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Communist History: An Annual Bibliography (2006)

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This article re-evaluates the so-called ‘agitator theory' of strikes, the popular (often media-induced) notion that industrial militancy is the work of a few hard-core militant shop stewards and/or left-wing political ‘agitators.' It suggests that while many industrial relations academics have traditionally refused to accept such a one-dimensional explanation for strikes, for example in relation to the Communist Party in the post-war years, many have generally gone too far and fallen into the alternative trap of neglecting the influence of politically influenced activists and shop stewards. Re-evaluating the agitator ‘theory' by an equally critical consideration of six of the counter-arguments levelled in the past by its academic industrial relations opponents, the article provides evidence to suggest that, despite exaggeration and distortion, there is clearly an important element of truth in the thesis; agency in collective workplace mobilization, in particular the role of leadership by union militants and left-wing activists, can be an important (although by no means exclusive) variable in an understanding of the dynamics of workplace industrial action in both contemporary and historical settings.
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This chapter looks at the effects of party intervention on the internal operations of the Composers' Union over the entire postwar period, evaluating the institutional changes, personnel transformations, and patterns of professional discussion in the Composers' Union after 1948. An examination of these areas demonstrates that although the Composers' Union underwent substantial internal transformations in response to party intervention, it nevertheless maintained a sphere in which professional evaluation was decisive. Increasingly distant professionals exhibited their agency by shifting categories of expertise in the Composers' Union creative apparatus, by redistributing the concentration of creative authority within the Union, and by retreating behind opaque technical discussions in order to exchange artistic ideas and generate and deploy professional authority that was sometimes at odds with the dictates of the party agenda. The paradoxical result of this series of party interventions into musical life was a striking professional consolidation.
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During the 1930s and 1940s, the Communist Party of Great Britain was a significant force in Britain on the left-wing of the labour movement and among intellectuals, despite its relatively small membership. The narrative it provided on developments in Palestine and on the Arab nationalist movements contested Zionist accounts. After the 1941 German attack on the Soviet Union, the party, to gain the support of the Jewish community for a broad anti-fascist alliance, toned down its criticism of Zionism and, in the immediate post-war period, to accord with the Soviet Union's strategic objectives in the Middle East, it reversed its earlier opposition to Zionism. During the 1948 war and for some years thereafter it largely ignored the plight of the Palestinians and their nationalist aspirations.
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Soon after a strike at the huge Sudbury mining operations of the International Nickel Company—also known as Inco—had begun on September 24, 1958, a wave of anticommunist hysteria swept the northern Ontario mining town of Sudbury. The press depicted miners’ families held ransom by union bullies and the events as a battle between Godless communists and faithful Catholics: “Two thousand Inco miners’ wives urge men to return to work”; “Inco wives defy goons, yell ‘Go back to Russia’ ”; “Inco wives form anti-Red faction.”2 Reports by “faithful” workers’ wives challenging the members of the union and their “Ladies’ Auxiliary” dominated the media. They claimed that the union’s “communist leaders” were being unreasonable in their unwillingness to accept the nickel giant’s offer. “It’s time we heard the truth from the union,” declared Mrs. Regina Talbot. “We want our men to go back to work, and they should have some say in the matter.” Ethel Lasalles, acting secretary for the Back to Work movement, a wives’ oppositional group, told the local radio station: “We women have taken the initiative and we feel that it is up to the men to follow through on our resolutions. How much longer are you going to permit yourselves to be hidden behind the Red Curtain?”3 The International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers (Mine Mill), led by left-wing unionists, was under siege in both the United States and Canada.
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Music and Revolution provides a dynamic introduction to the most prominent artists and musical styles that have emerged in Cuba since 1959 and to the policies that have shaped artistic life. Robin D. Moore gives readers a chronological overview of the first decades after the Cuban Revolution, documenting the many ways performance has changed and emphasizing the close links between political and cultural activity. Offering a wealth of fascinating details about music and the milieu that engendered it, the author traces the development of dance styles, nueva trova, folkloric drumming, religious traditions, and other forms. He describes how the fall of the Soviet Union has affected Cuba in material, ideological, and musical terms and considers the effect of tense international relations on culture. Most importantly, Music and Revolution chronicles how the arts have become a point of negotiation between individuals, with their unique backgrounds and interests, and official organizations. It uses music to explore how Cubans have responded to the priorities of the revolution and have created spaces for their individual concerns.
