We believe that the Anarchists are real enemies of Marxism. Accordingly, we also hold that a real struggle must be waged against real enemies
I’ve heard ratios expressed both ways, so idk how much it matters. Maybe it’s harder to accurately estimate muscle mass? This does it by total bodyweight, I think:
This has been my deload week from regular training, so I’ve just been chasing rabbits.
Today was a conditioning set of front squats, then back squats, then deadlifts, all for 20 with no rest in between. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to do 20 reps all around!
Coming from a place of calm and positive thinking for big sets has been really helpful to me. I’ve really fed into negative energy to hype myself up for big lifts in the past and I think it’s been bad for me. Going for calm has been better! :)
I’m glad to see the dumbbells are shaping up!
I went into this expecting it to be dense and academic, but I was pleasantly surprised at the conversational tone of the preface. The essays in this collection were collected from the International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences in Quebec in 1983. A couple of the essays in the volume are by the editor and a man with the same last name - I’m assuming a spouse or relation. It lends a kind of cozy feeling to know that the editor has that much interest in the topic!
Standout quote: “Bromley made the cogent point that, indeed, all nations are developing, and, by extension, to label one part of the world developed and the other underdeveloped is a denial of history.” (ix)
Essay 1: Marxist Perspectives on the Terms of the Anthropological Discourse Concerning “Third World” Countries
By Keith E. Baird
The point of this essay seems to be a critique of the power imbalance between “western” and “non-western” anthropology down to the origins and commonly used terms in the field.
He calls out anthropology as the study by Western Europeans of peoples over whom they established total dominance.
I liked the quote: “For ‘Third World’ peoples the reclamation of territory is only one aspect of national liberation. An important aim yet to be achieved is complete intellectual emancipation from their former overlords and full recognition of their rightful status as equals in the family of humanity.” (2)
He mentions the military dominance of the West being a factor in their ability to dominate the rest of the world.
I thought it was interesting that he took a paragraph to explain what he means in the essay by “a marxist perspective”. It’s really rad to have the term defined before he leans on it. I can transcribe the paragraph if there’s interest! :)
A bitter sweet part of this essay is that it’s written in 1983, and says a lot of complimentary stuff about Soviet Ethnography and how the Soviet Union is the “quintessential Marxist society”.
A quote I liked: “Significantly absent from Marxist anthropological concern is the preoccupation with physical characteristics of ethnic communities which is still a feature of Western ethnographic discourse.”
He talks about the inaccuracy of using physical descriptors for ethnicity to avoid biological determinism, because no racially un-mixed peoples exist, and because there are no clear-cut anthropological boundaries between contiguous ethnoses. I think it’s really neat to see that examined, because physical characteristics seem to be a huge staple in Western ethnic descriptions.
He includes this definition: “an ethic community proper…may be defined as an historically formed aggregate of people who share relatively stable specific features of culture (including language) and psychology, an awareness of their unity and their difference from other groups and an ethnonym which they give themselves” (6)
It’s really rad to see the western obsession with race disposed of so handily.
He concludes with saying that perceptions of and interactions with a culture do not occur in a vacuum, and that anthropologists should move away from terms that demean “third world peoples”.
He adds a quote at the end that ends with “Marx belongs to us all.”
I think this was a neat read, surprisingly absent of any academic stuffiness I was expecting. Def not an essential read, but it brought up things that I thought were interesting! :)
This isn’t proof, but a general summary:
He ran for political office in Vermont, and PCUSA really advertised it at the time.
The conclusion here is short, and may not have called for it’s own discussion day. There are some quotes that I liked in this section:
“As Huson notes, this philosophy is money, and its primary method of relationality is destruction. There is another word for a money-driven system that expresses its existence through destruction: Capitalsim”
“The Red Nation is serious about building alternatives to the world of capitalism that we currently endure”
“How will we enforce Indigenous political, scientific, and economic orders to successfully prevent our mass ruin? This is the challenge that we confront and pose in the Red Deal, and it is the challenge that all who take up the Red Deal must also confront”
There’s a bit on p. 144 in my edition that talks about how they spent hours talking with “Indigenous communities throughout Turtle Island and beyond” to draft and develop the Red Deal. I liked reading about how it was developed, and would’ve liked to know more about that process, who they talked to, and really who the authors are. I’m not sure if that’s a failing in the text, or my personal curiosity.
In summation, I think this is an important work. I think any communist in the U$ could use to read it. I’m left with the feeling that it’s a conflicted work. I think there’s clearly some division in the authorship, in the methodology of writing, or in the shared line of the writing collective. There are parts that are clearly supportive of the Green New Deal, and of lib reformism, but the majority calls for an end to Capitalism. I’m not quite sure what to think of that.
The authors mention in the conclusion that they do not feel Indigenous people write enough. I’m glad this work was written, and that I read it. I would like to read more in this vein. This is an excellent work in examining what is currently wrong with capitalism/settlerism in the U$, and what areas should be worked on. I found it kind of lacking in the “what to do” area, but I’m not sure they ever meant to address that. You can’t really be a colonized person in the belly of the beast and speak that clearly, I guess.
Def worth a read!
I think the Border Trilogy are the most accessible of his work. All the Pretty Horses is the first one, but The Crossing made me cry. I didn’t care for some of the themes in Cities of the Plain. That’s the only one of his I didn’t finish.
I’d say “No Country for Old Men” is probably the easiest to read (originally written as a screenplay) but I think the pacing and characters in The Border Trilogy are more familiar. I’d go with All the Pretty Horses as a recommendation, I guess.
He can be a really lovely writer, but intentionally uses some very archaic words, and doesn’t use quotation marks. I stop noticing the grammar stuff after the first chapter or two, but it can be jarring at first!
