Upcoming Events

Group of PCI Italian Communists

Group of PCI Italian Communists

A couple of upcoming events in the area:

Capitalism is a system whose history is marked by booms and slumps. The oscillation has given rise to popular and working-class resistance since the system’s birth, though the relationship is not always synchronized. This resistance has taken on many different forms—from industrial shop-floor resistance, to the formation of trade unions, to the formation of political parties—depending on the country, its course of development, and the characteristics of the working-class movement.

What are the lessons we can draw from this complicated relationship between organization and resistance? Where are we now, as an organized Left and broader working class? How do we bridge the gap between sentiment and movement, and what role do socialists have to play in all of this?

Reading: Marx, Lenin, and Luxembourg: Party, Organization, Revolution

“Gaza Writes Back,” edited by Refaat Alareer, is a compelling collection of short stories from 15 young writers in Gaza, members of a generation that has suffered immensely under Israel’s siege and blockade. Their experiences, especially during and following Israel’s 2008-2009 offensive known as “Operation Cast Lead,” have fundamentally impacted their lives. Their stories are acts of resistance and defiance, proclaiming the endurance of Palestinians and the continuing resilience and creativity of their culture in the face of ongoing obstacles and attempts to silence them. Whether tackling the tragedy that surrounds missile strikes and home raids, or the everyday indignities encountered by Palestinian refugees, through their writing these authors have brought to life the real issues that the people of Gaza face.

The event will feature Refaat Alareer and up to three of the authors who contributed to the book: Yousef Aljamal, Rawan Yaghi, and Sarah Ali. They will share from their experiences growing up in Gaza and from the book.

In the political autobiography Discovery of the World: A Political Awakening in the Shadow of Mussolini, now out from Verso BooksLuciana Castellina tells the moving story of coming-of-age in Fascist Italy.

In conversation with Cinzia Arruzza and Jonah Birch, Castellina will discuss her early politicization, the growth and spirit of the Italian Communist Party (the PCI) in the 40s, 50s and 60s, the founding of il manifesto, the causes of the Manifesto group’s break with the PCI, and the spirit of the 60s and 70s Italian Left.

Jacobin: Italian Communism Remembered by Luciana Castellina – An Interview


Luciana Castellina has been a leading figure of the Italian Left since the 1960s. She co-founded the Partito di Unità Proletaria per il communismo (PdUP) and the Movimento dei Comunisti Unitari (CU). She was a member of the European parliament from 1979 to 1999 and has been at different times the editor of Nuovo Generazioneil manifesto and Liberazione.

Cinzia Arruzza is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research. She received her Ph.D. in Rome from the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” and subsequently studied at the universities of Fribourg (Switzerland) and Bonn (Germany).

Jonah Birch is PhD student in Sociology at New York University doing comparative work on European welfare states.

Part of the Jacobin Book Series.
Sponsored by Jacobin


A Book Launch & Debate

On the occasion of the paperback publication by Haymarket Books of Marxism and Social Movements, edited by Colin Barker, Laurence Cox, John Krinsky & Alf Gunvald Nilsen

Why have scholars of social movements in the United States almost completely ignored the Marxist tradition? Hasn’t this tradition been extremely useful for understanding—and inspiring—popular movements? Or has Marxism become a hindrance to understanding–and making–movements today?

Marxism and Social Movements is the first sustained engagement between social-movement theory and Marxist approaches to collective action. Its chapters, written by leading figures in both fields, discuss the potential for a Marxist theory of social movements. Exploring struggles on six continents over 150 years, it sets a new agenda both for Marxist theory and for movement research.


Jeff Goodwin 

New York University 

Author of No Other Way Out: States and Revolutionary Movements (Cambridge).

James Jasper 

CUNY Graduate Center

Author of The Art of Moral Protest (Chicago), The Animal Rights Crusade (Free Press) with Dorothy Nelkin, and Nuclear Politics (Princeton).

Together, they have edited six books, including Passionate Politics: Emotions and Social Movements (Chicago) with Francesca Polletta, The Social Movements Reader (Wiley-Blackwell),Rethinking Social Movements (Rowman & Littlefield), and Contention in Context (Stanford).

In 1922, representatives from Communist movements from around the world met at the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, the international congress of the world Communist movement. Among them were a number of African-American Communists and revolutionaries from the United States. One of the many debates that took place at the congress was over the position the Communist movement should take against racism in the United States and the growing anti-colonial sentiment growing internationally.

The documents eventually adopted represented a significant departure from earlier positions within the U.S. Left while, while often opposed to racism, refused to take up a specific fight against it. As the U.S. socialist Eugene Debs had once put it: “We have nothing special to offer the Negro…The Socialist Party is the party of the working class, regardless of color.” The positions adopted by the Fourth Congress instructed Communist Parties around the world to aid and organize a specific fight against racism and support the growing anti-colonial struggles around the world. It laid the groundwork for some of the most widely known anti-racist campaigns of the 1920s and 30s such as the Harlem Unemployed Councils, the struggle to defend the Scottsboro Boys, and the multi-racial unionization efforts of the CIO.

The Socialism Series will also look at the debates that surrounded the congress as a way to discuss the changing positions on race within the Communist movement and the development of what became a foundational approach to the relationship between Marxism and racial oppression. In future series, we will look at more contemporary debates around identity politics, nationalism, and privilege theory.

Suggested Readings

Black Liberation and the Communist International
by John Riddell
International Socialist Review: 81

Report on the Negro Question:
Speech to the 4th Congress
by Claude McKay

The Negro in the Class Struggle
by Eugene Debs

About bolshevikpunk

Mainline Marxism or Die. Activist, Student, and Degenerate.
This entry was posted in Campus Politics, History, Inequality, Media, New York University, Theory, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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