English translations of venstresida texts

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Kitchen Notebooks: A Great and Terrible Climate of Political Debate - Gramsci’s Brief Clinch with Stalin

I recently acquired “A Great & Terrible World”, Derek Boothmans selection of Gramsci’s pre-prison letters (1908-1926), published by Lawrence and Wishart (it seems they are picking up the Gramsci-pace having in recent years been surpassed by Columbia University Press’ publication of Buttigieg’s edition of the complete Prison Notebooks, and the two-volume “Letters from Prison”).

Although this book dumping in my mailbox did disrupt my reading of a collection of franco-belgian bande dessinée’s under the heading “’Tempo’” (these things are rare publications in Norwegian these days), containing both Jean Graton’s ’Michel Vaillant and Charlier and Hubinons ’Barbe-Rouge, I have at the time of writing this not read the whole volume.

It is probably not a book I will read cover to cover anyhow, but rather jump back and forth in according to the subject that most interests me at the time. Anyhow - the matter at hand concerns the last two letters in the volume. And it is perhaps an attempt to partially answer the age-old questions “Was Gramsci a Leninist” and “What is a Leninist, anyway?”

Discussions in this area often center around quotes by Gramsci in this and that setting, and I have seen Gramsci presented as both a Trotskyist and a Stalinist. I have here avoided the difficult “Leninist” term, and I will briefly explain why.

After Stalin won the power-struggle, first with Trotsky, later also with Zinovjev and Kamenjev, he put himself in a position to define what was “Leninist” and what was not in the international communist movement. From before his death Lenin was the Marxist with the decidedly highest ideological authority in current questions where Marx could not be evoked. To counter Stalin, it was therefore necessary also for those opposing him, to present their ideas as Lenin’s. After Stalin’s death, Lenin was still the only authority that could overshadow him, and Lenin was thus used also by later Soviet anti-Stalinists from Khrushchev to Gorbachev.

Når størrelsen er alt

Både i kommunesektoren og i høyere utdanning er det i offentligheten presentert en retorikk som går på at "samme hva som er problemet - løsningen er sammenslåing".

I dag er jeg intervjuet i Klassekampen om regjeringens SAKS-prosess (se faksimile), og debatten om et mulig "stor-NTNU". Jeg forsøker der å påpeke det man kan risikere å miste ved slike reformer - mangfoldet i sektoren som er tilpasset ulike studentgrupper, lokalt arbeidsliv og profesjonsrettet forskning.

Merry Red X-mas 2014: MarXist X-Mas ClassiX

Finally - the X-mas album you have been looking for. Lots of leftist instant juletide classics.

This is a part of infamous Norwegian Marxist gangsta rapper Isfjells side project Less Hip Hop - More crooning. The bilingual EP contains songs on everything from unionizing, how it's "kicking off everywhere" to borrow a phrase from Paul Mason, and historical events like the cuban revolution and the ideas of Antonio Gramsci.

Palestinian Unity – Israeli War

What are the reasons for the apparent dead-lock in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Can the reasons be found in internal Israeli conditions?

Don Rosa: WHY I QUIT

Famous Dukburg author Don Rosa finally let out the truth about why he quit. It is a terrifying tale about the Disney business model. http://career-end.donrosa.de/

9 books you should read to understand the world

I meant to pick 10, but even though these 9 stood out, I had a harder time picking number 10 from a larger pool, (and I'm too modest to suggest my own book). I will try to put in some link beneath each book to some sort of resource. Thus, in no particular order:

Wilkinson & Pickett - The Spirit Level: Wilkinson and Pickett sums up large amounts of research that discloses how social inequality creates unhealthy societies on a huge variety of areas. Many areas, including health and crime suffer in unequal societies.

Daniel Pink - Drive: Dan Pink reads like he is writing for the business class airport-shopping readers, but his book sums up large amounts of research on how economic incentives ruin our intrinsic motivation, and creates poorer quality of the work performed. This book kills homo economicus and New Public Management both, once and for all.

ATIUKM - Tarzan

As sometimes happens - luckily - things fall into public domain, and anybody can share and read the fantastic Tarzan stories of great masters like Hal Foster, Russ Manning or Burne Hogarth:

Kitchen Notebooks: Disproving Economic Determinism - The Chinese Connection

As the few determined readers of this off-and-on column probably have gathered by now, I believe that one of the most important contributions Antonio Gramsci has made to modern political thought, is his break with the economic determinism of many early Marxists.

It has been an ongoing debate, to which extent Marx himself can be blamed for the rather dogmatic and mechanistic turn historical materialism took around the turn of the 19th century. It can however hardly be contested that the major contributions to this ideological blind alley, came after Marx death, by other Marxists such as Karl Kautsky and Nikolai Bukharin.

All though it is uncontroversial that humans are formed by the material conditions under which they grow up, and their thoughts are thus to an extent shaped by social class. To go from this, to claim that all of human history by necessity goes through certain distinct phases, with revolutions in-between, is naturally to take a leap into a world where the human mind’s need to construct order and patterns overshadows what can be actually concluded from empirical data.

Kitchen Notebooks: Gramsci and... Kafka (?!?)

Like Antonio Gramsci found himself confined to Mussolini's dungeons, having to jot down short lines of thought in small notebooks, I at times find myself confined to the kitchen table, by a laptop, forced by an uncontrollable impulse to comment on something I have seen or read, to write a few short lines about some subject.

I recently aquired a (Norwegian language) copy of Franz Kafkas “Letters to Milena” [1], collecting some of Franz Kafka's letters to Milena Jesenská from 1920 to 1923.