This is an ongoing project to narrate Mike Macnair’s groundbreaking book Revolutionary Strategy. The full audiobook is currently in production by the team at Cosmonaut Magazine. Narration and editing is done by Lydia Apolinar. You can find this, and other audio books, on our Youtube channel, and you can purchase a physical copy of the book itself at Lulu.
The free market triumphalism of the 1990s is over. Early 21st century capitalism looks like Karl Marx’s description: growing extremes of wealth and poverty, and irrepressible boom-bust cycles. But for the moment, rightwing religious and nationalist nostalgia politics is the main beneficiary of the opposition this has spawned. The political left remains in the shadow of its disastrous failures in the 20th century. The centre-left – where it has not joined forces with the neoliberal right – clings to nationalist and bureaucratic-statist nostalgia for the social-democratic Cold War era. The far left clings to the coat-tails of the centre-left. It cannot unite itself – let alone anyone else – because it is unwilling to reinterrogate the ideas of the early Communist International, especially on the ‘revolutionary party’. To move beyond this impasse we need to re-examine critically the strategic ideas of socialists since Marx and Engels’ time. This book begins the task.
Editor’s Preface (by Parker McQueeney)
Cosmonaut’s second Audiobook production is Mike Macnair’s Revolutionary Strategy. This is a bit of a strange book and it might require a little explanation as to why we are recording this. Unlike Lenin Rediscovered, Revolutionary Strategy is an unapologetic political polemic. Its author is a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain – the group that produces Weekly Worker. It was written in 2006 when socialists were essentially at a historic low point – although the Left had grown somewhat in response to the Iraq War, Marxism was still largely made up of veterans from the New Left of the 1960s and 70s. Because of that and the nature of what Macnair was trying to get at with this book, it was aimed at the Marxist Left as it already existed, which was an ecosystem of small sects whose members were highly educated on the history of the workers movement, and particularly the Russian Revolution.
The introduction itself partially serves as a review of where the Left is at in 2006 and references a lot of what may seem like arcane debates between groups like the British Socialist Workers Party, the French Ligue Communiste Révolucionaire, and many more groups that the reader or listener might find totally unrecognizable. The rest of the book is laid out as a rethinking of the Marxist understanding of our own history from its beginning, and also assumes a certain level of knowledge by the reader.
It’s 2021 and the last five years has seen a lot of young people adopt the doctrine of Marxism, without the background and educations that a militant would typically get in the sects. We believe that this book will still be immensely useful to these comrades, despite some references maybe sounding arcane. While Lenin Rediscovered took a scalpel to the first few years of the 20th century and totally upended the traditional story about Lenin’s book WITDB, this book offers a more zoomed out, macroscopic reinterpretation of Marxism and the various strategic orientations within it that keep reinventing themselves. I think especially if you enjoyed Lars Lih’s book you will find the argument in Revolutionary Strategy compelling, and offering a more holistic political vision based on the same sort of ‘rethinking’ that Lenin Rediscovered engaged in.
Preface & Introduction:
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