Twenty years ago a revolutionary wave on the scale of 1848 and 1919 swept across Eastern Europe and the USSR. It brought down the state-socialist regimes which called themselves “communist”. Western capitalism declared the “collapse of communism” and some spoke of the “end of history” with a new era of liberal democracy. Instead the era of neo-liberal globalisation brought a new phase of war and recessions: in Eastern Europe the optimism of 1989 gave way to economic shock-therapy and widespread impoverishment, while in the former USSR the old elite has been replaced by the rule of exploitative oligarchs.
What happened to the radical ideals of the freedom movements of workers and intellectuals which challenged the old regimes, which called for workers self-management, and end to all forms of oppression and alienation, which opposed the ruling bureaucracy and the restoration of capitalism? The legacy of totalitarian “communism” still hangs over us all; amidst the worse crisis of capitalism in decades there remains a real crisis of confidence in a viable alternative to this system.
Did communism really collapse? Can we develop a vision of an emancipatory communism in the 21st century? On Thursday June 25th The Commune is hosting a forum in London to address these questions.
The speakers are:
Marko Bojcun, a writer and a leading activist in the collectives which published the journals Dialoh and META which stood for “democracy and socialism in an independent Ukraine”.
Allan Armstrong is a member of the National Council of the Scottish Socialist Party and is a member of the Republican Communist Network, a platform of the SSP.
Chris Kane is a member of The Commune. He was a solidarity activist with workers in the Eastern Bloc in the 1980s and writes on Ukrainian labour history and politics.
The meeting is on Thursday 25th June from 7pm at the Artillery Arms, near Old Street station (map below)