European Communism: 1848-1991 (European History in Perspective)

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Except for Europe, all the other con- tinents had a representative a Planeteer. The Soviet Union also stood for Europe3 and it was somehow considered a continent. Unlike in previous an- tagonistic propaganda materials, the Soviet Union was portrayed as part of the solution and not part of the problem; it was not vilified but accepted as one entity with equal responsibilities towards the planet, and even used as a me- tonymy for one important continent. Although this was a deep substratum of the cartoon that could not have probably been of any interest to children, it did reflect the place of the USSR in the American imaginary.

It is true that by 1 Song by Tracy Chapman. Nevertheless, after historians were quick to adopt a moralizing posi- tion. Still, the Western symbolic geography of everyday life accepted the Soviet Union domination over these countries. One must admit that for decades this particular status quo of the world was acknowledged as such and eventually agreed upon by the two superpowers.

Kowalski, Ronald

But there was more to Communism than symbolic geography, the East versus West perspectives, the Soviet bloc and the Western bloc etc. I dare say it was not an illusion6 in the sense Furet argued it had been — that it left no traces, unlike other civilizational societies — since we can still see the consequences up to this day. Scholars study these consequences, as well as at the cooperation between experts in the two Blocs, the reconceptualization of the Global South and the role it played in the Cold War conflict, the cultural links and interactions, the economic inter- plays and the military issues.


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The end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th were character- ized by much turmoil and social unrest8. The pressure for change was increas- ing in the rest of Europe as much as in Russia and it was brought about by high levels of poverty and low standards of life among workers and, in many parts, peasants. From the Bolshevik point of view, revolution not only had a political meaning, but it also implied radical changes of everyday life, from work life to family life — as most Russian socialists considered themselves bearers of moral virtues The Western developments of Marxism and the Soviet Marxism respec- tively approached the role of workers and intellectuals in politics and the role of revolution differently.

The fact that most Communist parties, especially those in Europe, acted as forerunners of the Soviet Communist Party, with little to almost no space to act according to their own strategies due to the 21 points 6 Furet 8. They regained legitimacy and trust in the Western world only after the Second World War and due to the anti-fascist fights and rhetoric. In most of Central and Eastern Europe though, Communist parties became the dominant rulers or even the l on e ly rulers, which were ascribed the grand task of revolutionizing the society in the ab- sence of the basis of a real revolution but through a long and very complex process that would leave many casualties behind.

This process included the post-war recovery and reconstruction. Was anything scientific, one might ask, about the implications of the com- munist r evolution? Marx was focused on analysing the present, not the future. But Soviet Marxism was creating just that — a scientific recipe for achieving the superior world order of unexploited work and happiness, a rec- ipe the countries in the Eastern Bloc were expected to apply.

Moreover, everything that was revolutionary about the Russian revolution in the romantic sense — new, creative and energetic — was destroyed by the institutionalization of the revolution, by creating the paradox of wrapping the establishment in revolutionary language. According to Claude Lefort, Han- nah Arendt was the one to explain the functioning of a totalitarian regime, namely by creating organizations and institutions that incorporated the 13 Kowalski This was not very difficult to achieve in a society that had never made any room for rights, as Claude Lefort further notes Revolution, notes Arendt, produces its political bodies spontaneously — councils in the Hungarian revolution, Soviets in the Russian one , but they are not meant to take upon social, economic and administrative tasks, which in turn are the duties of parties as representative bodies.

The Revolution was thus defeated by bureaucratization and the Soviet control, and its spirit buried under the need for a secure, unique though vio- lent front and path towards communism. Science was used within clear ideo- logical frames and purposes, as was the case with Lysenkoism Fortunately, the time of judgement seems to have passed and the time of analysis has come.

The issue is divided into four sections: I. The first section deals with different aspects of propaganda and its multiple consequences on the respective societies and in international affairs. The second part of the Yearbook consists of articles that examine various professions in the Communist regimes from a national and transnational point of view, thus attempting to understand the connections between the Communist state and professionals, or between the professionals themselves beyond the Communist state and the Iron Curtain.

Transnational Romanian architectural exchanges during the first two decades of the Cold War, traces the careers of architects in the Communist regime and the impact trans- national experiences had on those as well as on party members. In time, these experiences shed light on choices regarding the iconic images of self-represen- tation both at national and international levels. By using documents preserved in their entirety at the Berliner Haus fuer Kul- turarbeit in Berlin ranging from to , Goudin reconstructs the strat- egies of the SED designed to transform art into an actual medium for convey- ing the socialist revolutionary cause and a vector for national identification with the Communist state.

