EUROCOMMUNISM by Stephen Goode


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Though he says at the outset that this is about Communist parties in Italy, France, and Spain, Goode devotes fully half the book to a simple summary of Marx's ideas and a history of Soviet Communism. However, this background has shape and point in relation to the subject of Eurocommunism. Goode points up Marxist splits before the Russian Revolution and shows how Lenin imposed the use of force, minority takeover, and rigid rule from the top--all extended by Stalin in the oppressive totalitarianism which Americans have been taught to equate with Communism. Goode also chronicles Soviet domination of the world Communist parties and the shifting policies imposed on them (e.g., isolation from, then cooperation with, a broader left). He makes much of the example of Tito's successful resistance to Soviet domination. In this context, then, it is easier to be open-minded about the claims of Italian, French, and Spanish communists to be patriotic (rather than Russian-dominated) and committed to democratic means. Goode gives a sympathetic hearing to each of the three Western Communist parties, then to their critics, many of whom express skepticism that the parties would keep their independence and democratic stance once in power. A made-to-order YA summary without the life and personal observations Dornberg brought to Eastern Europe (p. 590, J-150), Goode's whole presentation from Marx on should nevertheless help to broaden the view of Communism held by most kids brought up in Cold War America.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1980
Publisher: Watts