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Post 10 Nov 2014, 07:58
I've read a lot of reviews, articles and polemics about that Piketty book. As I understand it, it's a bourgeois concession away from their disproven and exhausted economic analyses, into something that sort of accounts for labour. I haven't read the book, so I can't tell, only that it has caused ripples in academic circles.

Funny, I can't find any decent books where I'm at, but I did see Capital in the 21st Century in a bookstore here, which shows how popular it has become, I guess.

Anyways, on the topic:

Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism - Sweeny, Dobb, Hill, et al.

I don't know much about this book. It's a very modest paperback printed in Colombia in the 50s. I think there was a translator's warning, but the page is missing. Anyways, it's an open polemic between a series of writers. Sweeny critiques a book by Dobb, and then that author replies and then more people give their opinion, like a bbs discussion, har har. I'm sure it was a series of articles in some left-wing publication that was collected and translated, because of the subject matter: the transition from feudalism to capitalism. How big a role did commerce play?, what kind of regime was the Tudors?, was change drastic or gradual?, that sort of thing. After reading Kierkegaard, I really wanted something simpler, more tangible, and this fits the bill.
Post 10 Nov 2014, 20:49
Hegel - Phenomenology of Spirit
Hunt/Sherman - Economics. An introduction to traditional and radical views
Post 21 Nov 2014, 03:20
Eduard Bernstein

Cromwell and Communism

Socialism And Democracy
in the Great English Revolution


Despite being a revisionist, Bernstein's book was written in 1895, before he had defected from 2nd International orthodoxy. And this is a history very much in the Kautskyist style. It prefigures the work of Christopher Hill, in exposing and illuminating all the radical sects that proliferated during the English Revolution. The Protectorate was the most radical time in English history, in which using religion as an ideological language, revolutionary egalitarian ideas emerged for the 1st time in a post-feudal society. Comparable to the utopian excess of the heady days of 1793, 1917, 1966. A world turned upside down. Many Marxists see the Reformation as a theological expression of the bourgeois revolution, and the Protectorate was the full flowering of the most revolutionary seeds carried within Protestantism.

I have always admired the Quakers as the only true Christians, even if I disagree with their quietism. But in the context of the Civil War, they must be understood as a revolutionary, democratic force. Indeed Hill relates an incident of George Fox pressing Cromwell to wage war harder against reactionary Spain.

(On a side note, Quakers continue their anti-authoritarian traditions in 2014, where a Quaker teacher was fired from CSU for refusing to take an anti-Communist oath. ... s/1940865/)

I've never been able to take John Locke seriously as a great milestone for liberty, just because he realized constitutional monarchy in theory, knowing that there had already been a radical democratic commonwealth in praxis, 40 years before he wrote. ... /cromwell/
Post 26 Nov 2014, 21:24
Pëtr Kropotkin

The Great French Revolution 1789–1793

While Kropotkin was an Anarcho-Communist, not a Marxist he was part of the IWA 1st International and returned to Russia after 1917. He was honored in Soviet society.

His work on the French Revolution, includes some of the best class analysis of the classic democratic revolution. A prescient study of the parties of the radical left, the Enrages, Heberists, Cordeliers, Montagnards etc. This was the 1st emergence of Communism, not as a utopian ideal, but as a living revolutionary movement of workers. In Kropotkin's view the Communism of 1793 was more radical than the socialism of 1848. This was true communist striking at the root of production, not just distribution. While the Paris Commune of 1871 is more famous, that of 1793 also took steps in establishing a radical direct democracy. It is almost an anachronism to see radical Communists at the time of Robespierre, and yet there they were.

I didn't realize that the Red Flag was so prominent during the French Revolution. Wikipedia goes as far as to claim that during the Jacobin era it was more the official flag of revolutionary France than even the Tricolor. ... html#toc59
Post 29 Nov 2014, 16:26
And someone here on this forum lambasted me for claiming that french revolution was as popular as burgeoise...
Post 30 Nov 2014, 06:51
The precise class nature of Jacobin rule has always intrigued me, and there is debate on where it precisely fits in to Marxist class categories. On the one hand they still maintained the anti-strike, anti-union laws from the liberal stage of the Revolution. At the time this was seen as breaking with the Feudal Guilds. But the classical liberal aspects of Jacobin rule, were largely merely a leftover legacy of the early stage. For example they clearly violated market principles, with their price control and ceiling laws. Their main support of power was the workers of the Paris Commune, which was already to the Left of the Robespierre current. The Communist wind during the FR was definitely in the minority, not in the mainstream even within the Jacobins.

