Radical media, politics and culture.


Anonymous Comrade submits:

Empire After Iraq"

James Heartfield

Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt's book Empire (Harvard, 2000)
summarised the state of the capitalism for a burgeoning
'anti-capitalist' protest movement. The veteran Italian Marxist and his
American academic acolyte drew on the ideas of the '1968' generation of
radicals to characterise a new global capitalism. Central to their
thesis was the argument that the commercial and military rivalries that
characterised the old capitalism had been superseded. Though one
military power had indeed prevailed at the end of the Cold War, the
United States was obliged to act in the universal interests of the world
capitalist class, rather than its own. Hardt and Negri characterised
this trans-global capitalist domination Empire, which they insisted took
priority over any one imperialist interest.

jim submits "How De Body? One Man's Terrifying Journey Through an African War" by Teun Voeten, St. Martins Press, 2002

Reviewed by Bill Weinberg

Belgium-based Dutch photojournalist Teun Voeten was already a veteran of the bloodbaths in Bosnia, Rwanda, Chechnya, Afghanistan and Nicaragua when he arrived in the West African nation of Sierra Leone in February 1998. A particularly brutal guerilla army, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), had been terrorizing Sierra Leone since 1991, and Voeten was there to photograph demobilized child soldiers who had been abducted and forced to fight for the rebels. At first, he is almost cynical about the whole ghastly affair, as if jaded to the point of complacency--the cliche of the hard-bitten war journalist.

Anonymous Comrade submits:

"Can Radicals Be Liberals, Too?"

G. William Domhoff

Reviewing Letters to a Young Activist

Todd Gitlin

Can young radicals-fired by great zeal, but often short on patience-be
convinced to channel their prodigious organizing energies into activities
that might build larger constituencies and have a greater long-term impact?
Can young activists ever learn from the experience of aging radicals with
fabled pasts?

Anonymous Comrade submits:

*Q* (English translation) is available for download at:


rtf + zip - 489 kb

txt + zip - 445 kb

As usual, it is free of any charge. Grab it, read it, spread it (*), talk about it and, if you want to give us a reward for all our work, why not buy the book and present your friends with it? Many thanks to Shaun Whiteside, who accepted to waive the copyright of his translation.

(*) As long as its circulation is not in contrast with the book's copyleft notice:
"The partial or total reproduction of this book, in electronic form or
otherwise, is consented to for non-commercial purposes, provided that the original copyright notice and this notice are included and the publisher and source are clearly acknowledged."

jim submits:

Gabriel Gorodetsky, Grand Delusion: Stalin and the German Invasion of
New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999. xvi + 408 pp. Maps, photos,
endnotes, bibliography, index. $40.00 (cloth), ISBN 0-300-07792-0; $18.95
(paper), ISBN 0-300-08459-5.

Reviewed by Kenneth Slepyan, Transylvania University.

Published by H-Russia (June, 2003),

Icebreaker or Titanic? Stalin's Foreign Policy, 1939-1941

In the summer of 1995, while doing research in Moscow, I lived with an
elderly Russian intelligent couple. Aleksandr Mikhailovich, an aviation
engineer, was widely read in Russian literature and history, and seemed
quite interested in my own research on the Soviet Union in World War II. In
the midst of one of our many conversations, he surprised me with the
assertion that Stalin was, of course, responsible for the rise of Adolf
Hitler, and in addition, that Hitler attacked the Soviet Union to prevent a
Soviet offensive against Germany. When pressed for evidence he pointed to
Viktor Suvorov's book Ledokol' (Icebreaker), which claimed that Stalin was
planning on attacking Hitler but that the Nazi leader surprised him with a
pre-emptive strike.

jim submits ""Socratic Apology:

A Wonderful, Horrible Life of Hans-Georg Gadamer"

Richard Wolin, Bookforum

reviewing Hans-Georg Gadamer: A Biography by Jean Grondin, trasnlateed by Joel Weinsheimer, New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press, 480 pages. 

The philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer was a modern Methuselah. He was born on February 11, 1900, and died on March 13, 2002. During his lifetime he witnessed two world wars, Hitler's seizure of power, the collapse of communism, and the reunification of Germany. In one of his final interviews, published in the German daily Die Welt, he even commented on the events of 9/11. Although Gadamer officially retired from the University of Heidelberg in 1968, this proved to be the beginning of a momentous second career. Thereafter, he was a frequent lecturer at North American universities, bringing the tidings of "hermeneutics" — the art of textual interpretation — to a new generation of students who felt alienated from indigenous American intellectual traditions.

