Interest In Forming An Online Study Group-US Communists

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Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
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Jan 2 2011 10:19
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I'd love to read Jeremy Brecher's book Strike! Is that relevant to this discussion at all? Have folks read it? There's a review of it here: http://nefac.net/node/1255

Strike! is def in my top five--maybe top three--books. Life is really busy for me at the moment, but if y'all do a reading of Brecher, I'm in.

Spassmaschine
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Jan 2 2011 11:11
Tarwater wrote:
naughtonomist wrote:
While I do not have anything to contribute, I would very much like to participate in the readings and discussions.

Likewise. I also have a copy of Strike! that I have been meaning to read for quite some time, so I also think it would be a great starting off point (1980 edition, which I think is before the councilist perspective was dumped).

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klas batalo
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Jan 2 2011 13:31

"The True History of Mass Insurgence in America from 1877 to the Present - as authentic revolutionary movements against the establishments of state, capital and trade unionism"

cool

Just so everyone knows what the First Edition from 1972 looks like wink

http://bit.ly/dGM84Z - the newer version is i think completely available over at google books

red n black star

Mike Harman
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Jan 2 2011 15:56

I'm in the middle of Strike! at the moment but have been reading it off and on. We've had reading groups done on the forums before, it's good for people to follow along. By the way abe books nearly always has the early editions of Strike! available on it.

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Steven.
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Jan 2 2011 16:01
fnbrill wrote:
I think some sort of wiki, or shared location for readings, texts, links, etc would be helpful for us all to share what we have or come across. I have a couple huge files on the One Big Union, WIIU, IWW splits, and smaller libertarian marxist materials. I also have Martin Glaberman's library and some papers, so have allot of internal materials of the Forrest-Johnson Tendency, etc.

we at libcom would be happy for you guys to use our site for this (we would encourage it even), especially as you are all on libcom already.

You can host files in our library, and as the poster above suggested you could use our forums for discussions. The North American forum perhaps? Or else you could create a couple of sticky threads in the history forum, to link to all other discussions and documents elsewhere on the site (in the library, history section, history forum discussions, etc). You could even have a blog here for example.

Any questions about how we could help you with this feel free to ask!

Brill, we would probably be interested in hosting those files in our library or history sections

syndicalist
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Jan 2 2011 16:52
sabotage wrote:

"The True History of Mass Insurgence in America from 1877 to the Present - as authentic revolutionary movements against the establishments of state, capital and trade unionism"

cool

Just so everyone knows what the First Edition from 1972 looks like wink

http://bit.ly/dGM84Z - the newer version is i think completely available over at google books

red n black star

It is my understanding that the newer version has been re-written. I am told it is much less libertarian socialist in orientation. My suggestion is to keep to the 1972 edition (if still available).

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
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Jan 2 2011 17:50

I've got the '77 version, same type cover image as the 72, but a blue picture of a smashed up railyard. Anyone familiar?

petey
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Jan 2 2011 17:57

so, a 1980 or previous edition of Strike, but not later?

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Chilli Sauce
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Jan 2 2011 17:57

Anyone know why Brecher changed the text? Did his politics change that dramatically (joined a Trot group? In response to a particular event? Publisher issues?)?

syndicalist
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Jan 2 2011 18:29

I think his politics simply moved from a libertarian socialist to a "democratic socialist" brand of socialism. More a rightward, mainstream drift in the socialist camp.

http://laborstrategies.blogs.com/

Jared
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Jan 2 2011 18:41

There's reviews of Strike! here on libcom as well: http://libcom.org/library/radical-america-november-december-1973.

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Jan 2 2011 20:52
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Anyone know why Brecher changed the text? Did his politics change that dramatically (joined a Trot group? In response to a particular event? Publisher issues?)?

The fact that subsequent editions were published by South End Press says all. Michael Albert founded South End and runs it on the principles of ParEcon, so they attract anarcho-social-democrats and their ilk; authors like Arundhati Roy, Noam Chomsky, Manning Marable, Ward Churchill, et al.

It also seems like Brecher did what nearly all academics do, which is find his career niche and park himself there. We've all seen it before, class struggle transforms itself into the struggle for the corner office, pressure to crank out the next book in the publish-or-perish system, accruing frequent flier miles bouncing from conference-to-conference between semesters, and life issues become things like keeping on top of a mortgage, sending one's own kids to the right college, ad nauseam.

Rachleff was in Root & Branch too and seems to have followed a similar trajectory at Macalester College in St. Paul.

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Chilli Sauce
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Jan 2 2011 20:26

Huh, well I've got South End Press version. Who published the original? Well, if nothing else, I'd be interested to see where the differences are if we get this discussion off the ground.

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playinghob
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Jan 2 2011 20:46

Amazon have a number of copies available

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Hieronymous
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Jan 2 2011 21:09

The first edition was published by Straight Arrow Books: The Book Division of Rolling Stone, in San Francisco in 1972.

I also have a pulp paperback copy that is a Fawcett Premier Book from 1974 ("reprinted by arrangement with Straight Arrow Books") with a "Foreward to the Third Printing" by Brecher.

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klas batalo
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Jan 2 2011 21:22
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Huh, well I've got South End Press version. Who published the original? Well, if nothing else, I'd be interested to see where the differences are if we get this discussion off the ground.

Straight Arrow Books: the Book Division of Rolling Stone

tongue

nm

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smg
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Jan 2 2011 21:43

Starting with Strike! sounds good. The university library system has the 1972 straight arrow books edition so hopefully I will have a hard copy in my claws soon.

