The Experiment: Georgia's Forgotten Revolution 1918-1921 (英語) ハードカバー – 2017/9/15
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Along the way, Lee introduces us to a remarkable set of ideas and policies, among them the men and women who strove for a vision of socialism that featured universal suffrage, a people’s militia in place of a standing army, and a civil society grounded in trade unions and cooperatives. Though the Georgian Democratic Republic lasted for just three years before it was brutally crushed on the orders of Stalin, in that short time it was able to offer a glimpse of a more humane alternative to the Communist nightmare that was to come.
The Experiment is the first authoritative English-language history of this forgotten episode, and it will appeal to those interested in Soviet history as well as those seeking inspiration for a democratic socialist alternative today.
"In a clear and succinct style, Lee paints a sympathetic portrait of this remarkable experiment in democratic socialism. Lee has brought this almost unknown story out of the shadows, giving it its proper place in the historiography of socialism and the Russian Revolution."--Stephen Jones, author of Socialism in Georgian Colors
"A sympathetic, lucidly written, and politically literate account of the first Georgian republic, which makes exhaustive use of the accounts of foreign observers as well as some of the major leading figures."--Donald Rayfield, author of Stalin and His Hangmen
"Covering a crucial but strangely overlooked period in the fevered evolution of socialism, we've been waiting for this book for a long time. Fortunately, it arrives excellently written and researched."--Peter Nasmyth, author of Georgia: In the Mountains of Poetry
"As Lee reminds us, this Menshevik-dominated government backed free elections, freedom of the press, an independent judiciary, parliamentary rule and free trade unions. Perhaps its most impressive achievement was to carry out agrarian reform, allowing peasants to buy land at reasonable prices and not resorting to the catastrophic forced collectivization the Bolsheviks later employed. Visiting Georgia, a Western socialist like Karl Kautsky could declare it the 'antithesis to Bolshevism.'"--New York Times
"Lee has written a remarkable book, which tells the history of the First Georgian Republic. . . . It does, however, do more than that. By placing the Georgian experiment in its historical and international context, it gives us important insights into the nature of nation-building, socialism, Stalinism, and even contemporary Russia."--Dissent
"A vivid history of the Republic."--New European
"Lee provides a fascinating account of what the country briefly looked like under Menshvik rule and how this compared to the regime established by Georgia's most famous son, Stalin."--Europe Now
"This is an important book. It is the first study in English of the Menshevik government in Georgia between 1918 and 1921."--Chartist
"Lee calls 1918-21 a 'forgotten revolution.' The story of that revolution is worth remembering, and has never before been told so well."--Eurasianet
"A well-researched, well-written and engaging account. . . . A welcome and necessary addition to the literature."--European History Quarterly
But, perhaps most importantly, even though the Soviet troops crushed Georgian democracy, you walk away with a sense of hope. When the changes came in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, it was diappointing in many coutries to see the weakness of emergining democracy (if it came at all). Georgia has developed a trade union movement that is one of the exceptions. It is free. It struggles. It is attacked, but springs back. The story of the emergence and re-emergence of the teachers' union is a good example. The fights of the railway workers, another. After reading "The Experiment", even though it was a long time ago, I could not help but wonder if trade unionism and democracy was not hidding in their DNA all of those years.
The idea of greater equality in a democracy cannot die. It is clear that less equality undermines democracy. The problem seems to be in many countries, and not just the US, that political parties and politicians respond to those who have the money. As FDR said, "It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach."