Submitted by cactus9 on May 27, 2019

All and any books and other reading material.

Me: All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven.

spacious

3 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm currently reading Ian Angus - Facing the Anthropocene. Fossil capitalism and the crisis of the earth system. Very good so far, but I'm still in the first part on the planetary system and debates on what changes justify the term 'anthropocene', what responses it has received etc., and not yet the parts detailing what eco-socialism would amount to.

Agent of the I…

3 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I read We Do Not Fear Anarchy - We Invoke It: The First International and the Origins of the Anarchist Movement by Robert Graham. It's a good read, but not as good as The First Socialist Schism by Wolfgang Eckhardt. I read the latter work before the former and it really set a high bar. Graham's book is much shorter, and therefore more summary.

I also read Anarchism by Daniel Guerin. I had thought I read it before but it seemed new to me. I found it disappointing. It is not written as good as I thought it was. It's a bit too rough for my taste. For an introductory book, it's not as clear and smooth as you would hope it would be.

Right now, I'm reading Eco-Socialism: From deep ecology to social justice by David Pepper. I'm nearly a hundred pages complete. I'm interested in the subject but the book is a bit of a slog to read. The information it contains isn't revealing.

jef costello

3 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I tried to read a copy of Lotta Comunista's paper quite a few times over the last four or five months. I gave up, it was almost unreadable. Weirdly enough they were doing a door to door paper sale with this completely impenetrable thing. I'm not sure if they genuinely thought they would win people over with this or if it was just a funding drive. I can't imagine anyone not already in the organisation would read it. Except maybe another left-communist organisation that wanted to slag them off.

The league of Frightened men, Rex Stout - I think I might have read it before, I quite liked it, even though it is pretty snobby. The racism terms have been switched away from the main characters and are now used by secondaries.

Death of a fop - rather dull continuation of Emma where Jane marries Frank and he beats her, gets involved in crime and then murdered. She wanders around while everyone says she is jesus while not being more than passably nice. Takes a mastubatory joy in using the same 10 words of cant which are defined by the characters every time they use them even on the occasions when they point out that it was obvious from context what it meant, and the fact that the word had been used a dozen times already and explained each time.

Demolished Man - interesting, one of those books where I am not entirely sure what I made of it. Would read more by him. I preferred Tiger Tiger/The stars my destination.

The house of unexpected sisters - I get these NYT bestseller packs occasionally and get lots of erotica and stuff like this. It was readable although I do wonder if it is stunningly patronising to people from Botswana, but I don't know any so haven't been able to ask.

No man's land, David Baldaci - awfully dull thriller which doesn't really add up unless you really force yourself not to think. I read it a while ago but for some reason my phone keeps undeleting it and I keep accidentally starting it again.

Force of Nature, The Dry - Jane Harper. Good serviceable thrillers, quite fun to read with decent characters.

My favourite thing is monsterrs by Emil Faris - Excellent Graphic novel, it went a little off the boil towards the end and I am kind of worried that it is going to collapse into cliché, but nonetheless I will be bying the next volume in a few months when it comes out.

Joe Cinque's consolation - interesting look at a crime that is very strange. Worth a read, alhthough ultimately a bit unsatisfying, a shame that the person who killed him wouldn't be interviewed. She has spoken and written on the subject but has pretty much said I don't remember, I was ill.

Read more than this but need to make dinner :)

adri

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm currently reading the Ben Reynolds book, which is supposed to offer a Marxist take on capitalism and automation in the 21st century. I'm just now getting to part II so I don't really have much of an opinion on it. I came across this though which I thought the author maybe should have supported a bit with some references:

Reynolds

[...] Goods that can be instantly reproduced by a computer such as text and audio, cost basically nothing to create. Unlike land or machinery, making use of a particular code has no effect on anyone else who wants to use it. Other users are free to copy and use what they wish. The natural price of these codes, in the form of software or digital files, is nothing. This is why it makes inherent sense, particularly to young people, that one should not have to pay for things like books, music and movies on the Internet. The free software movement grew based upon this sentiment and survives to this day despite the aggressive policies of commercial giants like Microsoft

I think this is confusing the 'free' in free software with 'free as in beer'. You can have software that's free of charge (like freeware) but that's not 'free' in the sense of it being open source, and so on. 'Free of charge' is not exactly what the free software movement or organizations like FSF advocate:

Linux Essentials

The FSF advocates what it calls free software, which is defines in terms of freedom to do things you want to do with the software, not the price of the software. A common phrase to make this distinction clear is "free as in speech, not free as in beer." [...] Since free software is not necessarily free of charge, selling it is not a problem from the FSF's point of view, but given the other freedoms, free software's price tends toward zero as it gets passed around.

Reddebrek

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just returned Pride to the library. It was supposed to be a write up to tie in with the 2014 film, but the author realised that might not be very interesting so instead he expanded it into one long group interview with former members of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners and some residents of villages in the Swansea Valley.

Its far better and more interesting than a tie in book should be. It goes a lot further than the film into what living in a pit village is lack, the conditions and struggles of both the Miners and the UK homosexual community, before the strike, during the strike and after.

I also think that users of this forum would get a lot out of it, it details how two supposedly very different communities can unite in common cause. And a surprisingly large amount of the interviews concern the state of the British left, including anecdotes about Militant, CPGB, SWP, WRP etc. and how conservative and oppositional stance of the Labour party and the Union leadership.

And not just on gay rights either. Plenty of the interviewees have many things to say about how the leadership of the Labour movement effectively undermined most of the major strikes during the 80s, and how much of what was achieved and done to keep the strikes going had to be autonomously, with the Union playing a very peripheral role.

Dave B

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I have just read Crime and punishment

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_and_Punishment

by

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fyodor_Dostoevsky

not sure I really enjoyed it but he was “political”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petrashevsky_Circle

There is that stuff in it as well as utilatarianism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilitarianism

A downside of utilitarianism is you behave like a shit if you have to if you think there are good rational reasons it will make things better for everybody overall.

Or the “end justifies the means” which was superficially bolshevism writ large.

There is Nietzsche stuff in there; or Dostoevsky in Nietzsche.

I am also in a ‘ minority of interpreters’ in thinking there is Stirner in Nietzsche.

Thus it maybe Stirner- Dostoevsky-Nietzsche.

….Nietzsche called Dostoevsky "the only psychologist from whom I have anything to learn."[224] While Nietzsche never mentions Max Stirner, the similarities in their ideas have prompted a minority of interpreters to suggest a relationship between the two…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Nietzsche

If you like ‘Russsian’ revolutionary novels Under Western Eyes by joseph conrad was much more enjoyable I think

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Under_Western_Eyes_(novel)

I think these kind of novels can give a deeper or different kind of ‘feel’ to what was going on in peoples heads then an there.

The Russians do come across as being a bit strange in their 19th century literature.

Entdinglichung

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You Say You Want a Revolution: SDS, PL, and Adventures in Building a Worker-Student Alliance, intersting compilation of recollections of people who had been members or sympathizers of the Progressive Labor Party around 1968 before PL became fully cultish, sometimes funny (e.g. that one former member says, that drinking alcohol was in a way encouraged in his branch for student members to become more proletarianized), some interesting stuff about grassroots work at unis and factories

Entdinglichung

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

jef costello

I tried to read a copy of Lotta Comunista's paper quite a few times over the last four or five months. I gave up, it was almost unreadable. Weirdly enough they were doing a door to door paper sale with this completely impenetrable thing. I'm not sure if they genuinely thought they would win people over with this or if it was just a funding drive. I can't imagine anyone not already in the organisation would read it. Except maybe another left-communist organisation that wanted to slag them off.

was it in translation? my experience that much of the left communist stuff from Italy is poorly translated

Dyjbas

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lotta Comunista are not really left communist.

Dave B

The Russians do come across as being a bit strange in their 19th century literature.

What do you mean?

darren p

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Quite a few things, including:

Albert Weale - The Will Of The People
This book examines the idea of "the will of the people" and finds it to be little more than a modern myth. Not only is it impossible to non-arbitrarily determine who the "people" are and are not, it is also impossible to come up with a singular veiwpoint that all will converge upon. It is interesting that in the whole of the Brexit debate not a single politician, as far as I know, has had the insight or courage to criticise the concept.

Daniel Trilling - Lights In The Distance
An account of the European borders crisis bought to life through a series of first person accounts of refugees and migrants. When people are forced to flee because they cannot meet their needs at home uncomfortable questions have to be asked about why that is the case.

