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March 5, 2017

I recently read a book by Chris Bambery called The Second World War: A Marxist History (2014) and decided it was good enough to take notes on. I posted them on academia.edu, here. Marxist interpretations are typically the most interesting and valuable, so I recommend you read either the notes or the book itself. Especially because World War II was such a formative influence on ou...

November 6, 2016

Here are some excerpts from a review article of a book I’m reading called Slaughterhouse (1997), by Gail Eisnitz:

[....] The agony starts when the animals are hauled over long distances under extreme crowding and harsh temperatures. Here is an account from a worker assigned to unloading pigs: "In the winter, some hogs come in all froze to the sides of the trucks. They tie a chain...

August 8, 2016

Years ago I read and took some notes on various works by Hannah Arendt. In particular her classic Origins of Totalitarianism. It's a great book, although perhaps insufficiently Marxist and somewhat idiosyncratic in a few of its interpretations, so I posted those notes and others on Academia.edu. I also took notes on an interesting book about Max Weber's sociology of culture. And,...

January 13, 2016

A celebrated bureaucrat.— In the library today I happened to pass Harry Truman’s memoirs. Picked the book up and flipped to the pages on the atomic bomb. “…General Bloodlust [or whatever his name was] wanted to drop the bomb on Kyoto, but Secretary Stimson argued that Kyoto was an important cultural and religious shrine.” Stimson had spent his honeymoon there and had fond memorie...

August 5, 2015

It might seem wrong to maintain, as I have in many writings, that the modern predominance of bureaucratic social structures and their ethos—for which industrial capitalism (broadly defined, including the Soviet Union and even “Communist” China) has been largely responsible, in that it is an anti-personal social order in which people tend to be treated as instantiations of such ca...

May 6, 2015

Part 2 of "Thoughts on the 70th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust." Part 1 is here.-- While the industrialized murder of six million people is in a category all its own, one can observe in daily life many of the tendencies that make it possible. The thinking that sees the machinery of death as solely a thing of the past, an incomprehensible anomaly that we have decisively o...

September 10, 2014

[Note: Most of this blog consists of excerpts from books and other writings. Here's one of them--a rather grim one, incidentally. But I think that in some ways the Holocaust symbolized the twentieth century, in fact our modern corporate capitalist society, so these thoughts are appropriate ones to start with. I'll post more cheerful ones later.]

On the Holocaust.— Even seventy yea...

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