Thinking about the basic contours of a better world is a prerequisite to becoming effective in bringing about a better world. The march forward of human history is not a gift from gods above nor presents handed us from benevolent rulers, governments, institutions or markets — it is the product of collective human struggle on the ground.
The path to a better world can’t be found without knowledge of history. It’s Not Over: Learning From the Socialist Experiment analyzes the 20th century attempts to supplant capitalism in order to draw lessons with application to the emerging and future movements that seek to overcome the political and economic crises of today. This history is presented through the the words and actions of the men and women who made these revolutions, and the everyday experiences of the millions of people who put new revolutionary ideas into practice under the pressures of enormous internal and external forces. This is history that can be applied to today’s struggles to shape our world, in which new ideas are emerging to bring about the economic democracy that is indispensable to a rational and sustainable future.
We are now several years into an ongoing economic crisis has led millions of people around the world to question the economic assumptions that they have long lived with, and to begin to seek out new ideas. As part of this process, people will inevitably look to the attempts to supplant capitalism in the past and want to know more about them. After frank examinations of the Soviet Union, the Prague Spring of Czechoslovakia and Sandinista Nicaragua, It’s Not Over concludes with a chapter on why we have the difficulties we do under capitalism, and ideas and discussion of what a better world might look like.
It’s Not Over: Learning From the Socialist Experiment is published by Zero Books. Copies are available from online sellers at well below the list price. And please encourage your local public and university libraries to carry the book.
As Cold War taboos on honest discussions of capitalism and socialism lose their force, important books like this are emerging. They ask why capitalism keeps provoking movements to go beyond it, why they have not yet achieved that goal, and what we must learn from them so the next efforts prove more effective. Dolack here contributes to the vital emerging answers.
—Rick Wolff, author of Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism and host of the Economic Update radio program
There is a great amount of knowledge to be gained from this ambitious work that takes us from the Paris Commune to the Sandinista revolution. It’s Not Over sifts through more than a century of revolutionary history persistently seeking the lessons to be drawn from it for the construction of a non-capitalist world. The result is original and useful book that should not be missed.
— Silvia Federici, author of Caliban and the Witch: Women, The Body and Primitive Accumulation and co-founder of the International Feminist Collective
Over two decades following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, this book provides a timely and comprehensive appraisal of its internal and geopolitical contradictions and a grounded general schematic for workers’ movements which will form and build new socialist states in the near future. Dolack cogently recognizes the incredible advances of socialism in improving the quality of life among workers and peasants. The lessons of It’s Not Over point to the fundamental significance of worker control in organizing a sustainable and equitable system of social exchange.
— Immanuel Ness, City University of New York and author of Southern Insurgency: The Coming of the Global Working Class
I’ll be speaking on two panels at the Left Forum on Saturday, June 3, at John Jay College in New York City.
During Session 2 (12 noon to 1:50 p.m.) in Room 1.119, I will participate in the talk on “Capitalism Gets Knocked Down (and then gets up again).” This panel will present information about the long economic crisis we’ve experienced since 2008. What are the political lessons to be drawn from the evidence that capitalism is inherently prone to crisis? I will be joined by Marxist economist Michael Roberts and fellow Zero Books author Terry Tapp. The panel will be moderated by Zero Book publisher Doug Lain.
During Session 3 (3:30 to 5:15 p.m.), in Room 1.125, I will participate in the Marxist Education Project’s discussion, “German Revolution of 1918 to 1923: False Hope or Missed Opportunity?” Superficially, events in Germany in 1918 seem similar to the events in Russia the year before. Why was the outcome so different? Are there lessons in this history about strategies and political tactics for socialists today? I will be joined by Branden Rippey, Jim Creegan and Marilyn Vogt-Downey. The discussion will be moderated by David Worley of the Marxist Education Project.
More on the Left Forum, which takes place June 2 to 4, at this link.
Hear an interview with me conducted by Rick Wolff on the Economic Update radio program (second half of program), recorded in February 2016:
Hear an interview with me conducted by Doug Lain on the Zero Squared podcast, recorded in March 2016:
Read excerpts from It’s Not Over:
A short excerpt from It’s Not Over has been published on the HOWL (Humanities Opposition World League) web site. You can read the excerpt here: https://119howl.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/from-its-not-over-learning-from-the-socialist-experiment-by-peter-dolack/