Kwame Antony Appiah - The Lies That Bind
In an era of increasing division and conflict this book seeks to examine the identities through which struggles are fought. Rejecting the idea that identities come with their own internal essence - that there are special immutable characteristics or capacities that make identity groups what they are - Kwame Anthony Appiah examines the history and contradictions of concepts such as race, class, gender, nationality and culture. An informative and enjoyably written book that is well worth a read. (It is based on his Reith lectures entitled 'Mistaken Identities')

George Orwell - Orwell In Spain
This book is essentially an expanded edition of Orwell's "Homage to Catalonia" but with the addition of correspondence, book reviews and other articles written by Orwell (and some by his wife Eileen Blair, and George Kopp). It was during the Spanish civil war that Orwell solidified the ideas that would become key ingredients in his later novels "1984" and "Animal Farm". The extra articles, written between 1936 and 1949, make for interesting reading not least for the parallels that they have with the world of today.

(These were some micro-book reviews I posted on my Instagram..)

Dave B

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

response to post 10

When I said the Russians in 19th century literature seemed a bit strange it wasn’t mean to be derogatory in any way.

I would say they come across being very passionate maybe?

I haven’t read more than half a dozen of them.

I find them a bit of a drag as I find it difficult to remember the names of the characters and they often have multiple names which doesn’t help me.

I find the whole subject of cross cultural and trans historically what people were probably like from fictional literature interesting.

It is an approach that has its problems obviously in the sense authors maybe idealising the characters according to their expected cultural norms or whatever?

Fleur

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Whenever I read Russian lit, I keep a crib sheet for all the names. Not just for all that patronynms etc but every character seems to have at least half a dozen nicknames. If you read War and Peace, you might need to get a database going.
Personally, I love Dostoevsky and it's the passion of the characters I love.

jef costello

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Entdinglichung

was it in translation? my experience that much of the left communist stuff from Italy is poorly translated

There were a lot of translated quotations from their main guy, in all of the articles, not sure if it the rest was translated. It wasn't badly translated, just impenetrable.

Dostoyevsky is amazing. Try The Devils, which is his novel about 'revolutionaries' and is probably one of the best novels I have ever read.

The Russians do come across as being a bit strange in their 19th century literature.

There are a lot of things in 19th century novels that seem overly melodramatic to a modern reader. The social rituals and conventions can be a little confusing at times, but that is the same with anything.

The name thing can be tricky, depending on the book. War and Peace is notorious for it, but Dostoyevksy is usually easy enough to follow. The last book I read that was that difficult was Manituana, the characters had at least two names and multiple nicknames as each family, ethnic, linguistic grouping seemed to have a nickname and a name.

Read Dion DiMucci's autobiography this morning, it was quite interesting but not sure if it was all true and he spent a lot of time banging on about Jesus.

Logic of Empire by Robert Heinlein, basically shows how poor, indentured workers are turned into slaves. Quite good really.

Song for a Dark Queen by Rosemary Sutcliff, her version of the story of Boudicca, like most of her stuff worth a read. No christian civilising stuff which is good.

Noah Fence

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Around a month ago I read a book that I borrowed which was a description of a walk along the entire length of England that the author took. I can’t remember what it was called or who it was by which isn’t much use here(!) but it was written in 1968 and the culture it describes is shockingly different from how things are now.
I’ve read a few walking books now and they have been as charming as they are fascinating and soothing. They are everything that Richard Long’s wanky, fifty grand walking maps aren’t.

I’m just finishing The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. A peculiar yet compelling little book. I’m thoroughly enjoying it and really love the main character who is a strange mix of conservative and bohemian and is a big fan of Mussolini! Told you it was peculiar!

Next on the bedside table is George Woodcock’s biography of Godwin. Anyone read it and is it worth the effort?
Same question regarding The Garden of Peculiarities by Jesus Sepuveda? Anybody read this? It looks kind of tough going yet I’m rather intrigued.

jef costello

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was a strange book. I liked it but I was not quite sure what I made of it. I read it on my commute so I forgot which girl was which at times.

bastarx

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

jef costello

Joe Cinque's consolation - interesting look at a crime that is very strange. Worth a read, alhthough ultimately a bit unsatisfying, a shame that the person who killed him wouldn't be interviewed. She has spoken and written on the subject but has pretty much said I don't remember, I was ill.

An acquaintance of mine was at that dinner where poor Joe was murdered.

bastarx

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Re-reading A Song of Ice and Fire for about the 4th time to try and erase that awful show from my memory.

Entdinglichung

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

in regard of 19th century Russian literature, can really recommend A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov

Juan Conatz

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't read nearly as much as I used to, with the exception of magazines and local newspapers. I have subscriptions to Harper's, Jacobin, Razorcake, MaximumRockNRoll (RIP), In These Times, Mad Magazine and JazzTimes.

As far as book go, within the last year I've read the following:

The Chapo Guide to Revolution: A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts, and Reason

Overall thought it was good. Dripping with sarcasm, internet references, ridicule and scorn for the current state of things in the world. Sort of reads like a more skillful and knowledgeable version of well written political zines I encountered as a teenager. Has some great illustrations as well.

It contains an onslaught of references to internet culture, media people, history and political figures that I assume would be hard to follow for some. I would say this is aimed at very online mid 20s-early 30s white millenial males who are smarter than average and work meaningless jobs.

Detroit 67: The Year That Changed Soul

First of a trology on soul music. Author does a great job of telling a story that takes Motown internal politics, the white countercultural rebel scene and the explosion in the streets of Detroit into an intertwined narrative.

Memphis 68: The Tragedy of Southern Soul

The second book of Stuart Cosgrove's trilogy on soul music. It was interesting reading this right before, during and after taking a trip to Memphis. Focusing on Stax Records, the Sanitation Workers strike and the assassination of MLK, Cosgrove really packs in a ton of information, people, events and places into this book. I thought he did a better job with this one than the Detroit book, which sometimes felt like tying together very separate things.

R Totale

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Don't want to be too controversial, but I never understand how anyone who's not a Christian can like Dostoyevsky. It's not that I don't/can't like Christian writers - Muriel Spark is great, as is Flannery O'Connor, but to me reading Dostoyevsky feels like I'm being beaten over the head with his theology with all the subtlety of a very long Jack Chick tract. Each to their own though.

darren - if you'd like more Orwellian reading material, the recently-published Between the Bullet and the Lie sounds like it might be worthwhile. Or not, I've not read it myself yet.

Noah - not a walking book but a cycling one, but you might be interested in Island Story by JD Taylor. Depending on how tolerant you are about these things, you might not get on with the author's kind of well-meaning social-democrat tendencies too well, but if you like reading about people and places it's worth a look.

Juan - shit, is MRR gone? Sad times, even if I probably only got a copy once every few years.
Is there any chance of someone who doesn't like the podcast enjoying the Chapo book? Even though I probably fit their target audience quite well, I find them a bit too gratingly "bro-ish" to listen to.
Read the Detroit book but not the Memphis one. Liked what I read but sort of wished he was a better writer - Detroit '67 is a great story, but I wasn't sure the writing lived up to it.

Currently reading Widows by Ariel Dorfman, which has a really interesting back story - while living in exile from Pinochet's Chile, he knew anything he wrote had no chance of getting published in Chile (and probably wouldn't go down too well in Argentina, Brazil, etc), so instead he wrote a book and tried to get it published as a recently-discovered 1940s novel about the nazi occupation of Europe, in the hopes that this "newly translated European novel written decades ago" might stand a better chance of making it past Latin American censors. It didn't work, but the effort to make the setting vague makes it kind of interesting, I guess maybe comparable to The Plague?

jef costello

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

Don't want to be too controversial, but I never understand how anyone who's not a Christian can like Dostoyevsky. It's not that I don't/can't like Christian writers - Muriel Spark is great, as is Flannery O'Connor, but to me reading Dostoyevsky feels like I'm being beaten over the head with his theology with all the subtlety of a very long Jack Chick tract. Each to their own though.

I don't feel that way. I think Dostoyevsky was too scared of there being no god and tried to throw himself into religion without succeeding.

bastarx

An acquaintance of mine was at that dinner where poor Joe was murdered.

Such a bizarre situation, I don't even know what someone who was there would think. Although one of the guys present came up with this sentence that sounds like a 40 year-old failing to write dialogue.

Jonathan Bowers-Taylor

‘the whole thing has been quite distasteful for me. I, as a young person, have a natural inclination not to dob in my friends.’

I have had that 67 Detroit book on my reader for years, never quite got round to it.

bastarx

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

jef costello

bastarx

An acquaintance of mine was at that dinner where poor Joe was murdered.

Such a bizarre situation, I don't even know what someone who was there would think. Although one of the guys present came up with this sentence that sounds like a 40 year-old failing to write dialogue.

I didn't know him at the time and I've never asked him about it only heard he was there from another friend. He apparently denies knowing that Joe was going to be murdered.

scallywagskum

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Anyone have some good read recs for dissolving the ego?

