100th Anniversary of Enver Hoxha

From the EMEP, the legal wing of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey

We’re here for celebrating the 100th birthday of Enver Hoxha. He was the resolute defender of proletarian socialism, the leader of the International Communist Movement and of the anti-revisionist struggle, the great friend of the oppressed peoples and the architect of the revolution and socialist construction in Albania.

After the 22 years of his dead, we must talk about his struggle to build socialism in Albania and help to the international workers’ movement. We don’t need to compliment him, but we need to introduce him to the new generations. Because, his struggle against all types of revisionism, such as Kruschevism, Titoism and Euro Communism; his resistance to defend Marxism-Leninism; and his estimation on the imperialist strategies of the Soviet Union have great importance.

It’s obvious that, preserving the proletarian character of Marxism-Leninism; developing and practising it by analysing the concrete situation lies on the bases of this big resistance and comprehension. Comrade Enver Hoxha characterised the reason for the attacks of these counter revolutionary currents and the imperialist bourgeoisie on Marxism-Leninism, and the importance of defending it as follows: “It is not a coincidence that the imperialists, the bourgeoisie and the revisionists are directing the sharp point of their spear at our victorious doctrine Marxism-Leninism. Without Marxism-Leninism there can be no genuine socialism.” (Report to the 8th Congress of the PLA)

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A Nice Cup of Coffee

[An article I wrote on Dec. 22, 2009]

If one looks up volumes written on the subject of coffee, most likely they will take the form of table books or cookbooks with very little instruction, aside from a few attractive pictures of the drink, and perhaps some rudimentary tours of its various flavors, coupled with only a very few frustrating teasers of tips on how to make it. It is difficult to find any detailed exploration of coffee. In addition, aside from books totally centered on the subject, even the best breakfast books contain no explanation of the flavors of various types of coffee, nor do they explain the exact difference between espresso and cappuccino, brewed coffee or French press, or what are the costs and benefits of a Turkish grind.

This is very odd, seeing as how not only has coffee been one of the foundations of global civilization and trade as we know it, but also given the fact that the method of making coffee is the center of many disputes.

In Europe and America it has only a few hundred years of history, contrasted with hundreds of thousands in Africa, and yet as a worldwide commodity coffee is on the level of cereal grains and crude oil. Most of the modern workforce cannot start the day unless they have a cup of coffee. Indonesian students rise in the wee hours to have breakfast consisting of boiled bananas and coffee even from the age of eight. The coffee industry currently employs millions. All this, and yet finding information about it is still a matter of trial and error. When looking through my head for the recipe for my perfect cup of coffee, I find many points which I have had to acquire myself over years of consumption.

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Crisis & Capital In Wuthering Heights

The majority of Victorian literature is the product of the petty-bourgeois class, and Wuthering Heights is no different. The tumultuous ideological storms contained within demonstrate a crisis in the ideology of the 19th century Victorian petty-bourgeois class to which Emily Bronte was born. Frequently, novelists and intellectuals have a reflective role to play at a point of history where a crisis has impacted the prevailing base and has thereby begun the upward quake to the very spires of the ideological superstructure. The crises in the areas of estate, racial tensions and the family unit are all explored, but more than anything else, Wuthering Heights marks the crisis of individuality versus custom, since the contradiction between the social expectations of class privilege and the selfhood advocated by the rising neo-liberal capitalist system is the very essence of Victorian bourgeois consciousness.

From the start, Bronte seems more interested in showing the reader a world that is beset by the same conflicts as her own rather than an escapist daydream. Terry Eagleton says that “Wuthering Heights is […] an apparently timeless, highly integrated, mysteriously autonomous symbolic universe” (1), which utterly defies the prevailing methodology of fiction literature to remove the reader from the discord of his existence. Most fiction novels come close to portraying what we would call “myths,” that is, the illusory resolutions of real contradictions within society for the purpose of the story in such a way as to validate ideology and the societal status quo. Although it is inherent to fairy tales and children’s stories that the hermetically-sealed bubble of this world never be burst, oftentimes with adult novels this purpose is stricken by strains in achieving its “proper” ideological closure. Indeed, the novel itself loyally reproduces the various disasters assaulting Europe, manifested in individual characters.

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Content is Chief, Form is Chaff?

