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  1. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by Hibernia&Alba View Post
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    Come on now, Corbyn is not a Marxist. Incidentally, Marx is still relevant to any critique of capitalism, particularly its neoliberalism variant, which has been dominant for forty years now. You should give him a read
    Any recommendations? I've only read the Communist Manifesto.

    Whether or not Corbyn himself is a Marxist, some of those closest to him identify as such (eg McDonnell and Milne) and I'm just not convinced that sort of voter-unfriendly thinking will be swept away in the wake of Labour's election rout.


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  3. #62
    @hibs.net private member Hibernia&Alba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by G B Young View Post
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    Any recommendations? I've only read the Communist Manifesto.

    Whether or not Corbyn himself is a Marxist, some of those closest to him identify as such (eg McDonnell and Milne) and I'm just not convinced that sort of voter-unfriendly thinking will be swept away in the wake of Labour's election rout.
    An excellent book is The Structure of Marx's World View, by John McMurty, Princeton Books, 1978. It covers all the important ideas in clear language.

    Jonathan Sperber's biography of Marx is very good, as it not only covers his life story but tracks the significant developments in his thought, following the evolution of his overall philosophy.

    Both are highly recommended.
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  4. #63
    @hibs.net private member NORTHERNHIBBY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by G B Young View Post
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    Any recommendations? I've only read the Communist Manifesto.

    Whether or not Corbyn himself is a Marxist, some of those closest to him identify as such (eg McDonnell and Milne) and I'm just not convinced that sort of voter-unfriendly thinking will be swept away in the wake of Labour's election rout.

    I suspect that you are using the distance from the Conservative Party to make the, pointless,jibe about Marxism, rather than the distance from the centre.

  5. #64
    @hibs.net private member Mibbes Aye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hibernia&Alba View Post
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    An excellent book is The Structure of Marx's World View, by John McMurty, Princeton Books, 1978. It covers all the important ideas in clear language.

    Jonathan Sperber's biography of Marx is very good, as it not only covers his life story but tracks the significant developments in his thought, following the evolution of his overall philosophy.

    Both are highly recommended.
    Francis Wheen’s biography of Marx is impeccably researched and shines a light on the man, as much as his philosophy and beliefs.

    Second-best biography I have ever read.
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  6. #65
    @hibs.net private member Hibernia&Alba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mibbes Aye View Post
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    Francis Wheen’s biography of Marx is impeccably researched and shines a light on the man, as much as his philosophy and beliefs.

    Second-best biography I have ever read.
    I haven't read it, mate, though I've heard very good things about it. Marx was a gentle, warm, humane person, and not the hate-filled bogeyman the contemporary right paint him, though I'm sure almost all of them have never read a word he wrote. He was full of kindness and compassion, which I'm sure Wheen's biography also brings out, and Marx cannot be blamed for Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and other genocidal lunatics who appropriated his work, in the way his enemies try to suggest. It's akin to blaming Christ for the Inquisition and the Reformation.

    By the way, what is the top rated biography you've read, if Wheen's book is second?
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  7. #66
    @hibs.net private member Mibbes Aye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hibernia&Alba View Post
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    I haven't read it, mate, though I've heard very good things about it. Marx was a gentle, warm, humane person, and not the hate-filled bogeyman the contemporary right paint him, though I'm sure almost all of them have never read a word he wrote. He was full of kindness and compassion, which I'm sure Wheen's biography also brings out, and Marx cannot be blamed for Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and other genocidal lunatics who appropriated his work, in the way his enemies try to suggest. It's akin to blaming Christ for the Inquisition and the Reformation.

    By the way, what is the top rated biography you've read, if Wheen's book is second?
    Marx was quite the character in his personal life, which Wheen brings out. Like you say, it dispels any suggestion of him being some sort of dogmatic polemicist, he was a human being with all the foibles, failings and fears that any other human being might have. Wheen is also sympathetic to Engels, who comes across well, and a real friend to Marx in difficult times.

    The best biography I have read is Robert Caro’s biography of Lyndon Johnson. It is in five volumes, although he hasn’t finished and published the fifth one yet. It is an utterly compelling account of a man who was flawed, a master political manipulator but someone who still had a sense of virtue and civic duty in his soul. The biography details how that struggle played out.

    To say it is well-researched is like saying Real Madrid are a stronger team than Hawick Royal Albert. The first volume starts, IIRC, describing LBJ’s great-great grandfather and how he influenced the family and how that eventually affected LBJ. After four volumes you are only just beyond the point of him assuming the presidency following JFK’s death and passing the landmark civil rights legislation. Volume five I imagine will focus on Vietnam and Johnson’s decision not to seek re-election.

