Re: This is impressive

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You should probably flee the state or something


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 5:54 PM
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You should move back east where men are Men.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 6:30 PM
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And wieners are Wiener's.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 6:31 PM
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Weiner's even.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 6:32 PM
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2: On the other hand: "We're going wingsuiting!"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 6:33 PM
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5: About that: I didn't say put a wing on it, yo.


Posted by: Beyoncé | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 6:37 PM
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5: Your comment on the other thread reminded me of some friends of a friend from when I lived out in the LA area who would track the runoff from extreme storms in the winter for the rare opportunity to paddle some of the steep creeks which drained various mountains in the area. Fracking crazies.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 6:41 PM
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7: I think I read about local fools who paddle the runs when they are at flood level. I can't remember where I read it, so if it was you putting a link here, I'm sorry I forgot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 6:46 PM
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Oh my god.

The Democrats pressed this? What did the Republicans want?

As far as I can tell, this is/was the issue, from the penultimate paragraph of the linked article:

State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, a Democrat, gave the spending plan a crucial boost Tuesday, announcing that it would be sufficient to obtain the usual short-term loans needed from Wall Street to pay the state's bills.

Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 6:46 PM
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Sigh. There goes my chances of getting to move back to California...


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 6:52 PM
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Brown lost his months-long bid to win enough Republican votes to extend temporary taxes that would have helped balance the books. Instead, he forged a deal with Democrats, who do not have enough votes to raise taxes alone.

Starting to get the picture yet? This is the future of the Federal debt-ceiling vote. How can Republicans not vote to raise the debt ceiling? They know Democrats will.

Richard Seymour on Greece and austerity. Good stuff.

hey simply authorized austerity in Greece but they will not be able to implement it without a right-wing authoritarian. Probably a military coup. For the banksters.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 6:56 PM
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9 -- Because of the constitutional rule requiring a 2/3 vote to raise taxes, a small minority of Republicans from safe districts could simply refuse to vote for increased taxes under any circumstances. That left two choices: ludicrously draconian cuts and no tax increase, or a deal with horrible but still less awful cuts designed to secure short term loans. In these horrible circumstances, the Democrats quite correctly chose the latter.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 7:00 PM
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Seymour (anarchist) from 11:

Terrified of a collapse of state authority that would make it impossible to use the state's administrative apparatus to provide social welfare in the form of public services, universal education, health care and social security, they are willing to eviscerate these programs in the hope that future generations can revive them.

Remember it is social democrats doing the slashing in Greece.

Fact is, social democrats and liberals like Halford love the "state" as abstraction much more than they give a fuck about the people. They will literally starve everybody to death to preserve process liberalism.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 7:04 PM
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I don't give a shit about process liberalism, but I would starve everyone to death so long as I can keep eating steak.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 7:05 PM
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12: Thanks. So the Republicans wanted more awful cuts.

You guys really need to do something about your constitutional 2/3 vote. Yeah I know you know that. But jesus christ. This is practically pitchforks and torches time, if it hadn't been already.

Can you do something with gerrymandering electoral districts? I'm desperate here.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 7:06 PM
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TBH, I wouldn't mind either an actual revolution in Greece or in California. I don't think we'll get either one, though.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 7:06 PM
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liberals like Halford love the "state" as abstraction

Florida looks like a big penis, so what's not to love.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 7:07 PM
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I mean, on your behalf.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 7:07 PM
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You guys really need to do something about your constitutional 2/3 vote.

I'm trying! I really am.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 7:08 PM
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The Republicans wanted to weaken CEQA and renege on stateworker pensions, but they didn't want those things enough to bargain for a budget that includes any raised taxes.

Remember, the Cal Constitution (courtesy of a couple voter initiatives) says that the Legislature must have a 2/3rd majority for any budget that raises taxes. Jerry Brown needed to peel off two Republicans for a budget with additional revenues, and couldn't get them. The Dems were stuck with creating a balanced budget that minimized the effects of the cuts.

Oddly enough, considering this miserable budget, including the direct effects it has on my sibling in a Cal State, I am more optimistic than I was last year.

