Discussion:
New title in the HM Book Series: Witnesses to Permanent Revolution: The Documentary Record
(too old to reply)
Sebastian Budgen
2009-03-25 21:19:59 UTC
Permalink
http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=210&pid=22166

Witnesses to Permanent Revolution: The Documentary Record
Edited and translated by Richard B. Day and Daniel Gaido
-------------- next part --------------




BOOKS
Available
Publication year: 2009

Series:
Historical Materialism Book Series, 21
ISBN-13 (i):
978 90 04 16770 4

Cover:
Hardback
Number of pages:
xii, 684 pp.

List price:
? 179.00 / US$ 286.00
Table of contents
Readership
About the author(s)

The theory of Permanent Revolution has been associated with Leon
Trotsky for more than a century since the first Russian Revolution in
1905. Trotsky was the most brilliant proponent of Permanent Revolution
but by no means its sole author. The documents in this volume, most of
them translated into English for the first time, demonstrate that
Trotsky was one of several participants in a debate from 1903-7 that
involved numerous leading figures of Russian and European Marxism,
including Karl Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg, Franz Mehring, Parvus and
David Ryazanov.

This volume reassembles that debate, assesses it with reference to
Marx and Engels, and provides new evidence for interpreting the
formative years of Russian revolutionary Marxism.



Introduction

1. The Slavs and Revolution (1902), Karl Kautsky

2. The Draft Programme of Iskra and the Tasks of Russian Social
Democrats (1903), N. Ryazanov

3. ?Orthodox? Pedantry (1903), G.V. Plekhanov

4. To What Extent is the Communist Manifesto Obsolete? (First edition:
1903 ? Revised edition: June 1906), Karl Kautsky

5. Revolutionary Questions (February 1904), Karl Kautsky

6. What Was Accomplished on 9th January (January 1905), Parvus

7. Up to the Ninth of January (1905), Leon Trotsky

8. After the Petersburg Uprising: What Next? (20 January [2 February]
1905), Leon Trotsky

9. The Revolution in Russia (28 January, 1905), Rosa Luxemburg

10. After the First Act (4 February, 1905), Rosa Luxemburg

11. The Consequences of the Japanese Victory and Social Democracy
(July 1905), Karl Kautsky

12. Introduction to Ferdinand Lassalle?s Speech to the Jury (July
1905), Leon Trotsky

13. Social Democracy and Revolution (25 November [12 November], 1905),
Leon Trotsky

14. The Revolution in Permanence (1 November 1905 - 25 November [12
November], 1905), Franz Mehring

15. The Next Questions of our Movement (September 1905), N. Ryazanov

16. Our Tasks (13 November, 1905), Parvus

17. Foreword to Karl Marx, Parizhskaya Kommuna (December 1905), Leon
Trotsky

18. The Russian Revolution (20 December, 1905), Rosa Luxemburg

19. Old and New Revolution (December 1905), Karl Kautsky

20. The Sans-Culottes of the French Revolution (1889, reprinted
December 1905), Karl Kautsky

21. The Role of the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat in the Russian
Revolution: Speech to the Fifth (London) Congress of the Russian
Social-Democratic Labour Party (25 May 1907), Rosa Luxemburg

22. The Driving Forces of the Russian Revolution and Its Prospects
(November 1906), Karl Kautsky

23. The American Worker (February 1906), Karl Kautsky





Richard B. Day, Ph. D. (1970), University of London, is Professor of
Political Economy at the University of Toronto, Canada. He has
published extensively on Soviet economic and political history,
including Leon Trotsky and the Politics of Economic Isolation
(Cambridge, 1973).