Noah Fence

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

scallywagskum

Anyone have some good read recs for dissolving the ego?

There’s a comrade on here that appears to be an expert on the ego though I doubt he can help. Worth a try though...

https://youtu.be/XcPHG-ro3VA

jef costello

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

bastarx

I didn't know him at the time and I've never asked him about it only heard he was there from another friend. He apparently denies knowing that Joe was going to be murdered.

I am not sure how you would bring it up iun conversation without seeming ghoulish, I don't ask people I know about more innocuous things than that.

Burglar in the Closet - Laurence Block. Burglar gets implicated in a murder (again) and then solves it. Similar to the first one in the series, but entertaining enough. Not too taxing, some interesting sections about being a burglar, he describes it in ways that make it seem very voyeuristic, which I wasn't expecting.

wojtek

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Would anyone be interested in reading and discussing a book together?

Noah Fence

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

wojtek

Would anyone be interested in reading and discussing a book together?

Have you got anything in mind?

wojtek

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Johann Hari's book 'Lost Connections'?

Noah Fence

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

wojtek

Johann Hari's book 'Lost Connections'?

Yes. I’m in. I’ll get it ordered.

Edit: It arrives tomorrow but I’ve got another book to finish first. I’ll let you know when I can start.

jef costello

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry, but I'm not sure it will be any good.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2018/jan/08/is-everything-johann-hari-knows-about-depression-wrong-lost-connections

I would be in for another book later on. I have acouple of Ariel Dorfman's that I have been, meaning to read, as well as Steinbeck, Upton Sinclair etc.

Would it be worth starting, reviving a political reading thread? There was reading group on here a while back (I feel like you were in it wojtek, but my memory could be failing me)

Not necessarily political theory, but books with a storng political message or utility.

Noah Fence

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I would really like to read 1985 by Anthony Burgess with some of you guys. I used to read it very regularly and loved it's individualist attitude before I discovered communism. First time I read it after I started interacting with Libcom I was shocked by how at odds it was with my new views but it is still an excellent read, darkly comic and lubricated by Burgess’ masterly writing style https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1985_(Anthony_Burgess_novel). I think it would raise many criticisms and possibly some anger but I hope that there would still be some enjoyment to be had a Burgess is such a great writer.
It would also be good to read A Clockwork Orange with you guys too. It’s one of my favourite books of all time and it isn’t at all flawed in the way that 1985 is.
Anyways, both these fit the description suggested by you Jeff.

As for Lost Connections, it doesn’t bother me that it’s come in for a lot of criticism, in fact, that provides added interest in a way. I have a lot of experience with mental health issues, I’ve been dealing with the extreme end of them with friends and my immediate family including all three of my kids as well as myself and have lost count of the number of friends and associates that have died or have seriously injured themselves or fucked up their health or lives as a result of MH problems either by suicide or through dangerous behaviour created by them.
For these reasons I’m keen to look at things from a different perspective both as an intellectually stimulating exercise and in case it can offer me something to help with my own depression and anxiety, which though they are now low level, are still sometimes bad enough to make life pretty difficult.

adri

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

My book stack is getting pretty tall, but I wouldn't mind joining in reading something light (the Burgess or Hari books are fine with me).

Juan Conatz

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

Juan - shit, is MRR gone? Sad times, even if I probably only got a copy once every few years.
Is there any chance of someone who doesn't like the podcast enjoying the Chapo book? Even though I probably fit their target audience quite well, I find them a bit too gratingly "bro-ish" to listen to.

Yeah, MRR ended their print run a few months ago. They're still putting out the weekly radio show and maintaining the website. Seems like the intention is to keep doing some of the stuff featured in the print magazine but put it out on the website. That leaves Razorcake as the last major punk print publication in the U.S.

I can't imagine if you already dislike the Chapo podcast that you would like the book.

shyamk85

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Reading a book called power of positivity. It is a good book and is changing my views on several aspects.

Noah Fence

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

shyamk85

Reading a book called power of positivity. It is a good book and is changing my views on several aspects.

I can’t comment specifically on this book but having read quite a bit of this stuff, the following quote sums up my feelings quite nicely...

The philosophy of positive thinking means being untruthful; it means being dishonest. It means seeing a certain thing and yet denying what you have seen; it means deceiving yourself and others.” “Positive thinking is the only bullshit philosophy that America has contributed to human thought – nothing else. Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, and the Christian priest, Vincent Peale – all these people have filled the whole American mind with this absolutely absurd idea of a positive philosophy. And it appeals particularly to mediocre minds… Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, has been sold in numbers just next to the Christian Bible. No other book has been able to reach that popularity. The Christian Bible should not be a competitor in fact, because it is more or less given free, forced on people. But Dale Carnegie’s book people have been purchasing; it has not been given to you free. And it has created a certain kind of ideology which has given birth to many books of a similar kind. But to me it is nauseating. … Dale Carnegie started this whole school of positive philosophy, positive thinking: Don’t see the negative part, don’t see the darker side. But by your not seeing it, do you think it disappears? You are just befooling yourself. You cannot change reality. The night will still be there; you can think that it is daytime for twenty-four hours, but by your thinking it, it is not going to be light twenty-four hours a day. The negative is as much part of life as the positive.

jef costello

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think this piece about mindfulness is quite good.

It argues that basically capitalism is selling us its own propaganda. Instead of trying to change our conditions, we are encouraged to pay for 'help' to accept them.

Mindfulness is easily co-opted and reduced to merely “pacifying feelings of anxiety and disquiet at the individual level, rather than seeking to challenge the social, political and economic inequalities that cause such distress”,

A truly revolutionary mindfulness would challenge the western sense of entitlement to happiness irrespective of ethical conduct.

I'd be happy to read Burgess. I am kind of in a book club already, but have only been once. If this is successful maybe we could move onto a more political text, maybe a historical one.

Shall we open a thread that anyone planning to read it can 'sign up' on and then we pick a date to try and read it by?

Noah Fence

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Shall we open a thread that anyone planning to read it can 'sign up' on and then we pick a date to try and read it by?

Yeah, good idea.
What one do you fancy, 1985 or A Clockwork Orange?

jef costello

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noah Fence

Shall we open a thread that anyone planning to read it can 'sign up' on and then we pick a date to try and read it by?

Yeah, good idea.
What one do you fancy, 1985 or A Clockwork Orange?

I'm happy with 1985, if you and wojtek are.

Noah Fence

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ok, I’ll order a copy - I gave my last one to Chilli Sauce. I seem to remember he said this...

Burgess is a cock

Or words to that effect. I don’t dispute this but as a writer he was eminently readable.

Noah Fence

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Are you ready to do this Jeff? How about Zugzwan and Wojtek?

adri

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sure, here's an epub version if anyone wants it.

http://booksdescr.org/foreignfiction/item/index.php?md5=ee8685cd7a8d5d13b8737c4562cb639f

wojtek

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'd be down if it was feasable to discuss in person, but I've done a 180 and not so keen on an online one.

jef costello

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

New discussion thread open.

https://libcom.org/forums/general/burgess-1985-reading-group-01072019

Have started the first page or two. the only thing likely to stop me finishing it this week is not liking it. Which is quite possible. But I will be done by the date.

Everything is open for discussion, I just wanted to get started.

adri

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noah Fence

Burgess is a cock

Or words to that effect. I don’t dispute this but as a writer he was eminently readable.

The cock bit seems pretty accurate. Just got past intro and I already hate him (then again there's lots to dislike in Orwell too).

Noah Fence

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Haha, the critique of 1984 is shocking as far as I remember.

cactus9

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Irresistible: why you are addicted to technology and how to set youself free by Adam Alter.

On the one hand I read this because I like pop science books, this wasn't a great example of the genre like some I've read and my attention did wander a bit, but I also read it because I'm interested in addiction and behavioural addiction and concerned about my own tech use and I found it interesting and helpful on this score.

adri

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noah Fence

Haha, the critique of 1984 is shocking as far as I remember.

I was referring more to this (his biographer didn't even seem to like him that much):

Andrew Biswell

To a cultural conservative such as Burgess, it seemed as if the apocalypse had arrived and that the British government had ceased to govern. Yet the novel's hatred of strikers, punks, religious reformers and people who watch television is so intemperate that the author struggles to control his material. When he is not railing against the vulgarity of popular culture (he invents television programmes called Sex Boy and Sky Rape), he depicts striking fire-fighters looking on as a hospital burns down. It is interesting to note that, when the real-life fire-fighters went on strike over a 30 per cent pay claim in November 1977 (shortly after Burgess had completed his novella), they broke their strike to put out a fire at St Andrew’s Hospital in East London. The implausibility of Burgess’s plot indicates the extent of his detachment from the reality of British life in the mid-1970s.

