Through the years, the IIRE has used different venues to develop and diffuse left-wing ideas. Aside from our courses, an important pillar of our work is our publication program. We have published over 50 issues of our Notebooks for Study and Research, currently in cooperation with left-wing publisher Merlin Press. We have also produced Working Papers: working documents that often form the basis of future publications and serve to stimulate discussion for newer drafts. A third outlet is our website on which we publish audio- and video-recordings of our courses.

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Notebooks for Study and Research

The results of the IIRE's work are made available to a larger public in large part through our publication series, the Notebooks for Study and Research. Since 1986 we have published dozens of issues of the Notebooks. The Notebooks focus on themes of contemporary debate or historical or theoretical importance, sometimes based on lectures given in sessions in our Institute. Since 1998 they were published as a book series in collaboration with Pluto Press in London and since 2010 in cooperation with Merlin Press. Different issues of the Notebooks have also appeared in languages besides English, including French, German, Dutch, Arabic, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Turkish, Swedish, Danish and Russian.

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Documents de Travail

Tous nos documents de travail sont disponibles en format PDF.

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Authors: Paul Le Blanc, Ernest Mandel, David Mandel, François Vercammen, and contemporary texts by Rosa Luxemburg, Lenin, Leon Trotsky.
Edited: Fred Leplat and Alex de Jong

Published together with Merlin Press and Resistance Books, our new book is a collection of new and classic essays examining the impact of the October revolution. Paul Le Blanc discusses recent scholarship and debates on the revolution, considering 'what went wrong'. In 'October 1917: Coup d'état or social revolution?', Ernest Mandel analyses the events, defending the legitimacy of the Revolution and drawing out lessons for contemporary socialists. David Mandel draws on Russian-language archives to reconstruct developments from below.

Other texts by François Vercammen and David Mandel give a historical backdrop for readers who are not necessarily familiar with the chronology of the events. Finally, short texts by Lenin, Trotsky and Rosa Luxemburg give the views of communist leaders of the time.

The book costs 20 euros plus postage and be ordered from our store.

What they say about the book:

“October 1917: Workers in Power” provides a stimulating starting-point for centennial reassessment of the Russian revolution. Paul Le Blanc provides a sparkling and authoritative survey of major historical studies; David Mandel expertly analyses workers’ control in the Russian upheaval. Classic assessments of the October upheaval by Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky and more recently, Ernest Mandel round out this important addition to socialist literature on 1917.
John Riddell, editor of eight-volume documentary series on the world revolutionary movement in Lenin’s time and ecosocialist activist.

For an objective study of 1917, not uncritical, but firmly rooted in the revolutionary tradition, this book can be unhesitatingly recommended.
Soma Marik, author of Revolutionary Democracy: Emancipation in Classical Marxism, Haymarket and IIRE (forthcoming, 2017).

This collection, containing both texts by participants and retrospective historical analyses, defends the achievements of the Revolution while honestly recognizing its limitations, and will stimulate informed discussion.
Ian Birchall, socialist historian.

This is an important collection celebrating the legacy of the Russian Revolution in its centenary year.  Paul Le Blanc’s Introduction provides rich historical context for past events.  But the book is really about the future.  It is an effort to nourish the lessons of past such that they may irrigate new struggles of the future.
Tithi Bhattacharya, Professor of History, Purdue University; editorial board member, International Socialist Review.

A fascinating and unexpected collection of materials that shine a needed light on the workers revolution of 1917. All in all, a spirited defence of the October revolution at a time when many people would like to forget all about it.
Lars Lih, author of Lenin Rediscovered: What is to be Done? in Context, Haymarket 2008.

Making sense of October 1917, Paul Le Blanc
The stages of the 1917 Revolution, François Vercammen
October 1917: coup d’état or social revolution, Ernest Mandel
Economic power and factory committees in the Russian Revolution, David Mandel
The legitimacy of the October Revolution, David Mandel
The Old Mole, Rosa Luxemburg
To the population, Lenin
Letter to American Workers, Lenin
In defence of October, Leon Trotsky

We have added to new working papers to our online library. 'Reality, knowledge and forecasting' by Joost Kircz is an an attempt to attack the problem of human knowledge from a materialistic and dialectical point of view. 'Stalinist caterpillar into libertarian butterfly? The evolving ideology of the PKK' by Alex de Jong disccuses the changes of the worldview of the Turkish Kurdish PKK since its foundation. Both working papers can be downloaded as pdf here.

Stalinist caterpillar into libertarian butterfly? The evolving ideology of the PKK - Alex de Jong

This paper examines the evolution of the ideology of the Turkish Kurdish PKK. The first two parts discuss the early strategic orientation of the PKK and its similarity to other national liberation movements of the time. Part three discusses the idea of 'creating a new man', an idea that became central to the PKK's conception of the future society they struggled for. This idea was a distinctive characteristic of the PKK. It is not unusual for activists in this movement to describe their political convictions as 'the ideology of Öcalan' and part four discusses the role of Abdullah Öcalan as the leader and ideologue of the movement. Part five discusses another distinguishing characteristic of the PKK: the role that it sees for women and women's liberation in social change. Part six and seven deal with the changing ideas of the PKK about the future society: its vision of a 'democratic civilization and its changing conception of 'socialism'.

