The “Russian question,” that is, the question of the nature of the Soviet Union, dominated much of Marxist debate throughout the twentieth century as first anarchists and Leninists, and later Trotskyists and Stalinists, and then Maoists argued about the economic, social, and political character of Soviet Russia (and then also of Eastern Europe, China, Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea).
In the mostly forgotten history of early twentieth-century movements for sexual freedom, Magnus Hirschfeld’s name is one of the most familiar—and one of the most contested. As a Jewish scientist who championed sexual deviants, he made a perfect target for the Nazis, who were tragically successful in extirpating much of his life’s work. In Western Europe today, where gay rights is virtually a civic religion, he risks becoming one of its plaster saints; the Federal Republic of Germany established an official, publicly funded Magnus Hirschfeld Foundation in 2011.
Naomi Klein’s latest book is well on its way to becoming a bestseller. Deeply and meticulously researched, well-written and engaging, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate was timed to come out a week before the September 2014 UN Climate Summit and the People’s Climate March in New York City.
First published as a series of essays in the London Review of Books, this is a provocative book that deftly cuts through the mythologies of Indian nationalism. The essays and the book have elicited several critical responses from Indian readers; this review concludes with a defense of Anderson’s core project and pace a few of his detractors. Taken together, these essays offer a challenge to Indian intellectuals, particularly of the Left, to break decisively with a set of ideas that make up what Anderson calls the Indian Ideology. The Indian Ideology relies on and reinforces a series of myths that project India as having miraculously achieved what other post-colonial nations have not: a functioning democracy, a secular state, and a united body politic. Anderson’s critique takes in a wide range of scholarship to systematically demolish each one of this triune of cherished myths.
Daniel Bensaïd An Impatient Life: A Memoir, Verso: London, 2013; 358 pp: 139781781681084, £25 Reviewed by John McIlroy, Middlesex University, UK for Capital and Class.
Two new books, Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian and Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, offer American Indian perspectives on the history of North America.
For half a century, historian Martin Duberman has been chronicling Black and LGBT lives and struggles from a radical left perspective. Several of his books, notably his masterful biography of Paul Robeson,  have linked anti-racism and sexuality in unexpected and illuminating ways.
A felicitation event for senior activist Santasilan Kadirgamar, held a couple months back at the Ecumenical Institute for Study and Dialogue on August 9, coincided with the launch of an important collection, Pathways of the Left in Sri Lanka, edited by Marshall Fernando and B. Skanthakumar. In the spirit of the above epigraph, the volume provides valuable recognition of the impact the Left has had on Sri Lanka. In terms of the contributions, the essays manage to cover quite a bit of material, all while re-emphasizing common themes in the history of the Left.
The film Pride is an extraordinary thing – a Hollywood movie with an enormous budget telling a deeply political story about the most important strike in the second half of the twentieth century in Britain and the mutual solidarity between the strikers and the LGBT community which developed during the course of the dispute.
Recognising the book as a valuable and timely contribution to the referendum debate, Sinead notes how the two authors’ approaches fuse to form a readable, robust and unapologetic feminist voice.
 Martin Duberman, Paul Robeson (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988).