Andrew Biswell

If Orwell’s guilt about his privileged upbringing had made him want to move downwards in society – he spent time living in working-class doss-houses and deliberately modified his accent to disguise his Etonian origins – Burgess had always aimed to make the opposite journey, from the poverty and deprivation of Moss Side to a life of middle-class respectability. (It is no accident that he ended up, after his second marriage in 1968, living a life of comfortable expatriation in Malta and Monaco.)

Andrew Biswell

In The Wanting Seed, Burgess imagines a futuristic over-populated England where homosexuality has become the stateapproved norm.

Not particularly relevant but Burgess' disliking of punks reminded me how JD lead singer had Burgess' Clockwork book in his bookshelf. He also met the American writer of Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs, who supposedly told him to "get lost/fuck off".

Noah Fence

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hmmm, that first quote is rather odd. I mean, I agree with it except for the inclusion of ‘punks’. It seems to me that Burgess paints a sympathetic picture of violent youths(I presume that’s who Biswell means?) in 1985 and A Clockwork Orange. In fact, that’s one of the remarkable things about A Clockwork Orange - the reader can’t help but rally for Little Alex despite him being an incredibly self interested murderer and rapist.

Edit: Actually, I think Biswell’s description of Burgess as a cultural conservative based on his distaste for trashy TV and religious reformers is pretty daft as well. I mean, does my rejection of religion and distaste for trashy ‘reality’ TV such as Celebrity Love Island, or unimaginative, lazy, obvious, drivel like Harry Potter make me a cultural conservative?

Noah Fence

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Oh yes, who is ‘JD’?

adri

2 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Noah Fence

Hmmm, that first quote is rather odd. I mean, I agree with it except for the inclusion of ‘punks’. It seems to me that Burgess paints a sympathetic picture of violent youths(I presume that’s who Biswell means?) in 1985 and A Clockwork Orange. In fact, that’s one of the remarkable things about A Clockwork Orange - the reader can’t help but rally for Little Alex despite him being an incredibly self interested murderer and rapist.

Edit: Actually, I think Biswell’s description of Burgess as a cultural conservative based on his distaste for trashy TV and religious reformers is pretty daft as well. I mean, does my rejection of religion and distaste for trashy ‘reality’ TV such as Celebrity Love Island, or unimaginative, lazy, obvious, drivel like Harry Potter make me a cultural conservative?

From my reading it seems Clockwork and Burgess were pretty popular among British punks:

Simon Reynolds

Although other heavily industrial parts of Britain suffered steadily rising unemployment and factory closures in the seventies, Sheffield remained relatively prosperous. The steel industry didn’t sharply decline until Thatcher took power in 1979. If there was deprivation, it was cultural. Nonconformist Sheffield youth grabbed on to whatever sources of stimulation they could find: pop music, art, glam clothes, science fiction, or, better still, some combination of them all.
That’s why A Clockwork Orange—Anthony Burgess’s 1962 book, Stanley Kubrick’s 1970 film, and Walter Carlos’s electronic movie score—had such an impact in Sheffield. Set in a near future Britain, A Clockwork Orange focuses on a marauding gang of teenagers, vicious dandies who live for gratuitous “ultraviolence.” Roaming a grim cityscape of high-rise apartment blocks, power plants, and dilapidated Filmdromes, these glammed-up thugs mug old people for a lark and spar bloodily with rival gangs. Although Burgess drew specific inspiration from his hometown of Manchester, Clockwork Orange’s backdrop was familiar to anyone living in urban Britain during the 1970s. Tower blocks, skyways, shadowy underpasses: This was the desolate psychogeography of a new England created by town planners and Brutalist architects from the early 1960s onward.

In any case the striker thing and Wanting Seed book look pretty bad. Haven't read anything by Burgess, but the Wanting Seed book, in addition to sounding homophobic, seems to promote Malthusian ideas that there isn't enough means of life (that not everyone can be employed as wage-workers to allow them to purchase the stuff they need) to provide a comfortable existence for everyone, which is bourgeois nonsense that communists, anarchists and others have argued against (see for example Kautsky here in his intro to Capital or Kropotkin's mention of Malthus in CoB).

adri

2 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

And this interview would seem to confirm that:

http://www.masterbibangers.net/ABC/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49:anthony-burgess-interviewed-in-italy-in1974-about-a-clockwork-orange&catid=37:by-ab&Itemid=62

Interviewer: Now, the last book which has appeared in France, La Folle Semence, it has been quite successful and it has been called a fable on the theme of population explosion. Is this a problem which preoccupies you in particular?

A.B.: Well, it’s a problem which did preoccupy me when I first conceived the book because I was living in the far east at the time, I’d seen India, I’d seen Bombay, I’d seen Calcutta.

I’d seen the ghastly results of over-population, and of course, I was living very close to Singapore, which is a little island crammed with humanity of all kinds, and naturally I saw this problem as one that was facing the east, but not yet facing the west.

In my little novel I present this theme of over-population as affecting my own country, England. I imagine a future in which the population is so great that people haven’t enough to eat and the state steps in and forces people to have fewer and fewer children.

But I do, rather boldly I think, suggest a solution: the solution doesn’t lie in contraception, in the states’ imposing a limitation on the family, the solution is a Malthusian one.

Now, Malthus was an English clergyman who lived in the eighteenth century and first propounded the idea that soon there would not be enough food in the world for people, and therefore we had to do something about it.

He said the only thing we could do about it is to delay marriage, is to practise chastity, nowadays, of course, we don’t believe in that, we believe that everybody has a right to copulate if they wish to; and they must guard against the inevitable biological results of copulation.

My view is as presented in this novel, so it’s not perhaps essentially a serious view, I wouldn’t go to the gallows on this view, is that we have to continue to accept certain natural checks.

Malthus said we have checks such as earthquakes, volcanoes, famines, these keep the population down.

But man has a cultural check and this cultural check is war. So, in my book I present wars which are waged, not for any ideological reason, not for territorial reasons, but because it’s a means of keeping the population down.

The interview then goes on to discuss whether cannibalism can be interpreted as an act of love.

wojtek

2 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41/n13/james-wood/diary

adri

2 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm currently reading the Ben Reynolds book, which is supposed to offer a Marxist take on capitalism and automation in the 21st century. I'm just now getting to part II so I don't really have much of an opinion on it.

The marxian-theoretical half was interesting and seems to draw a lot from the Wertkritik school/people, who the author mentions in a footnote, basically arguing that value-producing labour is being replaced with technology/constant capital, which doesn't create any new value itself (just transfers value) and that this will ultimately lead to capitalism's collapse. It's seems pretty much the same as what Robert Kurz is arguing here:

Kurz

With the development of productivity, capital increases the extent of exploitation, but in doing so it undermines the foundation and the object of exploitation, the production of value as such. For the production of relative surplus value, inseparable as it is from the progressive fusion of modern science with the material process of production, includes the tendency toward the elimination of living, immediate, productive labor, as the only source of total social value creation.The same movement which increases capital’s share of the new value decreases the absolute basis of value production by means of the elimination of direct living productive labor.Capital creates, necessarily and unconsciously, the immediately social labor that emerges from the value relation, the material productivity of which reduces total social labor time — but it does so only to its own end, in order to increase the rate at which it exploits the immediate producers. Capital develops social productivity for asocial ends and interests, and thus becomes entangled in a contradiction that cannot be resolved on its own foundations, the ultimate logic of which Marx sketches in the following terms:

A development in the productive forces that would reduce the absolute number of workers, and actually enable the whole nation to accomplish its entire production in a shorter period of time would produce a revolution, since it would put the majority of the population out of action.Here we have once again the characteristic barrier to capitalist production, and we see how this is in no way an absolute form of the development of the productive forces and the creation of wealth, but rather comes into conflict with this at a certain point in its development.One aspect of this conflict is presented by the periodic crises that arise when one or another section of the working population is made superfluous in its old employment.The barrier to capitalist production is the surplus time of the workers.The absolute spare time that the society gains is immaterial to capitalist production.The development of productivity is only important to it in so far as it increases the surplus-labor time of the working class and does not just reduce the labor-time needed for material production in general; in this way it moves in a contradiction.

The proposal half was disappointing, in its promotion of a stage called socialism, where worker coops will be a feature (as if workers managing capital themselves wouldn't face the same pressures as any other capitalist enterprise to compete and act in anti-social ways or else cease to exist) preceding the final goal of communism. As far as Marx and Engels go socialism and communism were synonymous terms for the same society.

sherbu-kteer

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Read 'The Arsonist' by Chloe Hooper, which is about the man convicted of starting one of the Black Saturday bushfires, which were the deadliest bushfires Australia has ever seen -- 173 people died. It's a good book and quite well written. It humanises everyone, from the victims to the perpetrator, and digs into the political circumstances a little, as the area he is from was devastated by unemployment that fed into the social disquiet in the area.