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In the spring of 1917, shortly after the United States entered World War I and adopted universal, male, military conscription, American war resisters and draft dodgers known at the time as “the slackers” began to arrive in Mexico. Senator Albert Bacon Fall claimed there were 30,000 slackers hiding out in Mexico, and slacker Linn A.E. Gale agreed with him. When American adventurer, reporter and writer Harry L. Foster passed through Mexico City in 1919, he noted that there were hundreds of Americans, many of them slackers, loitering in the city’s parks and plazas.
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Some of the most beloved characters in film and television inhabit two-dimensional worlds that spring from the fertile imaginations of talented animators. The movements, characterizations, and settings in the best animated films are as vivid as any live action film, and sometimes seem more alive than life itself. In this case, Hollywood's marketing slogans are fitting; animated stories are frequently magical, leaving memories of happy endings in young and old alike. However, the fantasy lands animators create bear little resemblance to the conditions under which these artists work. Anonymous animators routinely toiled in dark, cramped working environments for long hours and low pay, especially at the emergence of the art form early in the twentieth century. In Drawing the Line, veteran animator Tom Sito chronicles the efforts of generations of working men and women artists who have struggled to create a stable standard of living that is as secure as the worlds their characters inhabit. The former president of America's largest animation union, Sito offers a unique insider's account of animators' struggles with legendary studio kingpins such as Jack Warner and Walt Disney, and their more recent battles with Michael Eisner and other Hollywood players. Based on numerous archival documents, personal interviews, and his own experiences, Sito's history of animation unions is both carefully analytical and deeply personal. Drawing the Line stands as a vital corrective to this field of Hollywood history and is an important look at the animation industry's past, present, and future. Like most elements of the modern commercial media system, animation is rapidly being changed by the forces of globalization and technological innovation. Yet even as pixels replace pencils and bytes replace paints, the working relationship between employer and employee essentially remains the same. In Drawing the Line, Sito challenges the next wave of animators to heed the lessons of their predecessors by organizing and acting collectively to fight against the enormous pressures of the marketplace for their class interests-and for the betterment of their art form. Copyright © 2006 by The University Press of Kentucky. All rights reserved.
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Communism was never a popular ideology in America, but the vehemence of American anticommunism varied from passive disdain in the 1920s to fervent hostility in the early years of the Cold War. Nothing so stimulated the white hot anticommunism of the late 1940s and 1950s more than a series of spy trials that revealed that American Communists had co-operated with Soviet espionage against the United States and had assisted in stealing the technical secrets of the atomic bomb as well as penetrating the U.S. State Department, the Treasury Department, and the White House itself. This book reviews the major spy cases of the early Cold War (Hiss-Chambers, Rosenberg, Bentley, Gouzenko, Coplon, Amerasia and others) and the often-frustrating clashes between the exacting rules of the American criminal justice system and the requirements of effective counter-espionage.
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Since the Second World War, Marxism in Britain has declined almost to the point of oblivion. The Communist Party of Great Britain had more than 50,000 members in the early 1940s, but less than 5,000 when it disbanded in 1991. Dissenting and Trotskyist organisations experienced a very similar decline, although there has been a late flowering of Marxism in Scotland. Based on the Communist Party archives at Manchester, this text examines the decline over the last sixty years. Dealing with the impact of the Cold War upon British Marxism, the book looks at how international events such as the Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechslovakia affected the Communist Party of Great Britain. The issues of Marxism and Britain's withdrawal from the Empire are also addressed, as are the Marxist influence upon British industrial relations and its involvement in the feminist movement. Focusing on the current debate in British Marxist history over the influence of Moscow and Stalinism on the Communist Party, Keith Laybourn explores the ways in which this issue, which divides historians, undermined Marxism in Britain.
