I realize some people here may not know what Axios is
all these boojy dregs with supposedly ruined careers have hit their second wind as part of an interconnected CIA / bourgeois propaganda machine projected out through Twitter

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lo posted in Pol Pot's posting palace (7 posts)
hello. i read david chandler's book 'brother number one', which is supposed to be a political biography of pol pot. its not that good in quite a few ways imo. a major problem with it, that chandler does sort of acknowledge in the book, is that biographical information on pol pot is so lacking(and he was so dedicated to secrecy) that it's really hard to write a biography of him! there are just so many periods in his life where chandler says 'we don't really know where pol pot was or what he was doing in this time'. anecdotes about about his personality or what he was like on a day to day basis are very limited, which means that mostly chandler has to awkwardly speculate about what pol pot might have thought at a particular time. but these are always totally just random speculations with no factual basis at all because mostly it's impossible to know what pol pot was thinking. chandler also runs into problems when he tries to interpret DK based on pol pot's personality, because according to basically all of those anecdotes by people who interacted with pol pot on a personal level he was affable, likeable, and good to work with. so chandler tries to make out that this was a mask, that pol pot was concealing his inner monster or whatever, but to me the more likely explanation is that pol pot really was quite pleasant on a personal level and the violence of DK just didn't have anything to do with his personality. one cool thing that chandler says in the introduction to the second edition is that when writing the book he often felt that pol pot was observing him, rather than the reverse that you would normally expect from a biography, very spooky!
the book is also lacking when it tries to interpret DK more broadly. chandler seems to fit into the anticommunist mould of making out pol pot to be a sincere marxist, as most of the scholars in the field tend to, but he doesn't really have a clear interpretation beyond that. we're told at various times that mao, lenin and stalin may have all been inspirations, but it's never particularly convincing, and he runs into problems because he seem to have a very poor understanding of marxism. for example, at one point when he's discussing pol pot's trip to china, he notes that the 'conspiratorial' aspect of mao's thought may have been an influence on pol pot. what does this mean? there's no further explanation, and i struggle to think of examples of conspiratorial thinking in mao. but then later in the book when referring to the cpk's purges we have this:

The existence of enemies was necessary for class warfare, which was essential in Maoist theory for the transition for socialism and communism. Contradictions among the people impelled the party forward. To maintain momentum, instability was essential. The party's leaders nourished themselves on suspicion, and they prided themselves on their ability to uncover plots. Those suspected of treason provided the instability the nation needed to move forward, but whether any of them were truly guilty is difficult to ascertain.


so it seems that he's come up with some sort of bizarre backwards version of maoism, where class struggle itself is a conspiracy on the part of a communist party rather than an actual phenomenon. i think this is a good example of how impoverished the academic field is on DK - chandler is one of the most prominent and long standing academics on the subject, and here he is just saying absolute clown shit about marxism, which is ostensibly central to DK's ideology. there are some fairly standard references to typical anticommunist stuff about stalin too, robert conquest and such, but that struck me as much less ridiculous than how he interprets mao.

if you're not very familiar with DK already i don't know if i can recommend this book particularly, since much of the useful information can be found elsewhere, although i did find some of the stuff about pol pot after the DK period useful. not really a good book but interesting in that it illustrates some of the problems with the academic field around DK.

gay_swimmer posted in Pol Pot's posting palace (7 posts)
This is making me want to do a Laos effortpost
thirdplace posted in The Left Case for Kanye West (11 posts)
i would now like to disclaim my support for kanye west as a candidate for president of the united states of america
drwhat posted in tears education thread for authoritarian communists who believe that low standards are racist and anti-proletariat and setting a detention for dropping a pen is normal and actually good (33 posts)
i finally remembered what email address i used on my account so i could reset the password. i just wanted to drop in to say basically the only reason i check the forum anymore is to read more tears posts so i greatly support this thread and i will attempt to learn something (despite myself having experienced only repeated and total failure as a student (even as an adult student which i think says something about the resilience of my mental deficiences that i can be proud of)).

i was surprised at the uk lesson video. between the uniforms and the sir and miss and the fact that you have "headmasters" and very big walls around your schools i noticed when i lived there temporarily i assumed that discipline was at least vaguely similar to what i experienced at a zero-budget public elementary school in rural canada. for that much total disorder i think we would have been subject to nuclear levels of retailation, the entire class held together for detention kind of thing. i am "kids these days" years old.
lo posted in Pol Pot's posting palace (7 posts)

gay_swimmer posted:

This is making me want to do a Laos effortpost


i would be very excited to read that, the laos chapter in 'red brotherhood at war' made it sound super interesting(and an interesting contrast with the cambodian communist movement, because the cambodians ended up turning into khmer chauvinists, whereas the laotian party had to be extremely multiethnic from the beginning because the country is so diverse that aligning themselves with a particular ethnic group just wouldn't have allowed them to develop a wide base of support)

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