I'd be interested to know what non-Australians would think of it. Bushfire is ingrained in the national 'mythos' here and you can read that in between the lines of this book. I wish she'd gone more into the political aspects though, it made me think of that text about Bordiga's writings on natural disasters. An untapped area

jef costello

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

zugzwang

The interview then goes on to discuss whether cannibalism can be interpreted as an act of love.

A few years ago I read The People's act of love, which is about cannibalism and the czech legion in Siberia, amongst other things. One of those books that I can't remember if it was good, I think I liked it. It was certainly interesting.

spacious

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm halfway through The Ecological Rift: Capitalism's war on the earth by John Bellamy Foster/Brett Clark/Richard York. I think it's excellent so far, it gives a very rich overview of Marxian ecological thinking but is also very concrete about current climate and ecological crisis.

After this will probably read the new translation of Tronti's Workers and Capital that appeared with Verso.

R Totale

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

spacious

After this will probably read the new translation of Tronti's Workers and Capital that appeared with Verso.

I'll be interested to hear what you make of it - I impulsively bought it because it was half-price, but I'm finding it pretty difficult to get through, I suppose the Leninism of Tronti's language is one barrier but even beyond that, so far it seems a bit lacking in actual workers' inquiry compared to what I was expecting - far too much "the party must be based in the factory" and not enough "here's what it's actually like in the factory" for my tastes so far. Still, maybe it picks up once you get past the first bit.

Other recent reading: Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson, which I thought was pretty bad, whole range of flaws but particularly a case of "too many ideas, too little space given to sitting there and working any of them out", plus the characters and dialogue didn't really work for me. On the other hand, New Dark Age by James Bridle about tech/data stuff is excellent, one of those books that covers a whole range of topics so well that you end up being reminded of it by all sorts of things afterwards, or maybe that's just me.

comradeEmma

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

far too much "the party must be based in the factory" and not enough "here's what it's actually like in the factory" for my tastes so far.

Doesn't that have more to do with the time it was written in than it has to do with politics? If you are going to write a political work meant to influence the organizing by workers you would probably write about what the goal is, not just explain the current day-to-day situation that the reader already experiences. I could write long works that are just my own tales of workplace injustices and organizing but as a political work that would probably be very boring for the target audience.

Lenin sort of writes about this in What is to be done?,

The “economic struggle of the workers against the employers and the government”, about which you make as much fuss as if you had discovered a new America, is being waged in all parts of Russia, even the most remote, by the workers themselves who have heard about strikes, but who have heard almost nothing about socialism. The “activity” you want to stimulate among us workers, by advancing concrete demands that promise palpable results, we are already displaying and in our everyday, limited trade union work we put forward these concrete demands, very often without any assistance whatever from the intellectuals. [But such activity is not enough for us; we are not children to be fed on the thin gruel of “economic” politics alone; we want to know everything that others know, we want to learn the details of all aspects of political life and to take part actively in every single political event. In order that we may do this, the intellectuals must talk to us less of what we already know.[12] and tell us more about what we do not yet know and what we can never learn from our factory and “economic” experience, namely, political knowledge. You intellectuals can acquire this knowledge, and it is your duty to bring it to us in a hundred- and a thousand-fold greater measure than you have done up to now; and you must bring it to us, not only in the form of discussions, pamphlets, and articles (which very often — pardon our frankness — are rather dull), but precisely in the form of vivid exposures of what our government and our governing classes are doing at this very moment in all spheres of life.

R Totale

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

LeninistGirl

far too much "the party must be based in the factory" and not enough "here's what it's actually like in the factory" for my tastes so far.

Doesn't that have more to do with the time it was written in than it has to do with politics?

I suppose so, evidently people got all sorts of things out of it in the 1960s and 70s, I'm not getting as much as I'd like out of in 2019 though.

If you are going to write a political work meant to influence the organizing by workers you would probably write about what the goal is, not just explain the current day-to-day situation that the reader already experiences. I could write long works that are just my own tales of workplace injustices and organizing but as a political work that would probably be very boring for the target audience.

For what it's worth, I would probably be genuinely interested to read those. Personally what I really like is stuff that connects the day-to-day struggle with larger issues, that's why I think Angry Workers... produce some of the best contemporary UK communist writing, and why I miss Recomposition. But that's just my personal taste, I can accept that Das Kapital is worthwhile even though Marx made the rookie mistake of not including any explosions or exciting punchups.

Lenin sort of writes about this in What is to be done?...

We're definitely not going to agree on that one.

Agent of the I…

2 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

spacious

I'm halfway through The Ecological Rift: Capitalism's war on the earth by John Bellamy Foster/Brett Clark/Richard York. I think it's excellent so far, it gives a very rich overview of Marxian ecological thinking but is also very concrete about current climate and ecological crisis.

I read that book a couple of years ago and found it a bit disappointing. While I think readers will come away gaining an understanding of the gist of 'Marxist ecology', the material is a bit too repetitive for my taste. It should be noted that the book is essentially a compilation of essays published by Monthly Review.

Around the time I read that book, I read another book called Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis by Chris Williams. As far as I can remember, it's a solid introduction to an eco-socialist perspective. It adequately described the problem of climate change, it's causes and the solutions offered by eco-socialism.

In post #3 of this thread, I mentioned I was reading David Pepper's Eco-Socialism: From deep ecology to social justice. I've recently finished it and I have to say it's not worth it. It has entire sections on marxism and anarchism and their perspectives on the environment, but neither were very insightful.

I have also finished reading Facing the Enemy: A History of Anarchist Organisation from Proudhon to May 1968 by Alexandre Skirda. It was okay. This definitely has a strong platformist perspective. I must add that I had trouble comprehending many passages in the text that just didn't make any sense whatsoever. Maybe it's a translation issue? I don't think I would recommend this to newbies.

spacious

2 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

spacious

After this will probably read the new translation of Tronti's Workers and Capital that appeared with Verso.

I'll be interested to hear what you make of it - I impulsively bought it because it was half-price, but I'm finding it pretty difficult to get through, I suppose the Leninism of Tronti's language is one barrier but even beyond that, so far it seems a bit lacking in actual workers' inquiry compared to what I was expecting - far too much "the party must be based in the factory" and not enough "here's what it's actually like in the factory" for my tastes so far. Still, maybe it picks up once you get past the first bit.

Yeah I've read most of it years ago in the translations available online, and at the time I did connect with it. Curious to see if that's still the case. It is very much a leninist "what to do" kind of discourse, though for me at least, autonomia as a whole definitely stood for a different species of "militancy" or a transition to a more distributed and informal notion of social struggle.
I think what I got from it then is pretty different from the more highly political levels of Tronti's thinking, which feel pretty opaque and Althusserian to me, and I haven't really bothered with those parts, but I think that is mainly his later work and not this book.

Perhaps you'd find more of what you want in Romano Alquati's work on FIAT, which is based on inquiry in specific factories, but to my knowledge that has only been translated to German and perhaps French.

Sike

2 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Agent of the International

I have also finished reading Facing the Enemy: A History of Anarchist Organisation from Proudhon to May 1968 by Alexandre Skirda. It was okay. This definitely has a strong platformist perspective. I must add that I had trouble comprehending many passages in the text that just didn't make any sense whatsoever. Maybe it's a translation issue? I don't think I would recommend this to newbies.

I thought that it was rambling and that the layout at times made it confusing to follow. I also thought that the author had an annoying tendency to pontificate a bit too much about why anarchist movements after the Russian Revolution botched things up and to that end the author sometimes seems to suggest that had they just followed platformist principals that all would have turned out well.

The parts of the book that I found most insightful were the early chapters having to do with the infiltration of the police provocateurs into early European anarchist groups. Also, the few paragraphs were the author attempts to get behind the facts surrounding the allegations of sexual misconduct made against the French anarchist Sebastien Faure for alleged offenses against young girls that he reportedly did a short stint in prison for, which is kind of a big deal, both for the subject matter and because I know of nothing else written about Faure (certainly not saying I've read everything) that has made more than cursory mention of the allegations.

Sike

2 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Recently read Anarchism and Violence: Severino Di Giovanni in Argentina 1923–1931 by Osvaldo Bayer. The book explores a somewhat obscure chapter from anarchist history.

Severino Di Giovanni, was Italian anarchist and an exile from Fascist Italy who with the aid of a small group of comrades carried out a series of bombings against representatives of Italian Fascism in Argentina, often with unintended consequences, as well as partaking in assassination attempts against particularly brutal agents of the Argentine state. Anarchism in Argentina at the time of Di Giovanni was represented primarily by factions gathered around the theoretical publications La Protesta, and Los Antorcha, respectively, as well as the Anarcho-syndicalists of the FORA and the autonomous workers unions. Di Giovanni, while living underground and always but one step ahead of the law self-published his own paper, Culmine. The infighting between the factions gathered around the various publications was often fierce and sometimes even lead to bloodshed.

