Yet, despite these new biographically informed insights in the culture of communism and the states it ruled over, we still know more about the political history of the Comintern and its 'national sections'.
Tauno Saarela's review of literature on Scandinavian communism not only helps us break through the language barrier, but also shows how a relatively under-researched region--usually associated with social democracy--fits into the wider historiography.
Smith, 'Introduction: Towards a Global History of Communism', in Stephen A Smith (ed), The Oxford Handbook of Communism, Oxford: OUP, 2014, p.
What alternative to communism did the anti-communist stand for?
How far was communism conceived more as internal or as external threat--and what was the relation between them?
Did anti-communism represent a proportionate response to the challenge communism posed either to particular state interests or to other political movements (including other sections of the working-class movement)?
Communism itself represented both the promise of emancipation and its betrayal.
Naturally, the communism of the anarchists was voluntary and anti-statist.
In any case, the important thing is to underline the anti-communism of the anarcho-collectivists, who saw all forms of communism as leading to disaster.
Of course, the Bolsheviks, Lenin and his closest comrades, used the unorthodox energy of these various councilist movements, the Russian Soviets, and so on, to construct communist parties and red trade unions, and this battle for the control of syndicalism and council communism lasted through to the early 1920s.
And of course it was the 'Barcelona Days' that brought to life George Orwell's critique of Soviet communism.
Albeit with some notable exceptions, the international comparative literature on communism even now is surprisingly undeveloped.
Over the next two issues, they will include reviews of recent work on communism in Latin America (by Daniela Spenser); in Germany (by Reiner Tostorff); and in southern Asia (by Sobhanlal Datta Gupta).
Thanks are also due to the new Communism Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association of the UK, which funded the Manchester event from which much of this material is drawn, with additional support from the universities of Durham and Manchester.
Finally, this is the first issue of Twentieth Century Communism to appear on its new twice-yearly basis.