Author Archives: Gaither Stewart

Dirty hands

“Dirty hands” in literature results when a leader encounters a conflict of duties with values and must choose between alternatives, none of which are entirely satisfactory. In Jean-Paul Sartre’s play Les Mains Sales (Dirty hands), Communist leader Hoederer explains his view to the bourgeois, Hugo, who has joined the Proletarian Party in the fictive East European country of Illyria at the end of World War Two. Despite his love and admiration for Hoederer and the model he makes, Hugo is steadfast in his refusal to “dirty” his hands. Continue reading

Left liberals and counter-history

I read A Facebook post by an American Liberal comparing the refusal of the French Far-Leftist Jean-Luc Melanchon to choose between Emmanuel Macron and the rightist Marine Le Pen as President of France to the Left’s rejection of the German Social Democrats on the eve of WWI, resulting, ultimately, in the emergence of Naziism. He cited other similar cases where Communists of the 1920s and 1930s who refused to distinguish between the far right and those “insufficiently to the left,” ie. Social Democrats, thus paving the way for the fascist right and the rise of Hitler and Mussolini. He cites also the case of Fausto Bertinotti in Italy who withdrew his support for the center-left government of Romano Prodi and paved the road for the disastrous return to power in Rome of Silvio Berlusconi. This indeed sad history is compared to the choice (non-choice) between Clinton and Trump. And thus the nightmare of Trump in the White House. Continue reading

What state of history are we really in?

For revolutionists the question is far from academic.

In his work “Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution,” Lenin discusses a vexing Russian pre-revolutionary problem similar to the problem facing American left radicals today. For Russia of that epoch the question was one of timing and tactics: Was the classical Marxian bourgeois revolution leading to a democratic republic as a first step toward the Socialist Revolution necessary, and even possible, considering the pusillanimous nature of the Russian bourgeoisie at the time? Or could Russia bypass bourgeois capitalism altogether and leap directly from backwardness into advanced socialism? Today, more than a handful of people ask: What will be the nature of the long overdue Great American Revolution? Continue reading

Lenin on compromises

ROME—In Lenin’s “Left-wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder,” written in 1920 as a polemic against Dutch and British groups in the new Third International meeting that year in its Second Congress in which strategy and tactics were debated. His target was the West European ultra-left communists who had come out against Marxists working in trade unions or running for public office and sitting in bourgeois parliaments. Continue reading

President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin: The spy who came in from the cold

ROME—In 1973, West German security services learned that Chancellor Willy Brandt’s personal assistant and friend, Günther Guillaume, was a spy for the East German Intelligence Agency, STASI. Despite the gravity of the discovery, the widespread media coverage of the event, the damage to the chancellor’s image and the raging Cold War between East and West, Brandt remained as chancellor afterwards—even taking a private vacation with Guillaume after the discovery. Only after Guillaume was arrested on April 24, 1974, did Brandt resign, on May 6, 1974, remaining however as chairman of the Social Democratic Party until 1987. Continue reading

Russia and America, one hundred years face-to-face

ROME—As Stephen Lendman reported recently, Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister and a unique political figure of today’s world, wrote in a March 3 essay in Global Affairs magazine that his country stands “at the crossroads of key trends” in the field of international relations and underlined that Russia, has “a special role in European and global history.” Continue reading


The parable is told of the boiling of a frog. If you put it in boiling water the frog will jump out as soon as it feels the heat. But if you put it in cold water that is slowly heated it will not perceive the danger. The warmth feels good. It will slowly relax. As the water warms more and more the frog’s energy will begin to drain and its sense of well-being will increase. The water gets hotter and hotter but the frog begins to fall asleep. By the time the water boils it is too late for the poor frog to take any action at all. The frog perishes in the boiling water, cooked to death. (A metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to or be aware of threats that arrive gradually.) Continue reading

Euphemisms away: A world in which truth is a dying species

Hidden away somewhere within the labyrinth of the Pentagon there must be a top secret euphemism department engaged in the invention of the Orwellian surrogate words that have crept surreptitiously into the American English vocabulary and from there translated into many other languages. Continue reading

The Greek affair: Symbol of the crisis of the European Union or paradigm of Europe’s salvation

ROME—SYRIZA, an acronym signifying “Coalition of the Radical Left,” is favored to win upcoming elections following the inconclusive elections held last May 6. Today’s ungovernable and crisis-ridden Greece is shaking the foundation of the European Union. Continue reading

What if Gorbachev had won 20 years ago?

