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How Stalin Built and Buried Communism

by Mitchell Abidor   Discussed in this essay: Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, by Stephen Kotkin. Penguin Press, 2017, 1154 pages.   AT THE OPENING of Stephen Koptkin’s magisterial Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, the second volume of his biography of the Soviet leader and gravedigger of the revolution, Lenin has been dead for five years and Stalin, […]

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May 1: Raya Dunayevskaya and Marxist Humanism

Raya Dunayevskaya, a lifelong Marxist who served Leon Trotsky as secretary during his Mexican exile and broke with him over his defense of the USSR as a “workers’ state” following the Hitler-Stalin Pact (she insisted that the Soviet Union practiced “state capitalism”), was born Raya Shpigel in the Ukraine on this date in 1910. In […]

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May 29: Radziwillow

Fifteen hundred Jews were rounded up and slaughtered by the Nazis and Ukrainian paramilitaries in Radziwillow, Ukraine on this date in 1942. A group of five hundred young men led by Asher Czerkaski then broke out of the ghetto and reached the surrounding woods, but the great majority were soon hunted down and murdered. Fifty […]

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November 7: Leon Trotsky

Leon Trotsky (Lev Bronshtayn) was born on this date in 1879, which means that the 1917 Russian Revolution, which he helped to lead and defend in the civil war that immediately followed it, took place on his 38th birthday. Trotsky was arrested in 1898 for revolutionary activity and spent more than four years in prison […]

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August 23: The Hitler-Stalin Pact

The Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union, also known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the Hitler-Stalin Pact, was signed on this date in 1939. Under its terms, both countries agreed to remain neutral in the event that either was attacked. A secret protocol to the treaty divided northern and eastern Europe into […]

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Proletpen and American Yiddish Poetry

How the Left was Excluded from the Yiddish Canon by Dovid Katz History, they say, is written by the victors. That is the case not only for the military history of nation-states; it can even apply within the heritage of stateless minority cultures and in the university study of their literatures, where there should theoretically […]

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