What have you read recently?

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willian
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Apr 17 2020 06:19

FFXIV mining guide,lol

cactus9
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May 1 2020 15:21

I read How the Light Gets in by Clare Fisher. It's pretty good.

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comradeEmma
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May 5 2020 18:13
R Totale wrote:
spacious wrote:
After this will probably read the new translation of Tronti's Workers and Capital that appeared with Verso.

I'll be interested to hear what you make of it - I impulsively bought it because it was half-price, but I'm finding it pretty difficult to get through, I suppose the Leninism of Tronti's language is one barrier but even beyond that, so far it seems a bit lacking in actual workers' inquiry compared to what I was expecting - far too much "the party must be based in the factory" and not enough "here's what it's actually like in the factory" for my tastes so far. Still, maybe it picks up once you get past the first bit

Now that I have almost finished Workers and Capital I too am very surprised by the leninist langue, both talking about the working-class party and workers' state, and the "inverse bolshevist" approach to the paper as a "collective organizer".

On the other question, I feel like the texts so far is like more of a justification of what was to become "militant surveys" and their use, more than like actually being the actual surveys. I don't think the writings would not have had the same effect if they had been just practical and not theoretical as a first step.

cactus9
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Jun 19 2020 20:32

Normal People. I thought it was fucking great.

cactus9
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Aug 4 2020 22:24

Lowborn, by Kerry Hudson.

cactus9
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Aug 6 2020 22:12

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. Really enjoyed this.

zugzwang
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Aug 6 2020 22:41

Anyone have a digital copy of Starving Amidst too Much and other IWW writings on the Food Industry? Contains some stuff by american wobbly/writer T-Bone Slim I wouldn't mind flipping through.

cactus9
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Sep 14 2020 23:14

I'm reading a book called Skyhooks by Neil Campbell. It's really good and is written from, I would say, quite a communist perspective. Hopefully I will finish it soon. I also have another book of his called Zero Hours. Ironically I could only purchase them off Amazon.

cactus9
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Sep 14 2020 23:16
cactus9 wrote:
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. Really enjoyed this.

I don't want to hammer this home too much but this book was actually a really stunning fictional analysis of capitalism and its effects on the worker.

Scallywag
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Oct 3 2020 23:06

I bought a book from Verso called 'Never Ending Nightmare' by authors Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval. It's about neoliberalism and how to explain its survival through economic crashes, brexit, trump and so on.

Sounded interesting to me, but I can not understand what the authors are saying.

I've found this with quite a few marxist books that the authors try and construct grand arguments and analogies that leave me thinking what on Earth are you saying. Chuthulocene anyone?

Its extremely demoralising. I want to understand more about how capitalism works, political ideas, economics, history but then I spend money on books I can barely comprehend.

Can anyone recommend me anything interesting that I might actually have some hope of getting through? The last thing I liked was Caliban and the witch.

Also what are good places to get books?

zugzwang
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Oct 4 2020 00:32

I'd just go with z-lib and an e-reader with an e-ink display. If necessary, you can pretty much purchase any book off amazon, download the e-book to your computer using an older version of "kindle for pc," and then load the e-book into calibre with drm-removing plugins to create a drm-free local copy (you can also request a refund if you decide you don't like the $50 e-book).

Speaking of Lovecraft, I was disappointed recently to have discovered some of his um, quite racist poetry ("On the creation of ..."), which is a shame because I liked the one or two non-racist works of his I read, and I'm kind of put off from reading anything else by him now.

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comradeEmma
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Oct 4 2020 19:04

Read a book entitled Socialism på Jiddish("socialism in yiddish") by Håkan Blomqvist that is about the Jewish labor bund, primarily its regroupment in Sweden. One of the things that surprised me the most about the bundists was that they upheld a form of "thrid-campism" during and after the inter-war period. On one hand refusing to side with the stalinists and their international, and on the other first refusing to enter the Socialist international but later entering anyway but remaining on its left-wing and denouncing the closeness between the US and SI's leadership and many of its sections. They maintained that between the East and West, the third super power is revolution! This line would sadly go away with the development of the cold war and Israel's establishment(which the majority of international bundists at the time opposed) and would come to support western intervention in Korea, much like other "third-campist" socialists.

zugzwang
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Oct 5 2020 03:53

Anyone read or have reviews of the Out of the Woods book, Hope Against Hope: Writings on the Ecological Crisis? Seems like a rather pertinent book, plan on buying it myself.