ROME–As a follow-up to Patrice Greanville’s article, “The Soviet Union—Environmental Degradation: Some Historical Antecedents,” I have presented here excerpts from some of my own articles written during the Gorbachev perestroika period, plus notes and reflections concerning Mikhail Gorbachev, the last General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and Chief of State of the USSR, and his role in the history of Socialism. As an intermittent correspondent in Moscow for a West European newspaper during the Gorbachev era I covered some of the evolving crisis in Russian Communism in the late 1980s-early 1990s. From my notes of over twenty years ago I have reconstructed here the essence of my various articles on the XIX Conference of the CPSU held in Moscow in June-July of 1988. Continue reading

Insurrection and invisible powers

ROME—Italy has always been different. The Italian peninsula, hidden away behind the Alps from the rest of Europe and separated by the surrounding seas from Africa and the Middle East, stands in the middle of the Mediterranean alone, wary and mistrustful, conspiratorial at home and abroad alternately belligerent or isolationist; yet, since the collapse of the Roman Empire, it is forever in need of a powerful protector against invaders from all directions. Continue reading

Ben Bella: revolutionary internationalist

ROME—When decades ago I interviewed the legendary Ahmed Ben Bella, the man who ignited the Algerian War of Liberation against French colonial rule in 1954, was also chairman and animator of the FLN (Front de Liberation Nationale), and subsequently became the first post-colonial president of liberated and independent Algeria, 1962–1965, he repeatedly described himself as a revolutionary, not a theoretician, a man of action, not an intellectual, an internationalist, an Islamic progressive fundamentalist, an Arab Moslem and man of the Third World. Continue reading

When the revolution comes

The historic Gastonia textile mill strikes are not forgotten

ROME—When in the early part of this millennium I was writing a rather surrealistic novel, ASHEVILLE, about the town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina where I started out my life, I ran into the story of the Asheville-based self-professed Communist writer, Olive Tilford Dargan, of whom I had never heard before. Visiting then her gravesite in the little known Green Hills Cemetery in West Asheville and researching her and her activities I fell into a gossamer review of early 19th century labor struggles in the good old U.S. South. Continue reading

European Spring: The gradual demise of capitalism

ROME—It’s an cumulative kind of thing, the demise of capitalism worldwide: at first the waning and the dwindling, now the rapid corkscrew-like downwards spiraling, of greedy, vicious, cannibalistic capitalism busily devouring itself. Today, one can only conclude the imminence of its just demise. Continue reading

Balkan enigma and NATO’s chains of progress

ROME-BELGRADE—NATO seems to find Serbia’s autonomy outrageous, its semi-neutrality unacceptable, its modernity anomalous and above all its path to progress dangerous. For North Atlantic Treaty planners and schemers, Serbia—maverick, outsider, rebel—is an infectious disease to be eradicated. Serbia must be chained, normalized and integrated with the rest of Europe as are most southeastern European lands. Serbia’s neutral existence is an affront, an obstacle to a final solution of the thorny Balkan conundrum. Continue reading

Mimesis and the state of US democracy

ROME—Standard dictionary definitions of the word of ancient Greek origin, mimesis, relate the word to imitation, representation, mimicry, similarity, the act of resembling and of expression. Today, mimesis has more to do with literary and societal functions. Continue reading

I believe I saw Muammar Gadaffi on my way to the Colosseum

ROMA—It was about 3 P.M. and rain was in the air. A cold wind was blowing down Mussolini’s showpiece avenue. The Via dei Fori Imperiali is the site of victory parades. The victory over the duplicitous Ethiopians. The victory over the ambitious Libyans of East and West. The victory over the ferocious Albanians. Continue reading

Silvio Berlusconi underneath the arches of Rubygate

ROME—Rubygate it’s called. The final act of the Berlusconi saga. Over fifteen years of comedy for the outside world. A comedy played out against a background of non-government and misery for many Italians. Continue reading

Payback: The price of colonialism

ROME—Does colonialism pay off for anyone? In the long run, definitely not. There is always a payback. The events today in North Africa reflect this story. The situation today is the living and the dying proof of the payback. An atrocious, insufferable payback. The English in Egypt, the French in Algeria, the Italians in Libya. But especially the occupied Arab peoples of Egypt, Algeria and Libya, have all paid and continue to pay the price of colonialism. Continue reading