No Less Than Mystic: A History Of Lenin And The Russian Revolution For A 21st-century Left by John MedhurstNo Less Than Mystic: A History Of Lenin And The Russian Revolution For A 21st-century Left by John Medhurst

No Less Than Mystic: A History Of Lenin And The Russian Revolution For A 21st-century Left

byJohn Medhurst

Paperback | August 22, 2017

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Published in the centenary year of the 1917 Russian Revolution, No Less Than Mystic is a fresh and iconoclastic history of Lenin and the Bolsheviks for a generation uninterested in Cold War ideologies and stereotypes.

Although it offers a full and complete history of Leninism, 1917, the Russian Civil War and its aftermath, the book devotes more time than usual to the policies and actions of the socialist alternatives to Bolshevism – to the Menshevik Internationalists, the Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs), the Jewish Bundists and the anarchists. It prioritises Factory Committees, local Soviets, the Womens’ Zhenotdel movement, Proletkult and the Kronstadt sailors as much as the statements and actions of Lenin and Trotsky. Using the neglected writings and memoirs of Mensheviks like Julius Martov, SRs like Victor Chernov, Bolshevik oppositionists like Alexandra Kollontai and anarchists like Nestor Makhno, it traces a revolution gone wrong and suggests how it might have produced a more libertarian, emancipatory socialism than that created by Lenin and the Bolsheviks. 
Although the book broadly covers the period from 1903 (the formation of the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks) to 1921 (the suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion) and explains why the Bolshevik Revolution degenerated so quickly into its apparent opposite, it continually examines the Leninist experiment through the lens of a 21st century, de-centralised, ecological, anti-productivist and feminist socialism. Throughout its narrative it interweaves and draws parallels with contemporary anti-capitalist struggles such as those of the Zapatistas, the Kurds, the Argentinean “Recovered Factories”, Occupy, the Arab Spring, the Indignados and Intersectional feminists, attempting to open up the past to the present and points in between. 

We do not need another standard history of the Russian Revolution. This is not one.
John Medhurst was born in London in 1962 and graduated in History & Politics from Queen Mary College, University of London. He has worked at all levels of the British civil service from front-line welfare delivery to ministerial office in Whitehall, including local Job Centres, the International Branch of the Health and Safety Executiv...
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Title:No Less Than Mystic: A History Of Lenin And The Russian Revolution For A 21st-century LeftFormat:PaperbackDimensions:654 pages, 7.8 × 5 × 1.8 inPublished:August 22, 2017Publisher:Watkins MediaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1910924474

ISBN - 13:9781910924471

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Reviews

Editorial Reviews

"The book is very comprehensive and insightful, and linked in perceptive ways to current affairs.” —Noam Chomsky "Drawing on relevant scholarship and primary texts....Medhurst seeks to dispel the mystique still surrounding the Russian revolutionary leader.  Most non-Leninist leftists will sympathise with Medhurst's aims".—Publishers Weekly The brilliance of Medhurst's political histories is his sharp eye for the pivot points and the alternative routes history could have taken. Or, put another way - alternate histories are buried in his actual histories. He will lead you to fly off into fascinating could-have-beens, big ones that start with small corrected missteps or slightly different arrangements of personalities. There are wonders compressed in his books. This is a big, energetic, ambitious book that deserves every success. A hell of a performance. —Warren Ellis, author of TRANSMETROPOLITAN, NORMAL, RED and GUN MACHINE"No Less than Mystic is a stunning work of synthetic scholarship which addresses one of the great historical questions of the modern epoch: was the Russian Revolution the worst thing ever to happen to socialism? No Less than Mystic makes a compelling case that it was. Arguing from a radical democratic, libertarian socialist perspective that is as relevant today as in 1917, Medhurst makes the strongest possible riposte to recent fashionable rehabilitations of Leninism. "This account makes no concession to the canard that the failure of revolutionary socialism is always inevitable, but demonstrates that while socialism with democracy may be difficult, socialism without democracy will always fail." —Jeremy Gilbert, Professor of Cultural and Political Theory, University of East London. Author of Common Ground: Democracy and Collectivity in an Age of Individualism.