36: Sean Larson on history’s lost revolution; the return of anti-Semitism

November 27, 2018

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the German Revolution. Never heard of it? Don’t worry, most people haven’t, even though the revolution — or rather its failure — is arguably one of the most significant events of the 20th century, with consequences ranging from the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany to the triumph of Stalinism over the Russian Revolution.

But there’s more to learn about the German Revolution beyond the fact of its ultimate failure. It’s also the closest socialism has gotten to winning in an advanced industrialized capitalist country, and it’s full of rich lessons even a century later. This week, we have a conversation with Sean Larson, a PhD student in German Studies at NYU, who is currently working on a dissertation on the German revolution. Sean recently wrote an excellent article in Jacobin about the first year of the revolution, and if all this information is new to you, read his article (see the link below) after you listen to the interview.

For our opener, Eric joined Jen and Danny to talk about the return of anti-Semitism as a force in mainstream American politics. We discuss how the return of this racist ideology is rooted in the rise of far-right white supremacist groups, and we talk about the urgent need to rebuild a fight against anti-Semitism.

Links about the German Revolution:

Sean’s excellent piece in Jacobin about the first year of the German revolution (http://bit.ly/RedGermany).

Alex Fair-Schulz also has this excellent article in Socialist Worker on the same subject (http://bit.ly/GermanyRev).

For longer works on the history of the German Revolution, Haymarket Books has published/republished a number of invaluable books, including:

Chris Harman’s The Lost Revolution (http://bit.ly/HarmanGermany)

Eyewitness to the German Revolution (http://bit.ly/SergeGermany) by Victor Serge, who himself was a participant in the German revolution

Ralf Hoffrogge’s study of the revolutionary shop stewards’ movement (http://bit.ly/HoffroggeGermany)

Pierre Broué’s masterpiece The German Revolution 1917-1923 (http://bit.ly/BroueGermany)

Links for our opener:

Our producer Eric Ruder has written an extensive article for Socialist Worker in which he examines the rise and fall and rise of anti-Semitism in the United States (http://bit.ly/RuderAntiSemitism)

This statement by the International Socialist Organization (ISO) calls for a broad-based, urgent, united response to the far right (http://bit.ly/FightRightISO)

Haymarket Books has published a collection of essays by Jewish Voice for Peace about the uses and abuses of anti-Semitism (http://bit.ly/HaymarketJVP)

Music in this episode

The Boy & Sister Alma, “Lizard Eyes” (Dead Sea Captains Remix)
FKJ Live at La Fée Electricité in Paris
Sevdaliza, “Shahraman”
L’indécis, “Soulful”
Anohni, “Manta Ray”