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Moscow Gold? The Soviet Union and the British left
 
 

Moscow Gold? The Soviet Union and the British left [Kindle Edition]

Paul Anderson , Kevin Davey
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

A popular history of the myriad relationships between British socialists and the Kremlin.


'Moscow Gold? The Soviet Union and the British left by Paul Anderson and Kevin Davey, provides a psychological explanation for the mainstream’s indulgence of the extreme. It is a fine little book you can read in a day – 168 pages for just £3.50 on Kindle. Anderson and Davey have taken advantage of the vast amount of research into communism since the end of the Cold War. They wear it lightly, and refreshingly, are open about their political position. As members of the democratic left, they believe that communism was a disaster for left wing politics. It tied the left to tyranny and the lies and disillusion that went with it. Leaving everything else aside, the far left burnt out activists. For generations, idealistic men and women joined the Communist Party, Militant and the SWP, and left disgusted, not just with Leninism, but with politics of any kind.' NICK COHEN


From the introduction: ‘It is nearly a quarter-century since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the Soviet Union has not existed since 1991. No one under the age of 40 has more than childhood memories of communist rule in what was once the Soviet bloc. So why bother about the Soviet Union and the British left now? The main reason is that it is a fascinating story in itself. But it also matters today. It is impossible to understand the left in Britain now unless you get to grips with the historical left’s myriad relationships with Bolshevism from the overthrow of the Tsar in March 1917 to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991.

‘For three-quarters of a century, the different strands of the left in Britain (as elsewhere in the world) defined themselves to an extraordinary extent by reference to the Bolsheviks and the regime they established. And many of the battle lines drawn then still survive, albeit much modified…

‘This pamphlet is not an attempt to tell the story of the global impact of the Russian revolution. It is focused specifically on Britain. It is not an academic monograph, and it is not primarily a history of the Communist Party of Great Britain. It is a popular overview, BBC History-style, an attempt to tell the big story of the relationship of the whole British left to the Soviet Union since 1917, dealing as much with the non-communist left and critics of the Soviet Union as with the CPGB or the fellow-travellers.’

The paperback edition contains footnotes and an index: the Kindle book does not.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 349 KB
  • Print Length: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Aaaargh! Press (22 Dec 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00EX9FBGC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #196,587 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview of the left 10 Dec 2013
By M. McManus VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book analyses the relationship between the USSR and various parts of the British left. The book shows how enthusiasm for the USSR was high during the 20s and 30s, with prominent leftist from Britain's Labour Party and trade unions given VIP tours of the glorious new workers' paradise. These tours of course only showed the side the Soviets wanted them to see; smiling, well fed 'workers' in Potemkin villages, whilst millions slaved and starved in the gulags. These delegations often returned with glowing reports of the USSR.

The Nazi-Soviet Pact temporarily dampened this enthusiasm, but with the Nazi invasion of the USSR in 1941, and Stalin joining the Allies, this enthusiasm soon returned, with gusto. This enthusiasm was at its peak in the 1945 election, with a landslide Labour victory on a manifesto of hard-line socialist transformation. The Communist Party itself even had MPs elected, largely due to the lionised image of communism the Soviet defeat of the Nazis had given it. This was however to soon change.

As the years went on, this began to change. The Soviet rigging of Eastern European post-war elections, its ruthless crushing of the Hungarian uprising and later the Prague Spring deflated the general public's image of the USSR, the left in general and communism in particular. For the Labour Party, the rest of the Cold War would be marked by Labour MPs who rejected the Soviets (such as Michael Foot), to some who had a worrying tendency to side-step its brutality with a fawning remark about is welfare system. The book also details the unrepentant 'fellow travellers', hardliners whose uncritical, canine-like obedience to the Moscow line came to dominate the most notorious elements of the British left.

In short, this book is a good overview for anyone interested in the British left.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful review but little original material 3 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Pretty good, but depends heavily on Francis Beckett's book on the C.P. Irritating lack of footnotes, so it is hard to tell where some of the data come from and the how reliable the book is overall. Does not take as much account as might be expected of some of the recent arguments in the academic literature, for example about the impact of the Lenin School. Understates the influence of the CP via the unions between c. 1973 and 1983, though it does at least discuss the issue (which lots of books on the left more or less ignore). Overall, a useful introduction to the topic but not good as (for example) a text for contemporary history students because it is hard to tell how reliable it is.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timely and readable 3 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An incisive, brief account of the flirtation of parts of the British left with Stalinism. It asks important questions and highlights debates which the left need to be having and are adept at avoiding.
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In the end it seems that the mainstream left leaning politicians were far too sensible to be caught out by Stalin's cheerleaders.
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