A History of Lenin and the Russian Revolution for a 21st-Century Left by John Medhurst
“…Very comprehensive and insightful, and linked in perceptive ways to current affairs.”—Noam Chomsky
“No Less than Mystic is a stunning work of synthetic scholarship which addresses one of the great historical questions of the modern epoch: was the Russian Revolution the worst thing ever to happen to socialism? No Less than Mystic makes a compelling case that it was. —Jeremy Gilbert, Professor of Cultural and Political Theory, University of East London. Author of Common Ground: Democracy and Collectivity in an Age of Individualism.
Published in the centenary year of the 1917 Russian Revolution, No Less Than Mystic is a fresh and iconoclastic history of Lenin and the Bolsheviks for a generation uninterested in Cold War ideologies and stereotypes.
Although it offers a full and complete history of Leninism, 1917, the Russian Civil War and its aftermath, the book devotes more time than usual to the policies and actions of the socialist alternatives to Bolshevism – to the Menshevik Internationalists, the Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs), the Jewish Bundists and the anarchists. It priorities Factory Committees, local Soviets, the Womens’ Zhenotdel movement, Proletkult and the Kronstadt sailors as much as the statements and actions of Lenin and Trotsky. Using the neglected writings and memoirs of Mensheviks like Julius Martov, SRs like Victor Chernov, Bolshevik oppositionists like Alexandra Kollontai and anarchists like Nestor Makhno, it traces a revolution gone wrong and suggests how it might have produced a more libertarian, emancipatory socialism than that created by Lenin and the Bolsheviks.
Although the book broadly covers the period from 1903 (the formation of the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks) to 1921 (the suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion) and explains why the Bolshevik Revolution degenerated so quickly into its apparent opposite, it continually examines the Leninist experiment through the lens of a 21st century, de-centralized, ecological, anti-productivist and feminist socialism. Throughout its narrative it interweaves and draws parallels with contemporary anti-capitalist struggles such as those of the Zapatistas, the Kurds, the Argentinean “Recovered Factories”, Occupy, the Arab Spring, the Indignados and ntersectional feminists, attempting to open up the past to the present and points in between.
We do not need another standard history of the Russian Revolution. This is not one.
About the Author
John Medhurst is the author of That Option No Longer Exists: Britain 1974-76. He has written for Novara Media, the Morning Star, Red Pepper, Green Left and the Journal of Contemporary European Research. He is married with two daughters and lives in Brighton, England.
Published August 2017
Paperback ISBN: 9781910924471 ($14.95 US // $16.95 CAN)
eBook ISBN: 9781910924488 ($9.99 US & CAN)