[Marxism] Re: Get your latest Marxist book for only $169

Ozleft Ozleft at optusnet.com.au
Tue May 23 20:20:30 MDT 2006

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 Many previously unpublished articles are now available on 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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