(Audiobook) Impressions of Lenin | 9780472061334

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      Elena Wade

      Impressions of Lenin
      by Angelica Balabanoff, Isotta Cesari, Bertram D. Wolfe

      Impressions of Lenin • Read More

      • Characters: Angelica Balabanoff, Vladimir Lenin
      • Release date: January 26, 1970
      • Language: english
      • Format: paperback, 176 pages
      • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
      • ISBN: 9780472061334 (047206133X)
      • Author: Angelica Balabanoff, Isotta Cesari, Bertram D. Wolfe

      About The Book

      Angelica Balabanoff was one of the best-known & widely beloved figures of European socialism in the early 20th century. She left home at age 19 to study in Belgium & began a lifetime of travel & activism that was to center around the politics of the 2nd Internat’l & bring her into contact with a fascinating range of political figures, including Luxemburg, Zetkin, Trotsky, Lenin, Goldman, Berkman & Mussolini. During & after WWI, she was a major figure of the left wing of the Socialist movement & a member of the Zimmerwald Group. She returned to Russia after the Revolution, serving as a Comintern officer before becoming disillusioned by the authoritarianism of the Bolshevik regime.

      Born in Chernigov in the Ukraine, in 1878, the youngest of 16 children, 7 of whom had died before she was born, Angelica was raised to be the “crown of the family.” Her father was a landowner & businessman. She was educated at home by a series of governesses & tutors. From early youth, she was troubled by the privileges she enjoyed, reporting in her autobiography that she “cringed with shame” at the way the servants humiliated themselves before her & her parents. She attributed her own rebelliousness & commitment to the cause of social justice not to any influence of her Jewish heritage (unmentioned in her autobiography), but to these experiences at home & her sense of an “unbridgeable abyss” between herself & her “despotic” mother.

      She left home in 1897 to study at the Université Nouvelle in Brussels, an institution known for radicalism. There, she hoped to learn how to translate her passion for social justice into practical strategies for aiding the downtrodden. Thru the combination of classes & meetings at the socialist-sponsored People’s House, she met & was deeply influenced by Plekhanoff & a variety of other Russian & Italian emigrés, who befriended her & introduced her to many of the major figures of the 2nd Internat’l. After doing research in the British Museum library, she returned to Brussels, earning a doctorate in philosophy & literature from the Université. She then went to Leipzig, & on to Rome, where she studied with the Italian Marxist philosopher Antonio Labriola & began what was to be a lifelong relationship with the Italian & internat’l socialist movements.

      From ’01 to ’02, she worked with Italian immigrant workers in Switzerland, & organized among young women who’d been recruited by the Swiss to be a docile labor force. Altho hostile to bourgeois feminism, she was committed to addressing the needs of working-class women as well as men — -needs she believed would be best met thru socialist transformation. She was successful as a speaker & journalist. Elected to the executive committee of the Italian Socialist Party in Switzerland, she served as its official representative to congresses of the 2nd Internat’l in ’07 & ’10. Also during this period, she befriended a poor Italian emigré, Benito Mussolini, helping him to find work & introducing him to socialist clubs in which he became active.

      In ’10, she left Switzerland for Italy, where she began her active involvement in Italian socialism. In ensuing years, she was elected to the party’s Central Committee; served as coeditor of the party organ, Avanti & increasingly came to support the more revolutionary antireformist wing of the Italian Socialist Party. Disillusioned by the failure of socialist internat’lism in ’14, she helped to found & remained active thruout the war in the Zimmerwald movement, a socialist organization protesting imperialism & demanding immediate peace. Her fluency in many languages, combined with her strong commitment to internat’l socialism & her popularity as a public speaker, made her indispensable at socialist conferences & conventions.

      Altho she rejected Lenin’s call for socialist revolutions to end the war, she returned to Russia in ’17 to help rally internat’l support. Despite reservations (shared with exiles Emma Goldman & Alexander Berkman), she became secretary of the Communist Internat’l in ’19, but was removed after about a year for opposing the manipulative tactics of Lenin & Zinoviev.

      Early in ’21, she left Russia forever. In ensuing years, she suffered from a continuing slander campaign on the part of Lenin & his associates. After living in Vienna & Paris, she spent WWII in NYC, where she became friends with Norman Thomas & was a contributor to Socialist Review. Balabanoff dedicated herself to awakening the American population to the dangers of Italian fascism, publishing The Traitor: Benito Mussolini & His Conquest of Power, as well as her autobiography, My Life as a Rebel. At war’s end, she returned to Italy, where she continued to be active in the Italian Socialist Party, dying in Rome on 11/25/65.

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