Daniel F. Gaido, Ph.D. (2000), University of Haifa (Israel), is a
researcher at the National Research Council (Conicet), Argentina. He
is the author of The Formative Period of American Capitalism
(Routledge, 2006) and is currently working on the history of German
Social Democracy.
Louis Proyect
2009-03-25 21:32:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sebastian Budgen
http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=210&pid=22166
Witnesses to Permanent Revolution: The Documentary Record
Edited and translated by Richard B. Day and Daniel Gaido
? 179.00 / US$ 286.00
Send 10 along to me. My hedge fund shares went up 10 percent last year
under George Soros's stewardship.
S. Artesian
2009-03-25 22:29:32 UTC
Permalink
Would love to read it, but at $286, just a bit out of reach.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Sebastian Budgen" <sebastian at amadeobordiga.u-net.com>
To: <sartesian at earthlink.net>
Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 5:19 PM
Subject: [Marxism] New title in the HM Book Series: Witnesses to
PermanentRevolution: The Documentary Record
Post by Sebastian Budgen
http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=210&pid=22166
Alan Bradley
2009-03-26 00:07:56 UTC
Permalink
From: Sebastian Budgen
Post by Sebastian Budgen
? 179.00 / US$ 286.00
US$ 286.00?

Excuse me while I roll around the floor laughing.

...

Thank you.

I won't be reading this book. Then again, I don't think anyone is meant to read it.

Alan B


Enjoy a safer web experience. Upgrade to the new Internet Explorer 8 optimised for Yahoo!7. Get it now.
Jim Farmelant
2009-03-26 00:13:31 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 25 Mar 2009 17:07:56 -0700 (PDT) Alan Bradley
Post by Alan Bradley
From: Sebastian Budgen
Post by Sebastian Budgen
? 179.00 / US$ 286.00
US$ 286.00?
Excuse me while I roll around the floor laughing.
Those kinds of books are meant to
be purchased by universities (or
at least ones that are not too strapped
for cash from the recent depression).

Oh yah, I think that George Soros
might be interested in it too.

Jim F.
Post by Alan Bradley
...
Thank you.
I won't be reading this book. Then again, I don't think anyone is
meant to read it.
Alan B
____________________________________________________________
Rock Solid Web Hosting. Click Here.
http://thirdpartyoffers.juno.com/TGL2141/fc/BLSrjpTJQdSUOVZjvq8mVyVtgSIzGnjcUUc6cMVJfwxNJLYqIUWZbYUelUE/
mkaradjis
2009-03-26 04:43:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sebastian Budgen
http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=210&pid=22166
Witnesses to Permanent Revolution: The Documentary Record
Edited and translated by Richard B. Day and Daniel Gaido
? 179.00 / US$ 286.00
Trotsky was one of several participants in a debate from 1903-7 that
involved numerous leading figures of Russian and European Marxism,
including Karl Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg, Franz Mehring, Parvus and
David Ryazanov.
This volume reassembles that debate,
Are all the writings as listed below by these authors available on
Marxists.com? Perhaps someone could just assemble a web version of the
$286 book and post a link here (or do a printout and sell it for $5)
Einde O'Callaghan
2009-03-26 11:33:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by mkaradjis
Post by Sebastian Budgen
http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=210&pid=22166
Witnesses to Permanent Revolution: The Documentary Record
Edited and translated by Richard B. Day and Daniel Gaido
??? 179.00 / US$ 286.00
Trotsky was one of several participants in a debate from 1903-7 that
involved numerous leading figures of Russian and European Marxism,
including Karl Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg, Franz Mehring, Parvus and
David Ryazanov.
This volume reassembles that debate,
Are all the writings as listed below by these authors available on
Marxists.com? Perhaps someone could just assemble a web version of the
$286 book and post a link here (or do a printout and sell it for $5)
It's Marxists.org BTW - and no the texts are not available there - they
have just been translated for the first time into English. Perhaps the
editors will make them available to us in a couple of years - after
they've sold a few copies to libraries - they have supplied us with
texts in the past.

Einde O'Callaghan (MIA)
Sebastian Budgen
2009-03-26 14:15:40 UTC
Permalink
The book will come out as a paperback with Haymarket Books in due
course, like all the books in the series.

