When Jacobin was founded in the aftermath of the financial crisis, the Left was dominated by academic jargon, sectarian organizations, and samba bands. Ten years later, we have a long way to go, but it’s become a lot easier to talk about socialism as a real political force.
David Broder is Jacobin’s Europe editor and a historian of French and Italian communism.
The new series in the Deutschland trilogy starts in the hours before the fall of the Berlin Wall. But there’s little time for either joy or commiseration — everyone’s too busy trying to lay their hands on East Germany’s assets.
Rossana Rossanda, who died on Sunday at age 96, was an anti-fascist partisan and cofounder of Italy’s il manifesto newspaper. A communist till the last, she insisted that the Left must defend its own identity — and unflinchingly take sides with the exploited and oppressed.
Liberals say that socialists who don’t support Joe Biden are “like the German Communists who refused to fight Hitler.” The analogy doesn’t hold up — and it’s also historically illiterate.
In early 1990s Italy, the retreat of the Left and mounting popular cynicism toward politics allowed a new radical right to begin building its hegemony. For all its idiosyncrasies, the Italy of those years looks increasingly like a mirror of our own future — a country where fascist talking points became normalized and even mild reformism was decreed illegitimate.
After he left Siberia in 1900, Lenin would spend much of the next decade in London. He didn’t much like the food — but his time in the émigré milieu would help make him the revolutionary he was.
For three decades, economic woes and the crumbling of old party ties have fueled the rise of Italy’s populist right. Faced with the coronavirus, Giorgia Meloni is becoming an increasingly prominent voice — leader of a Fratelli d’Italia party directly linked to the fascist past.
Last night Italy’s prime minister declared that all nonessential workplaces will be shut down to stem the spread of COVID-19. For two weeks, social distancing has been undermined by employer pressure to keep production going. As contagion soars, other countries would be foolish not to learn Italy’s lesson.
The European country hit hardest by coronavirus, Italy has announced a near-total shutdown of shops and public venues, but many nonessential workplaces are still running. Refusing to let bosses risk their safety, workers are now going on strike.
Empty supermarket shelves and the spread of designer-brand face masks show that Italians are panicking about coronavirus. The spread of the virus demands a planned and coherent response — but the politics of fear are instead turning Italians against each other.
Eugenio Curiel was a leader of the Italian Resistance against Nazism, before he was murdered by fascists on February 24, 1945. He insisted that the Resistance wasn’t just about deposing Benito Mussolini — it was about putting the masses at the center of a new democracy.
The 2010s were meant to herald a new generation of party activism, as Europe’s austerity generation built new structures to the left of social democracy. Instead, we got short-lived surges of electoral enthusiasm — without the deeper rebuilding we so sorely needed.
Boris Johnson’s promise to “get Brexit done” allowed him to frame his whole agenda as a matter of implementing the popular will. Die-hard calls to rejoin the European Union are hopelessly out of touch — and risk dividing Labour over a futile culture war.
Giampaolo Pansa topped Italy’s bestsellers’ lists by retelling the Resistance from the “side of the losers.” His works promised to shine a light on anti-fascist crimes — and handed the resurgent far right a narrative of victimhood.
In 2017, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party transcended the divides of the Brexit referendum to spread a message of economic change and democratic renewal. But a fringe within Labour insisted that overturning the referendum was the only issue that mattered — and succeeded in undermining Corbynism’s promise of uniting working people.
The exit polls from the British election are a devastating blow. Allowing the Tories to pose as the defenders of Brexit ensured defeat — and has handed historic Labour areas over to the party of bosses and landlords. But with resolute socialist organizing, we will have another shot at power.
But we’re nothing without our universal subject — the international working class.
The European Parliament has condemned communism as equivalent to Nazism. Based on a fantasy reading of history, the motion smears all “radicalism” as “totalitarian” — and dismisses the moral superiority of those who fought fascism.
We’re held hostage by a political and military elite that exploits us to fuel its endless wars.
For centuries, working-class people have been sent to die in wars for empire. The rich history of soldier revolt isn’t just about foreign policy — it’s about breaking the power of the mighty in society as a whole.