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(en) France, UCL AL #313 - Culture, Read: Souvarine, "The counter-revolution on the march" (ca, de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]

Date Fri, 5 Mar 2021 08:01:23 +0200

In this collection of texts and articles, Boris Souvarine analyzes, among other things, the deviations of the Revolution of 1917 and the appalling conditions imposed on the Russian proletariat. ---- Boris Souvarine (1895-1984)[1]is known above all for his masterpiece Stalin. Historical overview of Bolshevism , on which he worked between 1930 and 1935, during five years which were for him a period of intense political and intellectual activity, of which the collection recently published by Smolny is a faithful reflection. ---- Expelled from the Communist International ---- Moderator from 1919 of the Committee of the III th International, leader of the young French Communist Party, it will represent in the Communist International (CI), support the theses of the new courses Trotsky is his first deportation of the IC in 1924. He relaunched Le Bulletin communiste in October 1925, now a tool of the communist opposition, where in January 1926 he called for the formation of a Communist Circle of Marx and Lenin, later renamed the Democratic Communist Circle. In November of that same year 1926, having obtained a copy of the said " Testament " from Lenin, put under wraps by the Russian authorities, he published it for the first time in La Révolution prolétarienne .

While he has irremediably distanced himself from "official" communism , Souvarine launched in March 1931 what was to be, with his volume on Stalin, the finest of his intellectual successes: the review La Critique sociale , in which a few major contributors would collaborate. names of the critical intelligentsia, including Georges Bataille, Michel Leiris, Raymond Queneau, Simone Weil as well as the philosopher Karl Korsch, close to German councilist circles. Finally, from February 1933, he wrote regularly for the newspaper Le Travailleur run by defectors from the PCF.

The book La Contre-Révolution en Marche collects a good part of his articles published in three of the periodicals previously cited. As the title of the volume implies, the main subject of the texts collected here by Charles Jacquier and Julien Chuzeville is the fate of the Russian revolution some 15 years after the "ten days that shook the world" .

The observation Souvarine draws from this is overwhelming in all respects: impoverishment and petrification of Marxist thought in the USSR and in the parties which claim it, disappearance of all the objectives that Lenin gave to the communist movement, transformation of the party in power into "A new privileged class" .

A damning report on the USSR
Certainly, says Souvarine, the regime held out despite the efforts of world reaction, but this was done to the detriment of "all the notions accepted during the initial phase of the October Revolution": "The State and the Revolution. has become subversive literature, the Soviet Constitution is a scrap of paper and the word liberty, struck out of the vocabulary, the crime of lese-revolution." As for the real situation of the proletariat in the regime resulting from the Revolution of 1917, he judges it to be far inferior to what it is in the advanced capitalist countries, as evidenced by the appalling working conditions in the mines of the Donetz or famine in the countryside in the south of the country, caused by the collectivization forcibly imposed on the peasants.

Among many others, we recommend reading the 1934 article on the February Days, in which Souvarine gives some interesting keys to reading the emergence of fascist movements in Europe or the decomposition of the two major Marxist parties in Europe. Germany, unable to react in time to the surge of Nazism.

Finally, we also recommend reading the final part, which testifies to the campaigns carried out in the West against the treatment reserved by the so-called " Soviet " state to militants who took refuge in the USSR, such as Francesco Ghezzi or Victor Serge, or to Russian intellectuals. , including Ryazanov, the founder of the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow. A very good book, in short, very carefully presented and annotated by its two managers.

Miguel Chueca

Boris Souvarine, The Counter-Revolution on the Move . Political writings (1930-1934). Edition established by Charles Jacquier and Julien Chuzeville, Smolny, Toulouse, 2020, 286 pages, 12 euros


[1]Souvarine is the name that Boris Lifschitz, born in a Jewish family in Kiev, borrowed from one of the characters in Germinal de Zola to sign his first articles, and to which he remained faithful until his death.

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