Joost Kircz - Reality, knowledge and forecasting

This paper is a "dynamic document" to use a fashionable term in the field of electronic publishing. It is the next step in an attempt to attack the problem of human knowledge from a materialistic and dialectical point of view. A first skeleton was published in the anthology Returns in Marxism. What follows below is more an exercise in stock-taking and in posing the question. What does it mean to say a dialectical and materialistic approach to the understanding of human knowledge? After the dogmatic period of the a Stalinist philosophy of science, we balance on a tightrope, as it is easy to retreat to empty dogmatic notions, whilst the far end of the rope is still not visible. The theory is still in the making and only after a full understanding (or a mature view), can you explain something comprehensively as if it were obvious. Unrolling thoughts and investigations map out a bumpy road. So, what follows below represents a more inductive approach than derived from the so-called hypothetical deductive method, where the author supposedly has a firm idea and consequently tries to prove or disprove it. New ideas largely pop up intuitively.

Les marxistes francophones en Belgique seront peut-être surpris : le dirigeant trotskiste Ernest Mandel (1923-1995) était un flamingant, et cela dans le sens originel et objectif du terme: quelqu’un qui, selon le Petit Robert, « prône en matière politique, culturelle et linguistique la limitation de l’influence de la minorité francophone ». Et, plus exactement, quelqu’un qui prend la défense des aspirations légitimes des Flamands, longtemps bafoués par la bourgeoisie et l’establishment politique belges.1

Un militant flamingant

Voilà un premier élément qui ressort du corpus d’articles du dirigeant de la Quatrième Internationale que j’ai rassemblé en 2014, en collaboration avec Gertjan Desmet, et dont la version française vient de paraître sous le titre Ernest Mandel, Nationalité et Lutte de Classe en Belgique 1958-1973 (Amsterdam 2015).2 Mais ce recueil n’est pas circonscrit au flamingantisme d’Ernest Mandel : il montre l’effort théorique et pratique que celui-ci développa pour intégrer la question nationale flamande et la lutte du mouvement wallon dans une stratégie anticapitaliste. Mandel a été, au sein de la gauche en Belgique, le seul à le faire, enrichissant ainsi le marxisme révolutionnaire car la question nationale a donné et donne toujours du fil à retordre au mouvement socialiste.

Technological Utopianism in the early USSR, and what does that mean for us now - Joost Kircz


Since the disastrous results of Stalinist plan economy on almost all emancipatory fields the Bolshevik revolution tried to accomplish, technological utopianism is hardly a theme in socialist theory. However, the technological
advances enabled many agricultural, societal and communicative achievements, which raise worldwide (uneven) welfare, as well as helped many democratic emancipatory movements. This essay reviews two books on the early enthusiastic phase of Russian socialism, were hopes, dreams and experiments dovetailed with a trust in the benign role science and technology will play in changing the world to the better.
The first book by Josephson (2010) eloquently reviews the downturn of the bureaucratic institutionalised equation of technology with progress. The second book by Krementsov (2011) deals with the utopian ideas of Bogdanov in his dream to collectivise people: socially, culturally and biologically.
Both books challenge utopianism but, more importantly, are well written studies we need for present-day reflections on the role and use of science and technology in future emancipatory developments.

Thanks to generous help from friends of the IIRE, we have secured the €1,000 necessary to be able to publish Returns of Marxism, a major compilation of contemporary challenges to Marxism.  

 Our newest publication just arrived. 'Nationaliteit en Klassenstrijd in België' (Nationality and Class Struggle in Belgium) is a Dutch language collection of articles written by Ernest Mandel, edited by Gertjan Desmet and Hendrik Patroons. The main part of the book consists of articles written between 1958-1973, considering how marxists should relate to the national question, and especially discussing the national question in Belgium. The book includes a prologue with two recently discovered articles on this issue written by a teenaged Mandel, and annexes outlining the history of the trotskyist movement in Belgium. The book can be ordered through our web-store.

Ernest Mandel (1923-1995) is best known for his work on political economy. His political work in the Belgian workers movement in the 1950's and 1960's aimed at integrating a marxist approach to the national question in the struggle against capitalism. The texts included in this edition shed light on a persistent problem of the Belgian state.
Mandel's many works include Marxist Economic Theory (1968), La Formation Économique de la Penseé de Karl Marx (1967), Late Capitalism (1978), The Long Waves of Capitalist Development (1980) and Money and Power (1992).

Gertjan DESMET (1987) is an archivist and historian.

Hendrik PATROONS (1946) studied history in Gent and Leuven. For over 40 years he has been active in the radical left in Belgium and France.

IIRE Working Paper nº 35: Alex de Jong, "The long march of the Dutch SP"

This Working Paper looks at the evolution of the Socialist Party (SP) in the Netherlands.

With its roots in the maoist milieu of the seventies, the SP is a rare example of a party coming from the far-left to make a lasting national breakthrough. During its own long march, the SP underwent a metamorphosis from a small revolutionary group to a social-democratic mass-party.

Alex de Jong is a co-director of the IIRE Amsterdam.

Éditions Syllepse publie une version en français de la contribution de Au Loong Yu dans China's Rise: Strength and Fragilitynuméro 54 de notre série "Notebooks for Study and Research". Voici la quatrième de couverture:

"Ces trente dernières années ont vu des bouleversements colossaux transformer ce pays.

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