1. Redistricting may get the Dems to a 2/3rd majority all by itself, which apparently should have happened ten years ago.

2. The new open primary rules may get us some more moderate legislators.

3. Jerry is behaving in ways I understand. He isn't being arbitrary and erratic, like Schwarzenegger was. He said he'd focus on the budget, and did it. He declared that the R's aren't serious about negotiations, and stopped negotiating with them. Then he went back, but at least he says in public that they aren't people he could bargain with. He held the line on some Democratic priorities, like CEQA. If he does this for a couple more years, he may well get the Legislature he needs to get a budget with new taxes, and he'll have shown that he means it all along.

The best idea I heard was from my boyfriend, Darrell Steinberg, who proposed to do all the cutting from Republican districts. The rest of us are willing to buy some government, so we shouldn't have to suffer the cuts. That hasn't gone anywhere, but I wish it would.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 7:09 PM
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Yes, 20 gets it 100% right, although I'm pretty sure Megan is not actually having sex with Darrell Steinberg.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 7:11 PM
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Well, I've met him twice, so I don't understand why you have to be all negative about our love.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 7:12 PM
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Stop harshing, dude.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 7:12 PM
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8: Might have been me. Things like this in West Virginia (I know the place and it is a freaking trickle most of the year.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 7:18 PM
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proposed to do all the cutting from Republican districts. The rest of us are willing to buy some government, so we shouldn't have to suffer the cuts.

This seems a little weird to me. I understand that it may well be time to play some hardball. But can those of you in Democratic districts really speak for the ability of everyone there to buy some government?

Maybe I don't understand what buying some government means.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 7:19 PM
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You guys really need to do something about your constitutional 2/3 vote.

Don't you worry. Now that I'm living here, expect randomly selected legislatures--operating under majority rule--any day now.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 7:21 PM
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In almost, but not quite, 2/3 of the state, we have elected Democratic representatives who are willing to raise taxes. The remaining just over 1/3 of districts are heavily gerrymandered places that elect extreme Republicans.

So, DS' theory would be, fuck you Republican districts, you bear the burden and tell your constituents that you have no more schools, libraries, or parks. I'm not actually sure whether that would be constitutional under the state constitution; I think not but would have to check.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 7:22 PM
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24: I found it. This is more sewage then I recall.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 7:23 PM
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27: I guess that would be worth checking. It seems doubtful to me. State programs are state programs: how are you going to see to it that the cuts are only felt in Republican districts?

I don't know what the county system in CA is like, how state funds are disbursed to various counties and municipalities -- probably differently depending on the program in question.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 7:33 PM
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15

Can you do something with gerrymandering electoral districts? I'm desperate here.

The reason there are a bunch of safe Republican districts is because the Democrats gerrymandered the districts that way. Because that meant the Democratic districts would also be safe.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 7:47 PM
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Well, they're not going to be gerrymandered after this term, so there's that.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 7:49 PM
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surprised there is no constituency for emptying the prisons. i can the there being one opposed, but since when do unemployed people with little job market clout have political influence?


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 8:58 PM
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Strickland's district was extremely close in the last election but the only thing that would have made its representative not extreme would have been for him to lose. His real constituents, that is, the people he has to satisfy, are the backers of the Republican party, not the general voting populace in his district.

An open primary isn't going to change things unless it shows that it's viable to break with party control and win enough votes from the other party and the supposed independents and survive. It could happen, but it will take a while. Alternatively, I have no idea what open primary means, as I haven't been keeping up with California politics for a couple of years.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-29-11 10:10 PM
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[quote]surprised there is no constituency for emptying the prisons. i can the there being one opposed, but since when do unemployed people with little job market clout have political influence?[/quote]

The prison industry (builders, operators, guards is employed and has considerable political clout.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 12:44 AM
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13. Bob, Richard Seymour is not a fucking anarchist. Really.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 12:56 AM
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35:Sorry.

