Step #1: Come up with an awesome idea for a story that’s decently original.
Step #2: Work on it for a month or so, trying to get it right.
Step #3: Stumble upon another book out there that’s already published and has almost the exact same plot.
Step #4: Despair.
Step #5: Remember that nothing is original and keep trying to improve writing anyway.
Does this ever happen to anyone else?

Guess what? I aspire to become an author, however I cannot seem to finish projects once I start them. I can put my ideas to writing, no problem. I can put them to paper – again, no problem. Most people cannot reach beyond those beginning steps, especially with fiction and poetry. When the time comes to start writing, I am somehow unable to organize the random lines and paragraphs I write into a single flowing unit. How do I overcome writers’ block when it comes to not writing and composing chapters, but combining them into a single work?

I suppose doing recreational drugs works for musicians. For me, there are notes, notes and more notes. To this day, I spend so much time worrying about how to precisely put down what I want to say that only panicked scraps emerge. Worse, well-structured paragraphs become dense, clunky and overwritten. I suppose there is no solution except to write rants like this in an attempt to get the juices flowing. “Just write,” I say. “C’mon, you don’t need a floating plastic bag or tantric yoga. Just write the damn shit even if it feels all wrong.” Yeah, easier said than done. I don’t mind telling my readers that I often write exactly what I don’t want to write, such as this present pile of garbage. Just cranking out a few pages of “hurr action and boobs” can make the brain move forward. There is no writer’s block for me, technically. I just don’t write how and what I wish to. What I need is a habit – the habit of getting ideas down at the very least. They can be organized later, I have done it before. Hopefully they can become coherent upon revision.

To All Anti-ML Idiots

There are those who say that Marxism-Leninism is dogmatic and is not present on the world stage. There are those who say that parties that uphold the line of Enver Hoxha are no more than internet communists. These people are idiots.

Current Reading List

Revisionism – Leopold Labedz

On the Justice of Roosting Chickens –Ward Churchill

Marxism, Revisionism and Leninism – Richard F. Hamilton

Criticism and Ideology – Terry Eagleton

Dickens Redressed – Alexander Welsh

Heathcliff and the Great Hunger – Terry Eagleton

Oxford Guide to Chaucer

Agents of Repression: the FBI’s Secret War Against the Black Panther Party & the American Indian Movement – Ward Churchill

Marxist Study of the Brontes – Terry Eagelton

A Way to Compare World Outlooks, Ideologies

The way in which various ideologies can influence one’s world outlook and evaluation of objective evidence is best shown through the following question. This shows how Marxism is far more than just a socio-political theory, as are other ideologies such as liberalism.

Q: Why do nations go to war?

A: Human nature – classical realism

Misunderstanding between peoples – idealism/liberalism

The natural state of man is anarchy and competition – Neorealism

Bad ideas and capitalist systems – Marxism/constructivism

War doesn’t exist – postmodernism

“Kubla Khan”

It is far too easy to dismiss S.T. Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” as a simple opium-induced pipe dream, though it certainly was. He imagines a fairy tale world of rulers and pleasure-domes, which even then is haunted by shrieking maidens and ice caves where no man may tread. In it, the author explores his own alienation from his body by flamboyantly demanding liberation from reality and claustrophobic imperialism.

Meanwhile, Coleridge’s highly experimental masterpiece “Rhyme of the Mariner” is rife with the same sort of alienation as “Kubla Khan,” though not nearly in such a Utopian setting. The burning question of the poem, addressed by so many scholars and academics since it was written, must be stated—why did the narrator shoot the albatross? It is an action that is given no explanation, that seems completely unnecessary and arbitrary. The shooting has more significance than it seems at first, being born out of the “modernism” of 19th century England—a world where people were first beginning to question established religious institutions, a world where pure chance creates reality, where meanings become pointless. This story gravitates towards a radically pessimistic vision of nihilistic subjectivity, and uses the albatross around the neck of our dear mariner as a metaphor for the crushing weight of man’s own alienation from himself and the works he produces, just as “Kubla Khan” uses it’s entire existence as a fantasy as an example of that same estrangement.

“Resolution and Independence”

“Resolution and Independence” is certainly one of Wordsworth’s stranger poems, one in which he sees an old leech-gathering man as an unlikely oracle. For a “gentleman” such as Wordsworth it must indeed be a rare thing to see a working class man reduced to such drudgery, but is his poem merely an aristocratic fantasy, a comfort that conceals real conditions of exploitation? It is not as simple and vulgar as that, though one would certainly be tempted to say so, due to Wordsworth’s tribute to the hard and “noble” life of the old gatherer. The question that haunts the text is whether it is a product of a man whose social views are outraged by the hardships of such working class men or promoting a conservative ideology based on the supposed moral “value” of hard work.

