#18441
reading the White House order from last week attempting to put all the extreme anti-China “security” stuff and then some back into the semiconductor subsidy act from this summer
#18442
my assessment: “China won, thanks for playing, here’s a lovely take-home prize”
#18443
unfortunately, ive been reading hegels on logic. Have a fun idea where i try to apply his dialectic to his own 'whistling in the dark' vs kierkegaard
#18444
i was looking at a book on liu shaoqi and the cultural revolution just now and it has the most powerful list of figures i've ever seen
#18445
Was looking through Marx's critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right and made a neat little connection that addressed an unresolved curiosity.

So, years ago I had sort of settled the whole "idpol question" in my own mind through something like intersectionality grounded in historical materialism. That is, I think of certain statements Marx made on the question of the Irish proletariat:

in Ireland the land question has been up to now the exclusive form of the social question because it is a question of existence, of life and death, for the immense majority of the Irish people, and because it is at the same time inseparable from the national question.



In the first chapter of Class Struggle and History, Losurdo spins this up into a more general thought:

In Ireland, there was no ‘social question’ apart from the ‘national question.’ A de facto identity existed between the two, at least for a whole historical period, as long as independence had not been gained. The ‘social question’ is the more general category here — the genus — which, in the concrete situation of the unhappy island exploited and oppressed by Britain for centuries, takes the specific form of the ‘national question.’ For anyone who has not grasped the point, Marx reiterates it: the ‘social significance of the Irish question’ should never be lost from view. The species cannot be understood if it is detached from the genus. We can argue similarly in connection with the passage from Wage Labour and Capital referring to ‘class struggles and national struggles’: class struggle is the genus which, in determinate circumstances, takes the specific form of ‘national struggle.’



Other passages argue for a similar relation inhering in, say, struggles for racial or sexual emancipation. That is, it makes no sense to frame racial justice and class struggle as competing for scarce struggle-resources or whatever when the former has concrete class content, as just one form of appearance of the manifold ways we've oppressed each other since human beings started arranging ourselves into social classes. Not to mention that these different forms functionally interlock to reinforce the totality of it.

(Incidentally, I only just started Nicholas Xenos's short 1989 book Scarcity and Modernity, which argues that the entire category of "scarcity" is a bourgeois tic invented in the 18th century. The thesis makes immediate sense to me, but it is an angle I don't see discussed often.)

Anyway, the extremely picayune, theory-brained thing that sometimes gave me pause in this was whether there ought to be some other terminological flourish to distinguish class struggle writ large (i.e., as genus) from class struggle in the more narrow, colloquial sense of bourgeoisie/proletariat/MoP conflict (as species).

Anyway, then I just came across this bit here, as mentioned up top:

Hegel proceeds from the state and makes man into the subjectified state; democracy starts with man and makes the state objectified man. Just as it is not religion that creates man but man who creates religion, so it is not the constitution that creates the people but the people which creates the constitution. ... Democracy is the essence of every political constitution, socialised man under the form of a particular constitution of the state. It stands related to other constitutions as the genus to its species; only here the genus itself appears as an existent, and therefore opposed as a particular species to those existents which do not conform to the essence. Democracy relates to all other forms of the state as their Old Testament. Man does not exist because of the law but rather the law exists for the good of man. Democracy is human existence, while in the other political forms man has only legal existence. That is the fundamental difference of democracy.

All remaining forms of the state are certain, determined, particular forms of the state. In democracy the formal principle is simultaneously the material principle. For that reason it is the first true unity of the universal and the particular.



Probably makes sense that we could discuss class struggle as a unity of universal and particular, too, without worrying too much about the distinction; we're not talking about the animal kingdom, but relations and structures that are shaped by ideas, rather than merely categorized by them.

Thus, someone arguing that class struggle in the narrow sense ought to be prioritized over other struggles is perplexed by an appearance of opposition (or perhaps opportunistically using said appearance as a lever for their own bigotries). However, their entire framing is additionally absurd, since unlike the political considerations in the excerpt above, emancipatory struggles are not and should not be taken as mutually exclusive. That attitude would likewise have someone "prioritizing" between battling sexism and racism, among others.

It all feels pretty elementary, by now, but it was nice to find a stray puzzle piece to fill that little gap.

lo posted:

i was looking at a book on liu shaoqi and the cultural revolution just now and it has the most powerful list of figures i've ever seen


share some of them!

