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New publication: Decolonial Communism, Democracy & the Commons

11 March 2019

IIRE Notebook no. 62 is edited by Catherine Samary & Fred Leplat, with contributions from Samuel Farber, Silvia Federici, Franck Gaudichaud, Zagorska Golubović, Ernest Mandel, Goran Marković, Svetozar Stojanović and Raquel Varela.

How far did the Bolsheviks introduce a ‘decolonial communism’,  later destroyed by Stalin’s ‘socialism in one country’? Did the Tito-Stalin break in 1948 and the other revolutions transform these objectives? How far did the struggles and debates in the Yugoslavia of ‘market socialism’ in the mid 1960s follow a path towards democracy and the commons?

The contributors in this book review past and present experiences and Catherine Samary reconsiders the debates in the light of current thinking.

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''Catherine Samary applies an appropriately international and historical perspective to reclaim marginalised traditions of workers control at a very opportune moment. Samary provides an invaluable intellectual resource for the task of carrying through a project of popular control in today's conditions of corporate and financial rule. Bravo!'' - Hilary Wainwright, co-editor Red Pepper.

''This is a fascinating text that discusses the relationship and sometimes the contradictions between commons, socialism and self-management, it helps us to better understand the practice and politics of moving to an ecological society, a society that moves beyond markets and states to create genuine alternatives for neoliberalism'' - Derek Wall, author of Elinor Ostrom's Rules for Radicals.

''Vivid historical memory, global outreach and emancipatory nerve are all present in this necessary compendium that guides us through our current situation and arms us with heavy intellectual artillery in face of dramatic challenges ahead. Under the guidance of Catherine Samary, whose erudition, perseverance and energy are legendary, she and other authors leave no stones unturned: from October 1917 to the Left's new dilemmas and imperatives hundred years later, from socialist Yugoslavia and its self-management to the new Balkan rebels, via Prague in 1968, Chile and Portugal in the 1970s, and the 1989 'velvet' revolutions, all the way to the Zapatistas and the worldwide defence of the commons.'' - Igor Štiks, author of Nations and Citizens in Yugoslavia and the Post-Yugoslav State and co-editor of Welcome the Desert of Post-Socialism.

Table of Contents:

Author’s note ................................................................................................................................... 1

Introduction, Catherine Samary ...................................................................................................... 3

GENERAL OUTLOOK ................................................................................................................ 22

October 1917-2017: From a decolonial communism to the of the commons,

Catherine Samary ......................................................................................................................... 23

From the October Revolution to Stalinisation ............................................................................. 27

Pursuit of the permanent revolution after Stalin .......................................................................... 40

From the ‘great debate’ in Cuba to a self-managed system ......................................................... 53

Bibliography ................................................................................................................................ 75

THE YUGOSLAV EXPERIENCE ............................................................................................... 98

Yugoslavia since the revolution: a few key dates ......................................................................... 99

Yugoslav self-management: a balance sheet, Catherine Samary ................................................ 103

Socialism and humanism, Zagorka Pešić-Golubović ................................................................. 132

The June student movement and social in Yugoslavia, Svetozar Stojanović .............................. 149

From post-revolutionary dictatorship to socialist, Svetozar Stojanović ..................................... 164

Workers’ councils in Yugoslavia: successes and failures, Goran Markovic ............................... 201

Historical background of the creation of workers’ councils ...................................................... 201

Legal solutions ........................................................................................................................... 206

Workers’ councils and reforms of the system ............................................................................ 209

Successes ................................................................................................................................... 213

Failures ...................................................................................................................................... 218

Conclusions ............................................................................................................................... 220

OTHER POST-CAPITALIST EXPERIENCES ......................................................................... 232

Plan, Market and Democracy: the experience of the so-called socialist countries, Catherine Samary

Introduction: theoretical, political and methodological questions ............................................. 233

Social relations and the plan ...................................................................................................... 253

Yugoslav ‘market socialism’ with self-management ................................................................. 256

Updating the Soviet debate on the ‘law of value’ ..................................................................... 267

Conclusion ................................................................................................................................. 290

Bibliography .............................................................................................................................. 307

The law of value in relation to self-management and investment in the economy of the workers states, Ernest Mandel .................................................................................................................. 315

Building socialism in Cuba, Samuel Farber ............................................................................... 335

SUMMING UP AND FURTHER DEBATES ............................................................................ 349

Chile and Portugal in the 1970s: the left, nationalisations and ‘workers’ control’ in the

revolutionary processes, Franck Gaudichaud & Raquel Varela ................................................. 350

Introduction ............................................................................................................................... 350

The debate about ‘workers' control’, nationalisations and ‘people's power’ ............................ 354

Chile 1970-1973: Allende’s government and the nationalisations ............................................ 360

Portugal 1974-1975: nationalisations against workers’ control ................................................ 366

Co-administration and ‘battle for production’ versus cordones industriales and people’s power?

................................................................................................................................................... 369

The struggle for political power: workers’ control in the Portuguese Revolution .................... 377

Conclusions ............................................................................................................................... 386

Latin America: state, popular power and class struggle, Franck Gaudichaud ........................... 395

Eastern Europe: revisiting the ambiguous revolutions of 1989, Catherine Samary ................... 419

Ideological bias of Cold War concepts ...................................................................................... 420

Democratic revolutions or opaque ‘refolutions’? ...................................................................... 432

‘Transition to democracy’? The German symbol: what about ‘Ostalgia’? ............................... 444

The repressed ‘third way’ .......................................................................................................... 448

From the Prague Autumn of workers councils (1968) to the Velvet Revolution (1989):

continuity or antipodes? ............................................................................................................. 455

The struggles for the commons in the Balkans, The Balkan Forum Commons Working Group 463

Concepts, history and evolution ................................................................................................ 463

A radical critical conception of the commons ........................................................................... 467

Balkans as the European periphery ........................................................................................... 468

Existing commons struggles in the Balkans .............................................................................. 472

Commoning the struggle ........................................................................................................... 480

Bibliography .............................................................................................................................. 484

Feminism and the politics of the Commons, Silvia Federici ...................................................... 488

EPILOGUE ................................................................................................................................. 504

Decolonial communism: Analytical, political and democratic dimensions,

Catherine Samary ....................................................................................................................... 505

ABOUT THE AUTHORS .......................................................................................................... 517

About Resistance Books and the IIRE ........................................................................................ 521

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