Revolutionary Ferment: From the Russian Revolution to the Contemporary US

2017.8.19.rev.mainWhile it’s impossible to know when and where a revolution is going to happen and under what conditions, there is currently a broad radicalization taking place internationally and in the US, with large numbers of people not accepting the capitalist status quo, says labor historian and author Paul LeBlanc. (Photo by Darrian Traynor / Getty Images)

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Labor historian Paul Le Blanc is the author of more than 20 books and has served as an editor of the eight-volume International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest (2009) and of the Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg (begun in 2013). Le Blanc has more than half a century of activist experience in social movements and is an internationally recognized scholar of working-class history and revolutionary politics.

In this interview, Le Blanc discusses the radicalization process that he sees unfolding in the United States today and possible revolutionary strategies for the future.

Vaios Triantafyllou: Given the current shape of the left in the United States and in Europe, do you think that it is possible to build a revolutionary movement that is conscious of its demands and tactics? What would the role of the vanguard of the working class be in this process, and how would spontaneity be nurtured into consciousness?

Paul LeBlanc: I think that, as you said, there is this broad radicalization that is taking place internationally … with large numbers of people not accepting the status quo, challenging the status quo, reacting against the status quo (which is a capitalist status quo)…. All of this does create circumstances for the coming together of a substantial left-wing force in American politics, and I think the same thing has happened in various other countries. There is nothing automatic about that. It may not be realized, but possibilities exist now that…

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