Osvaldo Bayer's Anarchism and Violence is not a book that I would give to someone new to anarchism but for anarchists that have been around for a while, it's highly recommended.

On a completely different note, I've also been reading the book Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James McPherson, which is said to be the best treatment of the US Civil War in a single book. I am about one fourth through the books 800 plus pages and the book still has yet to get to the actual war, which is fine by me since I'm more interested in the social and political situation leading up the war than in bloody battles of the war itself, and this book does not disappoint in that respect. I've learned many things about the Antebellum Period from the book that I hadn't know; such as the fact that the Southern slavocracy had plans to spread their system of plantation slavery south to the Caribbean and Central America, and that wealthy and influential Southerners bankrolled several unsuccessful filibuster attempts in Cuba and Honduras to those ends .

Battle Cry also makes clear that slavery was at the heart of Southern desire for cessation from the Union and that the Southern slavocracy saw themselves as the rightful heirs of the American Revolution of 1776 (or "Counter-Revolution of 1776") by way of abolitionism being an attack against what they perceived to be their Constitutional right to property, in their case property in the form of other people.

R Totale

2 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Taking a break from the Tronti and reading Dale Beran's It Came From Something Awful, the expanded version of his medium post on 4chan that went around a while back. Really liking it so far, with the proviso that I haven't read it all yet. As a book about 4chan/8chan/beta/incel culture, it's not exactly the most uplifting reading, but he's a good writer and actually knows what he's talking about I'd recommend people read his "skeleton key" post first, if you think that's any good you'll probably like the book, if you hate it then probably don't bother. Not entirely free from cringey errors - he describes Jeremy Hammond as being "a member of an obscure far-left group known as antifa or the black block", and does that annoying thing of saying "situationist" to mean "anyone who does pranks", but it's a hell of a lot better than certain other books on the subject, and he actually cites his sources. Theoretical influences cited include the Romantics, Marcuse, Baudrillard and Arendt, if that helps anyone make their mind up about it.

Khawaga

2 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Philip K. Dick's Ubik. Funny, weird, and doesn't really have an ending like most of his novels. But the world-building and characters as always is great. I really liked how everything is commodified; need to open a door, well, you have to pay for it.

Reddebrek

2 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga

Philip K. Dick's Ubik. Funny, weird, and doesn't really have an ending like most of his novels. But the world-building and characters as always is great. I really liked how everything is commodified; need to open a door, well, you have to pay for it.

Five cents please.

Weird, I've just read Ubik this week too. I agree the world its built is very interesting and surprisingly close at times to what the 90s were like.

Khawaga

2 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

surprisingly close at times to what the 90s were like

I had a similar reaction, though not necessarily the 90s, just that PKD was eerily "accurate" in depicting our present.

MT

2 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Trying to found worthwhile sources related to anticapitalist perspective on climate change. Read some shorter pieces by Robert Smith. The arguments against the possibility of capitalism overcoming the catastrophy are fine but not completely convincing (not mentioning the conclusions that some call trockist).
Found also this but geeting those texts free online seems to be a problem:
https://climateandcapitalism.com/2019/07/27/20-essential-books-on-marxist-ecology/

Do you know of any analytical texts from anarchist perspective that explain all the aspects of the issue and how green capitalism cannot be the solution? Or can it? :)

Otherwise, this was absolutely excellent and deeply insightful. Big respect for the author:
https://libcom.org/files/The%20First%20Socialist%20Schism,%20Bakunin%20vs.%20Marx%20in%20the%20International%20Working%20Men_s%20Association%20-%20Wolfgang%20Eckhardt.pdf

R Totale

2 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

MT

Trying to found worthwhile sources related to anticapitalist perspective on climate change. Read some shorter pieces by Robert Smith. The arguments against the possibility of capitalism overcoming the catastrophy are fine but not completely convincing (not mentioning the conclusions that some call trockist).
Found also this but geeting those texts free online seems to be a problem:
https://climateandcapitalism.com/2019/07/27/20-essential-books-on-marxist-ecology/

Do you know of any analytical texts from anarchist perspective that explain all the aspects of the issue and how green capitalism cannot be the solution? Or can it? :)

I dunno about all aspects, but there's the AF pamphlet on the subject. There's Jasper Bernes' critique of the Green New Deal as well. It's not super climate change specific, but I really rate Gelderloos' Diagnostic of the Future for some perspectives on possible futures for capital. The nihilist/anti-civ lot love Desert, although I've never read that and don't feel particularly keen on most of the people who tell everyone to read it.

sherbu-kteer

2 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Anyone read Bhaskar Sunkara's Socialist Manifesto? I just finished the preface and found it pretty tedious. I might come back to it later when I've finished reading other stuff, but the beginning doesn't much motivate me to continue. I get the feeling he intended it to be a bit funny and simple so as to be read by a wide audience, but the preface at least just felt convoluted.

I have also been reading Jerome Mintz' the Anarchists of Casas Viejas. I'm about halfway through and it's fantastic. There's so much detail about Spanish peasant life and politics, you really get a sense of what anarchism meant to these people. From the stories of the girl being beaten by her father for entering into a free love relationship instead of a marriage, to the struggles around literacy, the oppressiveness of the church and the general social order, it's all covered. What is distinctive to me is how the more 'cultural' questions, like those of free love, atheism and so on were totally integrated with the 'economic' questions of collectivism, the struggle for better pay, class war in general.

R Totale

2 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Finished the Beran. I think the last quarter or so is the weakest, he tends a bit towards Nagle-style "both sides" arguments in the last few chapters, although nowhere near to the same extent or as obnoxiously as Nagle does. And there are a few really bizarre moments like attributing the punching of Richard Spencer to "antifa (in this case, a Philadelphia chapter called the black bloc)" - no idea where that came from. Also it's kind of funny that he's very careful about explaining internet memes and so on to the uninitiated, but sort of assumes familiarity with Plato's Republic, the Tempest and the Illiad. Still very much worth reading though - the thorough examination and demolition of Evola is excellent, and without wanting to constantly compare it to Nagle too much, it is really revealing to see what it's like when someone actually bothers to critically examine and investigate the ideas of a far-right theorist, rather than just namedropping them.

Auld-bod

2 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If you’ve read some John le Carre you may be interested in - ‘A Legacy of Spies’.

Not having read all of the books relating to George Smiley, I could well have missed some of the references alluded to in this book. However some knowledge of ‘The Spy who came in from the Cold’, and ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’, are the minimum necessary to get the context and irony of the story. The book moves back and forth in time, as the secret past comes back to haunt the present. I liked finding out what had happened to characters years after the original book.

Recently a British spy chief condemned John le Carre’s cynical portrayal of the British Secret Service, I wonder if he’d just read ‘A Legacy of Spies’.

jef costello

2 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Auld-bod

If you’ve read some John le Carre you may be interested in - ‘A Legacy of Spies’.
...
Recently a British spy chief condemned John le Carre’s cynical portrayal of the British Secret Service, I wonder if he’d just read ‘A Legacy of Spies’.

I will put it on my list. I think Le Carré has always been very cynical about the Secret services, The Spy who came in from the cold is pretty cynical, in general pretty much anyone above the level of field agent is cynical, and anyone who isn't is usually punished for it, the Looking-glass war for example, is pretty brutal on that front. Also they are pretty open that everything is part of a large, probably pointless game and that generally winning involves manipulating people's good qualities. That is how Smiley ultimately brings down Karla.

I have started Woman on the verge of time, I am not getting into it too much unfortunately, not sure why. I will stick with it though. Probably expected too much.

The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga. Amoral narrator, quite interesting to have a look at the master-servant relationship, but ultimately a bit unsatisfying. Doesn't really address any of the issues it starts to raise.

Khawaga

2 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just finished PKD's The Man in the High Castle which is really good. Alt history about the Nazis and Japanese winning WW2 and occupying the USA. And the story features a novel that is an alt history about what would have happened if the allies won WW2. Quite philosophical at times and not as frantic (for lack of a better word) than some of his other novels. This one may be my favourite of PKD's in terms of quality (though We Can Build You is still my fave in terms of the story). Currently reading The Simulacra.

redredred

2 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Uller Uprising by H. Beam Piper. His Future History series is supposed to be god-tier and it's pretty good so far

Sike

2 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

jef costello

I have started Woman on the verge of time, I am not getting into it too much unfortunately, not sure why. I will stick with it though. Probably expected too much.

