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Revolutionary Rehearsals [Paperback]

Colin Barker

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Book Description

1 Sep 2008
Five times in the last 40 years, the working class has posed a radical alternative to the status quo. In each of these cases, the actions of workers themselves were the driving force of struggles with revolutionary potential. Each episode offers an inspiring glimpse of the way in which workers rise to the challenge of fighting for a better world-and pose their own alternative to the system. Although none of these struggles ultimately achieved their goals, they were """"revolutionary rehearsals"""" that hold important lessons about the struggle for modern socialism.

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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring, well researched look at little-known rebellions 6 Nov 2007
By Phil Myers - Published on Amazon.com
This book, like most of what the ISO/SWP publishes, is a well-researched, clearly written account. The book looks at 5 working class uprisings since the late 60s, drawing stirring and vivid pictures of the solidarity, initiative, and courage people are capable of when the time comes to fight for freedom. I was particularly interested in the account of the Chilean cordones, worker-peasant coalitions, and the impressive achievements of Polish Solidarity even under a highly authoritarian regime. And the story Iranian Revolution gives the lie to the simplistic demonization of Iranians in the present political climate, drawing a fascinating and complex picture of the intersections of class- and religious-based struggle.

The book is ultimately a cautionary tale against the betrayal by reformists who time and again try to keep a lid on the revolutionary impulse and channel mass struggle into the killing fields of bourgeois party politics.

The authors harp over and over, though, on a more suspect lesson, the one they claim is the most pressing: the need for a vanguard party to lead the workers in their struggles. I look at ISO/SWP Trotskyist literature much the same way as the Wall Street Journal: learn from the carefuly researched factual accounts, and through the editorials in the dustbin.

For a non-vanguardist account of Paris '68, the essays Murray Bookchin's terrifiic "Post-Scarcity Anarchism" are well worth reading. Also, I have heard that Loren Goldner's book on Portugal is excellent, presenting the events from a left-communist perspective.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very inspiring read 15 Jun 2005
By Jean Howell - Published on Amazon.com
Revolutionary Rehearsals, edited by Colin Barker, is the most inspiring book I have read in a long time. As the editorial review explains this book covers five major working class uprisings that have taken place in the last 50 years. These were all very inspiring accounts of every day working people standing up and fighting for a better world where they could be in control of their own lives. There are exciting quotes from personal accounts of people taking control of their workplaces and people taking control of large estates that were once used for one rich person's leisure, and now used to meet the needs of society as a whole. This book can be looked at not only as an inspiring account but also as a source of ideas on how change can happen. I would recommend this book to anyone, especially those who want a better world but have doubts as to the possibility of it happening. Doubt no more!
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