Sunday, November 25, 2007

Blog Salad Du Jour

Louis Proyect at The Unrepentant Marxist, has a great post about the leftist tradition in Yiddish Theater. It attributes the decline of Yiddish Theater to assimilated Jews, identifying more with Zionism and Hebrew.

The Coen Brothers presented a movie with shades of Tarantino and Terminator, in the desolate Rio Grande. Dave at The Red Mantis has a review of the movie No Country for Old Men. This movie generally received great reviews, and there was the few who hated it. Discussion centers on its ending.

At Troutsky's Thoughtstreaming, I got involved in a heated discussion of Anarchism vs Marxism, which started by him mentioning reading Rudolph Rocker. I was the heel.

I've been reading blogs based in the South Pacific, dealing with the indigenous struggles. I like Whenua, Fenua, Enua, Vanua and IndigenistIntelligenceReview. Maori activists have been facing repression under New Zealand's new anti-terror law.

I enjoyed a new movie I saw at a screening called Juno. The storyline is,"Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual and bizarre decision regarding her unborn child." It is great fun. The writer is Minneapolis based Diablo Cody, who has her own blog.

Nation Magazine writer Ian Williams, attacks ex-Trotskyist turned Cold Warrior Irving Howe from the right. I wonder if Williams knows "The Nation," accused Trotsky of faking assasination attempts, that occured in Mexico.


blackstone said...

gonna check out that thoughtstreaming blog and add on to that debate! lol

MC Fanon said...

Many thanks for the plug. I have been looking to expand my reader base by writing about films as well as politics and Marxist theory.

Ana said...

Kia Ora Comrade

With neo-liberalism enclosing the Pacific as we speak, and with a common repression clamping down on indigenous & workers around the world we need to strengthen out ties and solidarity. Thanks for your plug.

In Struggle & Solidaity


Anonymous said...

Just on what Dave said, Renegade Eye seems to attract a lot of blog traffic and the comment boxes are always full. What's the secret to pulling in a large audience? Is it really as simple as going to lots of other blogs and making oneself visible?

Frank Partisan said...

Sociologist: Visit the links of blogs you like.

Trade links: The more you're linked or mentioned, the higher you are on Google.

I always think about who'll respond to my post. If I post about Turkish Kurds, visit Turkish Kurd sites.

Now blogs I never visited link to me. Go to www, . Link back to everyone who linked to you.

I have people comment from the whole political spectrum.

Anonymous said...

Yiddish theatre is a leftist tradition? Since when?

Anonymous said...

It's founder was a zionist.

Perhaps with the birth of Israel, the need for Jews to "pretend" and "complain" gave way to a genuine need to "create" and "build".

steven rix said...

Found this relevant article on the Economist. How can we reconciliate capitalism with socialism?

The capitalist communist
UNTIL a few years ago foreign capitalists were unlikely to look for investment opportunities in the Indian state of West Bengal, seat of the world's longest-serving democratically elected communist government.
They were about as likely to ask for the novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Bengali, the local language.
That both are now readily available is largely down to one man. He is Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the state's chief minister, a poet and playwright, the translator of the great Colombian-born novelist—and a
life-long communist.
Since taking charge of West Bengal in 2000, Mr Bhattacharjee has embraced business with apostate zeal.
The results have been little short of revolutionary. Under a coalition of leftists led by his own Communist Party of India (Marxist), which has won seven consecutive elections, West Bengal was previously best
known for industrial action, capital flight and the immiseration of its capital, Calcutta, recently renamed
Kolkata. Things improved slightly in the mid-1990s, after investors were officially invited to the state. But only in recent years, after Mr Bhattacharjee began travelling the world and wooing foreign companies, have many actually come. They have joined an influx of Indian firms in computer services, manufacturing and steelmaking. Tata Motors says that next year it will start producing a new low-cost car—expected to
sell for less than $3,000—at a factory it is building at Singur, near Kolkata.
Mr Bhattacharjee, who has a reputation for probity unusual in an Indian politician, has been credited with this success. In person, he is modest and engaging. With shining eyes and a breathy chain-smoker's voice, he enthuses on topics from agri-business to consumerism and Indian poetry, which he often quotes. In private life his tastes are Gandhian in their austerity: he has lived with his librarian wife and
environmentalist daughter in the same two-bedroom flat for two decades. Azim Premji, the chairman of
Wipro, a big computer-services company, has called Mr Bhattacharjee India's best chief minister. The prime minister, Manmohan Singh, agrees.
But how on earth does Mr Bhattacharjee reconcile his capitalism-friendly actions with his Marxist colours?
He claims to remain a communist to his tobacco-stained finger-tips. Yet he admits that it is getting hard to know what that means. “The world is changing, communists are changing, even in China,” he says.
“We are learning from our mistakes.” The comparison with China is obvious. Some Indian commentators have likened Mr Bhattacharjee to China's great moderniser, Deng Xiaoping. He laughs off this suggestion,
and notes that communist ideology is practically extinct in China. Yet his own “Marxist principles”, which he says he has discussed at length with Hugo Chávez, the president of Venezuela, do not sound terribly radical. They are, he says, to “protect the poorest of the poor, protect un-organised workers, protect womenfolk who have no income.”