I liked Marge Piercy's historical novel City of Darkness, City of Light about the French Revolution, but likewise found my attention wandering with Women on The Edge Of Time, and after a few attempts at reading it I put it on my back-burner of books to finish reading eventually.

Reddebrek

2 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I just finished reading Setting the Record Straight by Richard Hart.

A book about the Grenadian Revolution, I found a scan of it online, it was a very surprising read. Hart was the Attorney General for the New Jewel Movement and his booklet is openly pro the revolution.

Curiously though Hart seems to be a fairly mild labour party social democrat at heart, so many of the things he praises Bishop and the NJM for run counter to the narrative of them being another Cuban style regime.

He talks about the NJMs desires to restore parliamentary government, their commitment to a mixed economy, etc. He even talks about how there was two powerful businessmen in the cabinet, how their investment law was being updated to attract foreign investment and how they would give interest free loans to large rural estates to stop them going under and details the time the NJM broke up a successful workers co-op at the Coca cola plant and gave it back to the franchise holder as good things proving their revolutionary commitments.

I was genuinely surprised, I'm used to most pro Bishop narratives being written by Castro worshippers who know very little about Grenada. This on the other hand is full of information from anecdotes to statistics and champions them as moderate social reformers who openly defended investment and moderate dealings.

Their were a few bits that I found odd, the first section is a detailed explanation about the NJMs plans to revive "normal" government via elections and parliament. But the second section is about the NJMs mass meetings they were famous for, and their Hart makes the case that they were open and lively, got thousands of people to participate and were successful in amending laws and getting investment.

But after reading those sections I had a strong question, of if that's true and this system was so astounding, why were the NJM pushing for representative government? They appear to already have a superior democratic system so why the regression?

And some very interesting parts are glossed over. According to Harts account of the in fighting that destroyed Bishop, the reason it got so serious wasn't that Bishop and the rest of the NJM leadership had a rift, its that they had this rift while Bishop was visiting Eastern Europe and Cuba, so apparently they were afraid Bishop would come back with a load of Cuban commandos and kill them.

Which to me is really interesting, why did they think that was a possibility? In public the NJM and Cuba had a great relationship so what does this tell us about the reality? but Hart just moves on.

adri

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Edit, not really any good eligible free "quarantine" ebooks from Verso or Haymarket. They're also, clearly, just trying to capitalise on people sitting at home self-isolating, which even though they're leftist publishers, doesn't sit well with me.

Anyway I've been reading China on Strike.

JonnyMadDog

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi. I'm new to this forum. The last book I've read is "A Short History of Germany" by James Hawes. Not much about politics, but one has to know its history ;) and the book gives you a good overview of the history of germany.
I'm looking fordward to read Ideology and Capital, the new book of Thomas Piketty, can't wait.

JonnyMadDog

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Oh and I'm reading Parecon - Life After Capitalism by Michael Albert. I'm not convinced by now, but it is certainly food for thought ;)

Red Marriott

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

reddebrek

I just finished reading Setting the Record Straight by Richard Hart.
A book about the Grenadian Revolution

According to Fundi, Bishop was, like all their generation of Carribean activists, most influenced by CLR James. And James’s ambivalence on political organisation – on the one hand theorising workers councils as the new emancipatory form yet forming a political party on returning to Trinidad – carried over to Bishop’s practice. Once in government the ultra-democratic principles were ditched as the seductions of power took over.

When those guys got into power they began to concentrate on the same charisma, the same rhetoric, the same spectacle of appearances as the bourgeois parties. Bishop got extremely caught up in this.
Bishop got caught up in a process that was happening throughout the Caribbean. In Jamaica you had the formation of two Communist parties in one week. In Trinidad you had the New Beginning Movement reverting back to a re-reading of Lenin and an abandonment of looking to the Hungarian revolution and what took place in Czechoslovakia in 1968. Some were turning back to reading Lenin and Stalin again. In New York City this caused a break tip of the support group and all over the West Indies there were splits. https://libcom.org/library/radical-perspectives-carribean-fundi

cactus9

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The Shock of the Fall - Nathan Filer. It's a book about a man with schizophrenia. It's very well written but interestingly although it's told in the first person, portrays schizophrenia (in my view) totally from the view of the professional. Nonetheless there is an incredible amount of compassion in this book.

Agent of the I…

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Following Hieronymous' recommendation in this thread, I bought a cheap used copy of The Trouble with Diversity. I hadn't gotten around to reading it until recently. It is certainly well written, but it's arguments are a bit too simplistic for my taste, especially in it's portrayal of the Left. The author of this book comes from the same milieu which includes Adolph Reed Jr., who provided a favorable blurb for the back cover of this book. The ideas or actions he ascribes to the Left suggests he has a very broad definition of this Left, perhaps including everyone to the left of Republicans. This portrayal just doesn't resonate with me. But that is not the only issue I have with this book.

Noah Fence

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I read this...

https://reductress.com/post/how-to-cum-hard-enough-to-envision-the-end-of-capitalism/?fbclid=IwAR34ViYIhfGFSdtA9FDIz15K4qkSli21UtsH9RKPNfpaoX7cmurE3dRUSK0

Could be useful?

doesn’t a mechanical penis prove that any job can be automated?

sherbu-kteer

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Does anyone have any recommendations for memoirs of holocaust survivors?

Reddebrek

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I read an account by a survivor of Treblinka, I believe it was called Treblinka, a survivors memory. Its possibly the grimmest thing I've ever read, but the survivor who wrote it took part in the uprising that burned the camp to the ground and managed to escape to the Polish underground.

R Totale

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Maybe an obvious one, but there's the various works of Primo Levi? If This Is A Man as a starting point, and then he did various others like the Drowned and the Saved if you want to go deeper? I don't know if it's exactly what you're looking for, but there's also The Ghetto Fights by Marek Edelman? Having checked, there is some Edelman in the library here.

sherbu-kteer

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Primo Levi's the first on the list. I was just curious to see what people here might recommend -- I read "the classics" eg Elie Weisel and Anne Frank when I was younger and was wondering if there were some less well known ones floating about, or some that were about the experience of leftists.

I'll check out Marek Edelman's book, seems right up my alley. Cheers!

R Totale

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Oh, guess this might also come under "the classics", but there's Viktor Frankl as well - looking up on his wiki page he seems quite a controversial figure in some ways (although I think that might be a general trend in survivor literature, since people who were kapos or similar stood a better chance of survival overall), and I've not actually read him myself, but he is meant to be good if you want a sort of existentialist take on the camp experience.

wojtek

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Not literature, but this series is about survivors who hunt nazis:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HBGkjmfIzAw

willian

2 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

FFXIV mining guide,lol

cactus9

2 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I read How the Light Gets in by Clare Fisher. It's pretty good.

comradeEmma

2 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

spacious

After this will probably read the new translation of Tronti's Workers and Capital that appeared with Verso.

I'll be interested to hear what you make of it - I impulsively bought it because it was half-price, but I'm finding it pretty difficult to get through, I suppose the Leninism of Tronti's language is one barrier but even beyond that, so far it seems a bit lacking in actual workers' inquiry compared to what I was expecting - far too much "the party must be based in the factory" and not enough "here's what it's actually like in the factory" for my tastes so far. Still, maybe it picks up once you get past the first bit

Now that I have almost finished Workers and Capital I too am very surprised by the leninist langue, both talking about the working-class party and workers' state, and the "inverse bolshevist" approach to the paper as a "collective organizer".

On the other question, I feel like the texts so far is like more of a justification of what was to become "militant surveys" and their use, more than like actually being the actual surveys. I don't think the writings would not have had the same effect if they had been just practical and not theoretical as a first step.

cactus9

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Normal People. I thought it was fucking great.

cactus9

1 year 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lowborn, by Kerry Hudson.

cactus9

1 year 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. Really enjoyed this.

adri

1 year 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Anyone have a digital copy of Starving Amidst too Much and other IWW writings on the Food Industry? Contains some stuff by american wobbly/writer T-Bone Slim I wouldn't mind flipping through.

cactus9

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm reading a book called Skyhooks by Neil Campbell. It's really good and is written from, I would say, quite a communist perspective. Hopefully I will finish it soon. I also have another book of his called Zero Hours. Ironically I could only purchase them off Amazon.

cactus9

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

cactus9

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. Really enjoyed this.

I don't want to hammer this home too much but this book was actually a really stunning fictional analysis of capitalism and its effects on the worker.

Scallywag

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I bought a book from Verso called 'Never Ending Nightmare' by authors Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval. It's about neoliberalism and how to explain its survival through economic crashes, brexit, trump and so on.

Sounded interesting to me, but I can not understand what the authors are saying.

I've found this with quite a few marxist books that the authors try and construct grand arguments and analogies that leave me thinking what on Earth are you saying. Chuthulocene anyone?