Richard Estes wrote the linked article and embedded some words by Richard Seymour and sometimes in a hurry, since I usually read the two blogs consecutively, I slip on names.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 1:54 AM
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13 s/b Estes for Seymour


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 1:55 AM
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Richard Seymour is not an anarchist, he's a perfectly sensible Stalinist.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 3:38 AM
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Is he (perfectly sensible)? I can never be arsed reading him since I assume it's all vetted by the Politburo before it's posted.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 3:43 AM
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I thought he was a Trotskyist?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 4:07 AM
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D^2, he's SWP, who hotly deny that they're Trots these days, although Cliff was originally. I suspect Alex was taking a shot at the fish in the barrel which are their organisational norms.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 4:10 AM
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My long-ago pal in the SWP -- when we saw a lot of each other and argued -- always insisted they were neo-leninists and NOT Trots, who he despised ("They're MONSTERS!"). I believe state-cap vs degenerated workers' state is the dividing issue?

My more recent much younger pal in the (US) Spartacists snorted when I told him this: some kind of libertarian-anarchist hippy cult was his reading. Which made me grin.

I kind of miss them both.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 4:30 AM
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Trotskyites never admit to being Trotskyites. I think it's like the first and second rules of Trotsky Club. They always say something like: "I think Trotsky was instrumental in the development of dialectical materialist thought and Marxist-Leninist theory." Or something like that.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 4:58 AM
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I read his blog [Seymour], and his book is OK-ish, the 'Cameron' one, albeit a bit lightweight. It's more a magazine article stretched a bit.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 4:58 AM
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Speaking of Trotsky/Lenin, I've just been reading this:

http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/?product_id=3079

which is pretty interesting as a first-hand take on both blokes by someone who was around during the revolution. Also, full of early 20th c. derring-do and casual racism.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 5:02 AM
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1. You do not talk about Trotsky Club.
2. You DO NOT talk about Trotsky Club.
3. If someone says "Makhno", you have to claim he was an anti-Semite.
4. Only two sides to a dialectic.
5. One party expressing the will of the people at a time.
6. No challenging haircuts or impractical shoes.
7. Meetings will go on as long as they have to.
8. If this is your first night at Trotsky Club, you HAVE to buy a copy of the paper.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 5:04 AM
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ttaM, are you marching in London or Oxford?

I just popped out on my dinner hour to join the Sheffield rally. Not bad, probably 3000+, very upbeat. Mrs y says her whole unit (10- or 11 people) are striking but only 4 of them made the march. More next time, I do believe.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 5:43 AM
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Trotskyites never admit to being Trotskyites.

Probably because it was a label pinned on them by Stalin. Don't accept the other bugger's framing. (hint: President Obama?)


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 5:48 AM
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re: 47

No. I'm not on strike. The UCU at pre-1992 institutions aren't out. There's currently a ballot going on for further industrial action later in the year, targeted at exams and admissions. Not sure if it'll affect me, as I'm not an academic, so don't do those jobs. Fwiw, I'm also only one of a couple of people in my building who are UCU members, so me being out is symbolic* rather than effective.

* even more than normal.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 5:56 AM
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Richard Estes has a pretty good blog.

||

Simon Johnson says the appointment of Christine Lagarde...

will be to encourage countries like South Korea, Brazil, India and Russia to back away from the I.M.F. and to further "self-insure" by accumulating larger stockpiles of foreign-exchange reserves -- the strategy that has been followed by China for most of the last decade.

From an individual country's perspective, having large amounts of dollar reserves held by your central bank or in a sovereign wealth fund makes a great deal of sense - a rainy day fund in a global economy prone to serious financial floods.

Remember, one of the first things FDR did was to seriously devalue the dollar, by at least a third. In a sense, Bernanke and Geithner are trying, but the rest of the world won't let us. We desperately need some global inflation, so that the emerging market countries spend their SWFs on local development and comsumption. Keynesianism, the real stuff, not the New Improved, is very counterintuitive and scary.

My first choice is "print til they make us stop," flood the world with dollars until the world won't buy them anymore. But default, with the loss of reserve currency status, might work as well. If this was the plan, certainly the PtB wouldn't advertise it, appearing crazy, dysfunctional, and out-of-control would be a necessary element.

