March 8, 1958 |
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
|Main interests||Politics, sociology, culture, philosophy|
|New Ideology – New Revolution
Alexander Nikolaevich Tarasov (Russian: Алекса́ндр Никола́евич Тара́сов, born March 8, 1958 in Moscow) is a Soviet and Russian left-wing sociologist, politologist, culturologist, publicist, writer and philosopher. Up until the beginning of the 21st century he referred to himself as a Post-Marxist alongside István Mészáros and a number of Yugoslav Marxist philosophers who belonged to Praxis School and emigrated to London. Since in the 21st century the term Post-Marxism has been appropriated by Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe and their followers, Alexander Tarasov (together with the above mentioned István Mészáros and Yugoslav philosophers) stopped referring to himself as a Post-Marxist.
Early political activity and arrest
In December 1972 – January 1973 together with Vasily Minorsky, Tarasov has founded an underground radical left group called the "Party of New Communists" (PNC) (Russian: Партия новых коммунистов (ПНК)), and became the group's informal leader in the summer of 1973. In 1974 PNC merged with another underground radical left group called “Left School" (Russian: Левая школа) to form the “Neo-Communist Party of the Soviet Union" (NCPSU) (Russian: Неокоммунистическая партия Советского Союза (НКПСС)). Tarasov has become one of the NCPSU leaders and theorists, writing the party program, The Principles of Neo-communism (Russian: Принципы неокоммунизма) in 1974. The KGB arrested him in 1975. Upon preliminary imprisonment and a yearlong confinement in a special psychiatric hospital he was released because the NCPSU case was never brought to trial. In the psychiatric hospital Tarasov was subjected to cruel treatment and (de facto) to torture (beatings, ETC – electroconvulsive therapy, induced hypoglycemia, injection of large doses of neuroleptics) all resulting in severe somatic disorders which A.Tarasov has been suffering from since his release, leaving him virtually disabled (Hypertonia, Ankylosing Spondylitis, liver and pancreas diseases). After his release, Tarasov participated in restoration of NCPSU, which he had led until its self-dissolution in January 1985. In 1988, two State Psychiatric Commissions examined Tarasov and found him completely psychologically healthy. (Also read: Political abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union)
Education and career
Tarasov held many different jobs: he worked as a draughtsman; laboratory assistant in a design institute; graveyard warden at Vagankovo Cemetery (Moscow); machinist; boiler technician; librarian; editor; feldsher; gas boiler operator; bookkeeper at the Central Warehouse of Mikoyan Meat Processing Plant Corp.; light board operator at Moscow Hermitage Theatre (located in Moscow Hermitage Garden); research associate at the Centre for Scientific Analysis (Russian Academy of Sciences); university teacher; consultant for the Ministry of Education and Science; political columnist; expert at Information Research Centre "Panorama" and Moscow Human Rights Committee; etc. He got a degree in Economics from All-Russian State Distance Learning Institute of Finance and Economics and a degree in History (started at the Moscow State Pedagogical University and finished at Lomonosov Moscow State University). When "perestroika" started, he soon firmly positioned himself as a professional sociologist and politologist.
Publishing and literary activity
In 1984, Tarasov started publishing his works (under a pseudonym) in the USSR ("samizdat") and in foreign press. In 1988, his articles started appearing (under pseudonyms) in independent press and from 1990 he has been publishing his works in independent and official press under his own name.
In 1988 he founded the "Independent Archive" (from 1990: "Independent Archive – Independent Sociological Service") and in 1991 he became an associate at the Centre for New Sociology and the Study of Applied Politics "Phoenix" (Russian: Центр новой социологии и изучения практической политики "Феникс"). In 2004, he became a co-director of "Phoenix" and, in February 2009, its director.
In the first half of 1993 Tarasov was one of the three editors of a monthly magazine called “The House of the Unions”, published by the same team as “Solidarnost” (Russian: Солидарность (Solidarity), the newspaper founded by the Moscow Federation of Trade Unions (MFP) (currently the newspaper of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia). The magazine had a circulation of 30,000. In his address to the readers of the first issue A.Tarasov noted that "The House of the Unions" makes it its mission to "update Socialist thought" and "create a theory that matches current reality." After just five issues the magazine was closed down by Andrei Isaev, Editor in Chief of "Solidarnost", for non-conforming to the political line of MFP, i.e. for "excessive" radicalism.