Its extremely demoralising. I want to understand more about how capitalism works, political ideas, economics, history but then I spend money on books I can barely comprehend.

Can anyone recommend me anything interesting that I might actually have some hope of getting through? The last thing I liked was Caliban and the witch.

Also what are good places to get books?

adri

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'd just go with z-lib and an e-reader with an e-ink display. If necessary, you can pretty much purchase any book off amazon, download the e-book to your computer using an older version of "kindle for pc," and then load the e-book into calibre with drm-removing plugins to create a drm-free local copy (you can also request a refund if you decide you don't like the $50 e-book).

Speaking of Lovecraft, I was disappointed recently to have discovered some of his um, quite racist poetry ("On the creation of ..."), which is a shame because I liked the one or two non-racist works of his I read, and I'm kind of put off from reading anything else by him now.

comradeEmma

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Read a book entitled Socialism på Jiddish("socialism in yiddish") by Håkan Blomqvist that is about the Jewish labor bund, primarily its regroupment in Sweden. One of the things that surprised me the most about the bundists was that they upheld a form of "thrid-campism" during and after the inter-war period. On one hand refusing to side with the stalinists and their international, and on the other first refusing to enter the Socialist international but later entering anyway but remaining on its left-wing and denouncing the closeness between the US and SI's leadership and many of its sections. They maintained that between the East and West, the third super power is revolution! This line would sadly go away with the development of the cold war and Israel's establishment(which the majority of international bundists at the time opposed) and would come to support western intervention in Korea, much like other "third-campist" socialists.

adri

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Anyone read or have reviews of the Out of the Woods book, Hope Against Hope: Writings on the Ecological Crisis? Seems like a rather pertinent book, plan on buying it myself.

In Hope Against Hope, the Out of the Woods collective investigates the critical relation between climate change and capitalism and calls for the expansion of our conceptual toolbox to organize within and against ecological crisis characterized by deepening inequality, rising far-right movements, and—relatedly—more frequent and devastating disasters. While much of environmentalist and leftist discourse in this political moment remain oriented toward horizons that repeat and renew racist, anti-migrant, nationalist, and capitalist assumptions, Out of the Woods charts a revolutionary course adequate to our times.

R Totale

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Scallywag

I bought a book from Verso called 'Never Ending Nightmare' by authors Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval. It's about neoliberalism and how to explain its survival through economic crashes, brexit, trump and so on.

Sounded interesting to me, but I can not understand what the authors are saying.

I've found this with quite a few marxist books that the authors try and construct grand arguments and analogies that leave me thinking what on Earth are you saying. Chuthulocene anyone?

Its extremely demoralising. I want to understand more about how capitalism works, political ideas, economics, history but then I spend money on books I can barely comprehend.

Can anyone recommend me anything interesting that I might actually have some hope of getting through? The last thing I liked was Caliban and the witch.

Also what are good places to get books?

Hah, if I remember rightly does Harraway not end up saying that the chutulocene isn't actually to do with Cthulu? From what I've heard about her books, not actually tried reading any myself. Anyway, a few suggestions for readable theory:
I always think prole.info don't get as much respect as they deserve in this field, with The Housing Monster being their longest and most substantial text to date. Hinterland by Phil Neel is fantastic, I can't recommend highly enough. If you've not read any Neel before, have a look at some of his writings for the Brooklyn Rail and decide if you like his style, here's the new epilogue to the French edition. Two more somewhat predictable ones - Class Power... is worth a look imo, and it's easy enough to find the Angry Workers' writings on here so you can decide for yourself how readable they are, and I have to admit I've not read the Cafiero compendium myself, but it sounds relevant:
"Capital, Marx’s epic work, describes in detail the capitalist system and how it functions. The anarchist Mikhail Bakunin saw the importance of Marx’s Capital, to the extent that he put any rivalries with Marx aside and immediately embarked on the first Russian translation.

But Capital is a notoriously hard read…

The anarchist communist Carlo Cafiero, rather than translate it, wanted to popularise Marx’s work in order to make it easier to read and be better understood by those who didn’t have a university education or weren’t so well versed in economics. In other words, his Compendium was aimed at ordinary working people.

Cafiero’s Compendium is a gateway to understanding the contents of Marx’s Capital."

Oh, as to good places to get books - presumably you're aware that amazon exists and are looking for alternatives, I've heard alibris recommended but not used it yet myself, Verso has some pretty good sales a lot of the time, in terms of UK bookshops worth supporting there's a few like News from Nowhere in Liverpool, Category Is... and Lighthouse Books up in Scotland, and another one based out of Angel Alley in London.

adri

1 year 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The Hope against Hope book seems to just be a collection of stuff that's already up on here, and maybe elsewhere (which makes it a good book, but I'm still saddened I've bought a book). Maybe also relevant to environmental/climate change issues is John Bellamy Foster's highlighting of Marx's concern of the effects of capitalist agriculture on soil fertility in the 19th century (as discussed in Capital), as well as the effects of capitalist production in general on the environment (against the ideas of some that Marx had "ecological blinders" and was concerned only with the development of productive forces etc.; I'm not sure I entirely align with Foster but this point alone seems valid):

Foster

Given the fundamental way in which Marx conceived of the concept of metabolism—as constituting the complex, interdependent process linking human society to nature—it should not surprise us that this concept enters into Marx’s vision of a future society of associated producers: “Freedom, in this sphere [the realm of natural necessity],” he wrote in Capital (volume3), “can consist only in this, that socialized man, the associated producers,govern the human metabolism with nature in a rational way, bringing it under their own collective control rather than being dominated by it as a blind power; accomplishing it with the least expenditure of energy and in conditions most worthy and appropriate for their human nature” (1981,p. 959)

adri

1 year 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The Economic Transformation of the Soviet Union, 1913-1945 looks interesting. It would be nice to read about how the Soviet economy (and I guess also the Soviet Bloc) actually functioned, and preferably from more serious scholars. I've only ever read about about the War Communist period.

The Devil's Milk: A Social History of Rubber, liked to read this and similar books at some point. It seems to deal with the historical conditions of workers in the production of rubber. Most notably maybe is King Leopold II's colony in the Congo where Congolese were essentially held hostage for the export of rubber, ivory and other resources, before world attention resulted in the Congo being handed over to Belgium.

cactus9

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mr Salary, by Sally Rooney. It's ok, more of a vignette than anything else. I basically read it for completeness more than anything else.

adri

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Haven't read it but Anwar Shaikh's Capitalism: Competition, Conflict, Crises is a massive economic textbook that might be of interest to people who like more practical/economic interpretations of Marx, such as Michael Roberts (who reviews part of it here) versus people like Postone. Postone here for example:

Very frequently, however, the categories of Marx's critique have been taken to be purely economic categories. ... Such a narrow approach to the categories, if it deals with the social, historical, and cultural-epistemological dimensions of Marx's critical theory at all, under­stands them only with reference to passages explicitly dealing with those di­mensions, taken out of their context in his categorial analysis.

Spikymike

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Eventually finished reading, the latest biography of Sylvia Pankhurst by Rachel Holmes, highly recommended. I've mentioned it on this thread here:
https://libcom.org/library/sylvia-pankhurst-reader

cactus9

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Bird Box - Josh Malerman. A book to make a primitivist think twice.

Telelinen

1 year ago

In reply to by libcom.org

To Kill a Mockingbird.

cactus9

1 year ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Nomadland by Jessica Bruder. Non-fiction book that the film of the same name was based on. I really enjoyed it, very interesting.

cactus9

1 year ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Zero Hours by Neil Campbell. Really enjoyed.

Lucky Black Cat

1 year ago

In reply to by libcom.org

cactus9

Bird Box - Josh Malerman. A book to make a primitivist think twice.

If they think once it's already a miracle

cactus9

10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Neil Campbell - Lanyards.
Mark Boyle - The Long Way Home: Tales from a life without Technology.
Naoise Dolan - Exciting Times.

Lucky Black Cat

9 months 4 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Recently I read "Red Rosa - A Graphic Biography of Rosa Luxemburg" by Kate Evans. Obviously a lot less detailed than a regular biography, since the pictures take up so much space, but I think the author/artist did well at telling a condensed version of Rosa's life. I enjoyed it.

https://www.versobooks.com/books/2036-red-rosa

cactus9

9 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Against The Loveless World - Susan Abulhawa

cactus9

9 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Against The Loveless World - Susan Abulhawa

Serge Forward

9 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So good, you had to tell us twice :D

Entdinglichung

9 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mao Zedong Thought by Wang Fanxi, a non-dogmatic chinese Troskyist. originally written in the 1960ies

Method of Freedom

9 months 2 weeks ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Serge Forward

So good, you had to tell us twice :D

sometimes you just have to spread the love