I think the dollar has become as much an impediment to global growth as the gold standard used to be. Try to imagine all those toxic assets, like Greek debt, the banksters are clitching desperately protecting as the equivalent of warehouses of bullion.

Bring the fucking Jubilee.

(A bankster would rather hold a non-performing loan than burn the paper and free up capital for productive investment. The accountants rule.)

Bring the Jubillee.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 5:58 AM
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48

Probably because it was a label pinned on them by Stalin. Don't accept the other bugger's framing. (hint: President Obama?)

Better to accept the opposition's framing than to have it forced on you which just makes you look evasive and dishonest. I don't see anything inherently insulting about Trotskyite (compare Marxist) and they don't have a reasonable preferred label so they might as well accept the term.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 6:41 AM
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As Scott McLemee (a self-identified Trotskyist) occasionally reminds me, "Trotskyist" is the preferred label by Trotskyists. "Trotskyite" is disliked basically because it was the label used by people who murdered a lot of Trotskyists.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 6:44 AM
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52: Is that the same thing going on with the Marxist/Marxian distinction? I've never had that one properly explained to me, but I had gathered it was a label-from-without/label-from-within thing. Or maybe a using-Marx-to-advocate-political-change/using-Marx's-analytical-approach-academically thing.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 6:50 AM
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Or the difference between a Sadist and a Sadian.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 7:01 AM
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I've never heard of a Sadian. If I ever came across the term my instinct would be to take it as referring to an admirer of a Nigerian Jazz-lite performer.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 7:10 AM
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What a misunderstanding!


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 7:12 AM
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Speaking of British agents -- maybe -- one of my favourite WTF facts is that Arthur Ransome, best kn own today as author of very English middleclass (though very readable) children's books Swallows and Amazons et seq., smuggled Trotsky's PA out of the USSR and married her.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 7:14 AM
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Hah. Clearly not a duffer.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 7:20 AM
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They prefer "Duffian."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 7:22 AM
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This thread is starting to remind me of the Alan Furst novels in which '30s and '40s Communists and fellow travelers can't stop murdering one another long enough to sustain action against Franco or the Wehrmacht.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 7:26 AM
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Also, I think they prefer to be called "duff enthusiasts" now.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 7:28 AM
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re: 57

Yeah, Ransome appears a bit in Lockhart's book, as does his secretary.

http://www.gwpda.org/wwi-www/BritAgent/BA04a.htm#6

[near the bottom]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 7:30 AM
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Trotsky's secretary, I mean.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 7:32 AM
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This is also great:


At a quarter to three on the Saturday afternoon a motor-car with two men drove up to the German Embassy in the Denejni Pereulok. The Embassy itself was guarded by a detachment of Bolshevik troops. The occupants of the car, however, had no difficulty in obtaining an entrance, for they were provided with special passes signed by Alexandrovitch in his capacity as Vice-President of the Cheka. A man named Blumkin, who for months had lived in the room next to me in my hotel, was the chief actor in the ensuing tragedy. Himself an official of the Cheka, he was received immediately by Riezler, the Councillor of the German Embassy. He informed Riezler that he must see Mirbach personally. The Cheka had discovered an Allied plot for the assassination of the German Ambassador. In view of Blumkin's credentials and the seriousness of his information, Dr. RiezIer himself took him into Count Mirbach's presence. When the Count asked him how the assassins proposed to act, Blumkin took a Browning from his pocket, replied, "Like this," and emptied his pistol into the body of the unfortunate Ambassador. Then, leaping out of an open window, he hurled a hand grenade behind him in order to make doubly sure, and escaped.

It's a James Bondian bit of dialogue.

"Like this!"


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 7:34 AM
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"Like this!"

"McBain!"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 7:42 AM
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His life does seem worthy of a Furst novel:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakov_Grigorevich_Blumkin


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 7:46 AM
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66: And his surname, worthy of an Urban Dictionary entry (if you add a "p").