Tarasov has penned 1030 publications in sociology (mainly on youth studies , education issues and conflict resolution); politology (current politics, political radicalism in Russia and abroad, mass social movements); history (history and theory of revolutionary movement and guerrilla warfare); culturology (popular culture issues, intercultural and inter-civilization contradictions); economics(comparative research). He is also a literary and movie critic (modern literature and cinema, popular culture and politics, history and theory of the cinematography of the 1960s and 1970s). He has been the first to study and describe Nazi-skinhead subculture in Russia. A.Tarasov is the author of the first profound research on the influence of far-right ideas and organizations on the subculture of football fans in Russia (November 2009 – January 2010).
In 2002 he was one of the founders, compilers and a scientific editor of a book series "Zero Hour: Contemporary World Anti-Bourgeois Thought" (Russian: "Час "Ч". Современная мировая антибуржуазная мысль" – “Gilea” Publishing House). He followed this with two additional book series: Class Struggle (German: Klassenkampf; co-edited with Boris Yuliyevich Kagarlitsky – "Ultra.Culture" Publishing House) in 2005, and The Rose of the Revolution (Russian: роЗА РЕВОлюций) in 2006 (“Cultural Revolution” Publishing House). These series include modern left-wing socio-political literature (mainly foreign).
On November 4, 1995, Tarasov was the victim of an unprovoked assault near his house: after calling him by name, unknown attackers beat him so severely that he lost consciousness (although he tried to defend himself). The attackers escaped with his passport (likely to be used for reporting), but did not touch a large amount of money, a dictation machine and a bottle of Italian Vermouth "Cinzano". Police opened a criminal investigation into the assault, but the attackers have never been found.
In 2008, neo-Nazis included A. Tarasov on the list of their enemies who must be physically exterminated. The list was published on radical right-wing sites. In 2011, Russian pro-Kremlin group "Nashi" named Tarasov among "168 most loathsome enemies" of this group, of Vasily Yakemenko (group's leader) and of Vladimir Putin's regime.
Tarasov is known among Russian anarchists as their consistent critic, first – of the practice of anarchism (as fruitless and unpromising), and partially of the theory (as outdated and unscientific). Tarasov’s criticism has caused open animosity towards him among anarchists.
Tarasov’s reaction to 2011–2012 Russian protests was negative. He criticized the protests from the left, considering them to be the movement of petit bourgeoisie and "consumers' rebellion" alien to the goals and objectives of left-wing forces in Russia and irrelevant to the revolutionary struggle against capitalism.
Recognition and awards
Tarasov is an accomplished prose and poetry writer (since 1992). He is also a translator from English and Spanish (since 1997). Tarasov’s works have been published, apart from Russia, in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Greece, Finland, Hungary, India, Japan, South Korea, Argentina, Panama, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Transnistria, Cuba and Ukraine. He is a laureate of the prizes of several literary magazines: “Druzhba Narodov” (Friendship of Peoples, Russian: «Дружба Народов» (2000), “Yunost" (Youth, Russian: «Юность» (2001) and “Oktyabr'” (October, Russian: «Октябрь» (2011).
- (Russian) Тарасов, А.Н. "Полемика с Александром Шубиным". Из книги: "Революция не всерьёз. Штудии по теории и истории квазиреволюционных движений".Екатеринбург, издательство "Ультра.Культура", 2005. (Tarasov, A. "Polemics with Alexander Shubin" (from the book: "Not A Serious Revolution. Study of the Theory and History of Quasi-Revolutionary Movements". Yekaterinburg, “Ultra.Culture” Publishing House, 2005). ISBN 5-9681-0067-2.
- (Russian) Тарасов, А.Н. "Сакральная функция революционного субъекта. Встреча в Византийском клубе 20 апреля 2001 года. Интервью Аркадия Малера с Александром Тарасовым". Журнал "Скепсис", 20 апреля 2001. (Tarasov, A. "A Sacral Function of a Revolutionary Subject. The Meeting in Byzantine Club on April 20, 2001. Arkady Maler's Interview with Alexander Tarasov". "Scepsis", April 20, 2001).
- (Russian) Паульман, В.Ф. Танцы вокруг парового котла. (Paulman, V. "Dancing Around the Boiler").
- Erlich, Reese. "Soviet Dissidents. Gone With the Wind of Change". "Chicago Tribune", December 11, 2001.
