Revisionism – Leopold Labedz
On the Justice of Roosting Chickens –Ward Churchill
Marxism, Revisionism and Leninism – Richard F. Hamilton
Criticism and Ideology – Terry Eagleton
Dickens Redressed – Alexander Welsh
Heathcliff and the Great Hunger – Terry Eagleton
Oxford Guide to Chaucer
Agents of Repression: the FBI’s Secret War Against the Black Panther Party & the American Indian Movement – Ward Churchill
Marxist Study of the Brontes – Terry Eagelton
Socialist Albania Since 1944 – Peter Prifti
Marxism, Maoism and Utopianism – Maurice Meisner
Marxism In the Chinese Revolution – Arif Dirlik
Lenin: The Imperialist War – Vladimir Lenin
Blackshirts & Reds – Michael Parenti
It is far too easy to dismiss S.T. Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” as a simple opium-induced pipe dream, though it certainly was. He imagines a fairy tale world of rulers and pleasure-domes, which even then is haunted by shrieking maidens and ice caves where no man may tread. In it, the author explores his own alienation from his body by flamboyantly demanding liberation from reality and claustrophobic imperialism.
Meanwhile, Coleridge’s highly experimental masterpiece “Rhyme of the Mariner” is rife with the same sort of alienation as “Kubla Khan,” though not nearly in such a Utopian setting. The burning question of the poem, addressed by so many scholars and academics since it was written, must be stated—why did the narrator shoot the albatross? It is an action that is given no explanation, that seems completely unnecessary and arbitrary. The shooting has more significance than it seems at first, being born out of the “modernism” of 19th century England—a world where people were first beginning to question established religious institutions, a world where pure chance creates reality, where meanings become pointless. This story gravitates towards a radically pessimistic vision of nihilistic subjectivity, and uses the albatross around the neck of our dear mariner as a metaphor for the crushing weight of man’s own alienation from himself and the works he produces, just as “Kubla Khan” uses it’s entire existence as a fantasy as an example of that same estrangement.
“Resolution and Independence” is certainly one of Wordsworth’s stranger poems, one in which he sees an old leech-gathering man as an unlikely oracle. For a “gentleman” such as Wordsworth it must indeed be a rare thing to see a working class man reduced to such drudgery, but is his poem merely an aristocratic fantasy, a comfort that conceals real conditions of exploitation? It is not as simple and vulgar as that, though one would certainly be tempted to say so, due to Wordsworth’s tribute to the hard and “noble” life of the old gatherer. The question that haunts the text is whether it is a product of a man whose social views are outraged by the hardships of such working class men or promoting a conservative ideology based on the supposed moral “value” of hard work.
Unfortunately, I am tempted to say the latter, since though Wordsworth was not necessarily born into privilege, his silver-tongued language betrays the silver spoon in his mouth. He views personal and individual “resolution” as the solution to a lack of “independence” in choice of profession. There is certainly nothing wrong with the old man’s role as a producer being upheld as greater than any holy oracle, but to uphold the conditions of his exploitation as either “resolution” or “independence” is highly questionable. We may be witnessing a sign of the transition from the younger, more radical Wordsworth into the older, more conservative version.
Solidarność, in English “Solidarity,” was a reactionary Polish organization that led the counterrevolution against the revisionist government of Poland. Here is Grover Furr’s excellent, well-cited and and concise work on the organization.
(Originally published in Comment [Montclair State College, NJ], vol. 1, nos. 2 (Spring, 1982), pp. 31-34.
View the PDF here.
The AFT, the CIA, and Solidarność
by Grover C. Furr
English Department, Montclair State College
In its issue of Sept. 29, 1981, the Wall Street Journal, not noted for being “pro-labor,” published an interesting editorial in favor of the Polish Solidarność (Solidarity) union. The WSJ attacked those forces that, it said, questioned the connection between the AFL-CIO and Solidarity. It showed particular irritation over claims that, through the AFL-CIO, the U. S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as undertaking to manipulate Solidarity:
How easy it is to make lists of the CIA connections [with the AFL-CIO]; the parallel aims, the instances of collaboration, the communications and shared acquaintanceships. How easy to use the list to try to discredit the AFL-CIO enterprise in Poland, and more important, to try to expunge the colossal embarrassment Solidarity represents to worldwide communism.
The WSJ editorial does not, interestingly, deny the AFL-CIO/CIA /Solidarity connection at all. Rather, it warns that any publicity given this connection tends to “tarnish” or “delegitimitize” Solidarity and the AFL-CIO, and so to play into the hands of the Soviet Union. Correct, no doubt; and Counterspy magazine, the one singled out for special criticism by the WSJ editorial, is ideologically allied with the Soviets, frequently publishing articles by members of the Communist Party USA. But, what is the truth of these charges?
CHITWAN, Nepal — In a major step forward in Nepal’s tortured peace process, Maoist political leaders on Saturday formally relinquished control of their 19,000-member army to a special governmental committee.