The form of a poem or story (as opposed to its content) is not merely ornamental or window-dressing, nor is it merely “fleshing out” the content. It has its own life within the text, and forms as simple as the note arrangements of classical music or the rhyming pattern (or lack thereof) of a piece of poetry can better expose the need that the production of the work fills. Take-for a ready example-the lines of the Devil in John Milton’s Paradise Lost. When Satan speaks, the parameters of the rhyming schemes seem to melt away, replaced by whatever the character seems to want to say instead of what the syllable count allows. The flow of the poem is thus disrupted greatly by his presence. He ends every line with a violent or intense word, appropriately as he speaks of “dripping poison” into other’s lives to make up for his own bitterness at his inability to experience “sweet interchange.” In this way, the formlessness of those verses showcase the character’s desire for chaos and destruction, in this case of the poem structure, and his intense hatred for all things orderly and peaceful with the enjambment of each line.

The Concept of the “Other” in Kim

Kipling seems to fancy himself as the first Eric Schlosser. In his story Kim, the presence of the concept of the “other” is scarce, even nonexistent, to the point of a noticeable, glaring omission. British, Indian and Tibetan cultures have minor contradictions with each other, but none is presented as particularly “domineering” over one another even within the context of colonial relations. No one is demonized; no one is more advanced or nobler than the other. Whatever ideologies might justify it, there is no particularly sharp mention of the destruction of previous forms of social organization (symbolized by characters such as the Lama), which seem merely dizzied rather than lost. Without realizing it himself, since this is the nature of ideology to fill the gaps and to consist on what the text hides, Kipling has constructed here a highly differentiated examination of pre-globalization before such a term existed. One cannot separate the full explanation of imperialism from late nineteenth-century colonialism and the necessary spread of capitalist production that comes from those particular stages. Such a spread, such as that from Britain to India, is globalizing, and imperialism has the ability to hide cultural and ethnic conflicts as much as it has the power to aggravate them for monetary and political gain. This is what we see a slice of in Kim.

Scott’s Denied Bourgeois Mentality

Sir Walter Scott may have denied traditionalism and the ruling class culture of his time personally, but his novels provide no alternative to those bourgeois doctrines and rather in the values of that system find their own comfortable justifications for existence. To illuminate the question of class ideology and how it is reflected in Sir Walter Scott’s works, one only needs to examine aspects of the author’s life and how the prevailing culture influenced him. Following the path of cultural analysis, one can then investigate Scott’s works and see that his main characters follow the dominant bourgeois ideology. Whether or not this was intentional and the secondary, more passionate characters are meant to be the “true heroes” of the novels, the existence of the heroes themselves demonstrate Scott’s capitulation to established bourgeois perceptions of idealism and heroism.

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William Blake’s “Nurse’s Songs”

In order to grasp their meanings, the two versions of the “Nurse’s Song” in both William Blake’s the Songs of Innocence and the Songs of Experience are to be read not through what they show literally, nor even what they appear to mean (the obvious “red herring” interpretation), but rather what they hide. At their joined ideological base, both works reveal a stunning critique of the bourgeois and feudal culture. Ultimately Blake resists the dominant ideology, first by opposing it, albeit unintentionally, then by strongly affirming it in a satirical manner. All of this is accomplished through the actions and the shifts in perspective of the unnamed nurse character, which in the end reveal the true purpose of the two works.

Much like the two volumes in which they are contained, the two “Nurse’s Songs” seem at first to be examinations of human development and mental stages of life. The poem features children at play in the hills while their elder nurse watches over them. Eventually she bids them to come back inside when the daylight begins to die. The youths, of course, then plead for the right to stay out for as long as the smallest amount of light exists. Immediately, a few subtleties jump out at the reader.

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Blake’s “Visions of the Daughters of Albion”

The main character Oothoon in The Visions of the Daughters of Albion is a liberation figure challenging not only male chauvinism and marriage but the institution of slavery and imperialism in general. The female protagonist Oothoon, a sex slave who is raped by the slave driver Bromion, is clearly made to represent both the fertile, virginal and innocent lands of the pre-colonialism New World and the oppression of the women of Blake’s time, who were, like slaves, treated as property of their husbands. In the course of his poem Oothoon becomes the ultimate symbol for liberation both as a woman and as a slave. Even though the author slyly created Oothoon as a European woman whose skin is described as “snow white” in order to elicit sympathy from European readers that a dark-skinned woman might not have received so heartily, she still becomes the voice of subjugated races.