Unfortunately, I am tempted to say the latter, since though Wordsworth was not necessarily born into privilege, his silver-tongued language betrays the silver spoon in his mouth. He views personal and individual “resolution” as the solution to a lack of “independence” in choice of profession. There is certainly nothing wrong with the old man’s role as a producer being upheld as greater than any holy oracle, but to uphold the conditions of his exploitation as either “resolution” or “independence” is highly questionable. We may be witnessing a sign of the transition from the younger, more radical Wordsworth into the older, more conservative version.

Grover Furr on the Solidarność Counterrevolution in Poland.

Solidarność, in English “Solidarity,” was a reactionary Polish organization that led the counterrevolution against the revisionist government of Poland. Here is Grover Furr’s excellent, well-cited and and concise work on the organization.

(Originally published in Comment [Montclair State College, NJ], vol. 1, nos. 2 (Spring, 1982), pp. 31-34.

View the PDF here.

The AFT, the CIA, and Solidarność

by Grover C. Furr
English Department, Montclair State College

In its issue of Sept. 29, 1981, the Wall Street Journal, not noted for being “pro-labor,” published an interesting editorial in favor of the Polish Solidarność (Solidarity) union. The WSJ attacked those forces that, it said, questioned the connection between the AFL-CIO and Solidarity. It showed particular irritation over claims that, through the AFL-CIO, the U. S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as undertaking to manipulate Solidarity:

How easy it is to make lists of the CIA connections [with the AFL-CIO]; the parallel aims, the instances of collaboration, the communications and shared acquaintanceships. How easy to use the list to try to discredit the AFL-CIO enterprise in Poland, and more important, to try to expunge the colossal embarrassment Solidarity represents to worldwide communism.

The WSJ editorial does not, interestingly, deny the AFL-CIO/CIA /Solidarity connection at all. Rather, it warns that any publicity given this connection tends to “tarnish” or “delegitimitize” Solidarity and the AFL-CIO, and so to play into the hands of the Soviet Union. Correct, no doubt; and Counterspy magazine, the one singled out for special criticism by the WSJ editorial, is ideologically allied with the Soviets, frequently publishing articles by members of the Communist Party USA. But, what is the truth of these charges?

Continue reading “Grover Furr on the Solidarność Counterrevolution in Poland.”

Nazi Murderer of Ernesto “Che” Guevara Klaus Barbie was German & CIA Agent

From Nazi Criminal to Postwar Spy

German Intelligence Hired Klaus Barbie as Agent

By Georg Bönisch and Klaus Wiegrefe 


Klaus Barbie was a notorious Nazi war criminal known as the “Butcher of Lyon” because of his horrific deeds in occupied France. Now new research has revealed that he also worked as a spy for Germany’s BND intelligence agency while in hiding in Bolivia after the war. The agency almost certainly knew about his dark past.

The man who Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), listed in its files as Wilhelm Holm belonged to a unique species in the shadowy world of intelligence. The overweight German businessman with the carefully combed dark hair was a so-called “tipper.”

Whenever Holm noticed someone during his travels around the world who seemed to have the makings of an agent, he would send a message to BND headquarters in Pullach near Munich. In 1965, for example, after he had spent four weeks in the Bolivian capital La Paz, he raved about a fellow German who had two important virtues: He was apparently a staunch German patriot and a “committed anticommunist” — something that was practically a badge of honor during the Cold War era.

A few weeks later, the BND hired the new man as an agent. He was given the code name “Adler” (eagle) and the registration number V-43118. “Adler” lived in La Paz under the name Klaus Altmann.

But Altmann wasn’t his real name. In reality, he was one of the vilest criminals of the Nazi dictatorship: Klaus Barbie, the notorious “Butcher of Lyon.” After the war, French courts sentenced Barbie, the former head of the Gestapo in Lyon, to death in absentia. There are many indications that the BND was aware of all of this when it decided to hire him.

Delight in Torture

Barbie, who was born in 1913, personally tortured men, women and even children on the second floor of the Hotel Terminus in Lyon. The surviving victims remember, most of all, the way Barbie would laugh quietly while he tortured them. The son of a teacher from the town of Bad Godesberg, which is now part of Bonn, Barbie also had his henchman break the arms, legs and several ribs of Jean Moulin, a figurehead of the French Résistance and a confidant of the later French president, Charles de Gaulle. Moulin died soon afterwards. Barbie also ordered the deportation of Jewish children from an orphanage in Izieu near Lyon. The children were shipped to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where they were murdered.

