Introduction to the history of the Soviet Union

Clara Figueiredo, Izmailovsky Market, Lenin_ 2067,60 rubles, Moscow, 2016
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By JULIAN RODRIGUES*

Commentary on Lincoln Secco's Newly Released Book

“the world was better for the world working class as long as the Soviet Union existed” (Lincoln Secco)

Lyotard decreed the end of metarecit[1] in the late 1970s, and since then, all sorts of fragmentation and particularization of (non-Marxist) theories and analyzes have become canonical. Great interpretations and syntheses became the object of bullying. better one paper in English than a book, right? But let us leave aside the criticism of the majority neoliberal productivism in the university. Here we are going to talk about a book that goes against this zeitgeist.

Being able to read a 160-page book entitled history of the soviet union (the epithet “an introduction” appears on the inside pages) this is no ordinary event. After all, at this point in the championship, what else could there be to say again? The title sounds as if we have before us a treatise of hundreds of pages.

That's not it. Lincoln Secco, as he had done in previous works (The Carnation Revolution, 2004; History of the PT, 2011), mixes historiographic rigor, argumentative acumen, accessible language and a taste for condensation. A mix of chronicle, reportage, essay. Written with a wider audience in mind, the book dialogues with those who already know the basic plot of the plot. It's like a general overview chatting with the left militancy and with the different interpretive traditions.

A general panorama, with a tasteful style, wealth of data – and details of the type registering that Lenin had “the sole of his shoe pierced” when he gave a speech at the establishment of the revolutionary government. Despite being based on an extensive bibliography, the author chooses not to make major theoretical digressions, although he sprinkles the entire text with his point of view on the reported events.

Lincoln, whenever possible, deals with the theme of women, arts, culture, civil rights, the advances and setbacks of the revolution between 1917 and 1991. profession and education of the main Bolshevik leaders.

Stalin was “the grandson of serfs”, Trotsky “the son of a landowner”; Alexandra Kolontai, “daughter of a tsarist general”. Readers in a hurry, perhaps engaged, perhaps excited, or enmeshed in the loop of the “new” polemic about Stalinism vs. Trotskyism, one might be tempted to label quickly.

Secco embodies the concept of Stalinism. It doesn't just use terms like "mass terror". It gives ample space to authors who personally disparage the Georgian, reverberates the image of Stalin as the crudest of Bolsheviks. It validates the idea that the period of “Stalinist terror” was the one that most murdered communists historically.

However, very calm at this time. Before stamping the book as another Trotskyist militant effort, it is necessary to point out that Lev Bronstein is not the hero of the plot. The historian considers the Khrushchev report a “geopolitical error” (from the Soviet point of view) and also gives space to opinions such as those of Althusser and Togliatti, who disagree with individual responsibility for Stalin and the “cult of personality” as a universal explanation.

The book advances, addresses the Cold War, the international context and reaches the dissolution of the country. “The failure of the socialist economy was a myth. The economic performance of the Soviet Union was not inferior to that of the OECD in the 1980s”, says the USP professor.

In one of the perhaps most controversial parts of the book, Secco characterizes the movements that took place in Eastern European countries in 1989 either as “revolutions” or as “revolts”.exchange” (who always defended the overthrow of “bureaucracies” in those countries as positive). It turns out that after that only capitalist neoliberal regimes came.

Didactically and generously, the book also brings, at the end, a glossary and maps.

* Julian Rodrigues is a professor, journalist and LGBTI and human rights activist.

Reference


Lincoln Secco. history of the soviet union. São Paulo, Editora Maria Antonia, 2020.

Note


[1] LYOTARD, Jean-Francois. The postmodern condition (José Olympio)

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