    The middle volumes focus on Johnson and his incredible ability to power-broke, both in his home state of Texas and in Congress, as an aide, a congressman and a senator. It is enthralling reading and meticulous in its detail.
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  8. #67
    @hibs.net private member Ozyhibby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hibernia&Alba View Post
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    I haven't read it, mate, though I've heard very good things about it. Marx was a gentle, warm, humane person, and not the hate-filled bogeyman the contemporary right paint him, though I'm sure almost all of them have never read a word he wrote. He was full of kindness and compassion, which I'm sure Wheen's biography also brings out, and Marx cannot be blamed for Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and other genocidal lunatics who appropriated his work, in the way his enemies try to suggest. It's akin to blaming Christ for the Inquisition and the Reformation.

    By the way, what is the top rated biography you've read, if Wheen's book is second?
    Has anyone ever appropriated his work correctly?


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  9. #68
    @hibs.net private member Hibernia&Alba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mibbes Aye View Post
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    Marx was quite the character in his personal life, which Wheen brings out. Like you say, it dispels any suggestion of him being some sort of dogmatic polemicist, he was a human being with all the foibles, failings and fears that any other human being might have. Wheen is also sympathetic to Engels, who comes across well, and a real friend to Marx in difficult times.

    The best biography I have read is Robert Caro’s biography of Lyndon Johnson. It is in five volumes, although he hasn’t finished and published the fifth one yet. It is an utterly compelling account of a man who was flawed, a master political manipulator but someone who still had a sense of virtue and civic duty in his soul. The biography details how that struggle played out.

    To say it is well-researched is like saying Real Madrid are a stronger team than Hawick Royal Albert. The first volume starts, IIRC, describing LBJ’s great-great grandfather and how he influenced the family and how that eventually affected LBJ. After four volumes you are only just beyond the point of him assuming the presidency following JFK’s death and passing the landmark civil rights legislation. Volume five I imagine will focus on Vietnam and Johnson’s decision not to seek re-election.

    The middle volumes focus on Johnson and his incredible ability to power-broke, both in his home state of Texas and in Congress, as an aide, a congressman and a senator. It is enthralling reading and meticulous in its detail.
    I read a single volume biography of LBJ some time back, by Irwin Unger which was a tad disappointing, in my opinion. I really don't think I'm interested enough in LBJ to read five volumes; however my favourite biography is also a five volume goliath: Dostoevsky, by Joseph Frank, which is a massive portrait of the man is who is probably my favourite ever writer. There is a superb 1000 page single volume abridged version available, by Princeton.

    As you seem to enjoy huge tomes, do take a look at Issac Deutscher's three volume biography of Trostky, if you haven't already. It's 1500 pages of magnificence, now available in a single volume, by Verso Books. It's a close contender.
    Last edited by Hibernia&Alba; 15-12-2019 at 09:48 PM.
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  10. #69
    @hibs.net private member Hibernia&Alba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozyhibby View Post
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    Has anyone ever appropriated his work correctly?


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    In my most humble opinion, it's very rare. Marx advocated that those who work in any organisation should run it democratically themselves, which certainly hasn't happened in any 'communist' state I know of. Perhaps the Paris Commune of 1871, which is the only political cause Marx overtly supported in his lifetime, is the nearest, along with the anarchist experiment in parts of Spain in 1935-37. He never advocated totalitarianism - just the reverse in fact. It was about mass democracy, taking power from the centre.
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  11. #70
    @hibs.net private member Mibbes Aye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hibernia&Alba View Post
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    I read a single volume biography of LBJ some time back, by Urwin Unger which was a tad disappointing, in my opinion. I really don't think I'm interested enough in LBJ to read five volumes; however my favourite biography is also a five volume goliath: Dostoevsky, by Joseph Frank, which is a massive portrait of the man is who is probably my favourite ever writer. There is a superb 1000 page single volume abridged version available, by Princeton.

    As you seem to enjoy huge tomes, do take a look at Issac Deutscher's three volume biography of Trostky, if you haven't already. It's 1500 pages of magnificence, now available in a single volume, by Verso Books. It's a close contender.
    I will look at getting the Deutscher. Likewise the Joseph Frank, as I also am fond of Dostoevsky. If you like Russian writers, have you read any Nikolai Gogol? Incredibly funny but absurd/surreal. He predates Dostoevsky by a couple of decades or so.
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  12. #71
    Private Members Prediction League Winner Hibrandenburg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hibernia&Alba View Post
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    In my most humble opinion, it's very rare. Marx advocated that those who work in any organisation should run it democratically themselves, which certainly hasn't happened in any 'communist' state I know of. Perhaps the Paris Commune of 1871, which is the only political cause Marx overtly supported in his lifetime, is the nearest, along with the anarchist experiment in parts of Spain in 1935-37. He never advocated totalitarianism - just the reverse in fact. It was about mass democracy, taking power from the centre.
    In Germany we have elected works councils in most companies. I know it's not the same as running the company but the co-determination rights are strong and companies can't do anything before gaining permission of the employee representatives beforehand. It works well and the engagement between company and employee very high.

