#16241
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/10/03/yougov-bid-influence-iraq-vote-uncovered/

#16242
hey does anyone have a good take on what's going on in Italy? hearing rumblings of a forced austerity EU intervention à la Greece on their new budget. iirc we've got one or two folks in Italy rn, would be cool to hear a local perspective
#16243

Caesura109 posted:

TG posted:

Caesura109 posted:
Students say dumb shit all the time, I'm surprised how few of you have jumped down my throat. Anyways we're all friends here, tell me what you guys are reading.



i read the mieville book, october. i kind of wish i didnt know he was a trot before i read it, because his trot-ness seems readily apparent but i cant tell if it was confirmation bias or not. still, i enjoyed it quite a bit. it filled me with both a revolutionary desire and depression about the impossibility of something like that happening in the untied $nake$ of amerikkka today

now i am reading the three body problem, by cixin liu, at the recommendation of someone on here. good stuff so far. i was worried it would be too technical for my dumb ass but the first half is not, at least

Read and enjoyed it as well, didn't get the feeling he was a Trot, probably because I don't know what Trotskyism is except that all of them seem to have terrible geopolitical views



too be fair I don't know what it is either but assume it's some sort of personality cult surrounding trotsky like he's Bob avakian or something. little things just stuck out to me where mieville would say things like, it's a common misconception that lenin did such and such when in actuality trotsky was responsible for all good things

#16244
the final chapter of that book is just incoherent rambling about how stalin ruined the most beautiful thing in the universe and if trotsky had taken power the world would be heaven now or some stupid shit. the rest of the book was quite alright
#16245
it was extrmely funny when grover furr published a review of that octobre book and the verso guy had a meltdown about it on facebook
#16246
Trotsky features very little in the book actually, from what I recall. And even at the end Mieville talks about how intensely sought to overthrow the bolsheviks and how they were pretty much forced into war communism. It's bizarre to me that he could do the research and write the book and then still come to the conclusion of oh yeah stalin was an evil mastermind and everything would've been different under Trotsky.
#16247

shriekingviolet posted:

iirc we've got one or two folks in Italy rn,



wow, gladio's really fallen off

#16248
Reading about Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC, DL, head of the Western Union, a strategic Commie-hunting alliance between the UK, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands that was founded under the Treaty of Brussels to prepare those countries for absorption into the soon-to-be-finalized U.S.-led NATO alliance the following year. One of the fun things about the guy is what he had to say about David Stirling of The Mayfair Set fame—the SAS aristocrat who linked up Western Arab allies with guns and agents after the war and whose company of private-sector mercenaries was responsible for all sorts of white-supremacist debacles during the post-colonial loss of Africa, including a comically disastrous attempt to get Gaddafi in the '70s. Montgomery allowed as how Stirling was genuinely insane, but said, oh, but it just may be a lunatic we're looking for,
#16249
my granddad was in ww2 in the egypt campaign and he thought montgomery was an idiot because he(montgomery) would get driven along the front line in a jeep and stand up and salute while they were being shot at or something like that. its cool how montgomery, macarthur and probably all the other big time allied generals were psychos
#16250
Asimov on 1984:

This is not science fiction, but a distorted nostalgia for a past that never was. I am surprised that Orwell stopped with the steel pen and that he didn't have Winston writing with a neat goose quill.

Nor was Orwell particularly prescient in the strictly social aspects of the future he was presenting, with the result that the Orwellian world of 1984 is incredibly old-fashioned when compared with the real world of the 1980s.

Orwell imagines no new vices, for instance. His characters are all gin hounds and tobacco addicts, and part of the horror of his picture of 1984 is his eloquent description of the low quality of the gin and tobacco.

He foresees no new drugs, no marijuana, no synthetic hallucinogens. No one expects an s.f. writer to be precise and exact in his forecasts, but surely one would expect him to invent some differences.

In his despair (or anger), Orwell forgets the virtues human beings have. All his characters are, in one way or another, weak or sadistic, or sleazy, or stupid, or repellent. This may be how most people are, or how Orwell wants to indicate they will all be under tyranny, but it seems to me that under even the worst tyrannies, so far, there have been brave men and women who have withstood the tyrants to the death and whose personal histories are luminous flames in the surrounding darkness. If only because there is no hint of this in 1984, it does not resemble the real world of the 1980s.

Nor did he foresee any difference in the role of women or any weakening of the feminine stereotype of 1949. There are only two female characters of importance. One is a strong, brainless 'prole' woman who is an endless washerwoman, endlessly singing a popular song with words of the type familiar in the 1930s and 1940s (at which Orwell shudders fastidiously as 'trashy', in blissful non-anticipation of hard rock).

