Item description for Revolutionary Rehearsals by Colin Barker...
Five times in the last 35 years, the working class has posed a radical alternative to the status quo.
France 1968 by Ian Brichall: A general strike and factory occupations by millions of workers shake the country.
Chile 1972 by Mike Gonzalez: Workers defending the Popular Unity government set up workers' councils---the cordones---and demand control over production.
Portugal 1974 by Peter Robinson: Army officers overthrow the dictator Caetano and release an upsurge of "popular power" which lasts 18 months.
Iran 1979 by Maryam Poya: The viciously repressive Shah is toppled and workers set up independent councils, the shoras.
Poland 1980 by Colin Barker: Demanding radical change, workers build the independent trade union Solidarity to fight for their own interests, exposing the false socialism of the Eastern Bloc.
In each of these cases, the actions of workers themselves were the driving force of struggles with revolutionary potential. They demonstrate that workers can and will fight back on a mass scale.
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 socialism under modern conditions.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 7.75" Weight: 0.75 lbs.
Release Date Dec 1, 2002
Publisher Haymarket Books
ISBN 1931859027 ISBN13 9781931859028
Availability 0 units.
More About Colin Barker
Like the protagonist in his mysteries, Colin Barker spent many years teaching in a university geology department. Trained as a geochemist at Oxford, he is a published non-fiction author. Now he lives in Santa Fe and writes fiction-when he's not hiking or welding steel sculpture.
Reviews - What do customers think about Revolutionary Rehearsals?
An inspiring, well researched look at little-known rebellions Nov 7, 2007
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.
A very inspiring read Jun 16, 2005
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!