  13. #72
    @hibs.net private member Hibernia&Alba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mibbes Aye View Post
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    I will look at getting the Deutscher. Likewise the Joseph Frank, as I also am fond of Dostoevsky. If you like Russian writers, have you read any Nikolai Gogol? Incredibly funny but absurd/surreal. He predates Dostoevsky by a couple of decades or so.
    I love the Russian greats and read them more than any others.

    I've read Dead Souls and a few of Gogol's short stories, which I enjoyed very much. Dostoevsky and Tolstoy are the pinnacle of fiction for me, though the short stories of Chekhov and Pushkin push them close. There is something about the great Russian writers which allows them to explore the human condition best of all, in my opinion. There are other of course, such as the Norwegian, Knut Hamsun and the Czech, Franz Kafka, and the Algerian-Frenchman, Albert Camus; but it seems to be a national talent of Russians to get to the nub of what human existence may be about.
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  14. #73
    @hibs.net private member Hibernia&Alba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hibrandenburg View Post
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    In Germany we have elected works councils in most companies. I know it's not the same as running the company but the co-determination rights are strong and companies can't do anything before gaining permission of the employee representatives beforehand. It works well and the engagement between company and employee very high.
    And just look at the strength of the German economy!
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  15. #74
    @hibs.net private member Mibbes Aye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hibernia&Alba View Post
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    I love the Russian greats and read them more than any others.

    I've read Dead Souls and a few of Gogol's short stories, which I enjoyed very much. Dostoevsky and Tolstoy are the pinnacle of fiction for me, though the short stories of Chekhov and Pushkin push them close. There is something about the great Russian writers which allows them to explore the human condition best of all, in my opinion. There are other of course, such as the Norwegian, Knut Hamsun and the Czech, Franz Kafka, and the Algerian-Frenchman, Albert Camus; but it seems to be a national talent of Russians to get to the nub of what human existence may be about.
    I know we are going off-topic here, but I wholeheartedly agree with you. Even in translation, Russian writers speak to the heart and the soul.

    I am just belatedly finishing Sholokhov’s “And Quiet Flows the Don”, which is broadly similar to “War and Peace” but set amongst the Cossack people around the time of WW1.

    Bulgakov’s “The Master and Marguerita” is another classic, lampooning Stalinism but in the absurd/surrealist style.

    Should be on the school curriculum but sadly I don’t think that will ever come about.
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  16. #75
    @hibs.net private member Hibernia&Alba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mibbes Aye View Post
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    I know we are going off-topic here, but I wholeheartedly agree with you. Even in translation, Russian writers speak to the heart and the soul.

    I am just belatedly finishing Sholokhov’s “And Quiet Flows the Don”, which is broadly similar to “War and Peace” but set amongst the Cossack people around the time of WW1.

    Bulgakov’s “The Master and Marguerita” is another classic, lampooning Stalinism but in the absurd/surrealist style.

    Should be on the school curriculum but sadly I don’t think that will ever come about.
    Try Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate as a companion to War and Peace. Set during the battle of Stalingrad in World War Two, it is a true epic. His novel Everything Flows is also a great exploration of the inhumanity of Stalinism. Twentieth century updates of his great predecessors.
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  17. #76
    Quote Originally Posted by Hibernia&Alba View Post
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    An excellent book is The Structure of Marx's World View, by John McMurty, Princeton Books, 1978. It covers all the important ideas in clear language.

    Jonathan Sperber's biography of Marx is very good, as it not only covers his life story but tracks the significant developments in his thought, following the evolution of his overall philosophy.

    Both are highly recommended.
    Cheers. Maybe not for Christmas holiday reading, but I'll try to check them out. Been meaning to visit that huge new bookshop that's opened at the top of Leith Walk in the old Dofos shop.

  18. #77
    Quote Originally Posted by G B Young View Post
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    Cheers. Maybe not for Christmas holiday reading, but I'll try to check them out. Been meaning to visit that huge new bookshop that's opened at the top of Leith Walk in the old Dofos shop.
    Old RBS I think.

  19. #78
    Quote Originally Posted by lapsedhibee View Post
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    Old RBS I think.
    Ah yes, you're right. I went past it on the bus the other day and it looks massive.

    Is Dofos still there then? I seem to recall it closed some time ago.

  20. #79
    Quote Originally Posted by G B Young View Post
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    Ah yes, you're right. I went past it on the bus the other day and it looks massive.

    Is Dofos still there then? I seem to recall it closed some time ago.
    Dofos is an architects office now.

    Dofos now have a shop on Leith Walk and one in Morningside.
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