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 8:07 AM
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48: Well, of course in anarchist circles, we usually just call them "Trots", though rarely to their face. There are usually 2 or 3 unaffiliated Trots in any decent-sized anarchist scene, almost all of whom eventually wind up renouncing their error and becoming "anti-authoritarian Marxists" or something like that. Except they forget when they get drunk and then they sound just like Trots again.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 8:11 AM
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Speaking of communism, I was kind of surprised recently to discover that although the US had a single centralized command-and-control structure for its space program, the soviet space program had several independent competing groups.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 8:11 AM
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64: I think it would do better as a scene from Groundhog Day.

Blumpkin: It's the same thing your whole life: "Clean up your room. Stand up straight. Pick up your feet. Take it like a man. Be nice to your sister. Don't mix beer and wine, ever."
Oh yeah, "Don't assassinate diplomatic personnel."

Count: Well, Blumpkin, that's one I happen to agree with.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 8:12 AM
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Blumpkin

Thanks for making 67 explicit, Mobes.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 8:19 AM
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Typo.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 8:20 AM
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I had the trots once. Then I drank a tall glass of warm, salty water, and my trots went away like *that*!


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 9:08 AM
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Vaguely on topic, does anyone have a good recommendation for a book about the Russian Revolution? It's kind of a gaping hole in my historical knowledge (although for some reason, I can always remember Alexander Kerensky's name when the subject comes up).


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 10:53 AM
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does anyone have a good recommendation for a book about the Russian Revolution?

Trotsky wrote a very entertaining one, if you want the insider perspective. I'm a bit out of date. E.H.Carr used to be standard, but has to be read with the understanding that basically he takes the view that whoever won at every twist and turn was thereby shown to be right.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 11:10 AM
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You probably need something that's been written since the archive was opened. Not sure what the best one there is.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 11:12 AM
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75: Noted! Thanks.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 11:21 AM
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I got a miscellany of possibilities from someone.

Ten Days That Shook the World by John Reed, contemporary account.

A People's Tragedy by Orlando Figes.

The Russian Revolution by Sheila Fitzpatrick, respected, but not read by my interlocutor. Revised in 2007, so presumably taking advantage of the archives.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 1:13 PM
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78: Thanks. I had actually looked at all of those as possibilities, but it's helpful to know they come recommended.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 1:36 PM
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Adventures in sentence clarity! My interlocutor knows Fitzpatrick is respected, but does not have a personal opinion on her work.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 1:38 PM
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80: Oh, well then never mind. That changes everything. (I'm kidding.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 1:56 PM
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Fitzpatrick is extremely dry but good and concise. I don't recommend Reed or Carr as good overviews. The first is a partie pris reporter's account, the second is way too dry, out of date, and it's also pretty damn biased towards the Bolsheviks. Figes' book is decent though the guy is an asshole. Ronald Suny's The Russian Revolution and the Bolshevik Victory is pretty good. If you want a good but very right wing account you might want to look at Richard Pipes' book, though it suffers from a refusal to take into account seventies and eighties scholarship by the left wing 'revisionist' school led by Fitzpatrick.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 5:06 PM
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Also, a good book, although not specifically about the Revolution itself, is Young Stalin, as much for a sense of what was going on in the provinces rather than in Moscow or St. Petersburg. Lots of evidence for Stalin-as-bastard, but also some really interesting stuff contra Stalin-as-ignorant-peasant.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 5:18 PM
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The professor who taught the course I took, Richard Pipes, on the Russian Revolution (most of which I've forgotten) was a right-wing Reaganite. He wrote well, but he was not balanced. Plus, he fled Poland as a child during WWII, and I'm not sure how objective a Polish person from that era can be about Russia.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 6:31 PM
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Go browse Wikipedia, letting the links take you where they may, usually to Marxist.org. Trotsky is fine. Ospreys, there are like seven. Adam Ulam and Pannakoek are two books on Lenin I have read in the last year. And an oral history of women.

But hey:Historians Archive at Marxists includes Emma Goldman "My Disillusionment' and General Graves "America's Siberian Adventure"

etc etc etc page after page of contents, including 100 years of hostile Marxian and anarchist analysis.