At a ceremony held about 110 miles from the capital, Katmandu, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) signed a statement with the country’s caretaker interim prime minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal. Then the prime minister raised the national flag over a gathering of former Maoist fighters.
“It is a positive development,” said Samuel Tamrat, a senior United Nations official. “It shows the parties are keen to move forward and take responsibility.”
The unresolved status of the Maoist combatants had been a constant concern since Maoist leaders signed an agreement in 2006 ending their decade-old guerrilla war and allowing the Maoists to form a political party that would participate in writing a new constitution.
But Maoist leaders and Nepal’s other political parties bickered for almost five years over how to reintegrate the fighters, essentially leaving the Maoist army intact and outside the government’s authority.
Their presence has deadlocked the broader effort to write the new constitution. And for the past six months, Nepal has had a caretaker government as the parties have been unable to agree on a prime minister. Even with the handover complete, the terms of how the fighters will be returned to society or blended into security forces are still being negotiated. The government has a deadline to finish that work, choose a new prime minister and complete a constitution by the end of May.
“I want the integration and rehabilitation of all the Maoist combatants to happen as soon as possible,” said one of the fighters, Sarjan Bk, 27. “We have been staying here for more than four years.”
Kiran Chapagain reported from Chitwan, and Jim Yardley from New Delhi.
Posted in Asia, Capitalism & Bourgeois Liberalism, Class Struggle, Common Sense, Dengism, Hypocrisy, Imperialism & Colonialism, Maoism, Myth-Busting, Nepal, Rants, Revisionism, Writings
It is a well-known fact that there has not been any famine in North Korea since 1997, and that the famine that did exist was mostly the result of serious natural disasters and leftover destruction from the Korean War, not mismanagement. The videos repeatedly shown today as starving North Koreans are all from pre-1997. The US invaded North Korea on June 25, 1950 to consume it in the Syngman Rhee dictatorship that ruled in the South. In 1949 alone, there were 2,913 such incidents, some with thousands of troops. Finally, the North responded with a full invasion of the South. This is what the US government means when it says the North “started the war.”
Posted in Asia, Asian & South Asian Liberation, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Internationalism, Lies & Propaganda, Myth-Busting, National Liberation, North Korea, Oddities, Rants, Writings
Recently a group of revisionists tried to liquidate your author’s arguments and activism by bringing up his past history of being in a variety of revisionist parties and over time changing his ideology. It is precisely because I was a member of these revisionist groups that I see revisionism for what it is. I was personally shown the ropes. But I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t buy Trotskyism or Maoism, I couldn’t follow the liberal line, and eventually saw they were all hot air and no substance.
The propagation of revisionist theories is the advocacy of bringing knives to a gunfight. It revises fundamental principles of the theory and advocates for our slaughter. Liberalized “anti-dogmatism” in the vein of the Kasamaites, Titoites, Brezhnevites and Maoists doesn’t have the strength to stop an international genocide. The reason we have to combat revisionism is for the success of revolution, and the reason we must succeed is to stop what can only be described as a genocide.
All one has to do is think of one case of suffering, and then try to imagine it multiplied exponentially. The utter depravity of what world capitalism brings about is enough to make one physically sick. Revisionists advocate peaceful co-existance and collaboration with the forces responsible for this state of affairs. This is the hallmark of all revisionists from Tito to Kautsky to Kasama Project.
Posted in Capitalism & Bourgeois Liberalism, Capitalist Restoration and Counterrevolution, Castroism, Common Sense, Eurocommunism, History, Humor, Hypocrisy, Khrushchevism/ Brezhnevism, Maoism, Marxism-Leninism, Rants, Reactionary Watch, Revisionism, Theory, Titoism, Writings
[An article I wrote on Dec. 22, 2009]
If one looks up volumes written on the subject of coffee, most likely they will take the form of table books or cookbooks with very little instruction, aside from a few attractive pictures of the drink, and perhaps some rudimentary tours of its various flavors, coupled with only a very few frustrating teasers of tips on how to make it. It is difficult to find any detailed exploration of coffee. In addition, aside from books totally centered on the subject, even the best breakfast books contain no explanation of the flavors of various types of coffee, nor do they explain the exact difference between espresso and cappuccino, brewed coffee or French press, or what are the costs and benefits of a Turkish grind.
This is very odd, seeing as how not only has coffee been one of the foundations of global civilization and trade as we know it, but also given the fact that the method of making coffee is the center of many disputes.
In Europe and America it has only a few hundred years of history, contrasted with hundreds of thousands in Africa, and yet as a worldwide commodity coffee is on the level of cereal grains and crude oil. Most of the modern workforce cannot start the day unless they have a cup of coffee. Indonesian students rise in the wee hours to have breakfast consisting of boiled bananas and coffee even from the age of eight. The coffee industry currently employs millions. All this, and yet finding information about it is still a matter of trial and error. When looking through my head for the recipe for my perfect cup of coffee, I find many points which I have had to acquire myself over years of consumption.
