Victor Serge Library in Moscow

Sebastian Budgen sebastian at
Sun Feb 11 12:59:12 MST 2001

Title: Victor Serge Library in Moscow
Please post on the list.
Appeal: Support the Victor Serge Public Library in Moscow
The Victor Serge Public Library in Moscow has been operating for more than three
years. Named after the well-known socialist writer and fighter against
totalitarianism, the library aims to acquaint the public with the greath wealth
of radical and alternative ideas that were forbidden in Soviet times and are
hardly heard in present-day Russia, including the many strands of democratic and
libertarian socialism which opposed Stalinism.
The library opened in May 1997, when we were able to find a public space in
high-rent Moscow to house a container-load of radical books donated by
sympathizers in the US. Today the library¹s unique collection has grown to 3,000
books, pamphlets and journals in Russian and other languages. It is the only
place in Russia where readers can find many works written from critical
perspectives on literature, social science, Marxism, anarchism, syndicalism,
Trotskyism, feminism, trade unionism and the history of workers¹ movement in
various countries.
The library is thus a treasure house for Russian students, academics, activists
and young readers who are trying to develop a critical view of the world and
thinking about how to change it. The library is also used as a sort of club
where discussions, lectures, seminars and gatherings of various left-wing
organisations take place.
In 1999 the library¹s supporters formed the Praxis Research and Study Center to
undertake publications, research and the organization of conferences on
political and social themes. The Center¹s first publication ­ our Russian
translation (the first ever) of Memoirs of A Revolutionary, by Victor Serge ­ is
due out later this year. Other projects, including a translation of Serge¹s
novel Conquered City, and a collection of previously unpublished documents from
the communist opposition of the 1920s, will follow.
The steady growth both of our collection and of our readership mean that we
badly need to move to new premises. We need to establish an internet site,
refine our computerized catalog, and ensure the regular receipt of periodicals.
We need to grow, and that requires funds.
Since we opened the library, we have made many friends around the world ­
radicals and progressives in academia, left-wing activists and others. Your
collaboration and support mean a great deal to us. Now we propose to set up the
Friends of the Victor Serge Library as an international organization to unite
all those who have become, or are happy to become, our friends. The future of
this library, unique in Russia, depends to a large extent on the solidarity of
those who understand the importance of establishing genuine socialist traditions
in our country ­ which has played in the past, and will play in the future, such
a vital part in the development of international movements of social liberation.
This appeal is supported by:
Tariq Ali, writer and broadcaster, UK
Bob Arnot, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK
Ian Birchall, writer and translator, UK
Terry Brotherstone, historian, University of Aberdeen, UK
Pierre Broue, historian, France
Alex Buchwald, former bodyguard of Leon Trotsky and labor activist, USA
Kirill Buketov, Moscow representative, International Union of Food,
Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers
Associations (IUF) (in a personal capacity), Russia
Aleksandr Buzgalin, editor of Alternativy, Moscow State University, Russia
Marc Cooper, producer of Radio Nation, author of Roll Over Che Guevara and
Pinochet and Me, USA
Samuel Farber, Professor of Political Science, Brooklyn College, City University
of New York, USA
Don Filtzer, historian of Soviet labour, UK
Frank Fried, veteran labor activist, USA
Dan Gallin, chair, Global Labor Institute, Switzerland
Richard Greeman, translator of Victor Serge¹s novels, France
Aleksei Gusev, historian, Moscow State University, Russia
Christopher Hitchens, author and columnist for The Nation and Vanity Fair, USA
Michael Hudson, president of Institute for the Study of Long Term Economic
Trends, USA
Boris Kagarlitsky, author and journalist, Russia
Vladislav Kibalchich, son of Victor Serge, Mexico
Ken Loach, film director (Land and Freedom, Carla¹s Song, My Name Is Joe, and
many others), UK
Jean-Jacques Marie, historian, France
Ardeshir Mehrdad, editor, Iran Bulletin, Iran
Cathy Nugent, editor, Action for Solidarity, UK
Stephen Schwarz, journalist, USA
Mohamad Reza Shalgouni, author, Iran
Ahmed Shawki, editor, International Socialist Review, USA
Daniel Singer, author of Whose Millennium? Theirs or Ours?, USA (deceased)
Francisco Sobrino, editorial board of Herramienta, Argentina
David Temple, former Durham Mechanics executive member, National Union of
Mineworkers, and organiser of solidarity with Russian and Ukrainian miners, UK
Hillel Ticktin, University of Glasgow, UK
Esteban Volkov, grandson of Leon Trotsky, Mexico
Mikhail Voyekov, Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences,
Alan Wald, author and cultural editor of Against the Current, USA
Suzi Weissman, St Mary¹s College, USA
Please return this letter to us, indicating what support you are able to give:
1. I would like to become a Friend of the library, sign this letter for further
circulation, and receive information about the library.
2. I agree to make an annual donation of ( ) $50, ( ) $100 ( ) other.
3. I would like to donate some books. Please get in touch.
How to get in touch with the Victor Serge library
Correspondence to the library should marked for "BOX 385" and sent by fax to +7
095 292 6511.
The postal address is: Russia, Moscow 113639, Balaklavskii prospekt 4-6-365,
Obshchestvennaya biblioteka imeni Viktora Serzha.
The library is ten minutes by foot from Chertanovskaya metro station (about 20
minutes from the centre of Moscow). We are open every Saturday from 12.0 to
17.0, and every Tuesday from 18.0 to 21.0. It is advisable to let us know in
advance if you are coming a long way!  
To send donations and/or join the Friends of the Victor Serge library
You may post letters and cheques to: Friends of Victor Serge Library, PO Box
32417, London SE18 2WY, United Kingdom. Cheques may be in sterling, euros or
Sterling and euro cheques may be credited directly to our account: Friends of
Victor Serge Library, a/c number 20096078, Unity Trust bank, 9 Brindleyplace, 4
Oozells Square, Birmingham B1 2HB, United Kingdom. Sort code 086001. Dollar
cheques may be sent to our UK post office box; we expect to have a dollar
account soon and will let you know the details on request.
Send correspondence for the Friends of the Victor Serge Library to
friendsvsl at, or by fax to +44 20 8333 2152. Please note these should
NOT be used for correspondence to the library itself.

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