In some ways I see Fichte's Closed Commercial State, as the German Idealistic reading of Jacobin economic policies, which the French never had time to elaborate.

I would agree with your formula, both bourgeois and popular elements. Although the degree to which the popular element ever held true state power is hotly debated.
Post 10 Dec 2014, 03:33
I'm reading Napoleon A Life by Andrew Roberts. Roberts is a Churchillian Conservative, so I was expecting the usual Tory trash about the Corsican Ogre Buonaparte. I was pleasantly surprised that this was largely a rehabilitation and defense of Napoleon. As a Tory, he sees Napoleon's greatest achievement as his Code preserving the reasonable parts of the French Revolution, namely bourgeois equality and law, and spreading it throughout Europe. His class analysis of Napoleon I, is quite similar to that of Marx's on Napoleon III, based on the merchants, bourgeoisie, and well to do peasants. Napoleon was no revolutionary, and had a hatred of the Jacobins, despite being a former member.

Perhaps the most revolutionary moment of Napoleon's career was in 1815, which was a real revolution, in which he overthrew the Bourbon restoration. There was a united popular front, in which Jacobins and Bonapartists worked together, and this lasted into the 1820s.

Bonapartism and Revolutionary Tradition in France: The Fédérés of 1815
By R. S. Alexander is an excellent book on this topic ... &q&f=false

The Soviets made a very moving film on this topic, which stars Orson Welles as the fat Louis XVII.
(interesting gossip, Welles supposedly learned about a Soviet plot to assassinate John Wayne during this period) ... oo&f=false

The Soviet version of Waterloo, captures the revolutionary spirit of 1815, as Ca Ira is sung and the French people retake Paris from the Bourbons.

There are many excellent public domain books on the Napoleonic period. I was reading Louis Napoleon's Napoleonic Ideas from 1839, which lay the groundwork for his 1852 coup. It very much describes the ideas of a Bonapartist Democrat, that Marius claims to be early in Les Miserables.

And also Las Casas's Memoirs of St. Helena, in which the discussions with Napoleon, again attempt to present him as the heir of the French Revolution.

General Giap said that his French heroes were Robespierre and Bonaparte.

“Bonaparte, yes. He was a revolutionary. Napoleon, no. He betrayed the people."
Post 04 Oct 2015, 04:11
Hot Books in the Cold War
The CIA-Funded Secret Western Book Distribution Program Behind the Iron Curtain ... %20War.htm

You can find a list of some of the authors sent here on page 34 ... sa&f=false

Part of the CIA strategy was to ferment and make use of the anti-Stalinist Left, who spoke the same language as the Communists, and were already in direct competition for the loyalties of the working class. Part of this was ideological, and partially financial because the anti-Communist Left, like all Leftwing parties was always short on funds, while the openly reactionary parties were lush in capital.

So it shouldn't be too suprising that many dissident Leftists are on the CIA's list.

The only names that were really a surprise to me was Marcuse, Rosa Luxembourg and Howard Fast. Marcuse worked with the OSS during WW2 and according to the book, collaborated with promoting the West, after WW2. And so its not that surprising that works like "Soviet Marxism" might have been sent East by the CIA. Howard Fast is a surprise as he was a blacklisted Commie in the 1950s.