You want a single authoritative complete quick and easy to read source, current and state of the academe?

Sure, like reading Victor Davis Hansen instead of Thucydides. Whatever. You want history, go to the originals and submit to them. Our current vantage point is deluded, wrong, arrogant, and despairing. Try Reed and Trotsky first.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 6:36 PM
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pwned by 82.

I remember that Pipes got in trouble for saying that the Russians invented terrorism. Googling tells me that he describes the People's Will as the first organization devoted to political terrorism and that the assassination of Alexander II was the first true terrorist act.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 6:37 PM
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Or you could read Pipes and Figes together and then look up the libel case (or whatever it was). I always meant to read one or both but still haven't read any of them.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 6:42 PM
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52

As Scott McLemee (a self-identified Trotskyist) occasionally reminds me, "Trotskyist" is the preferred label by Trotskyists. "Trotskyite" is disliked basically because it was the label used by people who murdered a lot of Trotskyists.

I was unaware of that. So the followers of Trotsky who deny they are Trotskyites will accept the label Trotskyist?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 7:22 PM
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Roy Medvedev's Let History Judge and The October Revolution.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 7:40 PM
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74: My Disillusionment in Russia, by Emma Goldman, and The Bolshevik Myth by Alexander Berkman.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 7:51 PM
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...today

From the comments

Lenin meets Kropotkin after the latter returned to Russia in 1919.

From Reminiscences of Lenin 1917-24, V. D. Bonc-Brujevic:

"How old he has become," Vladimir Ilyich said to me. "Now he is living in a country that is bursting with revolution, where everything has been completely turned upside down, and he cannot think of anything else but to talk about the cooperative movement. There you have the poverty of ideas of the anarchists and all other petty bourgeois reformers and theoreticians, who at a moment of massive creative activities, at the time of a revolution, are never able to come up with a good plan or with good practical advice. For if we did what he says for but a minute, then tomorrow we would have the autocracy back in power and we would all, including himself, be chatting around a streetlamp, and he only because he calls himself an anarchist. And how well he wrote, what wonderful books, how refreshing and how precisely did he formulate and did he think, and now that is all in the past and nothing is left... But of course he is very old and we must surround him with care and help him with everything he needs as far as possible, but that needs to be dealt with very delicately and very carefully. He is very useful and precious for us because of his whole terrific past and because of everything he has done. Please do not lose sight of him, take care of him and his family and keep me informed about everything, then we will discuss it together and help him."

Comment by Rick Tudor -- June 30, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

I agree that many contrasting contemporary sources should be read, but it seems to me with our current problems it is much more valuable to have our own comforting prejudices challenged rather than confirmed.

The passion that inspired billions for a century?
Or neighborhood vegetable gardens?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 8:57 PM
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The link is to Proyect


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-30-11 8:58 PM
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Figes drives me mad; I hate his style. However I accept that this is both personal and irrational.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 1-11 12:00 AM
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91: The bureaucracy that preserved one of the most hated secret police apparatuses for 70 years of terror, or the possibility of actual freedom? I mean, of course Lenin patronized Kropotkin. The Bolsheviks were perfectly cynical right from the start. Look at the way they heaped adulation on people like Gogol, who would have totally despised them. And Bakunin, of all people, getting statues! Seriously, read The Bolshevik Myth, see where Lenin was actually at in terms of "the People" he claimed to love so much. Shot dead by a Czarist firing squad or garroted in a Lubayanka basement, you wind up just as dead, for the glory of the State.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07- 1-11 5:51 AM
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I'm hardly an expert, but Bruce Lockhart [book mentioned above] was far from a Bolshevik sympathiser [they locked him up], but his impression of the early Bolshevik period was one in which there was quite a bit of freedom. Not that it lasted, but Lockhart seemed to think, at the time, that the Terror wasn't inevitable, and was in part a reaction to the Allied intervention, and counter-revolution.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-11 6:36 AM
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Not that that necessarily contradicts the Bolshevik Myth as Lockhart dates the crackdown and beginning of Bolshevik oppression to 1918 [the Left S-R uprising, Allied intervention, the shooting of Lenin, etc], and by the time Goldman and Berkman were there it was well-established.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-11 6:44 AM
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A lot of the stuff in TBM covers 1920-1922, when Berkman arrived after being deported post-Palmer Raids. As far as the immediate post-Civil War period, here are the demands of the Kronstadt sailors, from early 1921:

1. Immediate new elections to the Soviets. The present Soviets no longer express the wishes of the workers and peasants. The new elections should be held by secret ballot, and should be preceded by free electoral propaganda for all workers and peasants before the elections.
2. Freedom of speech and of the press for workers and peasants, for the Anarchists, and for the Left Socialist parties.
3. The right of assembly, and freedom for trade union and peasant associations.
4. The organisation, at the latest on 10 March 1921, of a Conference of non-Party workers, soldiers and sailors of Petrograd, Kronstadt and the Petrograd District.
5. The liberation of all political prisoners of the Socialist parties, and of all imprisoned workers and peasants, soldiers and sailors belonging to working class and peasant organisations.
6. The election of a commission to look into the dossiers of all those detained in prisons and concentration camps.
7. The abolition of all political sections in the armed forces. No political party should have privileges for the propagation of its ideas, or receive State subsidies to this end. In the place of the political sections various cultural groups should be set up, deriving resources from the State.
8. The immediate abolition of the militia detachments set up between towns and countryside.
9. The equalisation of rations for all workers, except those engaged in dangerous or unhealthy jobs.
10. The abolition of Party combat detachments in all military groups. The abolition of Party guards in factories and enterprises. If guards are required, they should be nominated, taking into account the views of the workers.
11. The granting to the peasants of freedom of action on their own soil, and of the right to own cattle, provided they look after them themselves and do not employ hired labour.
12. We request that all military units and officer trainee groups associate themselves with this resolution.
13. We demand that the Press give proper publicity to this resolution.
14. We demand the institution of mobile workers' control groups.
15. We demand that handicraft production be authorised provided it does not utilise wage labour.

Not exactly "community gardens".


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07- 1-11 6:59 AM
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P.S. No state in Minnesota this morning! Yay!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07- 1-11 7:03 AM
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98: What does that mean?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07- 1-11 7:08 AM
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Natilo, I don't think ttaM was making any claims for the post-civil war period. Most people would agree that the revolution had been gutted by then.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 1-11 7:08 AM
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98:Minnesota Shutdown ...Huffington

Democratic Governor ran on tax increases;Republican legislature wants all cuts; Minn court approves Governor's shutdown plan


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-11 7:15 AM
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99: It means the people of atosenniM will soon organize themselves into anarcho-syndicalist collectives. Or outfit their Toyota pickups with AK-47s.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07- 1-11 7:16 AM
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re: 100

Yeah. Lockhart's take [and I mention this just because I've been reading it at the moment] is that there was a fairly narrow window where things could have gone either way, but that that window was properly shut by the shooting of Lenin and the intervention at Archangel.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-11 7:20 AM
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More Proyect. It's a review of an article "Reading Trotsky in Tahrir:what the Russian revolutionary can teach us about the Arab Spring" LP does get some pushback, not enough

In any case, Lenin's party did manage to topple the capitalist system in the USSR even if the end result was a despotic system that made a mockery of the word socialism. While I would not question an anarchist's "individual commitment" or "ethical universalism", qualities that I am sure they possess in abundance, we are facing a serious and widespread problem of the inability of an amorphous and leaderless mass movement to deliver a death blow to Greek, Egyptian or any other decaying capitalist system. Under such desperate conditions, there will be a need for a highly disciplined and organized revolutionary movement to challenge the power of the rich. The one thing we have learned from history is that failed revolutions pay a heavy penalty for a failure to go all the way. Whatever problems Marxism has as a movement, it at least provides its adherents with a methodology to analyze the relationship of class forces in a given society so as to help develop an intelligent strategy and tactics. As the crisis of world capitalism deepens, young people--working class or non-working class--will be looking for a sharp sword to use against the enemy class. I am reasonably sure that Karl Marx's writings will remain relevant for them.