The other is the heroine, Julia, who is sexually promiscuous (but is at least driven to courage by her interest in sex) and is otherwise brainless. When the hero, Winston, reads to her the book within a book that explains the nature of the Orwellian world, she responds by falling asleep - but then since the treatise Winston reads is stupefyingly soporific, this may be an indication of Julia's good sense rather than the reverse.

In short, if 1984 must be considered science fiction, then it is very bad science fiction.



pretty scorch shit imo from someone whose politics should've put him right in the middle of Orwell's target audience.

#16251
i know i'm like the 745,326th person to say this but i always just think of that part where Winston wakes up "with the word 'Shakespeare' on his lips" and putting aside what a huge dork Orwell had to be to write that, how the fuck does someone wake up saying the entire damn name Shakespeare out loud.
#16252
lol if you ever managed to read 1984
#16253
I watched brazil, figured that was close enough
#16254
1984 is a silly book but it is basically a reduction-to-absurdity of what would happen if social-democrats ruled a country with a chemically pure version of their ideology. like a permanent inner party rationalizing permanent bureaucratic rule while engaging in imperialist wars in a NATO-like coalition, led by an empty image, systematically lying to maintain a vision of progress, etc... which is why it is used as an attack against more sincere forms of democratic socialism in schools alongside animal farm, basically suggesting that anything that claims to represent the people must inevitably be a cynical ploy to descend into madness. actual communism is basically already sold as the cynical core which never really had much positive force, like a virus that just hooks into left-populism, orwell's books focus more on how average people striving for radical change are dupes for those types while a few geniuses sit around and bemoan it.
#16255

lenochodek posted:

it was extrmely funny when grover furr published a review of that octobre book and the verso guy had a meltdown about it on facebook



i found the review but where's the facebook post?

#16256

the final chapter of that book is just incoherent rambling about how stalin ruined the most beautiful thing in the universe and if trotsky had taken power the world would be heaven now or some stupid shit. the rest of the book was quite alright



oh lol forgot that part.

#16257

TG posted:

too be fair I don't know what it is either but assume it's some sort of personality cult surrounding trotsky like he's Bob avakian or something. little things just stuck out to me where mieville would say things like, it's a common misconception that lenin did such and such when in actuality trotsky was responsible for all good things



It’s a big part of the sales pitch, that Trotsky’s retreat was the great and defining disaster of socialism, because it allows potential recruits to hold on to most of the ideas about the USSR they learned growing up in countries that were on the opposing side during the Cold War and still endorse the October Revolution as potentially leading to some betrayed and counterfactual better place. Invoking Trotsky as the missing element that would have allowed the USSR to build socialism provides an easy answer to a bunch of questions that n00bling Trots might field, like “you’re a Communist, are you fucking with me?” and “My great-grandparents were Baltic aristocrats who barely escaped with their art collection, I’m calling the police?”

Trotsky as a cure-all means they curve a lot of their writing back toward Trotsky’s misunderstood genius and wronged heroism and their specific version of the events of Trotsky’s life in a way that the people they call “Stalinists” rarely do with Stalin unless they’re writing in direct response to other people writing about Stalin. Segueing into Trotsky as a topic every single time can provide a little extra entertainment when the article is supposed to be about something like recent fluctuations in East Asian currencies or Pokemon Go, or when you’re writing a book and you stop every now and then to inform readers that Trotsky was the original inventor of peanut brittle.

This all applies mostly to the small Western European and U.S. Trotskyist groups, though, which is what I think a lot of people on here mean when we poke fun at “Trots”. Their sort of scrupulous obsession with the guy himself doesn’t seem to be as big a part of most Trotskyist parties elsewhere. You can guess what I think about that in terms of the spending patterns of Completely Innocuous Americans, but it’s probably also that in a lot of other countries, sympathetic ideas about the USSR are slightly less weird-seeming and Trotskyists there don’t feel the need to present Trotsky as one weird trick to build international socialism.

#16258
Tbh though the ultimate appeal to most Trots in the English-speaking world is sometimes mystifying to me. It’s such a dead end to try to convince non-Trots around you that you’re a Communist who thinks anything about the USSR was ever socialist at all, but you’re also on the non-Trots’ side in some imagined mutual war against the other, bad Communists who like the USSR too much, which you’ll prove through obsessive campaigning in favor of one of the early Bolsheviks who lost, left and died. No one else cares that much on their left or right.