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Would it have been possible to build a unified and democratic Germany half a century before the fall of the Berlin Wall? This book reassesses this question by exploring Germany's division after World War II from the point of view of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands or SED), the communist-led and Soviet-sponsored ruling party of East Germany. Drawing on unpublished documents from the SED archives, the book rejects claims that the East German comrades and their Soviet masters had abandoned their struggle for socialism and were willing to accept a democratic Germany in exchange for a pledge to neutrality. It argues that the communists' sudden switch to a multi-party approach at the end of the war was a tactical move inspired not by a desire for compromise but by the mistaken belief that they could win political hegemony - and the chance to introduce socialism throughout Germany - through the ballot box. Communist optimism, as this book shows, rested on specific assumptions about the situation after the war, all of which revolved around the prospect of political instability and social unrest in West Germany. The comrades in East Berlin did not just say that their regime would ultimately prevail, they genuinely believed it. Nor should their hopes be dismissed as a mere fantasy. In the aftermath of the war, the economic gap between the two Germanies was still relatively narrow and West Germany's future success as a magnet for the people in East Germany was by no means guaranteed.
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Kosher pork -- an oxymoron? Anna Shternshis's fascinating study traces the creation of a Soviet Jewish identity that disassociated Jewishness from Judaism. The cultural transformation of Soviet Jews between 1917 and 1941 was one of the most ambitious experiments in social engineering of the past century. During this period, Russian Jews went from relative isolation to being highly integrated into the new Soviet culture and society, while retaining a strong ethnic and cultural identity. This identity took shape during the 1920s and 1930s, when the government attempted to create a new Jewish culture, "national in form" and "socialist in content." Soviet and Kosher is the first study of key Yiddish documents that brought these Soviet messages to Jews, notably the "Red Haggadah," a Soviet parody of the traditional Passover manual; songs about Lenin and Stalin; scripts from regional theaters; Socialist Realist fiction; and magazines for children and adults. More than 200 interviews conducted by the author in Russia, Germany, and the United States testify to the reception of these cultural products and provide a unique portrait of the cultural life of the average Soviet Jew.
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The year was 1969. In a Chicago courthouse, David Dellinger, one of the Chicago Eight, stood trial for conspiring to disrupt the National Democratic Convention. Dellinger, a long-time but relatively unknown activist, was suddenly, at fifty-three, catapulted into the limelight for his part in this intense courtroom drama.From obscurity to leader of the antiwar movement, David Dellinger is the first full biography of a man who bridged the gap between the Old Left and the New Left. Born in 1915 in the upscale Boston suburb of Wakefield to privilege, Dellinger attended Yale during the Depression, where he became an ardent pacifist and antiwar activist. Rejecting his parents' affluent lifestyle, he endured lengthy prison sentences as a conscientious objector to World War II and created a commune in northern New Jersey in the 1940s, a prototype for those to follow twenty years later. His instrumental role in the creation of Liberation magazine in 1956 launched him onto the national stage. Writing regular essays for the influential radical monthly on the arms race and the Civil Rights movement, he earned an audience among the New Left radicals. As anti-Vietnam sentiment grew, he became, in Abbie Hoffman's words, the father of the antiwar movement and the architect of the 1968 demonstrations in Chicago. He remained active in anti-war causes until his death on May 25, 2004 at age 88. Vilified by critics and glorified by supporters, Dellinger was a man of contradictions: a rigid Ghandian who nonetheless supported violent revolutionary movements; a radical thinker and gifted writer forced to work as a baker to feed his large family; and a charismatic leader who taught his followers to distrust all leaders. Along the way, he encountered Eleanor Roosevelt, Ho Chi Minh, Martin Luther King, Jr., the Black Panthers and all the other major figures of the American Left. The remarkable story of a stubborn visionary torn between revolution and compromise, David Dellinger reveals the perils of dissent in America through the struggles of one of our most important dissenters.
