Recent Posts

Russian Socialists in the Struggle for Democracy

For the past few weeks, protests for fair elections in upcoming municipal polls have become weekly in Moscow and St. Petersburg as thousands have defied authorities to attend unsanctioned rallies. The police crackdown has been particularly harsh in Moscow. Protests on July 27 and August 3 resulted in over 2000 detentions. Images of police in riot gear wrestling citizens to the ground and beating peaceful protesters were reminiscent of the mass protests against election fraud in 2011-2012.

Members of the Russian Socialist Movement, a small Marxist, anti-Stalinist organization active in the Russian left, have been participants in local electoral campaigns and in the protests. Two RSM activists, Valeria Kovelishina and Ilya Budraitskis talk about the Russian Socialist Movement, their electoral work, the protests for democracy in Russia and what they might mean for the future.

Witnessing the Collapse of Communism


Roundtable discussion marking the 30th anniversary of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. Participants include Timothy Garton Ash, Bridget Kendall, and Jens Reich.

“The Reddest of the Blacks”

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For the past several months, I’ve been researching the life of Lovett Fort-Whiteman. Here’s a short film I made about his eventual arrest and death in Stalinist Russia.

Born on December 3 1889, Lovett Fort-Whiteman was one of the most important African-American communists in the 1920s. Dubbed the “Reddest of the Blacks” by Time magazine in 1925, he was an early communist convert as one of the first African Americans to join the American Communist Party, and national organizer of the American Negro Labor Congress and delegate to the Fifth and Sixth Congress of the Communist International.

Lovett Fort-Whiteman is the only known African-American victim of Stalin’s Great Terror. He was convicted for counter-revolutionary activity in July 1938 and sentenced to five years in Sevvostlag in Kolyma.

How did a native of Dallas, Texas and son of a former North Carolina slave wind up a victim of Stalinist violence in Soviet Russia?