Edited by Constantignoble ()

#18446
I've also been reading Losurdo's book on class conflict, and like you, found that it was exploring ideas I've been trying to articulate better

I thought his characterisation of class conflict as a theory of social conflict made it too vague, but I liked the textual evidence he brought to bear

my way of understanding it is that racism, sexism etc can be understood as variations of class struggle because these categories ultimately can be understood in historical material terms, and can ultimately understood viz their relation to the mode of production. key to this is realizing that even long gone modes of production can "weigh like a nightmare upon the living." per Engels, sexism really only emerges in the transition to agricultural societies. but even though that catalyst is long lost to time, the effects linger on society like a scar.

the idea of class as the unity of universal and particular is very insightful. didn't Ilyenkov explore similar themes? I need to do a deeper reading of his work
#18447
not sure, i've only read one or two chapters of ilyenkov from back when i was trying to pick at marx's abstracts and concretes

and tbh i should probably resume that losurdo book; i didn't get far past chapter 1 before being drawn into other readings and then one day i look up and years have passed
#18448
reading about Kenyel Brown, the serial killer trained Pavlov-style by the FBI, the ATF and their liaison on the Detroit police to believe that he could get away with anything as one of their informants. Eventually, he just started killing people at an average rate of one every couple weeks, six of them in all, then allegedly shot himself during his attempted arrest in 2020, dying days later at a hospital. Even if that’s what actually happened, at best it demonstrates that the only person who was likely to stop an FBI informant turned serial killer was himself.
#18449
kept reading about Kenyel Brown, the FBI asset / serial killer shielded by the feds. On the day of his "arrest" in 2020, an army of cops poured into a neighborhood in Oak Park and opened fire on Brown. Witnesses report he never fired back. According to police, Brown fired his weapon only once, to put a bullet in the right side of his own head. This allegedly happened right before the cops stormed a backyard, in front of local news cameras, to "capture" what they claim was a suicide. Medics arrived and declared Kenyel Brown dead. Later, he was declared alive again. Then he was taken to a hospital, then declared dead again four days later. Okay
#18450

cars posted:

kept reading about Kenyel Brown, the FBI asset / serial killer shielded by the feds. On the day of his "arrest" in 2020, an army of cops poured into a neighborhood in Oak Park and opened fire on Brown. Witnesses report he never fired back. According to police, Brown fired his weapon only once, to put a bullet in the right side of his own head. This allegedly happened right before the cops stormed a backyard, in front of local news cameras, to "capture" what they claim was a suicide. Medics arrived and declared Kenyel Brown dead. Later, he was declared alive again. Then he was taken to a hospital, then declared dead again four days later. Okay


lmao. stories with inverse "suicide by two bullets to the head" energy

#18451
i wonder if there are any american serial killers who aren't intelligence assets/mkultra induced psychos at this point
#18452
t zero by italo calvino
#18453
came across a recent translation of 'we' by yevgeny zamyatin. it's 100 years old. he was bolshevik/soviet author, friend of gorky, and eventual exile.

someone mentioned to me that 'we' was written as a warning to the people, while orwell and hux wrote as warning to establishment. perhaps so, either way it definitely made apparent how derivative their novels were.

in his ending there is no 'final number', but an endless cycle of revolution. in orwell we get 2+2=4 (or 5) and a boot stomping on human face forever. in comparison the later novels felt weak, vulnerable and binary. instead of the resilient, embodied, plurality of 'we'.

it's written in such a way that the contradictions/conflict are evidenced in the characters interiority and complicities. yet there is something palpable, inevitable and worth saving that i never glimpsed through the derivative texts.

other aspects i enjoyed were the emotional resonances, the image of porosity as the soul, and laughter as a weapon. it's an easy read, and while some parts might feel somewhat flat or overdone i was able to appreciate them considering i'm reading it 100 years after it was written.
#18454
i started reading david chandler's pol pot biography in my continuing efforts to understand what the h*ck is up with cambodian communism, but it seems kind of dumb in a few different ways. need to revive cambodia effort thread to explain further once i finish it..
#18455

cars posted:

Medics arrived and declared Kenyel Brown dead. Later, he was declared alive again. Then he was taken to a hospital, then declared dead again four days later. Okay




#18456
does anyone have any recommendations for books on the Carnation Revolution?
#18457
oh also I'm reading No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai and The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
#18458

filler posted:

oh also I'm reading No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai and The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro



No Longer Human is one of my favourite novels but I always think of when I recommended it to my ex and she read it and she says 'if you really relate to this you're headed for a dissolute life.' And she was right!