As it so happens, I was one of them. My encounter with Gadamer occurred at a rather forsaken outpost of higher learning in Hamilton, Ontario: McMaster University. Gadamer, then age seventy-six, still had a long and productive life ahead of him. At McMaster, he taught a weekly graduate seminar on a relatively minor Platonic dialogue, the Philebus, which we read aloud line by line. Little did I know it at the time, but in the class Gadamer had reprised the theme of his Habilitation, which he had completed nearly fifty years earlier under the supervision of University of Marburg classicist Paul Friedländer.

"The Empire Strikes Back"

Anatol Lieven

A few years in Washington, DC, snake-oil capital of the universe, and you begin to think that anything can be packaged as something else. Well, almost anything. Until I read Empire, by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, I would never have believed that a postmodernist paean to Italian anarcho-syndicalism could be presented by its publishers as a defense of "the idealism of the Founders and Abraham Lincoln," and of the universal validity of the US Constitution.

nolympics submits:

"Back to the Motherland: Cuba in Africa"
Christian Parenti. Published by Monthly Review.

reviewiing Piero Gleijeses, Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington, and Africa, 1959–1976 (University of North Carolina Press, 2002), 576 pages, cloth $34.95, paper $24.95

Angola is by most accounts a decimated, nearly hopeless land, ruined by more than three decades of war. But there was a moment in the mid-seventies when this former Portuguese colony shone as a beacon of hope for all Africa. It was here that the mythic power of white military supremacy was smashed by black troops from Angola and Cuba. And though the role of Cuban volunteers in this victory inspired Africans and left internationals everywhere, the details of the story have remained largely hidden and even in Cuba, uncelebrated.

Historian Piero Gleijeses’ new book, Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington, and Africa, 1959–1976, recovers this politically far away time. It is a truly impressive accomplishment, based on ten years of research using declassified U.S. intelligence, interviews with principal players, and most importantly, vaults of never before revealed Cuban documents from the Communist Party Central Committee, armed forces, and foreign ministry. This highly detailed but superbly told story recounts Cuba’s many bold, often noble, sometimes successful interventions in Africa. The operations ranged from briefly aiding revolutionary Algeria under Ahmed Ben Bella; fighting and doctoring with Amilcar Cabral’s guerrillas in Guinea Bissau; and Che’s lost year in the Congo with the demoralized rank and file of Laurent Kabila’s Simbas; to Cuba’s finest hour, outgunned and outnumbered, on the battlefields of Angola. This last adventure forms the heart of the book and was Cuba’s largest engagement, thus its details are worth recounting.

Anonymous Comrade submits:

"Reach-Me-Down Romantic"

Terry Eagleton

George Orwell by Gordon Bowker | Little, Brown, 495 pp, £20.00

Orwell: The Life by D.J. Taylor | Chatto, 448 pp, £20.00

Orwell: Life and Times by Scott Lucas | Haus, 180 pp, £8.99

He was the son of a servant of the Crown from a well-heeled South of England background, who shone at prep school but proved something of an academic flop later on. A passionate left-wing polemicist, he nonetheless retained more than a few traces of his public-school breeding, including a plummy accent and a horde of posh friends. He combined cultural Englishness with political cosmopolitanism, and detested political personality cults while sedulously cultivating a public image of himself. From a vantage-point of relative security, he made the odd foray into the lives of the blighted and dispossessed, partly to keep his political nose to the ground and partly because such trips furnished him with precious journalistic copy. Coruscatingly intelligent though not in the strict sense an intellectual, he had the ornery, bloody-minded streak of the independent leftist and idiosyncratic Englishman, as adept at ruffling the feathers of his fellow socialists as at outraging the opposition. As he grew older, this cussedness became more pronounced, until his hatred of benighted autocratic states led him in the eyes of many to betray his left-wing views altogether.

jim submits:

"Lacanian Anarchism and the Left"

Todd May

A review of From Bakunin to Lacan:

Anti-Authoritarianism and the Dislocation of Power

Saul Newman, (Lexington Press)


The overall goal of Saul Newman's new book, From
Bakunin to Lacan: Anti-Authoritarianism and the
Dislocation of Power,
is to offer a critique of the
way power, and specifically political power, is
commonly conceived. He avoids the standard approach to

such discussions that runs through an embrace or
modification of Marx, turning instead to the more
neglected arena of anarchism and articulating it with
current thinkers associated with the term
"post-structuralism." Newman argues that what he calls

the "place of power," the idea that treatments of
power seem often to constrain it conceptually to a
certain region or type -- in effect, essentializing
power into a natural kind -- misconceive the true
operation of power. Power is, as many recent thinkers
have argued, more diffuse and uncircumscribed than
traditional progressive treatments of it, especially
Marxism, have been able to recognize.


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