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BookMarx for 2009-01-18

Sunday, January 18, 2009
  • "Here, distinguished contributors from a variety of disciplines offer a critical reevaluation of Mao Zedong's thought in light of post-Mao developments in Marxism in general, and Chinese Marxism in particular. Conceptually, the essays share common ground in viewing Mao's Marxism as a third world revolutionary Marxism, and fall broadly into two areas: the relationship of Mao Zedong's thought to the Marxist tradition, and the place of Mao Zedong's thought within a Third World revolutionary discourse. At its broadest, the goal of this volume is to examine the relationship between Marxism as a product of the European historical experience, and its unfolding globablly with the globalization of capitalism."
  • Great point!

    "I really recommend that you read this long article by Steven Erlanger. In it, he employs the methods and style of holocaust deniers. Holocaust deniers get into tedious details and they quibble about the gas that was used to kill victims and they employ pseudo-scientific language and vomit technical terms all in order to offer an apologia for Nazi killers and to insult the victims."

  • "It's very important to understand that all movements for social change will be at very least monitored by the powers that be, and will very often be infiltrated. We must study cases like this that come to light carefully, to better understand the workings of counterinsurgency, and to think carefully about implications for how movements and organizations should be built to protect the movement and individuals involved from being harassed, disrupted and even destroyed. This statement handles these issues in a highly principled matter, only accusing Darby of being an infiltrator based on verifiable evidence that is confirmed by multiple people and available documents. Afterall one common method of the political police is precisely to cast doubt on others for being cops, sowing distrust and casting dispersions on honest people. For that reason it's important to both be vigilant about infiltration but also to be very precise and clear and be quite sure when bringing infiltration to light."
  • Oooo! Just found this!
    (tags: marxism)
  • "Together with Louis Althusser's book For Marx, Reading Capital represents one of the foundational texts of the school of “structuralist Marxism” which transformed the face of modern philosophy and social theory. Presided over by the magnetic and intellectually coruscating figure of Althusser, the structuralist Marxists attempted no less than an intellectual revolution against dominant interpretations of Marx. Seeking to cleanse Marx of all Hegelian impurities and recast his thought on a rigorously scientific basis, in this work Althusser and one of his most brilliant students and colleagues, Etienne Balibar, subjected Marx's method in Capital, his critique of classical political economy, and the fundamental terms of historical materialism, to searching textual analysis and challenging conceptual reconstruction. Inaugurating a new way of reading Marx that was to prove both intensely stimulating and capable of generating fierce controversy."
  • "No figure among the western Marxist theoreticians has loomed larger in the postwar period than Louis Althusser. A rebel against the Catholic tradition in which he was raised, Althusser studied philosophy and later joined both the faculty of the Ecole normal superieure and the French Communist Party in 1948. Viewed as a "structuralist Marxist," Althusser was as much admired for his independence of intellect as he was for his rigorous defense of Marx. The latter was best illustrated in For Marx (1965), and Reading Capital (1968). These works, along with Lenin and Philosophy (1971) had an enormous influence on the New Left of the 1960s and continues to influence modern Marxist scholarship."
  • Huh, interesting chap.

    "Alain Badiou is a prominent French philosopher, formerly chair of philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure (ENS). Along with Giorgio Agamben and Slavoj Zizek, Badiou is a prominent figure in an anti-postmodern strand of continental philosophy. Particularly through a creative appropriation of set theory from his early interest in mathematics, Badiou seeks to recover the concepts of being, truth and the subject in a way that is neither postmodern nor simply a repetition of modernity."

  • "This excellent 2003 documentary, roughly an hour long, is helpful at understanding Plan Colombia, the U.S. plan for war in Colombia."
  • "Through prodigious archival research and lucid analysis, Pimpare details the ways in which charity and aid for the poor have been inseparable, more often than not, from the scorn and disapproval of those who would help them. In the rich and often surprising historical testimonies he has collected from the poor in America, Pimpare overturns any simple conclusions about how the poor see themselves or what it feels like to be poor—and he shows clearly that the poor are all too often aware that charity comes with a price. It is that price that Pimpare eloquently questions in this book, reminding us through powerful anecdotes, some heart-wrenching and some surprisingly humorous, that poverty is not simply a moral failure."
  • "It's hard to believe that a generation ago, the Congressional Black Caucus was known as "the conscience of the congress, a political and moral high ground long deserted by the current CBC, which has utterly collapsed under Israel-lobby pressure for the second time in three years.

    All but two Black lawmakers voted either "Yes" or "Present" on a Resolution that absolved Israel for its crimes against humanity in Gaza – placing all blame on Hamas. In 2006, only two Black Caucus members opposed a Resolution supporting Israel's savage destruction if Lebanon's infrastructure and the killing of 1,000 people. Hypocritically turning their backs both on Black public opinion and on the work of Dr. King, whose name they invoke at every public opportunity, the CBC has put itself "out of the anti-war business," and well outside the mainstream of Black opinion on the Israel-Palestine question."

  • "The CIA and senior U.S. diplomats were aware as early as 1994 that U.S.-backed Colombian security forces engaged in "death squad tactics," cooperated with drug-running paramilitary groups, and encouraged a "body count syndrome," according to declassified documents published on the Web today by the National Security Archive. These records shed light on a policy—recently examined in a still-undisclosed Colombian Army report—that influenced the behavior of Colombian military officers for years, leading to extrajudicial executions and collaboration with paramilitary drug traffickers. The secret report has led to the dismissal of 30 Army officers and the resignation of Gen. Mario Montoya Uribe, the Colombian Army Commander who had long promoted the idea of using body counts to measure progress against guerrillas."
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