The majority of Victorian literature is the product of the petty-bourgeois class, and Wuthering Heights is no different. The tumultuous ideological storms contained within demonstrate a crisis in the ideology of the 19th century Victorian petty-bourgeois class to which Emily Bronte was born. Frequently, novelists and intellectuals have a reflective role to play at a point of history where a crisis has impacted the prevailing base and has thereby begun the upward quake to the very spires of the ideological superstructure. The crises in the areas of estate, racial tensions and the family unit are all explored, but more than anything else, Wuthering Heights marks the crisis of individuality versus custom, since the contradiction between the social expectations of class privilege and the selfhood advocated by the rising neo-liberal capitalist system is the very essence of Victorian bourgeois consciousness.
From the start, Bronte seems more interested in showing the reader a world that is beset by the same conflicts as her own rather than an escapist daydream. Terry Eagleton says that “Wuthering Heights is [...] an apparently timeless, highly integrated, mysteriously autonomous symbolic universe” (1), which utterly defies the prevailing methodology of fiction literature to remove the reader from the discord of his existence. Most fiction novels come close to portraying what we would call “myths,” that is, the illusory resolutions of real contradictions within society for the purpose of the story in such a way as to validate ideology and the societal status quo. Although it is inherent to fairy tales and children’s stories that the hermetically-sealed bubble of this world never be burst, oftentimes with adult novels this purpose is stricken by strains in achieving its “proper” ideological closure. Indeed, the novel itself loyally reproduces the various disasters assaulting Europe, manifested in individual characters.
Posted in Art & Culture, Capitalism & Bourgeois Liberalism, Capitalist Exploitation, Literary Criticism, Writings
Tagged Emily Bronte, Heathcliff., literature, Marxism, Marxist criticism, Marxist reading, Victorian, Wuthering Heights
The form of a poem or story (as opposed to its content) is not merely ornamental or window-dressing, nor is it merely “fleshing out” the content. It has its own life within the text, and forms as simple as the note arrangements of classical music or the rhyming pattern (or lack thereof) of a piece of poetry can better expose the need that the production of the work fills. Take-for a ready example-the lines of the Devil in John Milton’s Paradise Lost. When Satan speaks, the parameters of the rhyming schemes seem to melt away, replaced by whatever the character seems to want to say instead of what the syllable count allows. The flow of the poem is thus disrupted greatly by his presence. He ends every line with a violent or intense word, appropriately as he speaks of “dripping poison” into other’s lives to make up for his own bitterness at his inability to experience “sweet interchange.” In this way, the formlessness of those verses showcase the character’s desire for chaos and destruction, in this case of the poem structure, and his intense hatred for all things orderly and peaceful with the enjambment of each line.
Kipling seems to fancy himself as the first Eric Schlosser. In his story Kim, the presence of the concept of the “other” is scarce, even nonexistent, to the point of a noticeable, glaring omission. British, Indian and Tibetan cultures have minor contradictions with each other, but none is presented as particularly “domineering” over one another even within the context of colonial relations. No one is demonized; no one is more advanced or nobler than the other. Whatever ideologies might justify it, there is no particularly sharp mention of the destruction of previous forms of social organization (symbolized by characters such as the Lama), which seem merely dizzied rather than lost. Without realizing it himself, since this is the nature of ideology to fill the gaps and to consist on what the text hides, Kipling has constructed here a highly differentiated examination of pre-globalization before such a term existed. One cannot separate the full explanation of imperialism from late nineteenth-century colonialism and the necessary spread of capitalist production that comes from those particular stages. Such a spread, such as that from Britain to India, is globalizing, and imperialism has the ability to hide cultural and ethnic conflicts as much as it has the power to aggravate them for monetary and political gain. This is what we see a slice of in Kim.
Posted in Art & Culture, Asia, British Imperialism, Colonialism, Imperialism & Colonialism, India, Internationalism, Literary Criticism, Writings
Tagged colonialist literature, Kim, Kipling, Literary Criticism, literature, Marxist criticism, Rudyard Kipling
Sir Walter Scott may have denied traditionalism and the ruling class culture of his time personally, but his novels provide no alternative to those bourgeois doctrines and rather in the values of that system find their own comfortable justifications for existence. To illuminate the question of class ideology and how it is reflected in Sir Walter Scott’s works, one only needs to examine aspects of the author’s life and how the prevailing culture influenced him. Following the path of cultural analysis, one can then investigate Scott’s works and see that his main characters follow the dominant bourgeois ideology. Whether or not this was intentional and the secondary, more passionate characters are meant to be the “true heroes” of the novels, the existence of the heroes themselves demonstrate Scott’s capitulation to established bourgeois perceptions of idealism and heroism.