- 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 manyMessage 1 of 3 , May 23, 2006View SourceBy 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 Many previously unpublished articles are now available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
- Bob is referring to here a thread on marxmail, which you can follow backwards if you go to http://www.marxmail.org/msg11551.html where his msg is posted onMessage 2 of 3 , May 23, 2006View SourceBob is referring to here a thread on marxmail, which you can follow
backwards if you go to http://www.marxmail.org/msg11551.html where
his msg is posted on marxmail.
>and we can all point toPerhaps, but there's not much that can be done about the high cost of
>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
academic books (and journals) under capitalism, given both the small
market (and books are much more expensive in Australia than the US)
and the fact that not only writers but also research assistants,
graphic designers, proofreaders, editors etc have often fought hard
for a decent standard of living.
Socialist groups can offset this to some extent by voluntary labour,
and Bob's idea about increasing the economic viability of socialist
publishing by socialist groups joining together cross-factionally in
publishing ventures may have some merit (Links journal
http://www.dsp.org.au/links/ does this to some extent, i.e. it's
distributed by varied groups and individuals in a number of
countries). But obviously socialist groups have to prioritise what to
Another small way for socialist groups to collectively get around the
economics of capitalist publishing is to utilise the position of
those members working at academic institutions. Generally all staff,
not just academics, have extended library borrowing rights and full
database access, and the latter increasingly includes whole ebooks
(i.e. books that can be downloaded and printed off, as opposed to
text on web pages). E.g. I printed off got some sections from Capital
and Gramsci's Prison Notebooks from the ebooks available on my uni
library catalogue - (a lot easier for academic referencing than the
otherwise extremely useful Marxist Internet Archives). University
employed comrades (and students) should be able to some extent
collectivise their privileged access to books and journals for the
benefit of non-university associated comrades who might be
researching particular things.
- Yes I believe it would be good for more co-operation in regards to publishing books...... Just a quick personal note on this (do not want to make it appear asMessage 3 of 3 , May 24, 2006View SourceYes I believe it would be good for more co-operation in regards to
Just a quick personal note on this (do not want to make it appear as a
personal gripe, but this is a problem that needs to be adressed to make
things accessible to all)
I I have a bit of a problem with my eyes, and thus need to have things in
electronic format for my assistive software. I have been trying to grab a
bit of a collection in regards to this and the DSP has supplied all books
that they have published and I am most appreciative of this.
I have not tried many other leftist publishers at this stage, but I wanted a
particurlar book that is of interest. 'The Evolution of a Revolutionary' by
Breitman,and is published by the US SWP. Ilooked up there website for
getting in contact with in January of this year and thus sent an email to
the adress provided for Australian consumers.
The email was not asking for a handout at all, it was stating that I had
read the book before my problem with my eyes and was willing to buy the book
in electronic format. I have not had a reply of any sorts. One hopes that
there was a stuff up in their email program, other wise one could not be
very impressed that they are so scared about copy right and not having
their books copied that they would not be willing for a person with the need
for the books in electronic format not have them supplied to them.