For the last two decades, there have been suspicions that Altmann, alias Barbie, was a spy for Germany’s foreign intelligence agency. But those suspicions have only now been confirmed by BND files that SPIEGEL has analyzed in Germany’s federal archives in the city of Koblenz. According to the files, Barbie received his first monthly payment, in the amount of 500 deutsche marks, from Pullach in May 1966. He later collected performance bonuses. In most cases, the BND made the payments by wire transfer into an account with the Chartered Bank of London in San Francisco. According to the BND files, Barbie delivered at least 35 reports to the agency.

The arrangement eventually became too dicey for the intelligence agency. There was talk of a “substantial security risk” to the BND, which was apparently increasingly concerned that the East German Stasi or the Soviet KGB could blackmail Barbie by threatening to disclose his Nazi past, as they had already done with a few other BND agents.

His handler, who was code-named Solinger, met with Barbie in Madrid shortly before Christmas in 1966 and told him that, because of the federal government’s tight finances, the BND’s “budget had been cut significantly.” Latin America, Solinger told Barbie, was being abandoned as a “reconnaissance region.” Barbie was paid an additional 1,000 deutsche marks in hush money.

Convicted of Crimes against Humanity

For the BND, the “Adler” case was now closed. The spy agency also opted not to notify the German judicial authorities of the whereabouts of Barbie, even though he was a wanted murderer and war criminal.

Barbie’s cover wasn’t blown until 1972, when he was tracked down by the legendary French Nazi-hunters Beate and Serge Klarsfeld. A diplomatic tug-of-war followed that lasted for years. Bolivia eventually extradited Barbie to France in 1983, where he was convicted of crimes against humanity and imprisoned until his death in 1991.

Today there is no one left at the BND who was responsible for the Barbie case or who could be held responsible. The revelations about the agency’s inglorious role in the affair might even come in handy for the current BND president, Ernst Uhrlau. For years, he has wanted to shed more light on the history of the BND in the postwar period, when it employed a number of former Nazis. He is currently negotiating with a historical commission which would be tasked with researching the agency’s past and given unprecedented access to its files. Cases like Barbie’s reinforce the need for such an initiative.

The Americans declassified extensive intelligence files about Barbie about 30 years ago. The Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC), a former intelligence agency within the US Army, hired Barbie after the war and, for a time, protected him from French criminal investigators. In 1951, the Americans even helped Barbie flee to Bolivia. In an unusual turn of events, Washington later issued a formal apology to Paris as a result of these actions.

According to the files, the BND’s cooperation with Barbie began with the tip it received from Wilhelm Holm. Of course, some of the former SS men and Gestapo officials who were now with the German intelligence agency must have recognized the new agent from their days in the Third Reich. At least one of them, Emil Augsburg, a former SS expert on Eastern Europe, had worked with Barbie for the CIC. The Gehlen Organization, the precursor to the BND, was also aware of Barbie’s address in the Bavarian city of Augsburg until he fled to Bolivia. A BND document dating from 1964 even states that Barbie was “possibly” living in La Paz.

Expanding the Network

At the time the BND, which initially operated only in Europe, was expanding its network of agents around the world and was paying close attention to Bolivia, which was governed by a military junta. The West feared that a revolution against the military leadership could lead to the country becoming part of the Soviet sphere of influence, like Cuba.

Barbie alias Altmann lived with his wife in the Bolivian capital, where he ran a company called La Estrella, which supplied the Boehringer pharmaceutical company in the western German city of Mannheim with cinchona bark, from which the medication quinine was extracted.

In late November 1965, BND tipper Holm paid a visit to Barbie. A mutual acquaintance had set up the meeting. Holm told Barbie that he was looking for an agent for a Hamburg company and asked him whether he would be interested. Barbie apparently trusted his visitor. According to BND documents, the two men became “good friends” within a short period of time. Holm dined with the Barbie family almost every day at their table at the German Club in La Paz.

Of course, the host appears to have concealed his true identity from Holm. “Altmann,” the tipper noted, had been with the Waffen SS and had fled from East Germany in 1950. But Holm did not fail to notice the expatriate’s political leanings. For example, Barbie alias Altmann told him the story of how Jews had been barred from membership in the German Club. Barbie’s wife, who ran the club’s library, was “particularly proud” to show Holm its Nazi literature.

