Thread: What Are You Reading? VII

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  1. #421
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    I decided to read at least Orwell and just finished "Animals Farm".The book made me sorely perplexed. Why in the earth this is all called "satire"? I didn't find any satire there,the author just primitively calls "animals" those whom he does not like - and that is all. And why in the hell the author is considered to be the leftist? The idea of the novel is quate fascist: bourgeois are human beings, working people are not.The only useful idea one could get from the book is that a trotskyist finally spirals into fascism.Yuck.
    Last edited by General Winter; 18th June 2017 at 04:37.
    Any anti-communist is a dog. - Jean-Paul Sartre.
  2. #422
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    Currently reading Philip Short's "Pol Pot: The History of a Nightmare". Short has definitely done his research on the subject and you can almost see the author working through archives of material (as well as sitting in interviews with various key figures) as the writing style is very direct and to the point. This is particularly difficult because the Khmer Rouge didn't write alot down and the author suggests this is due to there obsession with secrecy and the oral rather than literary nature of Cambodian culture. I'm not very familiar with the history of Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge, but I would recommend it. The book isn't strictly a biography of Saloth Sar (Pol Pots original name) but tries to look around at the historical and cultural context as well as biographical details to infer who this person was. As an account its often surprising for its ability to mix the unfamiliarity of Cambodian culture with biographical insights. Short has tried to come up with reasons for the ferocity of the Khmer Rouge and places the emphasis on Cambodia's national culture. This isn't an answer very compatible with Marxism and points out how distinctive communist revolutions can be depending on their local and national background, but he has obviously read Marxist texts and has a good grasp of the theory in reconstructing the sort of thinking that went into the Khmer Rouge. This isn't a hysterical anti-communist tract but deals with the controversial nature of the subject in a level headed way that's very informative.
  3. #423
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    I just recently finished Cracked: The Unhappy Truth About Psychiatry. It was a provocative and well-researched critique of how capitalism affects psychiatry. It touches on everything from questionable research methods in the pharmaceutical industry to how psychiatry has been adopted as a tool of imperialism (imposing a "Westernized", Brave New World view of certain emotions and behaviours in which negative emotions are seen as a purposeless burden rather than a natural consequence of life and part of healthy psychological development).
    "I'm a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will." - Antonio Gramsci

    "If he did advocate revolutionary change, such advocacy could not, of course, receive constitutional protection, since it would be by definition anti-constitutional."
    - J.A. MacGuigan in Roach v. Canada, 1994
  4. #424
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    I'm reading Children Of The Dark by Jonathan Janz. It's a horror novel but honestly I'm not sure if I like it. I want to like it but I'm only in the third chapter and I've had it for a few weeks now. I usually take the time out to read a book I really like and I honestly haven't cared enough to read this one

    - - - Updated - - -

    I decided to read at least Orwell and just finished "Animals Farm".The book made me sorely perplexed. Why in the earth this is all called "satire"? I didn't find any satire there,the author just primitively calls "animals" those whom he does not like - and that is all. And why in the hell the author is considered to be the leftist? The idea of the novel is quate fascist: bourgeois are human beings, working people are not.The only useful idea one could get from the book is that a trotskyist finally spirals into fascism.Yuck.
    Plus Orwell was a traitor and compiled a list of socialists and communists for the British government
  5. #425
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    I've read Armed Insurrection by A. Neuberg. It was the Comintern's military manual for insurrection. It discusses insurrections in Estonia, Germany, China and Russia, their success and failures. Also discusses guerilla warfare and tactics in urban warfare. Pretty amazing reading about insurgents taking out military bases and police stations, even being outnumbered and short on arms.

    A lot of the info is out of date. Calvary isn't as important(thought still used by LE), surveillance is greatly improved, tear gas and "less than lethal" weapons are common, ect.. Being written in the Third Period, it doesn't distinguish between reactionary social democrats(social fascists) and actual fascists. But acknowledged or not, it's very influential on orgs that uphold the "October Path". I can see its influence on some more recent works, like The Coming Insurrection.