#18459
i'm going to read 'class struggles in the ussr: second period 1923-1930' *begins contemplating productivism at incredible speed*
#18460

lo posted:

i'm going to read 'class struggles in the ussr: second period 1923-1930' *begins contemplating productivism at incredible speed*


this is cool just like the first period was. right now bettelheim is talking about a movement against bureaucracy in the late 20s that i hadn't heard of before, which came about as a result of the heads of state enterprises taking a very antiworker line. there's even an article by stalin where he says that the danger is a communist bureaucracy(i.e. not just remnants of the old tsarist one that have stuck around), that the class struggle is still going on, and that they need to encourage criticism from below by the workers directly to combat this. however, this tendency was never systematised or fully articulated in the ussr and the popular movement seems to have dwindled by 1928 or so, for reasons that i am still reading. interesting stuff..

#18461
the history of mathematics - a reader (fauvel and gray)
The story of art (gombrich)
bible (g*d)
#18462
one interesting thing in this bettelheim book is how stalin comes across. the first period was somewhat critical of stalin at times when discussing the various debates within the bolsheviks and how that developed into specific policies. this one portrays him more positively, but also continually being let down by the state and party apparatus around him, which often seems to end up taking a productivist line even when stalin has explicitly said that they shouldn't do that in a speech or an article. so like for example there's one article he wrote saying that it's important to adhere to the mass line and get the workers involved on a grassroots level when trying to get them to achieve greater production targets, but what happened in practise was that the production targets were basically set by the managers of state enterprises without very much worker consultation. at times as well it seems like stalin is hinting at an understanding of things similar to what mao would formulate later, but these hints weren't systematised or elaborated on.
this is tying in to some thoughts i was having on this topic before reading this book, when i read a letter that stalin wrote in the late 30s where he seems to fully be aware that class struggle continues even after socialist construction has been completed. but if you go and read official soviet documents from then, or later on, they'll emphasise that there isn't any class struggle once socialist society in the main has been constructed. so it seems like stalin's personal understanding may have developed much further than soviet policy in practise could actually acknowledge - tendencies in this direction in his work weren't, or couldn't be, expanded on or turned into any kind of policy.
#18463

lo posted:

for example there's one article he wrote saying that it's important to adhere to the mass line and get the workers involved on a grassroots level when trying to get them to achieve greater production targets, but what happened in practise was that the production targets were basically set by the managers of state enterprises without very much worker consultation.



One of the main topics I've been researching lately is the relationship between the party and state in the soviet union, where you see very similar sorts of patterns back in Lenin's time: day-to-day institutional contingencies, bureaucratic baton-dropping, etc., causing things to veer off plan.

For a striking example, Lenin gave a speech in 1922 at the eleventh party congress where he emphasized that the relations between party and state are still "not what they ought to be," and largely blamed himself for being too sick to mediate as he had been (though Osinsky maintained that the frictions and disconnects were a problem even with VI keeping things moving) and a bunch of resolutions followed from that involving greater Sovnarkom autonomy, to be sorted out through the VTsIK (central exec committee). Except then the matter was just flatly dropped, and doesn't even appear in the minutes of subsequent committee meetings, even after being prompted again by the communist fraction in the tenth congress of soviets at the end of that year.

Does Bettelheim devote much space to party-state relations, that you've seen?

Edited by Constantignoble ()

#18464

Constantignoble posted:

lo posted:


for example there's one article he wrote saying that it's important to adhere to the mass line and get the workers involved on a grassroots level when trying to get them to achieve greater production targets, but what happened in practise was that the production targets were basically set by the managers of state enterprises without very much worker consultation.



One of the main topics I've been researching lately is the relationship between the party and state in the soviet union, where you see very similar sorts of patterns back in Lenin's time: day-to-day institutional contingencies, bureaucratic baton-dropping, etc., causing things to veer off plan.

For a striking example, Lenin gave a speech in 1922 at the eleventh party congress where he emphasized that the relations between party and state are still "not what they ought to be," and largely blamed himself for being too sick to mediate as he had been (though Osinsky maintained that the frictions and disconnects were a problem even with VI keeping things moving) and a bunch of resolutions followed from that involving greater Sovnarkom autonomy, to be sorted out through the VTsIK (central exec committee). Except then the matter was just flatly dropped, and doesn't even appear in the minutes of subsequent committee meetings, even after being prompted again by the communist fraction in the tenth congress of soviets at the end of that year.

