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29838Socialist publishing

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  • bobgould987
    May 23 7:22 PM
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      By Bob Gould

      The pomposity and capacity for tossed-off insults of the esteemed
      moderator of Marxmail seems to have few limits.

      The question of access to many of the books that are important to
      Marxists and socialists is very important, and we can all point to
      outrageous prices, often charged by academic publishers, for titles
      such as Pierre Broue's book on Germany, which should be available to a
      socialist public, properly edited with indexes, at reasonable prices.

      That's one of the bees in my bonnet, as it is, obviously, in Louis's.

      There are some reasonable attempts at socialist publishing. Haymarket
      Books is one, and the Australian DSP's publishing efforts are
      creditable. Politically, I'm often in conflict with the DSP but its
      publishing efforts are worthwhile and the prices are low.

      Over the past few years historians have produced a massive amount of
      material that is important for leftists that was previously
      inaccessible. Many previously unpublished articles are now available
      on the web.

      The Canadian website run by Ian Angus has done pretty well on Canada
      history, and here in Australia Ozleft has filled some important holes,
      both in Australian labour history and international socialist history.

      Occasionally, academic publishers produce important books at cheaper
      prices, a good example of which is Pomper's book about Trotsky and Lenin.

      The daddy of them all, obviously, is the incalculably useful ongoing
      project of the Marxist Internet Archive.

      In passing, it's worth noting that Louis naively asks about books and
      pamphlets on the 1920s. In the bibliography to my articles on Leninism
      ( http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Lenin1.html#biblio ) I list
      about 10 books that he has never referred to that he might find useful.

      The bottom line is that there should be some mechanism for a certain
      amount of cross-factional international consultation about many of the
      important books that are currently inaccessible, with an eye to some
      common projects to get them into print, either in hard copy or on the web.

      One striking example is Broue's biography of Trotsky, which has never
      appeared in English, and there are many more.

      What sticks in my throat is the philistine and abusive way Louis
      reduces this general problem to an insulting attack on working Marxist
      writers, mainly of the state capitalist tendency, which he obviously
      loathes because of his political stance, and loads on to those writers
      the problems of producing socialist books in an environment dominated
      by the capitalist market place.

      Why is it necessary for Louis to constantly abuse Marxist writers who
      he disagrees with, in this case for doing something entirely
      reasonable: getting some payment from capitalist publishers for the
      work they've done?

      Louis uses ad hominem arguments in many spheres, but and it's
      particularly pernicious to do so about the question of publication of
      socialist books.
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