ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Kunal ChattopadhyaySubscribe to Kunal Chattopadhyay

Revolutionary Democracy in 1917 and the Bolsheviks

It was the highly proletarianised Bolshevik party that was central to revolutionary democracy coming into being in 1917, but the bulk of the non-Bolshevik left chose to go along with liberalism. Hostile to any notion of revolutionary democracy in opposition to bourgeois institutions, the major non-Bolshevik left parties felt more at ease with the liberals than with the “dark” proletarian masses, who appeared uneducated or semi-educated, and who seemed to be moved by illusions rather than the left intelligentsia’s doctrinaire understanding of Marxism. What mainly killed the fledgling revolutionary democracy was the reluctance of the other socialist parties to form a government with the Bolsheviks on the basis of an acceptance of the Congress of Soviets as the foundation of that proposed government’s power. The Left Socialist Revolutionaries pulling out of the Soviet government and the coming of the Civil War did the rest.

The Thucydides of the Russian Revolution

Leon Trotsky’s The History of the Russian Revolution (1930) remains the best detailed introduction to the revolution, its social complexities, its narrative, and its class dynamics. Embedded within the narrative of the three-volume tome is a contribution to the development of the tools of a materialist understanding of history and a number of theoretical and analytical issues. Importantly, Trotsky shows that only through crises and interactions between masses, cadres and leaders could the revolutionary process go forward. The ultimate success of the Russian Revolution however depended on a wider context—it had to be a part of a bigger international socialist revolution.

Teachers Agitation at Jadavpur

Kunal Chattopadhyay Relations between the West Bengal government and university teachers have been deteriorating and matters have not been helped by some recent developments in Jadavpur University which have given rise to the suspicion that the government is using its rules for re-employment of superannuated teachers selectively as a weapon to control non-pliant sections of teachers.

A Beery Eyed View of History

A Beery Eyed View of History Kunal Chattopadhyay THERE are many tendencies in the school of anti-Trotskyism. There are of course, those who have long mastered the skills of outright slander and are not relicent about using them. But with the demise of Stalin, the partial de-Stalinisation (and de- Maoification) of much of the communist world this approach is largely out of fashion. If there is still place for the odd slanderous remark, more preferred nowadays, is the sly innuendo, the superficial, distorted and selective presentation of historical events, all the better to discredit the object of attack. For a noteworthy example of this one need go no further than AM's Calcutta Diary (EPW, July 5, 1986) where the writer has used the sad death of Sheila Perera as little more than a peg to launch a skirmish against Trotskysim and Trotskyists, It is a hit-and- run skirmish not a frontal assault. The latter would require as a pre-condition a much more rigorous presentation of both the theory and practice of Trotskyism, whereas AM who leaves us in no doubt that no one should take Trotskyism that seriously, much prefers the "dismissive" mode. He is wise to do so, for were he to attempt any such assault he would have to move from the safer ground of "style" to that of "content", and he would, quite simply, be outgunned, which if nothing else would be damaging for his reputation.

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