Quote:
In Hope Against Hope, the Out of the Woods collective investigates the critical relation between climate change and capitalism and calls for the expansion of our conceptual toolbox to organize within and against ecological crisis characterized by deepening inequality, rising far-right movements, and—relatedly—more frequent and devastating disasters. While much of environmentalist and leftist discourse in this political moment remain oriented toward horizons that repeat and renew racist, anti-migrant, nationalist, and capitalist assumptions, Out of the Woods charts a revolutionary course adequate to our times.

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R Totale
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Oct 5 2020 08:01
Scallywag wrote:
I bought a book from Verso called 'Never Ending Nightmare' by authors Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval. It's about neoliberalism and how to explain its survival through economic crashes, brexit, trump and so on.

Sounded interesting to me, but I can not understand what the authors are saying.

I've found this with quite a few marxist books that the authors try and construct grand arguments and analogies that leave me thinking what on Earth are you saying. Chuthulocene anyone?

Its extremely demoralising. I want to understand more about how capitalism works, political ideas, economics, history but then I spend money on books I can barely comprehend.

Can anyone recommend me anything interesting that I might actually have some hope of getting through? The last thing I liked was Caliban and the witch.

Also what are good places to get books?

Hah, if I remember rightly does Harraway not end up saying that the chutulocene isn't actually to do with Cthulu? From what I've heard about her books, not actually tried reading any myself. Anyway, a few suggestions for readable theory:
I always think prole.info don't get as much respect as they deserve in this field, with The Housing Monster being their longest and most substantial text to date. Hinterland by Phil Neel is fantastic, I can't recommend highly enough. If you've not read any Neel before, have a look at some of his writings for the Brooklyn Rail and decide if you like his style, here's the new epilogue to the French edition. Two more somewhat predictable ones - Class Power... is worth a look imo, and it's easy enough to find the Angry Workers' writings on here so you can decide for yourself how readable they are, and I have to admit I've not read the Cafiero compendium myself, but it sounds relevant:
"Capital, Marx’s epic work, describes in detail the capitalist system and how it functions. The anarchist Mikhail Bakunin saw the importance of Marx’s Capital, to the extent that he put any rivalries with Marx aside and immediately embarked on the first Russian translation.

But Capital is a notoriously hard read…

The anarchist communist Carlo Cafiero, rather than translate it, wanted to popularise Marx’s work in order to make it easier to read and be better understood by those who didn’t have a university education or weren’t so well versed in economics. In other words, his Compendium was aimed at ordinary working people.

Cafiero’s Compendium is a gateway to understanding the contents of Marx’s Capital."

Oh, as to good places to get books - presumably you're aware that amazon exists and are looking for alternatives, I've heard alibris recommended but not used it yet myself, Verso has some pretty good sales a lot of the time, in terms of UK bookshops worth supporting there's a few like News from Nowhere in Liverpool, Category Is... and Lighthouse Books up in Scotland, and another one based out of Angel Alley in London.

zugzwang
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Nov 6 2020 06:26

The Hope against Hope book seems to just be a collection of stuff that's already up on here, and maybe elsewhere (which makes it a good book, but I'm still saddened I've bought a book). Maybe also relevant to environmental/climate change issues is John Bellamy Foster's highlighting of Marx's concern of the effects of capitalist agriculture on soil fertility in the 19th century (as discussed in Capital), as well as the effects of capitalist production in general on the environment (against the ideas of some that Marx had "ecological blinders" and was concerned only with the development of productive forces etc.; I'm not sure I entirely align with Foster but this point alone seems valid):

Foster wrote:
Given the fundamental way in which Marx conceived of the concept of metabolism—as constituting the complex, interdependent process linking human society to nature—it should not surprise us that this concept enters into Marx’s vision of a future society of associated producers: “Freedom, in this sphere [the realm of natural necessity],” he wrote in Capital (volume3), “can consist only in this, that socialized man, the associated producers,govern the human metabolism with nature in a rational way, bringing it under their own collective control rather than being dominated by it as a blind power; accomplishing it with the least expenditure of energy and in conditions most worthy and appropriate for their human nature” (1981,p. 959)

zugzwang
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Dec 1 2020 13:13

The Economic Transformation of the Soviet Union, 1913-1945 looks interesting. It would be nice to read about how the Soviet economy (and I guess also the Soviet Bloc) actually functioned, and preferably from more serious scholars. I've only ever read about about the War Communist period.

The Devil's Milk: A Social History of Rubber, liked to read this and similar books at some point. It seems to deal with the historical conditions of workers in the production of rubber. Most notably maybe is King Leopold II's colony in the Congo where Congolese were essentially held hostage for the export of rubber, ivory and other resources, before world attention resulted in the Congo being handed over to Belgium.