Social conditioning is also examined as a force in society, since all three characters are chained (literally on the accompanying plates) by the conventions of the society they inhabit and the patriarchal, property-oriented and colonialist attitudes thereof. Bromion says explicitly to Oothoon, “Thy soft American plains are mine, and mine thy north & south: Stampt with my signet are the swarthy children of the sun: They are obedient, they resist not[.]” The double meaning here is transparent.

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William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence” & “Songs of Experience”

William Blake’s Songs of Innocence is often thought of as the lighter, happier of the two collections of poems known as the Songs, the other of course being its polar opposite—the Songs of Experience. Upon the first reading of the text this proves to be superficially true, in that the Innocence songs are more uplifting. Upon further inspection however, there is undeniably a dark cloud of foreshadowing hanging over the work. Almost no poem in the collection is completely free from darkness, even if the characters inside the text do not outwardly recognize it. The introduction seems happy enough, with a fanciful cherub figure instructing the narrator to write his song down on paper so that it might be preserved forever and “all may read.” The underlying acknowledgement of the ephemeral nature of man-made creations boasts of an unusual maturity for a so-called “Song of Innocence.”

Soon after this, the verses of “The Ecchoing Green” subtlety speak of the process of aging and the passage of time by portraying a group of “old folk” reminiscing about their younger days when they played sports on the Green, which is now “darkening,” literally and figuratively. This disturbing trend continues with “The Blossom,” which contrasts contention with existence, personified in the happy sparrow, with suffering, personified by the sobbing robin. At the same time this depicts the two opposing views of society—the classes who benefit from it and those that suffer from it. The most infamous examples of this are “The Chimney Sweeper,” in which child laborers are comforted by the bourgeois idea “if all do their duty, they need not fear harm,” and “Holy Thursday,” in which Blake uses negative imagery of angels and metaphor to ridicule the pious idea of pity as a virtue. Class consciousness is considered to be a facet of “experience,” but the reader should remember that children are also aware of injustice, which Blake is aware of and shows to be so.

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Communism & Fascism: Same Thing?

I am sick to death of all these idiots comparing Stalin to Hitler and Nazis to Marxist-Leninists. It is time to face facts: comparing Communists with Nazis is objectively pro-fascist. It is completely unrealistic and only helps out the other side, including the fascists, Nazis, reactionaries and monarchs. It only assists them in whitewashing and cheapening the crimes of the Nazis and turning Nazism into a mere insult, a cliché, rather than the true danger it is.

Not only that, it indirectly blames Communism, the force that destroyed fascism, for the rise of fascism, by placing them both in the same so-called “totalitarian” category. This succeeds only in removing the blame from the CAPITALIST CLASS, which are the true people to blame for the rise of Hitler, Mussolini, Pinochet and Franco, since fascism is the last resort of a desperate and violent bourgeoisie that is losing its power. Hitler may have risen to power by speaking out against the big capitalists, but that was only because socialism was very popular in Germany at the time, and once he was elected Chancellor he did everything he could to save big German capital. Not to mention the very first people he sent to the gas chambers, before even the Jews, were the German communists, as shown in the popular “first they came for the…” quote, in which the first thing he says is, “First they came for the communists…”

All the reactionary ivory tower intelligentsia are eager to put forward this analysis of the swastika and the hammer & sickle being comparable only because throughout history intellectuals have been the willing puppets of the ruling class, whether it be kings, slaveowners or automobile moguls.

Fascism and Communism are not the same thing; in fact, fascism is merely the logical conclusion to bourgeois democracy. This is elementary common sense. Capitalism leads to fascism. Every wise human being knows this. So do not doubt—those intellectual idiots who prance around saying “Stalin is worse than Hitler” are objectively on the Nazis’ side and are working on their behalf.

Crisis Theory According to Marx

According to those who claim to understand Marxism but do not, in other words those that claim to understand Marxism the loudest, Marx dealt with reality like “cold, dead matter.” Of course, the authors of these theories have to resort to resolutions so flimsy that they can be seen through like glass, such as this idea of Marx viewing the universe as plainly deterministic, which is an old and annoying anti-Marxist straw man. To believe it, you would have to have no knowledge of Marx and Engels’ dealings with conflict and contradiction in matter, no knowledge of dialectics and basically have not read any Marx for your entire life, not even in High School.