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This book addresses the field ofAmerican fiction and literary criticism during the years of the Great Depression in America. The political, social, and cultural upheavals that followed the stock market crash of 1929 made the thirties a complex decade during which leftist intellectuals merged new ideologies with long-existing structures of national identity. The conclusions reached, based on these attempted mergers of ideology and identity, were in turn altered by the national political developments that ensued as the country underwent modernizing reconfigurations of the national infrastructure. While political shifts altered the path ofthe radical Left political movements, the literary culture produced by these movements was influenced, even more directly, by the increasing ubiquity of mass culture.
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Pinks, Pansies, and Punks charts the construction of masculinity within American literary culture from the 1930s to the 1970s. Penner documents the emergence of "macho criticism," and explores how debates about "hard" and "soft" masculinity influenced the class struggles of the 1930s, anti-communism in the 1940s and 1950s, and the clash between the Old Left and the New Left in the 1960s. By extending literary culture to include not just novels, plays, and poetry, but diaries, journals, manifestos, screenplays, and essays on psychology and sociology, Penner unveils the multiplicity of gender attitudes that emerge in each of the decades he addresses
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The Cold War was the longest conflict in a century defined by the scale and brutality of its conflicts. In the battle between the democratic West and the communist East there was barely a year in which the West was not organising, fighting or financing some foreign war. It was an engagement that resulted - in Korea, Guatemala, Nicaragua and elsewhere - in some twenty million dead. This collection of essays analyses the literary response to the coups, insurgencies and invasions that took place around the globe, and explores the various thematic and stylistic trends that Cold War hostilities engendered in world writing. Drawing together scholars of various cultural backgrounds, the volume focuses upon such themes as representation, nationalism, political resistance, globalisation and ideological scepticism. Eschewing the typical focus in Cold War scholarship on Western authors and genres, there is an emphasis on the literary voices that emerged from what are often considered the 'peripheral' regions of Cold War geo-politics. Ranging in focus from American postmodernism to Vietnamese poetry, from Cuban autobiography to Maoist theatre, and from African fiction to Soviet propaganda, this book will be of real interest to all those working in twentieth-century literary studies, cultural studies, history and politics. © 2006 Andrew Hammond editorial matter and selection; the contributors their contributions. All rights reserved.
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This is an impressive work that traces the relationship between the Soviet Union and Turkey on the one hand, and the Soviet Union and the Turkish Communist Party on the other, from the consolidation of the communist regime in Moscow until its fall. The book considers how 'Soviet Eastern Policy' was formed, how it changed over time, what the Soviet leaders hoped to gain in Turkey, and what impact Soviet policy had on the development of the Turkish communist movement. It is a valuable resource for students and scholars with an interest in Russian and Soviet poltics and international relations.
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Despite the appalling record of the Soviet Union on human rights questions, many western intellectuals with otherwise impeccable liberal credentials were strong supporters the Soviet Union in the interwar period. This book explores how this seemingly impossible situation came about. Focusing in particular on the work of various official and semi-official bodies, including Comintern, the International Association of Revolutionary Writers, the All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, and the Foreign Commission of the Soviet Writers' Union, this book shows how cultural propaganda was always a high priority for the Soviet Union, and how successful this cultural propaganda was in seducing so many Western thinkers.
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Chicago, Department of History, June 2001. Includes bibliographical references.
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El auge del antisemitismo en las derechas europeas de los años treinta constituye un factor importante para explicar la alta proporción de judíos en las Brigadas Internacionales. En Europa occidental, muchos brigadistas provienen de familias inmigrantes afectadas por los problemas político-sociales que sufren los judíos esteeuropeos. En Europa oriental, la crisis de los valores de la sociedad judía tradicional lleva a una intensa movilidad geográfica y política en la generación a la que pertenecen los brigadistas, caracterizada por una radicalización ideológica progresiva. Las motivaciones de estos judíos para participar en la guerra de España no son siempre conscientemente judías pero están determinadas por los procesos particulares de la sociedad judía de la época.