Rosa Luxembourg is surprising, in that while she was somewhat of a Left-Communist; she was also someone accepted within the mainstream Communist historiography of the DDR and USSR. According to the book, her writings were sent to Bulgaria to encourage factionism and deviations within the party. In that sense it would be logical to use a semi-dissident Marxist; who was also lionized within Marxist-Leninist ideology. Quoting from Rosa; would not be the same thing as quoting Djilas in intraparty debates.
Post 10 Aug 2016, 15:27
State Capitalism: How the Return of Statism is Transforming the World
By Joshua Kurlantzick ... navlinks_s

While the author is mostly negative on state capitalism and clearly sees free markets as the norms, its one of the 1st mainstream books I've read that acknowledges the potential efficiency of state-owned enterprises (SOEs). While those who think China still has a Maoist/Soviet economy are misguided, since I 1st started studying Chinese socialism in the early 2000s, I've perhaps went too far in the other direction as seeing China as essentially a market economy with a few state leftovers. SOEs are usually presented in the academic literature as holdovers from the Maoist era, inefficient drags on the Chinese economy that are too politically inexpedient to remove due to the last remnants of the "iron rice bowl". Now too different from how conservatives talk about public workers in the West.

Now while the author considered the SOEs in Putin's Russia to be horribly inefficient, mirroring the worst stories of the later USSR; he did acknowledge that China and Singapore were capable of creating and sustaining very efficient competitive SOEs that can go toe to toe with western private companies.

Again while his book was mostly negative on state capitalism, its one of the 1st I've read that shows the positives of SOEs. Its a rather unexplored area. Since even most Chinese primary sources assume a "reform" perspective that largely mirrors the western neoliberal approach. And Socialists generally have not taken much interest in SOEs as a genuine form of socialism. I do recall that Maurice Meisner talking about the 1980s, wrote about how the state sector played a crucial but unacknowledged role in China's growth. But even he largely portrayed SOEs as a leftover of the Maoist era that laid the foundations of 80s market growth.

I have recently been studying the nitty gritty of how a planned socialist economy actually works. And so learning more about socialist SOEs existing within market economies; helps serve as a middle ground between the capitalist economy I'm familiar with and a totally state-owned centralized economy of the USSR type. IF state socialist enterprises are in the cutting edge of the Chinese economy then it presents new reasons to possibly study China for lessons for socialism.
Post 26 Oct 2016, 14:51
I was looking at old International Publishers books and came across a small pamphlet Napoleon in Russia by Tarlé, Eugene published in 1942, but it was actually published in full by Oxford. And I've always been interested in Soviet evaluations of Napoleon. Tarle himself has an interest backstory, he was already an established non-marxian historian during the old regime, but became a Soviet historian. His work on 1812 is widely considered the official Soviet/Russian view. It seems that he largely saw Napoleon as a progressive force, and in his Napoleon biography he didn't make any attempt to portray 1812 as a popular liberation war but in his Russia book he does. ... /tarle.htm
Post 03 Nov 2016, 22:19
It comes from a conspiricist site, but here is a scan of PROGRAMME. OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY. OF THE SOVIET UNION. ADOPTED BY THE 22nd CONGRESS. OF THE C.P.S.U.. October 31, 1961. ... pdf&id=471

This is the document where Khrushchev's famous promise of full Communism by 1980 comes from

The C.P.S.U. being a party of scientific communism, pro-
poses and fulfils the tasks of communist construction in
step with the preparation and maturing of the material and
spiritual prerequisites, considering that it would be wrong
to jump over necessary stages of development, and that it
would be equally wrong to halt at an achieved level and thus
check progress. The building of communism must be carried
out by successive stages.
In the current decade (1961-70) the Soviet Union, in
creating the material and technical basis of communism, will

surpass the strongest and richest capitalist country, the
U.S.A., in production per head of population; the people's
standard of living and their cultural and technical stand-
ards will improve substantially ; everyone will live in easy
circumstances; all collective and state farms will become
highly productive and profitable enterprises; the demand of
Soviet people for well-appointed housing will, in the main,
be satisfied; hard physical work will disappear ; the U.S.S.R.
will have the shortest working day .
The material and technical basis of communism will be
built up by the end o f the second decade (1971-80), ensuring
an abundance of material and cultural values for the whole
population ; Soviet society will come close to a stage where
it can introduce the principle of distribution according to .
needs, and there will be a gradual transition to one form of
ownership-public ownership . Thus, a communist society
will in the main be built in the U .S .S .R . The construction of
communist society will be fully completed in the subsequent
period .
The majestic edifice of communism is being erected by the
persevering effort of the Soviet people-the working class,
the peasantry and the intelligentsia. The more successful
their work, the closer the great goal-communist society .
Post 05 Nov 2016, 20:34
heiss93 wrote:
It comes from a conspiricist site, but here is a scan of PROGRAMME. OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY. OF THE SOVIET UNION. ADOPTED BY THE 22nd CONGRESS. OF THE C.P.S.U.. October 31, 1961.
I intend to scan a 600-page Soviet book from 1961 which contains documents from that congress, including the program.
Post 10 Nov 2016, 22:08
In the aftermath of the unpopularly elected new POTUS, I was reminded of a passage from Charles Bettelheim-