Part 2: ‘Discreet and Reliable’

The BND’s Department 934, which handled such cases, decided to recruit the former SS captain. They were interested in the good contacts that Barbie bragged about, such as with the Bolivian interior minister and his deputy, as well as with the head of one of the country’s intelligence agencies and the mayor of La Paz.

Barbie’s handler Solinger traveled to the Chilean capital Santiago in May 1966 to officially hire the new man and provide him with “intensive” training. The two men agreed that important information would be disguised as economic news from the lumber industry. Barbie was to note the information on special paper — “leaving a 3 cm (1.1 inch) margin all around, with no punctuation, and with no writing on the centerfold” — and send it to a teacher in Bad Bevensen in northern Germany, who would then forward the letters, unopened, to a post office box in Hamburg.

Barbie was officially classified as a “political source.” The exact content of his reports is not known, however. Perhaps he merely observed developments in Bolivia, or his work may have been focused on the German military, the Bundeswehr. A few weeks after being recruited, he became the Bolivian representative for Merex AG, a Bonn-based company that sold Bundeswehr military surplus materials worldwide on behalf of the BND. According to BND records, Barbie was to notify the Merex people whenever the Bolivians lacked weapons or ammunition.

It is clear that the BND was very satisfied with Barbie’s work. Agent 43118 was described as “intelligent,” “very receptive and adaptable” and “discreet and reliable.”

BND Denied Knowing Barbie’s Identity

After Barbie was identified by the Klarsfelds in 1972, the people at the BND who had been involved with Barbie claimed internally that they had only learned Altmann’s real identity from the press. The administration at the time had apparently “neglected to obtain official information about Altmann, even though this would have been appropriate in light of his past.”

It is highly likely that this version of events was a lie. Even Altmann’s explanation to Holm that he had fled directly from East Germany to Bolivia should have triggered an extensive background search. Indications of that search can be found in the Barbie files, which are clearly incomplete.

Most of all, however, Solinger made notes about Barbie’s past at their first meeting. Based on this information, it was clear that the new agent worked during the war for the Reich Security Head Office, the SS organization that organized the Holocaust. It was also clear that he was being sought by the French for alleged war crimes. It is hard to believe that Barbie did not take this opportunity to reveal his true identity, or that the BND staff did not at least do the relevant research after the fact.

A few intelligence officials who were not in the loop became suspicious when agent V-43118 refused to travel to Germany for training. “Could it be that there is some evidence against him — SS?” one official wrote in a handwritten comment on Sept. 13, 1966. A few weeks later, everyone involved knew that the public prosecutor’s office in Wiesbaden was searching for Barbie on the basis of a preliminary investigation by the Central Office for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Ludwigsburg.

Request to East Berlin

At this point, it also became apparent that, in the meantime, Barbie had had a run-in with Günther Motz, the German ambassador in La Paz. Barbie had accused Motz of “putting the interests of German Jews ahead of the interests of the other members of the German colony.”

Through a middleman, he had contacted a propaganda official with the East German communist party, the SED, in East Berlin, with a request to search the East German archives for incriminating information about Motz from the Nazi era. Such actions were “not exactly indicative of an appropriate attitude,” according to the BND files.

In the fall of 1966, the agency decided to part ways with Barbie, “to avoid later complications and difficulties.” It was, it turns out, wishful thinking.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

Read the article here.

Nepal’s Maoists: Surrender is “Undogmatic”

CHITWAN, Nepal — In a major step forward in Nepal’s tortured peace process, Maoist political leaders on Saturday formally relinquished control of their 19,000-member army to a special governmental committee.

At a ceremony held about 110 miles from the capital, Katmandu, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) signed a statement with the country’s caretaker interim prime minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal. Then the prime minister raised the national flag over a gathering of former Maoist fighters.

“It is a positive development,” said Samuel Tamrat, a senior United Nations official. “It shows the parties are keen to move forward and take responsibility.”

The unresolved status of the Maoist combatants had been a constant concern since Maoist leaders signed an agreement in 2006 ending their decade-old guerrilla war and allowing the Maoists to form a political party that would participate in writing a new constitution.

But Maoist leaders and Nepal’s other political parties bickered for almost five years over how to reintegrate the fighters, essentially leaving the Maoist army intact and outside the government’s authority.

Their presence has deadlocked the broader effort to write the new constitution. And for the past six months, Nepal has had a caretaker government as the parties have been unable to agree on a prime minister. Even with the handover complete, the terms of how the fighters will be returned to society or blended into security forces are still being negotiated. The government has a deadline to finish that work, choose a new prime minister and complete a constitution by the end of May.