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positions: east asia cultures critique 14.2 (2006) 449-466 After the end of the Cultural Revolution, the field of literary research in China became invigorated. While scholars favorably evaluated May Fourth and New Era literature, they basically rejected 1930s left-wing literature (including resistance war literature and literature from the liberated areas). They thought New Era literature was the only true inheritor of the May Fourth literary tradition. In this appraisal, 1930s left-wing literature was seen as breaking with the May Fourth literary tradition because it was thought to be merely political and artistically lacking. This is the source of what has been referred to as the theory of the void (kongbai lun). I do not believe this is a fair appraisal of left-wing literature, nor does it fit with the developmental history of Chinese literature. There are objective reasons for this viewpoint; for example, left-wing literature often overemphasizes its service to politics, at times overlooking artistic creation. It can even be seen as a weapon for class struggle, which gave rise to the tragedies of the Anti-Rightist Campaign and the Cultural Revolution. While this may be true, I believe the current rejection of 1930s left-wing literature goes too far in trying to correct past wrongs; it throws out the baby with the bath water. I believe the development of left-wing literature is intimately related to May Fourth literature. First, left-wing literature inherited the spirit of May Fourth literature. May Fourth literature was also political, written in the service of concrete social politics. The most obvious example of this is the "Ibsen fever" that appeared during the May Fourth period, when Henrik Ibsen's plays were frequently adapted into Chinese while those of another great playwright, William Shakespeare, were virtually ignored. Why was this so? Because the topics Ibsen wrote about, individual liberation, women's liberation, and freedom in marriage, fit well with the goals of the May Fourth New Culture Movement. Therefore, at that time many plays imitating Ibsen's A Doll's House appeared, such as Hu Shi's Marriage (Zhongshen dashi), Ouyang Yuqing's The Shrew (Pofu), Ding Xilin's A Wasp (Yizhi mayi), Tian Han's One Night in a Café (Kafeidian zhi yiye), and so on. It is apparent from this brief look that Ibsenism was in accordance with the pursuits and thinking of contemporary Chinese people. Second, left-wing literature developed the May Fourth spirit. Chinese left-wing literature (including resistance war literature and literature from the liberated areas) did not break with the May Fourth literary tradition; rather, it continued along the path it created. Moreover, it solved a problem May Fourth literature could never find a solution to—namely, the problem of popularization. In his work "On Literary Revolution" ("Wenxue geming lun"), Chen Duxiu spelled out three important principles of revolutionary literature: "(1) Down with the ornate, sycophantic literature of the aristocracy; up with the plain, expressive literature of the people! (2) Down with stale, pompous classical literature; up with fresh, sincere realist literature! (3) Down with obscure, abstruse eremitic literature; up with comprehensible, popularized social literature!" The manifesto of the Literary Research Association proclaimed: "The time for seeing literature as a game to play when we are happy or as a diversion for when we are frustrated is now past. We believe literature is work, and it is work vital to life." Their goals were for literary creation to reflect reality in social life and to serve the needs of the broad reading populace. The May Fourth period set literature down a good path, but in its developmental process it did not accomplish its goals of going to the people; its influence remained limited to the circle of the intellectuals. It is said that at the time Lu Xun asked his mother to read his story "Diary of a Madman" ("Kuangren riji") and when she did she said, "This is fiction (xiaoshuo)?" Lu Xun's mother obviously believed fiction should...
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This article aims at analyzing the means of political influence that private entrepreneurs have accumulated along the years. For the Party-State that wishes to maintain (or even strengthen) its monopoly on political activities, the challenge is clearly to adjust to the rapidly changing shape of the Chinese society. The question being addressed is therefore how, in a still authoritarian regime, the emergence of a new social group or stratum, economically and socially influent, affects the political realm. In the first section, this article reviews the conditions of the re-emergence of private entrepreneurship in communist China, which should be credited both to initiatives coming from the society and the setting up of a new legal framework, and how this development lead to the Three Represents theory. Secondly, it looks at the various ways entrepreneurs take part in the political arena. Finally, a third section tries to assess the consequences of this participation.