- (Russian) Тарасов, А.Н. "Возвращение на Лубянку: 1977–й". Журнал "Неприкосновенный запас", 2007, No.2. (Tarasov, A. "The Return to Lubyanka – Year 1977". "Neprikosnovennyj Zapas" (Emergency Ration) Magazine, 2007, No.2).
- (Russian) Потапов, В. "Дом Союзов". Журнал "Община", No.49. (Potapov, V. "The House of the Unions", Obshchina, No. 49).
- Tarasov, A. "Provinces Grow Restive". "The Moscow Times", January 17, 1998.
- Tarasov, A. "Soviet Trade Unions on the Road to a Shameful Fall". "Russian Labour Review", 1993, No.1.
- Tarasov, A. "Lessons of Novocherkassk". "Russian Labour Review", 1993,No 2.
- Tarasov, A. "World Revolution 2: the Return to a Global Revolutionary Strategy Based on the Experience of the 20th Century". "The Future Present", 2011, Vol.1, No.1.
- Tarasov, A. "Kill The Yankees – a Mantra of Counterculture". "The Moscow Times", April 26, 2000.
- Tarasov, A. "Ten Years of Shame: Arguments About Blame". "Russian Politics and Law", May–June 2000, Vol. 38. No 3.
- Tarasov, A. Super-etatism and Socialism: Towards a Statement of the Problem.
- Tarasov, A. "Offspring of Reforms – Shaven Heads Are Skinheads. The New Fascist Youth Subculture in Russia". "Russian Politics and Law", January–February 2001, Vol.39, No.1.
- Tarasov, A. "Leading Expert Traces Rise of Skinhead Movement". "The Current Digest of the Soviet Press", July 14, 2004.
- Tarasov, A. "Russian Skinheads: a Social Portrait (Analysis of Social Motives Behind the Skinhead Movement in Russia)". "Kontinent", August 2002, No.32.
- Tarasov, A. "The Skinheads Are Coming". "What The Papers Say" – Russian Press Digest, June 18, 2004.
- (Russian) Тарасов, А.Н. "Субкультура футбольных фанатов в России и правый радикализм". Из сборника статей: "Русский национализм между властью и оппоцизией". Москва, Центр "Панорама", 2010. (Tarasov, A. "The Subculture of Football Fans in Russia and Right-Wing Radicalism" (from the compilation of articles: "Russian Nationalism Between the Power and the Opposition". Moscow, “Panorama” Centre, 2010). ISBN 978-5-94420-039-6.
- (Russian) Жертвы большой игры (список сайта vdesyatku.net) — Антикомпромат.Ру (Victims of the Big Game (the list from website vdesyatku.net) – Anticompromat.ru).
- (Russian) Кузьмин, А.Г. "Русский радикальный национализм в современной России: традиции и эволюция". Сыктывкар, Издательство Сыктывкарского государственного университета, 2011: Стр. 218. (Kuzmin, A. "Russian Radical Nationalism in Modern Russia: Traditions and Evolution”. Syktyvkar, Publishing House of Syktyvkar State University, 2011 – Page 218). ISBN 978–5–87237–761–0.
- (Russian) 168 самых мерзких врагов (168 Most Loathsome Enemies).
- (Russian) Тарасов, А.Н. "Леворадикалы". Раздел из книги: Тарасов А. Н., Черкасов Г. Ю., Шавшукова Т. В. "Левые в России: от умеренных до экстремистов". Москва, Институт экспериментальной социологии, 1997. (Tarasov, A. "Radical Left". A section from the book: Tarasov, A., Cherkasov, G., Shavshukova, T. “The Left Wing in Russia: From Moderate to Extremists”. Moscow, The Institute of Experimental Sociology, 1997).
- (Russian) Тарасов, А.Н. "Революция не всерьез. Штудии по теории и истории квазиреволюционных движений.". Екатеринбург, издательство "Ультра.Культура", 2005: Стр. 10–12, 14, 21–23, 40–66, 69–81, 84–88, 95–101,121–124, 129–137,151–153, 157–169, 209–214, 217–220, 226–235, 242–248, 409, 410. (Tarasov, A. "Not A Serious Revolution. Study of the Theory and History of Quasi–Revolutionary Movements". Yekaterinburg, "Ultra.Culture" Publishing House, 2005). ISBN 5–9681–0067–2.