At the level of the functioning of the organs of power, the existence of a numerous peasantry among whom the leading activity of the proletariat was exercised to only a slight degree gave rise, shortly after the October Revolution, to a certain number of measures and decisions. Formally, the most significant of these was the fixing of peasant representation at the ratio of 1 deputy for every 125,000 inhabitants and the representation of townsfolk at 1 deputy for every 25,000 electors.[23] As Lenin saw it, the difference thus established was justified by the fact that the organization of the proletariat had progressed more rapidly than that of the peasantry, and this gave the workers a real advantage.[24]

Kind of the direct opposite of the US system in which the small usually rural states have their vote count as much as 3:1 in the electoral college.

I assume that the term "elector" in the above passage refers to regular voters and not any designated electors, which would greatly magnify the impact. Assuming that elector population is not greatly smaller than the general population that would make a 5:1 ratio of urban to rural in the early USSR voting system.

If the US urban areas were favored 5:1 in voting, the US could very quickly be as leftist as the USSR.

Found a primary, contemporary source from Soviet Russia Pictorial, 1922 which explains and justifies this system ... &q&f=false

25. The All-Russian Congress of Soviets is composed of representatives of urban soviets (one delegate for 25,000 voters), and of representatives of the provincial (gubernia) congresses of soviets (one delegate for 125,000 inhabitants). ... ticle3.htm

The Soviet proportion is nothing compared to the US proportions of California's 39,144,818 and Wyoming's 672,228 each being worth 1 Senator. Over 80:1 ratio.
Post 21 Nov 2016, 19:00
Reading Ligachev's memoirs. Interesting to get a take on the Gorbachev era from both an insider but also a future KPRF leader.
Post 04 Dec 2016, 03:59

I've started reading Ligachev's memoirs, read Stephen Cohen's introduction. Its interesting how the 'conservative' faction of the CPSU merged into the KPRF. Ligachev remains a KPRF member to this day, although he was always very anti-Stalinist. He was a decade older than Gorbachev, and met with Chairman Mao for example. He represented the Andropovist faction of the CPSU, and had continuing fond words for Andropov and the conservative reformist faction he represented.
Post 05 Dec 2016, 03:17
How I Got Fat Looking For Starvation Is The USSR
by Friends of the Soviet Union ... nIsTheUSSR
Post 25 Apr 2017, 19:42
I was reading Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin & Leon Trotsky: The Soviet Union's Big Three by Charles River Editors and it was a surprisingly in-depth general history considering that it is just an introductory text. It gets into theoretical debates and stuff. And I learned new facts.

But I was shocked that given the general quality of it, that they could make such fundamental mistakes like calling Lenin's Empirocriticism the foundation of Marxism-Leninism. And claim that he quotes "everyone from Bishops to physicists to prove that materialism is the root of all philosophical evil". They even quoted a passage from Lenin on matter. I mean considering that it was a somewhat in-depth political history, they could at least know that Lenin's philosophy is called dialectical materialism or even knowing historical materialism.

I also recently finished a book on the Soviet internet. Which was kinda interesting on how they experimented with computers aiding the planned economy on both the macro and micro levels. Micro was moslty just helping local factories with efficiency. While a truly macroeconomic computer network aiding gosplan, would have in effect been the Soviet Internet. Maybe I'll follow up with a more detailed review.
Post 07 May 2017, 00:47
Post 08 May 2017, 20:46
"Kirchner. El tipo que supo" (Kirchner, the guy that knew") by Mario Wainfeld.

It's a biography of Néstor Kirchner, our president from '03 to '07, who died in 2010. He rebuilt the country after the default and let us believe in politics and equality again.

Now it feels like a completely different century.
Post 13 May 2017, 23:42
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