Does Bettelheim devote much space to party-state relations, that you've seen?

Edited by Constantignoble (today 07:06:16)


that stuff shows up more so in the first book at least so far(i think it will be covered here as well but i'm only about 200 pages into this volume), but yes there is a lot of discussion of that, with reference to the different debates within the party and how/whether those debates actually got translated into state policy. so i think it might be very relevant to your current research! it's also just been a really useful book for me more generally, and his emphasis on productivism has informed my thinking on a lot of different things including the cambodia stuff i post about sometimes. bettelheim also thinks that lenin had a style where he would sometimes take minority positions that very few other people agreed with and then relentlessly argue for them if he thought they were correct, similar to what mao would do later in the ccp, and after lenin's death there wasn't really a similar figure in the bolshevik leadership to push forward unpopular but correct ideas in the same way. so the tendency for unpopular ideas to just be dropped seems to have become even more common later on.

#18465

lo posted:

that stuff shows up more so in the first book at least so far



Ok, will definitely add it to my immediate list. Please give me a holler if the second-period book eventually dings it, too, though I'm sure I'll eventually at least give it a skim regardless, when I am prioritizing a bit less madly.

#18466

Constantignoble posted:

lo posted:


that stuff shows up more so in the first book at least so far



Ok, will definitely add it to my immediate list. Please give me a holler if the second-period book eventually dings it, too, though I'm sure I'll eventually at least give it a skim regardless, when I am prioritizing a bit less madly.


you'll be pleased(or maybe not if you don't want to read more pages..) to know that the second period also goes into this in what seems to be a lot of detail. i have just started this section but he's already talking about the various lines in the party, how the debates between those lines were resolved and how that translated(or sometimes didn't) into state policy.
there seems to be an interesting dynamic going on with stalin, related to what i noticed earlier, where stalin basically will affirm a leninist view against the oppositional factions(who bettelheim thinks are mostly wrong, except for some of their calls for greater party democracy, which he thinks was reasonable to ask for), and he's absolutely correct to do so, but then sometimes stalin's conception of what he's defending seems inadequate or not fully formed yet. another interesting thing is that bettelheim characterises the argument between socialism in one country and permanent revolution as primarily a disagreement over the worker peasant alliance - trotsky's view presupposes that the contradictions between the proletariat and the peasantry can't be resolved without international revolutionary action, whereas stalin's view is that these contradictions can be overcome through correct handling of the worker/peasant alliance under the dictatorship of the proletariat. this makes a lot of sense when you think about trotsky's overall attitude to the peasantry but i've never seen it formulated like this before.

#18467
Im reading "theory as history" by "jairus banaji" and its "pretty good"
#18468

c_man posted:

Im reading "theory as history" by "jairus banaji" and its "pretty good"


this sounds right up my alley, seems like it would complement some of the stuff perry anderson talks about in passages from antiquity to feudalism?

#18469
Yeah it goes into a lot of depth on that transition but its not especially friendly to perry lol
#18470
i'm open to someone being rude to perry anderson if they are cool
#18471
bettelheim seems quite sympathetic to bukharin in the later sections of this book. i feel like i need to read more about the justification for ultimately rejecting that line and proceeding with extremely rapid industrialisation to better understand whether he's offbase or not. bettelheim's own interpretation seems sound on the face of it but i wonder if there is more to the situation that he isn't mentioning..
#18472
just got done reading spitzel: a little social history edited by klaus viehmann and markus mohr. it's an interesting snapshot in time of what the german security state apparatus was doing to collect information on, infiltrate, and entrap left groupings around that period as well as a good explanation of what a healthy paranoia of informants looks like in practice
#18473
i finished class struggles in the ussr second period. very interesting book, and there is a lot to digest so i will do a longer post about it when i get my thoughts together a bit more. i think it is worth reading because there is a lot of very interesting stuff in it about the transition to socialism and the role of productivism and tendencies towards technocratic managerial type practises, however if you are a dogmatic stalin lover it may make you a little irritable because he does interpret stalin(or at least stalin's position at the end of NEP, less so in the years leading up to it) as productivist
#18474
a winter's tale
#18475
Ministry of the Future is an average 7/10 but it does feature one hell of an opening sequence and some neat Andreas Malm esque actions for the future. Grounding commercial airlines with drone swarms is a p good and relatively cheap idea. The book suffers quite a bit by focusing on the Ministry itself though. Tell me more about the revolutionary government in India ffs