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klas batalo
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Jan 2 2011 22:10

I am really glad this idea to do a study group around US communists came up, I've been wanting to contribute more North American articles etc to Libcom Library. I think there is much we could learn from the different conditions and history that has gone on here, or at least broaden general libcom discourse past European currents.

if it is not already obvious I think we should focus on Strike! first.

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devoration1
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Jan 2 2011 22:40

I've got the 1972 first edition oddly enough (on Amazon used for cheap). They have 2 used copies of the paperback 1974 edition starting at $24.00 USD:

http://www.amazon.com/STRIKE-HISTORY-INSURGENCE-AMERICA-PRESENT/dp/B002AMZ510/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1294007911&sr=1-3

And 5 copies used of the 1984 paperback edition:

http://www.amazon.com/STRIKE-JEREMY-BRECHER/dp/B000KVD790/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1294007911&sr=1-2

I'm not sure if the latter falls in the re-written category or not (going by what was said earlier it very well may be).

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Chilli Sauce
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Jan 2 2011 23:53
devoration1 wrote:

And 5 copies used of the 1984 paperback edition:

http://www.amazon.com/STRIKE-JEREMY-BRECHER/dp/B000KVD790/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1294007911&sr=1-2

I'm not sure if the latter falls in the re-written category or not (going by what was said earlier it very well may be).

If my 77 copy is any indication, it is.

Jared
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Jan 3 2011 01:04

Well I just bought myself a copy on abebooks as a birthday present to myself. There's heaps of copies on there for cheap. I picked up the second printing for US $3....

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Jan 3 2011 02:19

I can only get one of the later printings from a local library. Is it impossible to use for a combined reading? Will it actually be interesting to have some people have the fudged editions so we can use it to follow Brecher's transformation, as well?

mons
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Jan 3 2011 02:25

I'd just ordered a copy of Strike! the South End Press edition. And now I've just read this thread sad I got the wrong one. Is it worth £10 to get the original copy?

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Jan 3 2011 04:37
mons wrote:
I'd just ordered a copy of Strike! the South End Press edition. And now I've just read this thread sad I got the wrong one. Is it worth £10 to get the original copy?

Don't know, but just found this at Bolerium Books in San Francisco:

Quote:
Brecher, Jeremy
Strike!

Straight Arrow Books, San Francisco. 1972.

add to wishlist
Cat.No: 53915
Price: $10.00

Don't know what the shipping cost is (let alone the international rate), but if you send a personal e-mail with your order they might be sympathetic and knock it down a little. Tell them you're joining an online study group. I used to work there and the owners are ex-Trots, but they are decent because they're somewhat guilty about being petit-bourgeois book merchants.

Link to Bolerium Books

Mike Harman
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Jan 3 2011 04:50

I think there's a bit of confusion here about the rewrite.

There are at least three version of the book:

1. The original printing by Straight Arrow books from 1972
2. Reprints of that version by South End Press.
3. The 'updated and revised' edition from South End Press published in 1999 (i.e. this one - http://www.amazon.com/Strike-Revised-Updated-South-Classics/dp/0896085694)

The 1999 edition, in one of the prefaces, specifically notes that it has updated chapters and a new one on the end, so it should be pretty easy to tell. I used to have this but lost it about three years ago so can't check that, but I remember being pissed off about it at the time.

Due to previous discussions on here, when I rebought it a year or so ago I looked for the older edition. Checking my copy it's a 1992 "tenth reprint" says "Reprint of the ed. published by Straight Arrow books with a new introduction". I'm pretty sure there are no substantial changes in this one from the original book, but I never finished it the first time around (lost it in the middle of reading it), and obviously can't do a direct comparison.

Mike Harman
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Jan 3 2011 05:23

Also, http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?kn=brecher&tn=Strike&x=58&y=11

And http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/SearchResults?kn=brecher&tn=Strike&x=58&y=11

some copies are about 50p.

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Jan 3 2011 05:34
devoration1 wrote:
They have 2 used copies of the paperback 1974 edition starting at $24.00 USD:

http://www.amazon.com/STRIKE-HISTORY-INSURGENCE-AMERICA-PRESENT/dp/B002AMZ510/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1294007911&sr=1-3

Don't get this edition because it's a pulp pocket paperback printed on crap paper. The spline on the one I have is falling apart and if I start reading it pages will fall out.

And $24 is outrageous!

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Jan 3 2011 06:50
syndicalist wrote:
Question: Why do so many left libertarians seem find interest in the "Johnson-Forrest Tendency"?

I think they are popular because elements coming from them did allot of strategic thinking/analysis of value, especially to immediate movements of the working class.

FWIW: Unfortunately I seem them as weak as to what the immediate movement is going towards - eg libertarian socialism and what that entails. the focus on the immediate leads to reformist tendancies.

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fnbrill
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Jan 3 2011 06:52
devoration1 wrote:
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I think some sort of wiki, or shared location for readings, texts, links, etc would be helpful for us all to share what we have or come across.

Yes. I'm still unsure of the best way to do this- I'm not an HTML and web design aficianado, and don't really have the background to recommend one form of web-based organization over another (i.e. e-mail lists, public forums, private forums, a wiki type website we all have access to to post and review uploaded material communally, etc).

I've done a bunch esp wiki. i also have hosting, etc.

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Jan 3 2011 06:55

I think I currently only have the "revised and updated" edition...

It sounds like there is a critical mass for reading Strike together...

I was going to suggest it could be worthwhile to read 'Black Reconstruction in America' before we proceed with such if we wanted to understand a bit more the missed opportunities for American communism and also the race relation which codes, defines, and divides class in the US. (also it obviously influenced JFT etc.)... but don't want to argue for such strenuously, if everyone is ready and raring to read Strike.