I’m currently listening to “The Way of Kings” by Brandon Sanderson. I’ve read some of his books before, and I really like the world he’s building, but this is a 45 hour audiobook!!
I just finished the “Ancillary” trilogy by Anne Leckie, and it might be my favorite sci-fi trilogy of all time. Good hard sci-fi without feeling old and stuffy, and a refreshingly believable politically-guided plot.
I have one chapter left on “No Country for Old Men” to read. McCarthy always effects me weirdly, and I have goosebumps reading the last little bit. This is probably my 5th re-read, but it’s still very vivid.
Probably 80%+ of what I read comes in audiobooks from the library, with a smattering of audible books thrown in. I get stuff from libgen pretty often, but I have a hard time really reading ebooks on my phone. Someday I’ll get a reader! I do like to buy used books too.
The theme for this section seems to be areas of importance in making sure that we have a planet to survive on. Capitalism is inimical to our survival, after all. :)
“There is no hope for restoring the planet’s fragile and dying ecosystems without Indigenous Liberation” - the intro comes out directly with the point. “Healing the planet is ultimately about creating infrastructures of caretaking that will replace infrastructures of capitalism”
They make a point of calling land the means of production of Indigenous people. I like phrasing it that way. There’s also an interesting bit about moving away from “trauma-informed thinking” and towards a “collective well-being”. I quite like the quote “you have to stop crying on the shoulder of the man who stole your land”.
I highlighted a shitload in the intro, just because I liked so much of how it was phrased and what they said. Definitely worth a read!
Area 1: Clean and sustainable energy
They talk about the damage fossil fuel extraction and fracking does. Calling the Navajo Nation the “largest resource colonies in the United States” was interesting to me, and a new way of thinking.
There’s a great bit against all the “green projects” that are pushed recently - saying they take land from native peoples and don’t actually bring jobs or anything to them. They also highlight the problems with lithium extraction, which I think is great! This seems to contrast with the complimentary tone they talked about the Green New Deal in the first sections, though.
They say a transition to green energy under capitalism won’t help, but say that change “can be accomplished with boycotts and divestment campaigns” (no it can’t).
Area 2: Traditional and sustainable agriculture
They highlight the key role indigenous people play in farming and caretaking the land, and how colonial violence centered on removing seed crops and banning traditional foods.
“Imperial borders directly affect our trade and seed sharing with our relatives internationally”
“Having control over our ancestral territories is vital to our ability to care for them and is a generations-long pathway to true sustainability”.
They have a bit against GMO crops which I think is a little unfair. Capitalism is the problem with the GMO crops we have, and the selective breeding that has made us so much food is a form of genetic modification!
Area 3: Land, water, air, and animal restoration
This section highlights the magnificent loss of biodiversity, and the full extinction event we’re living through currently. It also highlights how important natives peoples are in hanging on to the little biodiversity we have left.
The recommendations section falls super flat to me here:
“Popular tactics for Indigenous land return include land trust campaigns and honor taxes, whereby trusts are created with the purpose of purchasing land back or where Native nations occupied by cities assert that occupiers pay the tribe an “honor tax””
“Anyone can promote food sovereignty in their local context by gardening, on a small or a large scale”
I really don’t understand if this book is meant to be a reformist call for gradual changes, or the manifesto of what should happen after a full revolution. Is it a violence fetish for me to expect them to discuss effective methods of effecting change? Are the authors even safe calling directly for attacking The Beast that is the U$?
They do end with “Ending all forms of toxic capitalism will take us a long way in restoring the land to health” so that’s cool.
Area 4: Protection and Restoration of Sacred Sites
This section basically calls for the U$ to respect native sacred land, and stop murdering people who try to protect it. Short and sweet. I thought it was interesting that they say “public land is stolen land”. True, but I’ve never seen that stated before in the U$.
Area 5: Enforcement of Treaty Rights and other agreements
They mention that colonizers see treaties as business transactions to open up Indigenous territory.
This section is more about freeing Indigenous peoples to make treaties with each other, which is cool. They highlight that native treaties are different and sometimes had flexible boundaries.
They highlight the People’s Accord of Bolivia as something to strive for. I’m not familiar with it, so I think it’s worth a look!
All-in-all this was a really solid section with some new ideas to me. I’m glad I read it!
"During the cold war, the anticommunist ideological framework could transform any data about existing communist societies into hostile evidence. If the Soviets refused to negotiate a point, they were intransigent and belligerent; if they appeared willing to make concessions, this was but a skillful ploy to put us off our guard. By opposing arms limitations, they would have demonstrated their aggressive intent; but when in fact they supported most armament treaties, it was because they were mendacious and manipulative. If the churches in the USSR were empty, this demonstrated that religion was suppressed; but if the churches were full, this meant the people were rejecting the regime’s atheistic ideology. If the workers went on strike (as happened on infrequent occasions), this was evidence of their alienation from the collectivist system; if they didn’t go on strike, this was because they were intimidated and lacked freedom. A scarcity of consumer goods demonstrated the failure of the economic system; an improvement in consumer supplies meant only that the leaders were attempting to placate a restive population and so maintain a firmer hold over them.
If communists in the United States played an important role struggling for the rights of workers, the poor, African-Americans, women, and others, this was only their guileful way of gathering support among disfranchised groups and gaining power for themselves. How one gained power by fighting for the rights of powerless groups was never explained. What we are dealing with is a nonfalsifiable orthodoxy, so assiduously marketed by the ruling interests that it affected people across the entire political spectrum."
Michael Parenti, Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism
I think it’s Grain Eater