20 Sep 2011, 20:33
Wanted to make a thread dedicated to great more recent (past ~50 years or so) non-essentials for the Marxist reader. Not saying that they need to be more advanced then reading Lenin or Marx; however, they are more recent worthwhile reading books. i.e. the Manifesto of the Communist Party and Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism are both important reads, yet they have been repeated as must reads again and again. Also please try to keep the list to 5 or 10 books per person.
1. How Europe Underveloped Africa by Walter Rodney (1973). Many comrades (on this forum and in "developed" countries) don't have a strong backing in African history. Rodney does a great job analyizing how Europe (i.e. imperialism) for over 400 years did away with African development until Africa was colonized in the late 19th century. He continues with how Europe continues to underdevelop Africa with "neo-colonialism."
2. Another View of Stalin by Ludo Martens (1994). The author is a pretty hardcore Stalinist; however, he does a good job of responding to the critisisms of Stalin. He puts a lot of what was done in the "Stalin years" in context of the USSR at that time period. Not a complete history but a good read for comrades who want to rebuttal anti-Stalin or anti-USSR arguments.
3. Reformism or Revolution: Marxism and Socialism of the 21st Century: Reply to Heinz Dieterich by Alan Woods (2008). Alan Woods is a Trotskyist and although the book is related to the current Bolivarian Revolution the majority of the book speaks about the difference between revisionism/reformism and socialism. It portrays the Bolivarian Revolution currently inbetween Russia's February and October Revolution.
4. Capital Moves: RCA's Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor by Jefferson Cowie (1999). Okay it isn't Marxist but like Das Kapital it analyizes capitalism. We are used to seeing ideas like globalism, out sourcing or corporations "moving to China" as a relatively recent phenomenon. Cowie does a great job stating that capital has always searched for cheap labor since its begining. The book follows RCA fleeing from unions from 1929 to 1998.
5. China: Revolution and Reform by the Party for Socialism and Liberation (2008). China for everyone is a colossal conondrum. It isn't exactly an imperialist state comparable to places like the USA and leftists have a hard time coming to terms with China. The book is made for activists who are looking for a position that makes sense.
6. Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire (1970). A highly underrate book. Freire applies Marxism to education and the contradictions between teacher and student. He lashes out at the "banking" concept of teaching and proposes a mutual learning between teacher and student.
7. The Second Revolution in Cuba by J. P. Morray (1962). Cuba comes under criticism that M-26-7 was not a proletarian vanguard party and thus, not socialist. Morray, who was in Cuba in the years following the fall of Batista, gives a history how the communist party seized power from the anti-Batista coalition.
I'm sure I'm missing some great books in my personal collection, ones I've only read online or those just borrowed from the library. Look forward to hearing other comrades contributions.
10 Oct 2011, 05:13
I really like suggestions 1 and 6.
As for my list:
1. The Huey P. Newton Reader edited by David Hilliard and Donald White: This is an excellent compilation of Huey Newton's most important writings on racism, neocolonialism, and Marxism for the modern age.
2. A Dying Colonialism by Frantz Fanon: Though not explicitly Marxist, a good assessment of the Algerian Revolution from a cultural and psychological standpoint that shows how when overcoming the French imperialists, the Algerians used aspects of their pre-colonial culture in order to psychologically build pride within the masses and lead them in pursuit towards their liberation. This is one of Fanon's last books, and there are clear signs that he is coming to embrace Marxism. It is unfortunate that he died before coming full circle. Still an excellent book though.
3. Marxism and Native Americans edited by Ward Churchill: An assessment of Marxism and the New Left as it pertains to the American Indian. Some excellent criticism to the eurocentrism that Marxism tends to show at times, criticism of the anthropocentrism of Marxism, and the disrespect of Marxism for the American Indian autonomy.
4. Law of Worldwide Value by Samir Amin: A modern day Marxist approach to economics, explain how Marxist economics and value can be evaluated in the age of imperialism: it expands on issues like dependency, single-export economies, lender and borrower countries, etc. etc.
5. On the Justice of Roosting Chickens by Ward Churchill: A book that kicked off the dissident movement of the 21st century in the United States. The article "Ghosts of 9/11" started a lot of controversy and woke some out of the nationalism that proceeded September 11, showing that American Empire was the cause of 9/11.
10 Oct 2011, 18:33
Hey, hey. Good to see you, prole.
My list is as follows.
For Marx from Louis Althusser
I feel that his take on dialectics is a much more useful exercise in understanding them than going back to the works of Hegel, because he avoids all of the idealism that Marx excised. This is also the source of the theoretical break between Young Marx and Old Marx, which avoids a lot of the vulgar determinism, scientism, and humanism that newer readers of Marx can fall into.
Reading Capital from Louis Althusser, Etienne Balibar, et al.
This one is similar to For Marx, as it attempts to present dialectics to a modern audience, but this one examines Capital rather than the Theses on Feurbach, The German Ideology, etc. Reading this and Capital concurrently helped me immensely in my understanding, and as a standalone book, it is a fine theoretical read as well.
The Huey P. Newton Reader edited by David Hilliard and Donald White
This is a fine compilation of Newton's somewhat disjointed works. Although not a particularly important work from a theoretical standpoint, his insight into the ideology of the oppressed in this country is invaluable, as are his thoughts on revolutionary action and the role of the party.
The Society of the Spectacle from Guy Debord
While pretty misguided for the most part, the theoretical works of the Situationist International are pretty impressive. Guy Debord in particular wasn't given to the somewhat anarchistic tendencies of some of his contemporaries. This work itself is, in my opinion, the Marxist concept of alienation in book form. Not only is it a scathing critique of capitalist culture, it examines the Marxist idea of making harmless idols out of revolutionary figures, and sometime even using their likeness to fuel consumerism.
On the Dictatorship of the Proletariat from Etienne Balibar
An excellent work defending the concept of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat without swinging into Stalin apologetics. Even more impressive being that it was aimed at Western communists of the Shachtman variety (you know the kind I'm talking about).
One that I haven't read but would like to is "Transition to Socialist Economy" from Charles Bettelheim. He is one of the French "Maoists" of the day, and is an economist who has supposedly written a good treatise on what a socialist economy might actually look like.