Zinn on History

By Howard Zinn

Seven Stories Press, New York, 2001.

You may be familiar with the work of the radical American historian and
activist, Howard Zinn. It includes the witty, humane play Marx in Soho, as
well as his magnificent Peoples Histories, of the United States and the
twentieth century. During the Vietnam War it was Zinn, together with Noam
Chomsky, who helped copy, smuggle out and then edit and publish the
Pentagon Papers, official documents that illustrated the full and savage
involvement of the American ruling class in the appalling invasion and
destruction of South-East Asia.

This current volume is a collection of Zinn's essays that date from the
mid-sixties to last year, and concern themselves with broadly historical
themes÷sketches of individuals, tales of action, meditations on the role
of the academic and history in general, on Marx and "Marxism".

Saint Jacques: Derrida and the Ghost of Marxism

Review of Specters of Marx

David Bedggood


1. For the bourgeoisie, the collapse of "communism" made the world-historic
victory of capitalism seem certain. Yet the contradictions of capitalism
immediately called the new world order into question as globalisation
brought with it what Jacques Derrida calls the "10 plagues". Apologists for
capitalism are now fearful of the return of Marx's ghost. George Soros sees
the ghost in the form of the anarchy of finance capital. Anthony Giddens
sees the ghost in the rise of left or right fundamentalist ideology.
Without realising it, they pose the problem in terms familiar to Marxists:
the contradiction between dead and living labour and the rise of the dead
reclaimed by the living. But is there a way out for capitalism?

Obsolete Communism. The Left-Wing Alternative.

By Daniel & Gabriel Cohn-Bendit.

AK Press, 2001. £12.

Books written by participants in events are always interesting if only
because they are part of the documentary evidence as to what happened. The
book by Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who was prominent in the student movement
which led to the "May events" in France in 1968, and his brother Gabriel
(who wrote the theoretical parts) is no exception. Written in 1968 shortly
after the events, and now republished by AK Press, it gives a good insight
into what many of the radicalised students thought.

The Cohn-Bendits called for a revolution without leaders to abolish the
wages system. They were therefore implacably opposed to Leninism and its
concept of a centralised vanguard to lead the working class. A large part
of the book in fact is devoted to exposing, on the one hand, the French
Communist Party (PCF) and its claim to be the sole legitimate
representative of the French working class and, on the other, how the
Bolsheviks, under Lenin and Trotsky, introduced state capitalism into
Russia, with their vanguard as the new managerial ruling class imposing
one-man management in the state-owned factories and bloodily suppressing
working-class resistance in Krondstadt in 1921. In fact the English title
does not convey the full anti-Leninist significance of a literal
translation of the original French title Leftism: Remedy for the Senile
Disorder of Communism
which was an obvious play on the title of Lenin's
1920 pamphlet Leftwing Communism: An Infantile Disorder.

No Logo Reviewed: "It's Not No Logo, It's Capitalism"

No Logo by Naomi Klein

(Flamingo Press, IR


The publication of No Logo was perfectly, if
unintentionally, timed. Just as the N30
demonstrations in Seattle made headlines around
the world, No Logo arrived to explain some of
the reasons for that movement. So although Naomi
Klein has made it clear that she is not an
'official' spokesperson for the movement Ñ that
this movement has no official spokespeople Ñ at
a time when observers (and even some
participants) wondered what was going on, No
provided some answers.

This review of Kevin Coogan's book was published here last week. Due to the heavy turnover of stories currently, I felt that it was important to repost it to our front page. Readers should note that the stories listed on the right hand side of slash do not always appear on the main page, and are sometimes only visible within their section.(hydrarchist).

"An American National Bolshevik," by Loren Goldner
(The following book review will appear in the journal Race Traitor, 2001. )

Review of Kevin Coogan's Dreamer of the Day: Francis Parker Yockey and the Postwar Fascist International. Autonomedia. New York, 1999. 642 pp. $16.95.

"Provincial patriotism of the nineteenth-century type can evoke no response. The unity of the West which the barbarian has always recognized is recognized at the last hour by the West itself."

"Western policy has the duty of encouraging in its education of the youth its manifestation of strong character, self-discipline, honor, ambition, renunciation of weakness, striving after perfection, superiority, leadership—in a word—Race."——Francis Yockey, Imperium, (1948).

"You can't build a new society with a Stanley knife"

by Malcolm Bull, published in The London Review of Books

Forget Bob Geldof, Bono and the other do-gooders, Genoa's only significance was as the latest battle in the war of Neoliberalism. It was a clear victory this time for the 'anarchists'. Damaging property and street fighting proved the most effective forms of protest, and provoked an over-reaction from the police: they shot a man armed with a fire extinguisher and raided the headquarters of the Genoa Social Forum for no reason. Non-violent demonstrators like to claim that the 'anarchists' have hijacked legitimate protest, but that is not historically true: the Black Bloc were there to greet Reagan when he came to Europe in the 1980s, long before many of the other groups represented at Genoa were formed.The Tute Bianche ('white overalls') are a more recent and distinctively Post-Modern phenomenon, committed to the deconstruction of the opposition between violence and non-violence, but they, too, have roots in the autonomist movements of the 1970s. Demonstrations of this kind have been going on for a long time, and they are unlikely to stop. The only thing that seems uncertain is who is fighting on which side.

Bakunin's Statism and Anarchy
A review by Chris Gray

Statism and Anarchy (Gosudarstvo i Anarkhia) was written by Mikhail
Alexandrovich Bakunin in 1873. It is one of the most accessible of Bakunin's
writings in English translation, currently available in the Cambridge Texts
in the History of Political Thought series. The work admirably demonstrates
Bakunin's strengths and weaknesses as a political thinker. I wish to comment
here on certain aspects of the work, namely, the author's view of European
history from the sixteenth century to 1815, his Slav romanticism (and its
reverse side, anti-Germanism), his view of political power; above all it is
necessary to deal with the most glaring of Bakunin's many misrepresentations
of Marx's position in the book. To this end, it is necessary to look at the
revolutionary situation in Germany in 1848 and also at the struggle between
Marx and Bakunin in the First International.

Autonomedia writes: "The Game of War: the life and death of Guy Debord
Andrew Hussey Jonathan Cape, 420pp, £18.99

The Map is Not the Territory
Alan Woods and Ralph Rumney Manchester University Press, 204pp, £25

When did the avant-garde die? It sounds like a title for the sort of frothy filler you might find, nowadays, fringing the review pages of any mainstream newspaper - and that, in itself, confirms the avant-garde's demise. But if you were looking for a plausible date, place and motive for the auto-destruction of that current which laid claim to being - by virtue of exclusivity, originality and audacity - the radical harbinger of cultural and political change in European society, it would have to be on 30 November 1994 in a large, gloomy farmhouse in the large, gloomy, remote French department of the Auvergne, where, as day faded into night, Guy Debord, once the leader of the Situationist International, put a gun to his breast and stopped his heart for ever.

Read the review here"

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