What are you currently reading?

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Dry Brett Kavanaugh

Boris Yeltsin: The Struggle For Russia.




AnotherSpin

Quote from: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on June 20, 2024, 01:18:12 PMBoris Yeltsin: The Struggle For Russia.


Russian tsars, old and new, have always understood the struggle for Russia as a struggle against neighbours, near and far. They wanted to develop their own country much less, and there was nothing particularly heroic about it. Attacking someone and smashing them to smithereens is another matter! It is not without reason that the main parameter by which they assess relations with other countries is fear, whether others afraid of them or not, the more the better. And that's easy, everyone is afraid of irresponcible idiots with missiles.

Bachtoven

This is basically a retelling of Jack the Ripper, with the focus on his victims. I read this in 1991 when it was first published and thoroughly enjoyed it. So, I decided to re-read it. I forgot how luxuriously dense his writing is, which the often 2-3 page paragraphs don't help! It's still a compelling, if sordid read.


Dry Brett Kavanaugh

The Soviet Century, Moshe Lewin.




steve ridgway


Florestan

Quote from: steve ridgway on June 23, 2024, 07:42:12 AMIt was all the fault of the British capitalists in Manchester  :'(.

£2.5m penthouse named after communist revolutionary


Lenin, capitalists, sellers, ropes, hanging...
When I'm creating at the piano, I tend to feel happy; but - the eternal dilemma - how can we be happy amid the unhappiness of others? I'd do everything I could to give everyone a moment of happiness. That's what's at the heart of my music. — Nino Rota

Mandryka

#13566
 Engels wrote a tract  called The Condition of the Working Class in England which focussed on Manchester -- I think it's shocking to read even today. I know Manchester well, and the condition of the working class there now is nothing to be proud of.

There's an irony about naming the tower block after Engels. It feels funny to me.

Worth reading, @Florestan -- I expect the condition of the working class in Romania was no better -- if it indeed had a working class at that time (was Romania feudal/agrarian? -- if so count yourselves lucky! You missed the capitalist phase.)

Here

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/condition-working-class-england.pdf

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

AnotherSpin

#13567
Quote from: Mandryka on June 25, 2024, 06:30:23 AMEngels wrote a tract  called The Condition of the Working Class in England which focussed on Manchester -- I think it's shocking to read even today. I know Manchester well, and the condition of the working class there now is nothing to be proud of.

There's an irony about naming the tower block after Engels. It feels funny to me.

Worth reading, @Florestan -- I expect the condition of the working class in Romania was no better -- if it indeed had a working class at that time (was Romania feudal/agrarian? -- if so count yourselves lucky! You missed the capitalist phase.)

Here

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/condition-working-class-england.pdf



There is no need to blame Engels (or Marx) for what Lenin, Hitler (he was a National Socialist, after all) or Mao did. The connection is very irrelevant. If anywhere the ideas of E and M were even partially realised, it was in Western Europe.

I had to read quite a bit of E and M during my university years, I don't remember much of it. Not so long ago, a few months back, I leafed through Engels' Anti-Dühring, and he seemed to me a very weak thinker.

Florestan

Quote from: Mandryka on June 25, 2024, 06:30:23 AMWorth reading, Florestan -- I expect the condition of the working class in Romania was no better -- if it indeed had a working class at that time (was Romania feudal/agrarian? -- if so count yourselves lucky! You missed the capitalist phase.)

Exactly. In 1844 the vast majority of the Romanians were peasants laboring under feudal conditions (though technically they were not serfs, serfdom having been abolished de iure in 1746 in Wallachia and in 1749 in Moldavia). There were also merchants and manufacturers of the guild type. There was no bourgeoisie at that time, and no working class.
When I'm creating at the piano, I tend to feel happy; but - the eternal dilemma - how can we be happy amid the unhappiness of others? I'd do everything I could to give everyone a moment of happiness. That's what's at the heart of my music. — Nino Rota

Mandryka

#13569
Quote from: AnotherSpin on June 25, 2024, 06:58:19 AMI had to read quite a bit of E and M during my university years, I don't remember much of it. Not so long ago, a few months back, I leafed through Engels' Anti-Dühring, and he seemed to me a very weak thinker.

That may be right -- but The Conditions of the Working Class in England is more an empirical study than philosophy or politics -- at least if I'm remembering right.

Engels used to be venerated in Manchester when I was a child there, because of the way he exposed the poverty of the city. I guess the fact that they have named a new expensive apartment block after him is a reflection of this. Maybe I'm being over sensitive when I say it feels a bit funny.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Mandryka

Quote from: Florestan on June 25, 2024, 07:49:45 AMExactly. In 1844 the vast majority of the Romanians were peasants laboring under feudal conditions (though technically they were not serfs, serfdom having been abolished de iure in 1746 in Wallachia and in 1749 in Moldavia). There were also merchants and manufacturers of the guild type. There was no bourgeoisie at that time, and no working class.

Yes I once discussed this with Romanian friends here -- they are all very happy that the country is no longer communist obviously, but they do give credit to the Soviets for developing an industrial infrastructure in the country.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Florestan

Quote from: Mandryka on June 25, 2024, 07:52:53 AMYes I once discussed this with Romanian friends here -- they are all very happy that the country is no longer communist obviously, but they do give credit to the Soviets for developing an industrial infrastructure in the country.