    "A. Neuberg" is actually several people, including Tukhachevsky, Ho Chi Minh, Piatnitsky, et al. A lot of brilliant minds. The Soviets didn't want it traced back to them or get the reader in trouble, so they tried to make it look like the author was just a polyglot and it could be some random book you'd pick up at a book store or some vendor.

    There really needs to be a new version for the 21st century. A lot of the "official" Communist Parties lost this knowledge in the switch to the social-democratic anti-monopolist coalitions after WWII, in spite of the experience of the Spanish Civil War and anti-fascist partisans. I don't think most other orgs have picked up the slake, in spite of 90 years of rebellions and revolutions.
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  7. #426
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    The idea of the novel is quate fascist: bourgeois are human beings, working people are not.
    How you got that idea, heaven only knows.

    The book is obviously a satire over the fate of the Soviet Union - revolutionaries say they are with the people but then they ultimately betray the people, bla bla. I say “obviously”, because it is certainly not subtle. Nothing in Orwell is.
    1984 is a much better book, but suffers from the same heavy-handed writing. A big fan of this guy, I am not.
  8. #427
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    I've read Armed Insurrection by A. Neuberg. It was the Comintern's military manual for insurrection. It discusses insurrections in Estonia, Germany, China and Russia, their success and failures. Also discusses guerilla warfare and tactics in urban warfare. Pretty amazing reading about insurgents taking out military bases and police stations, even being outnumbered and short on arms.

    A lot of the info is out of date. Calvary isn't as important(thought still used by LE), surveillance is greatly improved, tear gas and "less than lethal" weapons are common, ect.. Being written in the Third Period, it doesn't distinguish between reactionary social democrats(social fascists) and actual fascists. But acknowledged or not, it's very influential on orgs that uphold the "October Path". I can see its influence on some more recent works, like The Coming Insurrection.

    "A. Neuberg" is actually several people, including Tukhachevsky, Ho Chi Minh, Piatnitsky, et al. A lot of brilliant minds. The Soviets didn't want it traced back to them or get the reader in trouble, so they tried to make it look like the author was just a polyglot and it could be some random book you'd pick up at a book store or some vendor.

    There really needs to be a new version for the 21st century. A lot of the "official" Communist Parties lost this knowledge in the switch to the social-democratic anti-monopolist coalitions after WWII, in spite of the experience of the Spanish Civil War and anti-fascist partisans. I don't think most other orgs have picked up the slake, in spite of 90 years of rebellions and revolutions.
    looks interesting I found a copy online Ill give it a read https://libcom.org/library/armed-ins...n-neuberg-1928
  9. #428
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    I just have had another read of Steinbeck’s "The Grapes of Wrath",a very interesting book.If you have not read it, the story is briefly as follows: during the Great Depression, a young man named Tom Joad returns to his native Oklahoma from American Gulag and finds his home farmhouse deserted and abandoned, and the land plowed. What has happened ? A bourgeois collectivization.

    I've deliberately used the terms from the vocabulary of anti-commies,of the accusers of Soviet practice because of the striking resemblance of things that have taken place. In effect, but not in shape.Because what collectivization is in fact? It is a transition from small, private method of farming to large-scale and mechanized. The purpose of this consolidation is to increase the marketability and productivity of agriculture to produce large volumes of products with fewer workers. Thus the whole society gets the necessary food and vacant peasants move from village to city, becoming industrial workers.

    How did the collectivization in the burgeois way happen according to Steinbeck?

    "And at last the owner men came to the point. The tenant system won’t work any more. One man on a tractor can take the place of twelve or fourteen families. Pay him a wage and take all the crop. We have to do it. We don’t like to do it. But the monster’s sick. Something’s happened to the monster.

    But you’ll kill the land with cotton.

    We know. We’ve got to take cotton quick before the land dies. Then we’ll sell the land. Lots of families in the East would like to own a piece of land.