It's true the community gardens do no harm, but the harmless do not a revolution make. I don't talk much about stuff like Kronstadt, the best, (okay not the best but we humans) people do monstrous things under existential threat.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-11 7:37 AM
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Nice comment on Krugman's latest at Thoma's by Roger

I am fascinated by the decline of the Democratic party. This is what is imploding, I think. They have two loyalties - the party elite is very comfortable with the current plutocracy, wanting to nudge it a bit here and there, and have simply abandoned their traditional role, which was to efficiently fight back against encroachments on the New Deal/Great Society system. The latter, I think, is partly because they simply don't believe in it anymore, even though the elites - doctors, lawyers, investors - have massively benefited from the gov. The new system - TARP on steroids - seems preferable. Give money to the richest (or loan it) and wait for the private sector to take off and give the people what they want. It is still not apparent to people like Krugman that the TARP system and the 'technical fixes" that were instituted in 2008-2009 that "saved us" from a Great Depression came at an enormous political cost - they discredited the NewDeal/Great Society system. Economists seemingly can't calculate political costs - which is weird.

Social democrats and liberals simply cannot will not fight capital since they were designed and created to protect it. At least the anarchists have an incoherent and ineffective critique of class and capital.

(Dogs need to swim before it gets too hot. Gotta go.)


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-11 7:44 AM
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"Lenin and Trotsky were only being attacked from four directions by nations that had proved themselves among the most genocidal in human history, willing to kill tens of millions to protect profits and privilege.

No excuse. Why weren't there ponies?"


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-11 7:54 AM
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Lockhart's take [and I mention this just because I've been reading it at the moment] is that there was a fairly narrow window where things could have gone either way,

So he did everything in his power to make sure it went the wrong way...


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 1-11 7:54 AM
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[Just to be clear, 98 was in jest. There's still plenty of government here, the only people who are suffering are the poor and oppressed, and I don't actually think budget 'crises' are the way we'll accomplish a revolution. It's just fun to pretend otherwise sometimes.]


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07- 1-11 8:00 AM
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105: At least the anarchists have an incoherent and ineffective critique of class and capital.

What precisely is incoherent and ineffectual about anarchist critiques of class and capital?

What precisely is effective and coherent about the activities of actual, existing Marxist-Leninist parties and governments?

Mainstream, puissant ML parties in Europe and elsewhere are offering no real resistance to austerity programs, constant war, environmental destruction or any of the other pressing issues of the day. They've completely abrogated their responsibility to press the cause of social revolution.

The few "Communist" governments still extant are either a fig-leaf for capitalist counter-revolution (PRC, Vietnam) or kleptocratic cults of personality (Cuba, N. Korea).

The marginalized ML parties in the US and around the world do nothing but sell exceedingly boring newspapers which push completely incomprehensible and self-contradictory lines.

Yes, there are a few intellectuals doing good work who identify as Marxists. Funny how the work they do has absolutely no effect on Marxist political discourse among the groups listed above, isn't it?

Face it bob, one of our ideologies is on the dustheap of history, and it's not the one you think.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07- 1-11 8:12 AM
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I wonder if Richard and Daniel Pipes are related to Sally Pipes, a D-list wingnut I had the misfortune to hear speak last year.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07- 1-11 8:35 AM
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re: 107

No. He opposed intervention, and was seen as dangerously pro-Trotsky. He's quite clear that he opposed it, along with some of the military attach├ęs and other minor diplomats from France and elsewhere. The ambassadors who were out of Moscow in some country retreat were all pro-intervention, but Lockhart and the people on the ground in Moscow thought it was stupid and bound to fail. However, he's also laceratingly honest that after it became inevitable that intervention was going to happen he went along with it because of what he calls 'moral cowardice' [and a desire to stay in Russia because he was having an affair with Moura Budberg].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-11 8:55 AM
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