Mr Bhattacharjee is not the first leader to preach socialism while practising capitalism. And he does have a better excuse than most. In India the central government calls the shots, and as West Bengal is but a span in India's great democratic wheel, he says, “we have to formulate our policies within this structure.”
And given the reality of West Bengal's wrecked economy, there is much to be done. “For many years,
there were problems. We made some mistakes,” he says. “Now we want investment.” Alas, he may have wanted it too much. He is now suffering a disastrous fallout from a key policy of Mr Singh's—the creation of special economic zones (SEZs)—that has gone badly awry in West Bengal. SEZs are lightly taxed industrial havens, roughly based on a Chinese model, intended to promote investment in infrastructure. But in democratic India, unlike autocratic China, acquiring land for development is a greater bar to industrialisation than any tax—particularly in West Bengal, the country's most densely
populated state. This is something that Mr Bhattacharjee, by his own admission, too blithely ignored.
Petrochemicals and pitchforks
His government promised 9,000 hectares (22,000 acres) of farmland in the district of Nandigram to the Salim Group of Indonesia, which wants to build petrochemical plants in two SEZs. But it did not bother to consult the peasants who were to be dispossessed. This sparked protests in January in which at least six people were killed. Mr Bhattacharjee has promised to shift the two SEZs. But Nandigram remains violent and lawless, fought over by Maoist and Marxist party thugs. This month a dozen people are reported to have been killed and several women raped. Yet Mr Bhattacharjee defended this outrage, claiming that the Maoists had been “paid back in their own coin”. The dispossessed are not alone in their protests. India's urban classes retain a sentimental fondness for village life, poor and squalid as it may be. This is especially true in West Bengal, where peasants are officially considered the vanguard of a proletarian revolution. On November 14th a group of Bengali
intellectuals led 60,000 people on a march through Kolkata to protest against both the recent violence
and Mr Bhattacharjee's response to it. Many said that his pandering to business was to blame. The chief minister is certainly to blame, in part, for the crisis. And with a general election expected next year, in which the Communists are expected to do badly, there is talk that party bosses, wedded to the outworn ideology that he has so sensibly forsaken, might force Mr Bhattacharjee to quit. That would be a pity. India needs more leaders like Mr Bhattacharjee, who is a talented administrator, even if his political views remain enigmatic. Quoting Vladimir Mayakovsky—a Russian poet whose verse he has also translated into Bengali—he says: “Proletarians arrive at communism from below, but I from poetry's sky plunge into communism, because without it, I feel no love.”

Frank Partisan said...

farmer: Yiddish theater has always been a Jewish proletarian voice. I'm not calling it a pure Marxist movement, but certainly a voice against oppression.

Modern Zionists don't support Yiddish, because it's diaspora based.

Over at Gert's blog, she has a post about something called Conservapedia, the alternative to lefty Wikipedia. You're in heaven now with that site.

Politiques: The Maoist groups, no matter what their rhetoric or tactics, believe in what they call "New Democracy," a two stage theory of revolution. The first stage is capitalist, and they never leave it.

Anonymous said...

...and only leftists work or hate oppression.

Stop stretching the truth so hard, renegade eye.

Leftism to Yiddish Theatre is a non sequitor.

Frank Partisan said...

FJ: See this.

