Editor’s note: The latest installment in our Liberation School interview series provides a general overview of class struggle from the Russian Revolution to WWII & the Cold War. PSL member Gabriel Rockhill and historian Jacques Pauwels discuss the desire on the part of the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy to stave off revolution by instigating WWI, how this tactic backfired by fostering a unique opportunity for the Bolsheviks to seize power in Russia, the split in the world communist movement between the social-democratic reformists and the revolutionary socialists, the centrality of anticolonial liberation to revolutionary socialism, the rise of fascism as an anti-communist and colonial project bankrolled by the capitalist ruling class, the outbreak of WWII as driven by Hitler’s colonial ambitions in the East and desire to crush the USSR, and the emergence of the Cold War as an ongoing class war against communism. The interview was conducted in mid-February over video. It is the second installment in a two-part series. The first part provides an overview of global class struggle from the French Revolution of 1789 to the Russian Revolution.
Jacques Pauwels is an independent scholar and popular educator whose work focuses on the international history of class struggle. He has taught cadre classes for the Pôle de renaissance communiste en France (PRCF), a revolutionary socialist party in France, and has given courses on European history at the University of Toronto, York University, and the University of Waterloo. His books include The Great Class War: 1914-1918, The Myth of the Good War, Big Business and Hitler, and Myths of Modern History: From the French Revolution to the 20th Century World Wars and the Cold War.