“I want the integration and rehabilitation of all the Maoist combatants to happen as soon as possible,” said one of the fighters, Sarjan Bk, 27. “We have been staying here for more than four years.”

Kiran Chapagain reported from Chitwan, and Jim Yardley from New Delhi.

Thoughts on the DPRK

It is a well-known fact that there has not been any famine in North Korea since 1997, and that the famine that did exist was mostly the result of serious natural disasters and leftover destruction from the Korean War, not mismanagement. The videos repeatedly shown today as starving North Koreans are all from pre-1997. The US invaded North Korea on June 25, 1950 to consume it in the Syngman Rhee dictatorship that ruled in the South. In 1949 alone, there were 2,913 such incidents, some with thousands of troops. Finally, the North responded with a full invasion of the South. This is what the US government means when it says the North “started the war.”

Why is Revisionism the Enemy?

Recently a group of revisionists tried to liquidate your author’s arguments and activism by bringing up his past history of being in a variety of revisionist parties and over time changing his ideology. It is precisely because I was a member of these revisionist groups that I see revisionism for what it is. I was personally shown the ropes. But I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t buy Trotskyism or Maoism, I couldn’t follow the liberal line, and eventually saw they were all hot air and no substance.

The propagation of revisionist theories is the advocacy of bringing knives to a gunfight. It revises fundamental principles of the theory and advocates for our slaughter. Liberalized “anti-dogmatism” in the vein of the Kasamaites, Titoites, Brezhnevites and Maoists doesn’t have the strength to stop an international genocide. The reason we have to combat revisionism is for the success of revolution, and the reason we must succeed is to stop what can only be described as a genocide.

All one has to do is think of one case of suffering, and then try to imagine it multiplied exponentially. The utter depravity of what world capitalism brings about is enough to make one physically sick. Revisionists advocate peaceful co-existance and collaboration with the forces responsible for this state of affairs. This is the hallmark of all revisionists from Tito to Kautsky to Kasama Project.

The Quest for “Authenticity” in Art

“Authenticity” as preached by today’s critics is an idealist concept. The concept of “art” is an era of mechanical, industrial production frequently comes under fire by critics, who insist that the “passion” and “talent” of the art of old is all but lost on today’s youth culture, that Shakespeare is somehow more worthy of praise than modern writers, that the Rolling Stones had more “depth” and “character” than modern bands. While this notion may in some ways be right, it is wrong about quite a few of its major accounts.

The critics’ reactions to changes in the production of art-such as the fact that Van Gogh’s starry night piece now adorns many bedrooms throughout the US-are quite typical of intellectuals seeking the “real” in all things art-related. It makes me wonder how these same intellectuals feel about their books and essays being continuously reproduced, cited and read the world over due to the means of production-the publishing company-upon which they are dependant. Does that fact undermine their work’s “realness?” Does the mechanically reproduced plethora of copies diminish the “aura” of an original work of art, or do they increase it? Familiarity with copies of a painting will enhance response to the original when it is finally encountered. The work’s uniqueness is emphasized by reproduction. The only way this does not happen is if some of the original work’s revolutionary fervor is watered down by the other, copying works, in which case it is not the original work at all.

Continue reading “The Quest for “Authenticity” in Art”


The word “modernism” is intentionally ambiguous, and perhaps without realizing it is a fitting term for such a literary movement. In the most common usage it refers to the twentieth-century movement that began with the concept of the “modern” (obviously, since without this word how could one have modern-ism?) and ended up being a collection of authors and works characterized by efforts by the individual character and author to remold and reshape reality while reflecting its social ills. This is quite a simplistic analysis of an entire movement, but I will go into greater detail below.

Modernism took elements from realist literature in that it sought to realistically portray the growing social isolation and alienation of individuals caused by industrial capitalism. Characters are almost always withdrawn, and the entirety of the work contains a bitter cynicism bordering on absolute nihilistic despair. The main geographic sites for this movement were England and America post-Industrial Revolution, blooming during the periods between World War I and World War II, the main places where this system had taken hold. These first few decades of the new century begin with writers such as Joyce, Eliot, Pound D.H. Lawrence, who all stepped forward onto the literary scene by creating texts that were called highly experimental on content rather than merely form. This is the movement we now call “modernism,” though I don’t mean to use it in a reductive sense to imply that outside of these few head writers there exist no modernist movement.

Continue reading “Modernism”