Reality doesn't always fit cleanly into your choosen political beliefs. That applies to everyone.

Daniel said...

Problem is that each person's reality is different. Besides, I'm still unconvinced that I am not a brain in a bottle as per Donovan.

There is no way that George Bush is a brain in a bottle! He's more a pain in the arse.


Anonymous said...

Just becuase a few commies do theatre in 1925 doesn't make Yiddish Theatre "leftist". What were they doing in 1905 when Yiddish Theatre was founded?

jams o donnell said...

Yiddish theatre and yidddish newspapers died out here after WWII, as the jewish population left the East End for other areas. The last Yiddish theatre, the Grand Palais soldiered on until 1970. Newer entertainment media played their part in its decline too.

One play I want to find out more about is teh King of Lampedusa. It was inspired by a wartime incident. RAF pilot Sidney Cohen, who with his crew, made an emergency landing on teh Italian-held island of Lampedusa in 1943. The garrison surrendered to them.

A sidetrack I know but it's one of those stories that is perfect fodder for the Poor Mouth

sonia said...

Politiques USA,

Excellent article. However, what Bhattacharjee is doing isn't all that new. French Communists (especially in southern France) and Italian Communists (especially in Bologna) have been doing this since the late 1940's.

It became known as "Eurocommunism" and it's very similar to garden-variety social democracy. India is undergoing a similar evolution.

But a comparison with China is a bit misleading, because while the Chinese Communists have embraced foreign investors, they definitely haven't embraced democracy, social or otherwise...

steven rix said...

Yes Sonia that was a good article, and it was a very good one for anyone who thinks that socialism and capitalism cannot live together. I'm on of these guys that consider myself as "socialist" without rejecting the ideas of capitalism. Socialism should be complementary from capitalism, it is also known as social-capitalism:

Social-Capitalism as a theory challenges the idea that Socialism and Capitalism are mutually exclusive. Social-Capitalism posits that a strong social support network for the poor enhances capital output. By decreasing poverty, capital market participation is enlarged.

Social-Capitalism divides the concept of economy into two tiers: A participatory group of society working functionally in an upper economy (Tier-One) and an underlying economy of dependent poor communities and criminal elements(Tier-Two). Tier-One is generally comprised of upper and middle classes while Tier-Two represents many low wage workers, impoverished persons, mentally ill and criminals. Social capitalism posits that providing Tier-Two with the means to participate in the market would discourage Tier Two from completely dropping out of the system, hence, causing major disruptions to the market. A larger and more inclusive market is a more efficient and more stable market

It might be an okay model inside a collective society: less violence (participatory working model), a better social integration, but it has downfalls when it comes to justice (cast model) and social ascension (because people are not equal).

I'm still looking for a perfect revolutionary social model.

sonia said...

Politiques USA,

I'm still looking for a perfect revolutionary social model.

Dropping the "r" would be a good start. Systems born in blood usually die in blood (or just die, anyway).

for anyone who thinks that socialism and capitalism cannot live together

Actually, China is proof that they can live together even without democracy. But West Bengal is better, because there is democracy.

steven rix said...

A revolutionary change IMO can be peaceful even if violence is inherent to the human being, and we don't need marxism to do that: with oil prices going higher and higher, a sliding dollar, and useless wars all over the world, I think we should start thinking about a new model different from the consumerist society. Once we'll have exhausted the Earth from its resources, governments will have to find new alternatives to control people/societies. Secondary needs (consumerism) cannot be met if primary needs are not fulfilled. Global warming for example - although the right thinks it is a hoax - should deserve more attention so that we can be prepared against this cataclysm.


India and China are often cited together for the simple reason that their economy is comparable.

Frank Partisan said...

Farmer: See this.

Ducky's here said...

"No Country for Old Men" ... "Terminator" for people who read a couple books a year.

Anyone want to tell me how an experienced hunter happens to be in the desert without carrying water. Or the shadowy hitman manages to stay incognito carrying the most outlandish weapon imaginable?

Utter rubbish.

Frank Partisan said...

Ducky: It's about time you left a comment here. Welcome.

I have mixed feelings about that movie. To the directors Tommy Lee Jones's soliloquy at the end, is the center of the movie.

I wonder why the critics are so slavish toward it?

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