The third section of the Yearbook contains contributions that examine the reactions of Communist parties as well as their destinies after the collapse of the Soviet Bloc. The author opens up new research perspectives on this topic via this case study on Romania, by resorting to recent methodological contributions on the subject and by arguing for the importance of a thorough discussion on a topic with such historical and judicial implications. Works Cited Arendt, Hannah. On Revolution. London: Penguin. Diner, Dan. Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press. Figes, Orlando.

History of Soviet Russia and the Soviet Union (1917–27)

The Whisperers. Trecutul unei iluzii. Boulder: Westview Press. Brown, Edward E. New York: Cyrco Press. The European left: Italy, France, and Spain. Lexington: Lexington Books. Leonhard, Wolfgang Eurocommunism: challenge for East and West. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. Boggs, Carl and David Plotke eds. The politics of Eurocommunism: socialism in transition. Boston: South End Press. Childs, David ed. The changing face of Western communism. London: Croom Helm.

Book Reviews

Middlemas, Keith Power and the party: changing faces of Western communism. London: Deutsch. In search of Eurocommunism. Basingstoke: Macmillan. Lange, Peter and Maurizio Vannicelli eds. The communist parties of Italy, France and Spain: postwar change and continuity. A casebook. London: Allen and Unwin. Boggs, Carl The impasse of European communism. Linkssozialisten in Europa.

Alternativen zu Sozialdemokratie und Kommunistischen Parteien. Hamburg: Junius. Machin, Howard ed. National communism in Western Europe: a third way to socialism? New York: Meuthen. Timmermann, Heinz Teil I: Italien, Frankreich, Spanien.

Also by Ronald Kowalski

Le communisme en Europe occidentale. Communisme , 11— The decline of the world communist movement: Moscow, Beijing, and Communist parties of the West. Marcou, Lilly Lazar, Marc Communist Parties in Western Europe: decline or adaptation? Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Kellmann, Klaus Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta. Waller, Michael Waller, Michael ed. Comrades and brothers: communism and trade unions in Europe [special issue].

Journal of Communist Studies 6 4. Narkiewicz, Olga The end of the Bolshevik dream: Western European communist parties in the late twentieth century. London: Routledge. Stern, Geoffrey The rise and decline of international communism. Aldershot: Edward Elgar. Alexander, Robert J. International Trotskyism, — a documented analysis of the movement. Durham: Duke University Press. Bull, Martin J. Comrades and brothers: communism and trade unions in Europe.

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London: Frank Cass. Weitz, Eric D. Popular communism: political strategies and social histories in the formation of the German, French, and Italian communist parties, — Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Maisons rouges. Paris: Aubier. Sassoon, Donald Wilson, Frank Vergleichende Studie zu linken Parteien und Bewegungen in Europa. Bonn: Pahl-Rugenstein. The failure of West European communism: implications for the future.

New York: Paragon. Bell, David ed. West European communism and the collapse of communism. London: Berg. West European communist parties after the revolutions of Anderson, Perry and Patrick Camiller Mapping the West European radical left. London: Verso. Ferrari, Franco Le sinistre in Europa. Partiti e movimenti nei singoli paesi europei dalla Scandinavia al Mediterraneo. Roma: Datanews.


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    European Communism - Ronald I. Kowalski - Google книги

    Botella, Juan and Luis Ramiro eds. Barcelona: ICPS. Guiat, Cyrille The French and Italian communist parties: comrades and culture. The crisis of Western Communist parties: reconsidering socio-structural explanations. Marantzidis, Nikos Brie, Michael and Cornelia Hildebrandt eds. Linke Parteien im Aufbruch. Pina, Christina March, Luke and Cas Mudde Dunphy, Richard Manchester: Manchester University Press. Kowalski, Ronald European communism: — Parteien und Bewegungen. Die Linke im Aufbruch. Service, Robert A history of world communism.

    The Revolutions of 1848 (AP European History)

    Bracke, Maud West European communism and the Czechoslovak crisis of Budapest: CEU Press. Kroll, Thomas Horn, Gerd—Rainer Rebellion in Western Europe and North America, — Bolshevism, Stalinism and the comintern. Perspectives on Stalinization, — Klimke, Martin and Joachim Scharloth eds. London: Palgrave. March, Luke Contemporary far left parties in Europe: from Marxism to mainstream?

    Backes, Uwe and Patrick Moreau eds. Communist and post-communist parties in Europe. Kulturrevolution als Vorbild? Maoismen im deutschsprachigen Raum. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.