Yet that seems to be the main thing those Trots try to do with their time and energy, following a kind of forever-WWII mentality for theory, strategy & tactics. Like, I guess Socialist Alternative melted down recently when some big chunk of them said they wanted to fold the entire organization into DSA as some form of neo-entryism. To me that’s just bonkers, it’s clown activity.
#16259
i hadn't heard about that SA goof. amateur stuff. you don't dissolve your org into the host, you need independent meetups and discipline to make sure your entry is effective to whatever goal lead you to enter, be that coopting host leadership positions, changing its platform, disintegrating the host, or just leeching members and other resources.
#16260
Truthfully I don't really follow SA so I don't know what led them there or whether they've recovered. The group of kids I worked with back in school just had to put up with these comically failed Trot invasions whenever we set up anything public-facing, and a couple of them still live in that same town and now they sort of Trot-spot as a hobby. The topic comes up when we run across each other, which happens more often recently because I moved a lot closer to them a few months back. When we first encountered the different Trot gangs sending us gigantic emails trying to talk us into letting them run local events we'd publicized even though their organization had zero presence nearby, we were shocked at how they just kept trying even though they'd never once succeeded. They never switched up their tactics and kept using the same Mad Libs-style arguments in Trot speak with no self-awareness. It was as though feeling they'd followed their format for attempted takeovers was all they really wanted out of the situation, like that was what the people who contacted us were reporting in meetings to their group's general satisfaction. It was weirdly fascinating to us as young newcomers to organized socialist politics and so it's almost nostalgic for us to talk about what they're doing now.
#16261
appealing things about the trots for americans: you can p much trust most mass media outlets, though they do get details and opinions wrong; no real need to examine imperialism or how it materially benefits you; don't have to defend literally any revolutionary project that fellow bourg americans take issue with; and you get to sell newspapers. for most, it is just one step beyond intense Democratic partisanship (this is how most trots wind up being trots)

for advanced political thinkers, you also have the opportunity to quibble about increasingly minute questions of doctrinal orthodoxy that become less falsifiable or practical the more minute the question
#16262

cars posted:

shriekingviolet posted:

iirc we've got one or two folks in Italy rn,

wow, gladio's really fallen off



it doesn't seem fair to the situation for me to chime in when i spend twelve hours a day in a study hall reading/doing flashcards in english

ask and i'll answer i guess but i'm really pretty walled off from broader italian society

#16263
Someday I'll get my thoughts together an expound on this but I find that "dystopian" literature, from Orwell on through to today's stuff, is often great capitalist propaganda in that it repackages already existing forms and axes of oppression into slightly more ridiculous, more absurd, more pronounced scenarios.

Can you imagine how bad it would be if history was repressed by our government using a series of pneumatic tubes? Thank god we don't have a ministry of truth or anything today. A world where women are entirely subservient to men and only valued for their reproductive abilities? Well, sure seems like things are bad now but when the goofy period attire comes, then we'll really have to be worried.

I guess when I put it like this it sounds like Banksy shit, but I'd argue that's the point.
#16264
Another thing that's appealing about Trotsky, like most cults really lol, is that he agrees with like 90%+ of existing socialist theory anyway, but always presents it as a forgotten truth or personal insight or unorthodox genius etc, so people that are new to socialist theory are basically like wow, this guy was a strategic genius. But it's like... well here's why we need a Marxist and Leninist party... etc... stuff most socialists worldwide would be like uhh yeah. Trotsky personally was also more moderate than most left-com types so he at least gets to claim the legacy of the Russian Revolution in theory. I think a lot of politics is just passionate stuff so people want to be able to wear the hammer and sickle and say they are communist etc. Although after 100 years of Leninism it sort of seems like a waste of time to narrow down who invented what etc....
#16265
Been reading the (scant) written material there is by Seamus Costello on the web since it was the anniversary of his murder (probably by the Official IRA) a few days ago. Really probably the greatest loss to Irish Socialism since Connolly, some real potential there. Even with what little there is in the form of speeches and articles there's a clarity and vision to what he thinks that far surpasses his contemporaries. And really that disappointment applies to the IRSP in general. All their best and most dedicated socialist leaders were killed in the early years by the Official IRA, Loyalist forces or intra-party feuds, and people like Bernadette Devlin were driven away by the focus on armed struggle above all else. These days the INLA is seen as a bit of a joke given the absurd level of violent splits and feuds which killed practically every leader after Costello
#16266
i'm reading a fun paper from this year that says retroviruses from space turned squids into octopuses



the paper has 33 authors



please direct all questions to this guy though



this is where he works



i wanted to see HOMESTEAD HILL DRONE, here he is



they also have MELT BEEF



the journal is "Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology", it published this a few years back



well...... bye

#16267
ive been writing lots of bespoke pornography
#16268

Bablu posted:

it doesn't seem fair to the situation for me to chime in when i spend twelve hours a day in a study hall reading/doing flashcards in english

ask and i'll answer i guess but i'm really pretty walled off from broader italian society


was mostly just curious how much local support/chatter there is about the big budget that has brussels extremely caremad, and how seriously the threats of greek style imposed austerity are being taken

