From the PCI to the PDS

Livio Maitan

IIRE Notebook for Study and Research no. 15 (48pp. €2.75, £2, $3.25)

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 In 1991 the Italian Communist Party completed its long process of social-democratization. For many years the PCI was proud of its 'communist identity' and even of its 'diversity' in the context of the national political system and the European left. For several decades it was not only the main force of the Italian workers' movement but also the biggest Communist party in the capitalist West. But at its last congress in Rimini it abandoned its historic name and took that of the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS). At the end of such an itinerary a balance sheet is necessary. In From the PCI to the PDS, Livio Maitan looks at some key moments in PCI history and underlines the problems and contradictions that prepared the conditions for its final turn.

Livio Maitan, born in Venice in 1923, has been active in the ltalian workers' movement since the beginning of the Second World War. A national organizer of the Socialist Youth at the Liberation, he broke with social democracy in 1947. Since 1991 he has been in the leadership of the Party of Communist Refoundation. He has taught sociology at the University of Rome and translated and introduced almost all the ltalian editions of Trotsky's writings. His works in English include Party, Army and Masses in China (1976).

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The Gulf War and the New World Order

André Gunder Frank and Salah Jaber

IIRE Notebook for Study and Research no. 14 (72pp. €2.75, £2, $3.25) 

 The Gulf War and the New World Order provides thorough analyses of the Gulf War from the invasion of Kuwait (August 1990) to the aftermath of operation 'Desert Storm' ( January/February 1991). It examines the war's meaning for the Third World and gives detailed assessments of Western policies and the changing scene in the Middle East.

André Gunder Frank has taught anthropology, economics, history, political science and sociology at universities in Europe, North America and Latin America. He became known especially through his book Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Latin America (1967), which sold over 120,000 copies in nine languages. His recent work has been in the fields of world system history, contemporary international political economy and social movements. His books include World Accumulation 1492-1789 and Resistance in the World System: Capitalist Accumulation, State Policy, Social Movements (with Marta Fuentes Frank). Salah Jaber was active on the left in Lebanon until 1983. He has written often on the Middle East for publications such as International Viewpoint (in English), Inprecor (in French) and Al-Mitraqa (in Arabic).

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The Spanish Civil War in Euzkadi and Catalonia 1936-39

Miguel Romero

IIRE Notebook for Study and Research no. 13 (48pp. €2.75, £2, $3.25)

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 In The Spanish Civil War in Euzkadi and Catalonia, Miguel Romero questions conventional history and tries to look at it from the point of view of the defeated and oppressed. This starting point makes it possible for him to show that the defeat of the revolutionaries in the republican camp (particularly in Catalonia in spring 1937) paved the way for Franco's victory. The originality of his study is the way in which it integrates the national question into its analysis of the civil war. In the Basque country and in Catalonia, defence of the republic, working-class mobilization and the anti-fascist struggle took place in different and specific national contexts. Romero develops a comparative analysis of the civil war in the two countries. He notes that the shared tragic conclusion to the conflicts should not hide the very different dynamic of the social and political forces in the two situations.

Miguel Romero was born in 1945 in Melilla, Spanish Morocco, and began his political activity during the Franco dictatorship between 1966 and 1971 as a member of the Popular Liberation Front. He was later editor of the radical fortnightly Combate.

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Marxism and Liberation Theology

Michael Löwy

IIRE Notebook for Study and Research no. 10 (40pp €3.25, £2, $3.25)

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 The emergence of revolutionary Christianity and liberation theology in Latin America opened a new chapter and posed exciting new questions. In Marxism and Liberation Theology, Michael Löwy argues that these developments demand a renewal of the Marxist analysis of religion. One of the best illustrations of this observation is the following dialogue, reported by Frei Betto, between himself and the police officer in charge of his interrogation under the Brazilian dictatorship: 'How can a Christian collaborate with a communist?' 'For me, men are not divided into believers and atheists, but between oppressors and oppressed, between those who want to keep this unjust society and those who want to struggle for justice.' 'Have you forgotten that Marx considered religion to be the opium of the people?' 'It is the bourgeoisie which has turned religion into an opium of the people by preaching a God, lord of the heavens only, while taking possession of the earth for itself.'

Born in 1938 in São Paulo, Brazil, Michael Löwy has lived in Paris since 1969, where he is now director of research in sociology at the National Centre for Scientific Research. One of the most versatile Marxist intellectuals of our time, he has been widely published in English and French (as well as Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Turkish, Japanese, etc.). His books in English include: The Marxism of Che Guevara (1971), Georg Lukács: From Romanticism to Bolshevism (1978), The Politics of Uneven and Combined Development: The Theory of Permanent Revolution (1981), On Changing the World: Essays in Political Philosophy from Karl Marx to Walter Benjamin (1993), The War of Gods: Religion and Politics in Latin America (1996), and the IIRE Notebook Fatherland or Mother Earth? (1998).

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