In fact, Marx offered a complete crisis theory inherent in capitalism. The formula c:v (constant capital : variable capital), works initially to accelerate, but then to crash the long-term development of mankind’s means of production proportional to labor power, M:L. This gives rise to the concept of “financial crisis,” which is built into the “boom and bust” style of capitalism. Because the advancement of the means of production to labor power is the source of all material progress and social progress, it’s therefore not hard to argue that capitalism is an unsustainable system – one that inhibits social, productive and political development.

Despite the simplicity of the notion that capitalism is prone to surpluses followed by crises, and is unsustainable in the long-term because it operates like a pyramid scheme, it has never been grasped by bourgeois economists, for how can a class admit its own eventual, inevitable death if it is to remain in power? The intellectuals like the Austrian School of Economics work for the bourgeoisie as loyal servants.

In summation, the alternative to overthrowing capitalism is fascism, which will bring humanity to barbarism and destroy whatever progressive elements capitalism has created. For more on this, check out the section in Marx’s Capital entitled, “The Law of the Tendency for the Rate of Profit to Fall.” Adam Smith tried pitifully to rebuke it, as has everyone else. So far (do not faint!) no one has.

Merry Stalinsmas!

4,000 carnations for Stalin’s birthday

MOSCOW – RUSSIAN Communists placed four thousand red carnations on Stalin’s grave beside Kremlin walls on Tuesday to celebrate what would have been the Soviet dictator’s 131st birthday.

Communist supporters raised 80,000 rubles (S$3,412) in a fundraising drive with the slogan ‘Two carnations for Comrade Stalin,’ organiser Igor Sergeyev told the Interfax news agency.

Carrying a red flag and led by Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, they piled the flowers beside a bust of Stalin that stands on his grave and round its neck.

Mr Zyuganov on Tuesday called for the ‘re-Stalinisation’ of Russian society in an open letter to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who has frankly criticised the rights abuses of the Soviet era.

The leader warned against a draft law, proposed by the presidential council for the development of civil society and human rights, which would ban the glorification of Stalinism.

‘Mr Putin and Mr Medvedev’s stability is based on what Stalin and the Soviet authorities created. They have not created anything themselves in 10 years,’ Mr Zyuganov said at a news conference on Tuesday. — AFP


Eliot’s Alienation

A modernist exercise in capitalist angst, T.S. Eliot’s famous masterpiece “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” at once exposes the crumbling of bourgeois society and the utter disintegration of its culture as a meaningful epoch. Considered by many to be the first modernist poem, its verses certainly carve out a splendid picture of the isolation and contempt for the status quo that marks modernist and postmodernist literature. More than that, it illustrates the emptiness and superficiality of class society through the middle-class male persona of the narrator, who is kept nameless but is presumably Eliot himself speaking through a fictional character.

The sense of being lost begins with the quotation at the beginning of the poem. Translated, it reads: “If I thought my answer were to one who could ever return to the world, this flame would move no more; but since no one has ever returned alive from this depth, if what I hear be true, without fear of infamy I answer you.” The quote, which comes from Dante’s Divine Comedy, is originally spoken by a lost soul in hell. This gives quite a first impression of the emotions to come from the main body of the poem.

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John Webster’s “A Dirge”

John Webster’s’ “A Dirge” is a delightfully gloomy poem contrasting the power and the all-encompassing inevitability of death with the beauty and balance of life. It seems to ponder on this deep subject, using images of nature to communicate its message. Webster makes his purpose immediately clear by the title-a “dirge” itself is a dismal funeral song. The verses clearly speak of death and the eternal nothingness that may reside afterwards-never in the poem does Webster mention anything about the eternal soul or afterlife. Clearly he is not concerned with life or metaphysics, but with death and the natural world.

Indeed, animals and nature are a reoccurring theme throughout the concise poem. “Call for the robin-redbreast,” it begins, “since o’er shady groves they hover, and with leaves and flowers do cover, the friendless bodies of unburied men.” His description of trees, birds and animals is undeniably beautiful even as his account of the bodies of forgotten men being covered in leaves is emotionally draining to the reader. Webster addresses wrens and robins, two kinds of small birds which fed on insects-perhaps those same insects currently feeding on the corpse’s flesh? At once, he speaks to loneliness and beauty, death and life in one package.

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