    The tenant men looked up alarmed. But what’ll happen to us? How’ll we eat?

    You’ll have to get off the land. The plows’ll go through the dooryard.

    And now the squatting men stood up angrily. Grampa took up the land, and he had to kill the Indians and drive them away. And Pa was born here, and he killed weeds and snakes. Then a bad year came and he had to borrow a little money. An' we was born here. There in the doorour children born here. And Pa had to borrow money. The bank owned the land then, but we stayed and we got a little bit of what we raised.

    We know that—all that. It’s not us, it’s the bank. A bank isn’t like a man. Or an owner with fifty thousand acres, he isn’t like a man either. That’s the monster.

    Sure, cried the tenant men, but it’s our land. We measured it and broke it up. We were born on it, and we got killed on it, died on it. Even if it’s no good, it’s still ours. That’s what makes it ours—being born on it, working it, dying on it. That makes ownership, not a paper with numbers on it.

    We’re sorry. It’s not us. It’s the monster. The bank isn’t like a man."


    So the bank unilaterally breaks contracts with tenant farmers and they simply leave the land owned by the Bank, which is then plowed and seeded profitable for the bank's crops. They have been leaving the lands on a massive scale and aimlessly. According to Marx, this is called “the sheep ate people”.

    So what? This is the inevitable progress, one would say and would be perfectly right. The only thing is that the similar process in that very time took place in the USSR.This process is now called "a forced collectivization" and is regarded as one of the major crimes of the Stalinist regime. But can an inevitable progress be called a crime? After all, consolidation and increased productivity are a progress. This events happened in the USSR in 1930s, when 25 million of private farms were replaced by two hundred thousand of the collective and state farms can also be called a progress. At the same time there were still several million of individual farms of those who didn't want to join collective farms. All this happened with saturation of agricultural sphere with tractors and harvesters.

    Bourgeois collectivization and communist collectivization had the same essence but were fundamentally different in forms. During the bourgeois collectivization they plowed the land and kicked away the farmers,and no one was interested in their future. During the communist collectivization everything happend differently: the peasants pooled their land shares into a big one and started collective farming, being a co-owners and receiving income from the production.

    So I highly recommend this book,it would be useful in disputes with anti-commies.
    Any anti-communist is a dog. - Jean-Paul Sartre.
  10. #429
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    We’re sorry. It’s not us. It’s the monster. The bank isn’t like a man."

    Societal *institutions* -- like banks and other organizations -- are *not* equivalent to their constituent collections of people, like the sum of the bank's employees. The British English convention of using *plural* pronouns ('bank' = 'they') to refer to *singular* collections, like a bank or a family, is very misleading, because it implies that an institution *is* synonymous with its grouping of individuals -- more realistically, the organization is run according to set *rules*, or policy, and all constituent elements / people are *not* their own people as individuals, but are more-accurately *functionaries* within that particular social structure / context.

    ( See the level of 'Movements / Institutions' in the following diagram: )


    History, Macro-Micro -- politics-logistics-lifestyle



  11. #430
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    Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, by Jon Lee Anderson
    "I'm a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will." - Antonio Gramsci

    "If he did advocate revolutionary change, such advocacy could not, of course, receive constitutional protection, since it would be by definition anti-constitutional."
    - J.A. MacGuigan in Roach v. Canada, 1994
  12. #431
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    I'm reading The Plague by Albert Camus. It's alright.
    Modern democracy is nothing but the freedom to preach whatever is to the advantage of the bourgeoisie - Lenin

  13. #432
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    ...The small print on my rental lease agreement.


    = D


    (No, not really.)
  14. #433
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    Currently reading "Free At Last! The Tony Benn Diaries 1990-2001." Great read. He pulls no punches with some of his fellow MPs.
    It is wholly wrong to blame Marx for what was done in his name, as it is to blame Jesus for what was done in his. Tony Benn
  15. #434
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    "whatever they might make would never be the same as that world of dark streets and bright dreams"

    http://youtu.be/g-PwIDYbDqI

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