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The Uncivil Servant: Revolutionary Bandits

by Mitchell Abidor   Discussed in this essay: Ballad of the Anarchist Bandits: The Crime Spree that Gripped Belle Epoque Paris, by John Merriman. Nation Books, 2017, 327 pages. FRENCH ANARCHISM, so important in the history of leftwing politics, giving the world Louise Michel and Sébastien Faure and providing a home to so many exiles, was […]

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The Rosenbergs Go On Trial

The trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg began on this date in 1951. Charged with conspiracy to commit atomic espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union, they would become the first civilians executed as spies in U.S. history — on June 19, 1953. Opposition to their sentence became an international cause, with Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert […]

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Daniel Ellsberg on Nuclear War

by Dusty Sklar Discussed in this essay: The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, by Daniel Ellsberg. Bloomsbury, 2017, 424 pages.   WE ARE ALL NERVOUS about the current possibility of nuclear warfare, but Daniel Ellsberg has decided to do what he can to prevent it from happening. His recent book, The Doomsday Machine, reveals […]

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Stalin, Mikhoels, and the Doctors’ Plot

Solomon Mikhoels, the Soviet Union’s foremost Jewish actor and theater director, was arrested and murdered on Stalin’s orders on January 12-13 in 1948. Mikhoels was the artistic director of the Moscow State Jewish Theater and chaired the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, which had traveled widely to rally international Jewish support for the Soviet Union during World […]

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Angelica Balabanoff

International socialist activist Angelica Balabanoff died in Rome on this date in 1965. She was born in 1878 to a wealthy, privileged Jewish family in Chernigov, near Kiev, in Ukraine, but found the privilege unbearable and rejected it to become a social activist in Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, and Russia. Balabanoff was fluent in several languages and held […]

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The “Double Genocide” Theory

THE NEW AND OFFICIAL FORM OF HOLOCAUST DENIAL by Dovid Katz from the Autumn 2017 issue of Jewish Currents Photo at top: A scene from the June 1941 Lietukis Garage Massacre in Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania. An eyewitness wrote: “The behavior of the civilians present (women and children) was unbelievable. After each man had been killed they […]

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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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A New Socialism (Actually, Three New Socialisms)

by Sparrow   IN 1990, I visited the Soviet Union for three weeks. The cities were dilapidated; the clothing looked like bags. Yet workers promenaded down the street with a pride I’d never seen in a capitalist country. Ever since, I’ve been struggling with this question of how to create a socialist society that isn’t joyless. Last year […]

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The Rise and Fall of the Russian Revolution

LOOKING BACK A CENTURY LATER by Mitchell Abidor From the Autumn 2017 issue of Jewish Currents   Discussed in this essay: October by China Miéville, Verso, 2017, 343 pages; The Dilemmas of Lenin by Tariq Ali. Verso, 2017, 371 pages; Lenin on the Train by Catherine Merridale, Metropolitan Books, 2017, 354 pages.   AT FIRST GLANCE, the notion […]

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