Book Review: Practicing the Good: Desire and Boredom in Soviet Socialism

Marx & Philosophy Review of Books

Practicing the Good: Desire and Boredom in Soviet Socialism

University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, 2020. 336pp., $30 pb
ISBN 9781517909550

Reviewed by Isabel Jacobs

About the reviewer

Isabel Jacobs is a doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature at Queen Mary University of London. …  More

In a recent article, Maria Chehonadskih (2021) argues that the adjective ‘Soviet’ is today used as a `floating signifier’ either embracing totalitarian connotations of the Soviet State or positively referring to the event and legacy of the Russian Revolution. While appreciating the first decade after the Revolution as a period of avant-garde experimentation, Western Marxists still dismiss the Soviet experience of anti-capitalism after the Stalinist period. In fact, Soviet Marxist theories and practices from the 1960-70s are terra incognita for many contemporary Marxist theorists.

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Germany marks Barbarossa anniversary by deploying warplanes to Russia’s borders, singing birthday song for Hitler

19 June 2021 — Anti-Bellum

Rick Rozoff

Only three days before the 80th anniversary of the German-led Operation Barbarossa invasion of Soviet Russia on June 22, 1941, NATO reports that fifteen German warplanes flew near Russia’s northwest border for four days this month, the 14th-17th.

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The Chernyaev Centennial

25 May 2021 — National Security Archive

100th Birthday of Anatoly Sergeyevich marked with latest translated excerpt of his “irreplaceable” diary — the year 1981

Architect of “New Thinking,” champion of glasnost, prolific historian, hero of the end of the Cold War, key source for scholars

Even as Polish Solidarity crisis peaked, Brezhnev “apparently never seriously considered” sending in troops

If Sovietologists got to be a “fly on the wall at the Politburo,” nobody would ever believe this fly

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When Did the “Cold War” End? Part II

21 April 2021 — Internationalist 360°

Vladimir Acosta

Part I: When Did the “Cold War” End?

https://cdni.rbth.com/rbthmedia/images/2020.10/original/5f8e88e015e9f941a2784133.jpg

I have said on other occasions that our humanity, and not exclusively its youngest members, tends to live not only in the world of images, but also in the world of the immediate, and that its inclination to read is increasingly reduced. The current world power, its deceitful media, its websites and its networks are also determined, through confusion and the trivialization of everything, to ensure that the information we seek therein leaves us with little, everything muddled, and that our already disorganized memory becomes increasingly reduced, volatile and insecure. Therefore, as we continue the critical review of the Cold War begun in the previous article, it would not be superfluous to provide, not a useless summary, but a simple enunciation of its main facts, which today are confused or forgotten.

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Gorbachev’s Greatest Hits

2 March 2021 — National Security Archive

Mikhail Sergeyevich Turns 90; Archive marks milestone with new publication of Gorbachev memcons with Castro, Mitterrand, and Shamir; compilation of dozens of Gorbachev primary sources. 

Gorbachev made history, then freed history by opening his documents

Washington, D.C., March 2, 2021 – The first and only president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, is turning 90 years old today in Moscow.   On the occasion of his anniversary, the National Security Archive has compiled a collection of postings called “Gorbachev’s Greatest Hits.”  These documents help illuminate the story of the end of the Cold War, political reform of the Soviet system, and the vision of a world built on universal human values.

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Review: Scott Anderson, Four CIA spies at the dawn of the Cold War — a tragedy in three acts (2021)

17 February 2021 — Eric Walberg

Written by Eric Walberg Эрик Вальберг/ Уолберг إيريك والبرغ

These portraits are a riveting expose of the Cold War as it took shape even as peace was achieved in 1945. As I read, I marveled at the herculean efforts of millions of talented, gung-ho players, devoting themselves and untold trillions of dollars, all to ‘defeat communism’. But I kept asking myself: isn’t that what Hitler was trying to do? Wasn’t it the Soviet army that turned the tide at Stalingrad, liberated Berlin, not to mention all of eastern Europe and Russia itself? Was there to be no place for communism in the post-WWII order?
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Putin, Clinton, and Presidential Transitions

2 November 2020 — National Security Archive

Highest-level memcons and cables document Putin’s rise to power

Clinton Library declassifications plus Archive lawsuit open verbatim Clinton-Putin and Clinton-Yeltsin conversations

U.S. emphasis on importance of transfer of power by ballot box gives way to merely endorsing peaceful transition as Yeltsin resigns and anoints Putin in 1999

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Alexandra Kollontai: The Struggle for Proletarian Feminism and for Women in the Party

16 August 2020 — Internationalist 360°

Jodi Dean

Editor’s note: The following is the first of a two-part article based on a talk the author gave at the People’s Forum in July 2020. This first part focuses on Kollontai’s struggle for proletarian feminism against bourgeois feminism as well as her struggle to center gender equality within the party’s platform. Part two, which we will release next week, focuses on her work articulating intimacy, solidarity, and love as crucial components of the communist movement.

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World War II: US Military Destroyed 66 Japanese Cities Before Planning to Wipe Out the Same Number of Soviet Cities

18 June 2019 — Global Research

Remember:

Hiroshima, August 6, 1945

Nagasaki, August 9, 1945

Timely historical analysis: This article was first published in June 2019

The extent of devastation inflicted upon Japan by the American military during World War II is not broadly known, even today. In reprisal for the attack over Pearl Harbor, which killed almost 2,500 Americans, US aircraft first began unloading bombs on Japan during the afternoon of 18 April 1942 – attacking the capital Tokyo, and also five other major cities, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Kobe and Yokosuka.

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75th Anniversary of the Great Victory: Shared Responsibility to History and our Future

June 19, 2020 — The Kremlin

By Vladimir Putin

75 years have passed since the end of the Great Patriotic War. Several generations have grown up over the years. The political map of the planet has changed. The Soviet Union that claimed an epic, crushing victory over Nazism and saved the entire world is gone. Besides, the events of that war have long become a distant memory, even for its participants. So why does Russia celebrate the 9th of May as the biggest holiday? Why does life almost come to a halt on June 22? And why does one feel a lump rise in their throat?

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