They are wrong. It's not the Soviets who industrialized Romania, for which they actually reserved the position of granary (see the Valev Plan) but Ceaușescu --- and I'm not that keen on it either, since it was based on heavy industry which needed huge quantities of power and fuels, ie huge money which were deflected from creating and developing other vital economic sectors, such as infrastructure, tourism and public services. And after 1979, the standard of living, which hadn't been high to begin with, began to deteriorate rapidly until in the mid-80s one could not even buy toilet paper or bleeding absorbants for women, let alone food, without queuing up for hours, bread, sugar and flour were rationalized, power, heating and gas shortages were the norm --- why? well, because in his madness Ceaușescu decided that all money and power should go to industry in order to be able to pay off Romania's debts. So I ask you and your friends: what use having huge industrial facilities if the people are almost starving and literally freezing in their homes?
When I'm creating at the piano, I tend to feel happy; but - the eternal dilemma - how can we be happy amid the unhappiness of others? I'd do everything I could to give everyone a moment of happiness. That's what's at the heart of my music. — Nino Rota

steve ridgway

Quote from: Mandryka on June 25, 2024, 06:30:23 AMEngels wrote a tract  called The Condition of the Working Class in England which focussed on Manchester -- I think it's shocking to read even today. I know Manchester well, and the condition of the working class there now is nothing to be proud of.

There's an irony about naming the tower block after Engels. It feels funny to me.

Worth reading, @Florestan -- I expect the condition of the working class in Romania was no better -- if it indeed had a working class at that time (was Romania feudal/agrarian? -- if so count yourselves lucky! You missed the capitalist phase.)

Here

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/condition-working-class-england.pdf



Thanks @Mandryka , I've downloaded that, read the Introduction and found that informative so will keep reading. There's so much of that history left slowly crumbling into ruin around Manchester, found these photos of Ashton-Under-Lyne from a walk two weeks ago still on my iPad.


Mandryka

Quote from: Florestan on June 25, 2024, 08:10:30 AMThey are wrong. It's not the Soviets who industrialized Romania, for which they actually reserved the position of granary (see the Valev Plan) but Ceaușescu --- and I'm not that keen on it either, since it was based on heavy industry which needed huge quantities of power and fuels, ie huge money which were deflected from creating and developing other vital economic sectors, such as infrastructure, tourism and public services. And after 1979, the standard of living, which hadn't been high to begin with, began to deteriorate rapidly until in the mid-80s one could not even buy toilet paper or bleeding absorbants for women, let alone food, without queuing up for hours, bread, sugar and flour were rationalized, power, heating and gas shortages were the norm --- why? well, because in his madness Ceaușescu decided that all money and power should go to industry in order to be able to pay off Romania's debts. So I ask you and your friends: what use having huge industrial facilities if the people are almost starving and literally freezing in their homes?

Will report back -- but it may not be for a few weeks.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Mandryka

Quote from: steve ridgway on June 25, 2024, 08:12:14 AMThanks @Mandryka , I've downloaded that, read the Introduction and found that informative so will keep reading. There's so much of that history left slowly crumbling into ruin around Manchester, found these photos of Ashton-Under-Lyne from a walk two weeks ago still on my iPad.



Love the Victorian tiles on The Angel. If those tiles were in Turkey they'd be under a UNESCO preservation order.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Dry Brett Kavanaugh

#13575
Quote from: Florestan on June 25, 2024, 08:10:30 AMThey are wrong. It's not the Soviets who industrialized Romania, for which they actually reserved the position of granary (see the Valev Plan) but Ceaușescu --- and I'm not that keen on it either, since it was based on heavy industry which needed huge quantities of power and fuels, ie huge money which were deflected from creating and developing other vital economic sectors, such as infrastructure, tourism and public services. And after 1979, the standard of living, which hadn't been high to begin with, began to deteriorate rapidly until in the mid-80s one could not even buy toilet paper or bleeding absorbants for women, let alone food, without queuing up for hours, bread, sugar and flour were rationalized, power, heating and gas shortages were the norm --- why? well, because in his madness Ceaușescu decided that all money and power should go to industry in order to be able to pay off Romania's debts. So I ask you and your friends: what use having huge industrial facilities if the people are almost starving and literally freezing in their homes?


Theory of comparative advantages. If you can produce industrial goods at a significantly lower cost relative to the corresponding cost in the other countries, and if the cost of producing cabbage is not very low in comparison to the cost in other countries, it would be better off to focus on producing and selling industrial goods and buy cheap cabbages from other countries.

Florestan

Quote from: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on June 25, 2024, 09:02:55 AMTheory of comparative advantages. If you can produce industrial goods at a significantly lower cost relative to the corresponding cost in the other countries, and if the cost of producing cabbage is not very low in comparison to the cost in other countries, it would be better off to focus on producing and selling industrial goods and buy cheap cabbages from other countries.


This may be the case of Japan but it has never been the case of Romania.
When I'm creating at the piano, I tend to feel happy; but - the eternal dilemma - how can we be happy amid the unhappiness of others? I'd do everything I could to give everyone a moment of happiness. That's what's at the heart of my music. — Nino Rota

AnotherSpin

Quote from: Mandryka on June 25, 2024, 07:52:53 AMYes I once discussed this with Romanian friends here -- they are all very happy that the country is no longer communist obviously, but they do give credit to the Soviets for developing an industrial infrastructure in the country.

I do not think giving credits to Soviets here is correct.

Papy Oli

A couple more great short stories:

- Guy de Maupassant - Boule de Suif
- Guy de Maupassant - Les Dimanches d'un bourgeois de Paris

While pausing Swann's Way at the end of "Combray":

- H.G. Wells - The Island of Dr Moreau.
Olivier

Dry Brett Kavanaugh

Boris Yeltsin - Midnight Diaries.