- (Russian) Тарасов, А.Н. "Мать беспорядка". Журнал "Неприкосновенный запас", 2009, No.5. (Tarasov, A. "Mother of Disorder". "Neprikosnovennyj Zapas" ("Emergency Ration") Magazine, 2009, No.5).
- (Russian) Тарасов, А.Н. "Бунт кастратов". "Русский журнал", 22 декабря 2011. (Tarasov, A. "The Castrates' Riot", "Russkyj Zhurnal" ("Russian Magazine)", December 22, 2011).
- (Russian) Тарасов, А.Н. "...посильнее Фауста Гёте!". 6–30 января 2012. (Tarasov, A. "...Beats Goethe's Faust!", January 6–30, 2012).
- (Russian). "Литературный журнал "Октябрь" вручил премии за лучшие публикации 2011–го года". Новости литературы, 21 декабря 2011. ("Awards for Best Publications Announced by Literary Magazine "Oktyabr'". "Literature News", December 21, 2011).
- "Провокация. Версия событий 3–4 октября 1993 г. в Москве". – М.: Центр новой социологии и изучения практической политики "Феникс", 1993. ("The Provocation. A Version of Events in Moscow on October 3–4, 1993". – Moscow: Center for New Sociology and Research in Applied Politics "Phoenix", 1993)
- "Правда о Югославии". — Пермь: ОПОР, 1993. ("The Truth About Yugoslavia". — Perm': OPOR, 1993 (co-author)
- "Провокация. Версия событий 3–4 октября 1993 г. в Москве. — Постскриптум из 1994–го". — М.: Центр новой социологии и изучения практической политики "Феникс", 1994. ("The Provocation. A Version of Events in Moscow on October 3–4, 1993. — Post scriptum from 1994". — Moscow: Center for New Sociology and Research in Applied Politics "Phoenix", 1994)
- "Политический экстремизм в России". — М.: Информационно-экспертная группа "Панорама", 1996. ("Political Extremism in Russia". — Moscow: Information-expert group "Panorama", 1996 (co-author)
- "Политический экстремизм в России". — М.: Институт экспериментальной социологии, 1996. ("Political Extremism in Russia". — Moscow: Institute of Experimental Sociology, 1996 (co-author). ISBN 5-87637-043-6
- "Левые в России: от умеренных до экстремистов". — М.: Институт экспериментальной социологии, 1997. ("The Left Wing in Russia: From Moderate to Extremists". — Moscow: Institute of Experimental Sociology, 1997 (co-author). ISBN 5-87637-006-1
- "Очень своевременная повесть. Феминистка как стриптизёрша: культурологический анализ". — М.: Издательство Академии Искусства и Науки XXI века "Норма", 1999. ("A Very Timely Novel. A Feminist as a Stripper: Culturological Analysis". — Moscow: "Norma" Publishing House (the Academy of 21st Century Art and Science), 1999). ISBN 5-85302-194-X
- "Революция не всерьёз. Штудии по теории и истории квазиреволюционных движений". — Екатеринбург: "Ультра.Культура", 2005. ("Not A Serious Revolution. Study of the Theory and History of Quasi-Revolutionary Movements". — Yekaterinburg: "Ultra.Culture" Publishing House, 2005). ISBN 5-9681-0067-2
- "Страна Икс". — М.: АСТ; Адаптек, 2006. ("Country X". — Moscow: AST; Adaptek, 2006. ISBN 5-17-032525-8; 2nd edition: 2007, ISBN 5-17-040213-9)
- "Le rouge et le noir. Extrême droite et nationalisme en Russie". ("The Red and the Black: The Extreme Right and Nationalism in Russia") — Paris: CNRS Éditions, 2007 (co-author). ISBN 978-2-271-06505-6.
- "XX əsr radikalı üçün Erix Fromm irsi. — Fromm E. Marksın insan konsepsiyası". — Bakı: Solfront, 2012. (Fromm E. "Marx’s Concept of Man". Tarasov A. "The Legacy of Erich Fromm for a Radical of the End of XX – Beginning of XXI Century". — Baku: Solfront, 2012). ISBN 978-9952-444-73-5.
- "Тарасовщина" (A.Tarasov's Personal Website)
- "Тарасовщина"/Английский язык (A.Tarasov's Personal Website/English)
- Скепсис/Александр Тарасов (A.Tarasov's page on Scepsis website)
- К Новой Идеологии – К Новой Революции (Website of A.Tarasov, his Friends and Allies)