Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What is Marxism all about? and other worthwhile questions

Over the weekend at the Workers World Party 50th anniversary national conference, I bought a hot-off-the-presses copy of the new book What Is Marxism All About? A Street Guide for Revolutionaries On A Move, published by World View Forum. I'd link to it but it's so hot-off-the-presses, apparently, that it's not yet available online. When it is, I'll post a link and write a bit more about it. This evening, while I'm leafing through it, I'll just briefly send my thanks and congrats to the young comrades of FIST--Fight Imperialism, Stand Together--who collaborated on it. This book is a new edition--a total revamp, actually, or perhaps it should be characterized as something of a reimagining--of a nearly 40-year-old pamphlet that shared the first part of the title. About 20 years ago, I was supposed to work on revising the pamphlet, but I never did get to do it, and in a way I'm glad about my failure because I think the FIST version is far superior to what I would have come up with.

It's divided into 22 short chapters plus an introduction and the FIST program. Each chapter consists of a popularly written, understandable, cogent and concise presentation about a specific concept or issue or historical development. Among these: class society, exploitation and surplus value, women's oppression, racism and national oppression, how the state arose, the state today, fascism, revolution, socialism, communism, democracy, socialist countries.

What's exciting about this book is what was exciting about the WWP conference. I don't want to make any reckless predictions, or let my enthusiasm after an invigorating weekend get the best of me, but I do believe that both are signs of the beginning of an upsurge in struggle and revolutionary consciousness among youth. The conference had a higher proportion of young people than any in recent years, and those young people, including the authors of this book, are revved up about reaching out to other young people and drawing them toward the socialist movement.

As for the other worthwhile questions, since this is my evening for shout-outs, I've just got to send one to Richard Crary for this one: who fucking cares? Check it out, in his excellent riposte to another blogger's backward attack on Lorrie Moore and other women writers for their (our!) feminazi male-bashing. Well said, Richard! Always a relief to find islands of sensitivity.

Then there's: "Why do you think they all love you?" This is from a Wallace Shawn play, via Contra James Wood. It reminds me again that I've been meaning to read some Shawn, so thanks for that, Edmond.