#16269
who the FUCK was trotsky and why do these FUCKERS keep talking about him!! no one gives a shit!!!!
#16270
just imagining what it must be like to be one of those people who starts each day by open palm slamming chronicles of trotskyism into the vcr and then doing the moves along side, 2 hours including wind down
#16271
Read "Maoists in India: Tribals Under Siege" because PLuto Press had sale. Quite possibly the worst nonfiction book I've ever read. Author describes the Naxalites as "murderous" "demonic" etc. Says the Nepalese Maoists were fine because they were fighting royalists, but the Indian ones are satanic because Chomsky told him liberal democracy is awesome. Barely a page goes by without the dipshit referring to some asinine liberal shite Chomsky has come out with.The whole thing is ridden with leaps of logic and contradictions. Killing police officers and informants is seemingly exactly as bad as buring hundreds of villages and slaughtering thousands. He bashes the Maoists for not surrendering while pointing out that leaders have been executed during peace talks, and in the conclusion asks for an "independent, highly trained police force" to take out the CPI leadership if they don't surrender during some big peace process he's dreamed up. As always "left" publisher sales are a total scam
#16272
pluto press are trots. just puttin that out there
#16273
extremely genious voice: did you know that Marx never actually used the term dialectical materialism? marxism is just for dummies and i dont understand it. my name is noam chomsky and im an emeritus professor at MIT who answers emails all day long.
#16274
tfw you are too online
#16275

ialdabaoth posted:


They do tend to publish a fair bit of Trot stuff, but I don't think they're as strictly Trotskyist editorially as a lot of the other big "Left" publishing houses. They did publish Mobo Gao's "Battle for China's Past" for example, which you'd never get Haymarket or Bookmarks doing.

#16276

pescalune posted:

ialdabaoth posted:

They do tend to publish a fair bit of Trot stuff, but I don't think they're as strictly Trotskyist editorially as a lot of the other big "Left" publishing houses. They did publish Mobo Gao's "Battle for China's Past" for example, which you'd never get Haymarket or Bookmarks doing.



how do they manage to fit that next to that horrible anti maoist book you mentioned even

#16277
I'm sure they'd say they want to promote a diverse and non-sectarian perspective on the Left (which obviously also makes it easier to make money from different niche sections of the UK left), so they throw the odd "Stalinist" book in the mix. Of course, Gao's book has actually been out of print for a fairly long time now but they still sell the awful Mukherji one.

The author is also careful to say that he thinks the Maoists in Nepal, China and the Philippine's are justified, with the Naxalites being a uniquely evil army of, essentially, child slavers in league with the Mafia subverting a legitimate democracy. After all, Chomsky tells us "Indian democracy is one of the triumphs of the 20th Century". One section of the book is dedicated entirely to finding writings of non-CPI(Maoist) Naxalites denouncing the PW as mere terrorism, all the focus is on portraying the PW as an aberration rather than attacking Marxism or Maoism as a whole, though the author clearly holds both in contempt.
#16278
anne applebaum wrote a thing in the atlantic about how she held a new year’s eve party in 1999 for the luminaries of the Polish right wing, and now a bunch of them are openly anti-semitic and describe her in articles & speeches as the ringleader of a conspiracy by the Jews to bring back Communism and enslave Poland. for this completely surprising turn of events applebaum blames... Lenin
#16279

dimashq posted:



repost, u dirty dog.

It’s actually hilarious though

#16280
yeah it's maybe worth reading to better understand the current brand of center-left/center-right ideology and where "news junkies" get their ideas about both the world and their own guiding lights. it starts from the premise that most Atlantic readers don't like Donald Trump and leads from there into a repetitive series of Red Scare narratives that also try to serve as absolution for the writer palling around with neo-Nazis, but really just establish uninterrupted continuity from yesterday's "classical liberals" to today's Hitler-worshiping thugs. you even get the mandatory tossed-off lie about Venezuela being a single-party dictatorship. accidental confessions of unapologetic complicity in the problem the writer's supposedly complaining about are one of the most revealing kinds of writing and are usually good for a couple laughs at least.