Forums offer a unique insight into the state of the Maoist New Left in China. Particularly the Sichao or literally Thought-Collision section, which includes many debates on ideological struggle.

Wikipedia has a pretty thorough article about how the Primary stage of socialism concept was used to introduce a market economy to China, using Marxist justifications. ... _socialism
Post 01 Oct 2014, 21:39
The Index of Economic Freedom an annual index and ranking created by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal ranks Hong Kong as the most economically free nation on earth

The Anarcho-Capitalist Libertarian Utopia

This is what the ruling Liberal Party of Hong Kong advocates
Formed by businessmen and tycoons from various business sectors in Hong Kong, the Liberal Party is considered conservative and pro-business. In reference to the Liberal Party name, founding chairman Allen Lee Peng-fei said that "liberalism" would be the party's cherished ideal, with its values being free enterprise, equal opportunity, and individual freedom,[2] but it expounds liberal conservative economic policies such as opposition to a minimum wage, collective bargaining and antitrust legislation. The Liberals also support limited government, low taxes, a high degree of economic freedom and uphold the interests of small and medium enterprises.
The party does not advocate welfare entitlements. Many of its members are from professionals, the merchant and business sectors and see preserving the current state of economic freedom as most advantageous for Hong Kong as a whole. The party adheres to social conservatism and opposes same-sex marriage.[4] The party supported the functional constituency which represented the business interest that they should stay in the Legislative Council.
Post 10 Oct 2014, 01:46
Dialectical Materialism and Moneyball

ESPN had an article on Mike Gimbel, who is former Workers World Party member. He had done important work in developing the dialectics of physics.

But he is also famous as the Billy Beane before Beane, and for applying scientific sabometrics to baseball.

He also made a video calling of Stalinists and Trotskyists to work together ... Myh8eTdjzw
Post 11 Oct 2014, 21:54
Black Versus Yellow
Class Antagonism and Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement

Interesting article on the class contradictions within the Hong Kong 'occupy' movement. Draws attention to the anti-immigrant racist nature of the protests towards the New Hong Konger immigrants.

At the same time it also talks about Hong Kong as a laissez-faire experiment in the pure free market.

william z foster History of the Communist Party of the United States. ... ss_10.html
particularly interesting is the early history of Marxism in USA such as the SLP.
Post 22 Oct 2014, 06:06
I have been reading The Marxist which is the theoretical journal of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) it has very useful articles both from the CPIM and from the international communist movement, and is a good source for English translations from other CPs.
Post 01 Nov 2014, 05:15
Burkina Faso: Ghost of 'Africa's Che Guevara'
In the weeks before violent protests, some Burkinabes' thoughts turned to slain leader Thomas Sankara for inspiration. ... 82241.html
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