|Andy Wilson (ed)||:||Cosmic Orgasm: The Music of Iancu Dumitrescu|
|Jim Higgins||:||More Years for the Locust: The Origins of the SWP|
|Ben Watson||:||Blake in Cambridge|
|Dave Black & Chris Ford||:||1839: The Chartist Insurrection|
|Sean Bonney||:||Happiness: Poems After Rimbaud|
|Ray Challinor||:||The Struggle for Hearts and Minds: Essays on the Second World War|
|Ben Watson||:||Adorno for Revolutionaries|
Azmud: An Oily Saga on the Surface of the Wordbath in 5 Expired Generations
Published: Mar 2012, 270pp
Daphne Lawless: Like many a missive from that Better-World-That-Exists-Alongside-This-One, AZMUD's very varied title is a literal route in - a Hebrew (or Arabic?) style triliteral root in ('ZM'D), which the meaning is condensed in consonants unviolated by vowels which move anywhere. IT'S MUD. In a dreamworld where commodity fetishism is reversed, capital as dead labour comes to life - the internal combustion engine, the newspaper press, the construction crane, the hydro dam rage to monomaniacal, theocidal dreamlife. The river of life flows backwards and uphill as waste products feed on themselves in a floodland that's driven apart and a crewmember on a red blood cell wonders what it's all about. A solitary I goes down the gurgler over and over again, and the life of the unicellular and famous is revealed as biochemical warfare. It's a trip, true fiction-science.
More Years for the Locust: The Origins of the SWP
Published: Jun 2012, 330pp
Blake in Cambridge
Published: Apr 2012, 168pp
Blake in Cambridge was written after reading William Blake’s visionary epic Milton during extended bouts of childcare in Coram’s Fields in the summer of 2010. Blake in Cambridge is the Marxist critique of Eng. Lit. Christopher Caudwell was meant to write, but screwed up due to a CPGB sociology which denies literature the chance to answer back. In Marx’s polemic, the jokes of Tristram Shandy and Don Quixote became weapons in class struggle. This, argues Watson, is how Blake can and should be used.
The Association of Musical Marxists says: A revolutionary party would not be paranoid about its members’ proclivities. It would not try, like the Lindsey German-era SWP, to insulate members from avant garde extremes and bathe them, infant Cleopatras, in a dilute milk of inoffensive, politically-correct culture – soggy crumbs from the bosses’ table. We need to pierce the veil of moralism and fear which protects the bourgeois racket. Blake for the masses! Start here…
1839: The Chartist Insurrection
Published: Apr 2012, 268pp
Those elements or key events in Labour movement history that have not conformed to the theory of the ineluctable evolution of the movement into a party committed to peaceful constitutional reform have been either written out of history altogether or relegated to mere historical footnotes. Often they are portrayed as deviations at best irrelevant to or, worse still, hindering the progress of effective working-class political representation.
Those historical actors or movements that in Britain explored or attempted other routes to political change are generally considered condescendingly as primitives or patronisingly as naïve as soon as they ventured down the path of physical force or large scale resistance associated with Revolution rather than Reform.
Consequently, in most histories of the British Labour movement the story of the Chartists has focused on the large-scale mobilisations of petitioners, the development of mass-circulation radical newspapers for working people and the promulgation of the tactic of the general strike, the ‘sacred month’ or ‘big holiday’. The Newport Uprising and other attempts to use physical, as opposed to moral force have been, if not hidden from history, then at least pretty heavily disguised.
With its meticulous attention to detailed sources, its comprehensive scope and its exacting research, this book doesn’t just address the neglect of this important and interesting episode in Labour movement history, but more importantly it also challenges us to think again about the revolutionary potential of the British Labour movement.
By challenging the prevailing hegemony relating to the events and significance of 1839, this book assists us greatly in understanding the potential for future challenges to the system.
John McDonnell MP, Foreword
In retrieving the suppressed history of the Chartist insurrection, David Black and Chris Ford have written a revolutionary handbook. Without romanticism or condescension, they track the difficulties of unifying local revolts without selling out to the ‘representative politics’ favoured in the parliamentary charade. As today’s anti-capitalism faces the problem of anger without organisation, the lessons of the Chartists become crucial. Dialectics is not something to be derived from pure philosophy: by looking at the political problems of an insurgent working class, Black and Ford resurrect the true One-to-Many dialectic.
Association of Musical Marxists
Happiness: Poems After Rimbaud
Published: Sep 2011, 128pp
It is impossible to fully grasp Rimbaud’s work, and especially Une Saison en Enfer, if you have not studied through and understood the whole of Marx’s Capital. And this is why no English speaking poet has ever understood Rimbaud. Poetry is stupid, but then again, stupidity is not the absence of intellectual ability but rather the scar of its mutilation.
Rimbaud hammered out his poetic programme in 1871, just as the Paris Commune was being blown off the map. He wanted to be there. It’s all he talked about. The “systematic derangement of the senses” is the social senses, ok, and the “I” becomes an “other” as in the transformation of the individual into the collective when it all kicks off. It’s only in the English speaking world you have to point simple shit like that out. But then again, these poems have NOTHING TO DO WITH RIMBAUD. If you think they’re translations you’re an idiot. In the enemy language it is necessary to lie.
The Struggle for Hearts and Minds: Essays on the Second World War
This book of essays is a shocking read, but the shocks arrive from the history itself, not sensationalist writing. We’ve been told that the Second World War was a war against evil waged by the goodhearted and true. The spectre of Hitler and Nazism is invoked every time NATO bombs are aimed at a defenceless country.
In his scathing account of ruling-class fears, plans and allegiances, Ray Challinor shows how much their every move was governed by competition and self-interest – and anxieties about popular reaction. His evidence shatters the comforting national myth which has been spun around the cataclysm – and shows that people, working-class people, do not like killing each other, they had to be cajoled and manipulated into doing so.
Adorno for Revolutionaries
Published: May 2011, 256pp
Starting with the commodity form (rather than the 'spirit' lauded by everyone from Classic FM retards to NME journalists), Adorno outlined a revolutionary musicology, a passageway between subjective feeling and objective conditions. In Adorno for Revolutionaries, Ben Watson argues that this is what everyone's been looking for since the PCF blackened the name of Marxism by wrecking the hopes of May '68. Batting aside postmodern prattlers and candyass pundits alike, this collection detonates the explosive core of Adorno's thought.
The Association of Musical Marxists says: Those 'socialists' who are frightened of their feelings can go stew in their imaginary bookshop. For us, great music is a necessity. To talk about it is to criticize everything that exists.
"For those who have the ears to hear I strongly recommend Adorno For Revolutionaries as a substantial and very readable effort." Dave Black, Hobgoblin