See: http://www.haymarketbooks.org/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=&products_id=1611
http://www.haymarketbooks.org/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=&products_id=1591
http://www.haymarketbooks.org/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=&products_id=1618

Message: 26
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2009 12:33:02 +0100
From: Einde O'Callaghan <eindeoc at googlemail.com>
Subject: Re: [Marxism] New title in the HM Book Series: Witnesses to
Permanent Revolution: The Documentary Record
To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Message-ID: <49CB67EE.40203 at googlemail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252; format=flowed
Post by mkaradjis
Post by Sebastian Budgen
http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=210&pid=22166
Witnesses to Permanent Revolution: The Documentary Record
Edited and translated by Richard B. Day and Daniel Gaido
??? 179.00 / US$ 286.00
Trotsky was one of several participants in a debate from 1903-7 that
involved numerous leading figures of Russian and European Marxism,
including Karl Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg, Franz Mehring, Parvus and
David Ryazanov.
This volume reassembles that debate,
Are all the writings as listed below by these authors available on
Marxists.com? Perhaps someone could just assemble a web version of the
$286 book and post a link here (or do a printout and sell it for $5)
It's Marxists.org BTW - and no the texts are not available there - they
have just been translated for the first time into English. Perhaps the
editors will make them available to us in a couple of years - after
they've sold a few copies to libraries - they have supplied us with
texts in the past.

Einde O'Callaghan (MIA)
Paul Lefrak
2009-03-26 14:16:53 UTC
Permalink
Sorry, but as a librarian I have to make the following comment. In the U.S.
at least (and many other countries as well), you can borrow the book from
your public or university library even if your own library does not own a
copy (which will almost definitely be the case). Once you determine that
your library does not own it, ask the reference librarian to order it for
you via interlibrary loan, borrowing it from another institution. The
service should be free, at least in the U.S. Even remote public libraries
will do this. You can also request your library purchase the book--and
while many institutions do give added weight to patron requests--I wouldn't
necessarily hold my breath that they'll order it for you. Still it wouldn't
hurt to try.

One caveat: since the book is so new, it may not be in anyone's collections
yet. And most institutions will not lend their brand new material for up to
six months or a year via interlibrary loan. If there aren't that many
copies nationally and there's a lot of people waiting for it, you may have
to wait a while. Institutions also usually give priority to their own
patrons. But you should eventually get it.

Public libraries are probably the institutions that would most resemble
socialist institutions of the future. Folks should really take advantage of
them. Plus by ordering books like this you increase the odds that your
library will select titles like this (or that particular one) in the future.


Paul Lefrak


Message: 10
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2009 17:07:56 -0700 (PDT)
From: Alan Bradley <alanb1000 at yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [Marxism] New title in the HM Book Series: Witnesses to
Permanent Revolution: The Documentary Record
To: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
Message-ID: <308313.64481.qm at web53609.mail.re2.yahoo.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8


From: Sebastian Budgen
Post by Sebastian Budgen
? 179.00 / US$ 286.00
US$ 286.00?

Excuse me while I roll around the floor laughing.

...

Thank you.

I won't be reading this book. Then again, I don't think anyone is meant to
read it.

Alan B
Joaquin Bustelo
2009-03-26 21:30:11 UTC
Permalink
Paul Lefrak writes: "Public libraries are probably the institutions that
would most resemble socialist institutions of the future. Folks should
really take advantage of them. "

Bullshit. Bittorrent is the protocol that most resembles the socialist
technology of the future. Folks should rip the book and put it online.

Joaquin
John Thornton
2009-03-26 23:57:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joaquin Bustelo
Paul Lefrak writes: "Public libraries are probably the institutions that
would most resemble socialist institutions of the future. Folks should
really take advantage of them. "
Bullshit. Bittorrent is the protocol that most resembles the socialist
technology of the future. Folks should rip the book and put it online.
Joaquin
Many of us like to hold an actual book in our hands.
The idea that libraries are somehow outdated and will be replaced with
something like bittorrent is beyond funny.
I wonder what percentage of bittorrent material is virus laden?
A few years back when I was looking for some graphic and CAD software
the number of programs carrying a virus was shockingly high.
A friend told me movies have an even higher infection rate but I have no
firsthand experience with that.
If bittorrent is the new model of socialism you can keep it.

John Thornton
David Picón Álvarez
2009-03-27 03:19:14 UTC
Permalink
From: "John Thornton" <jthorn65 at sbcglobal.net>
Post by John Thornton
Many of us like to hold an actual book in our hands.
Sounds like luddism to me. Like people complaining about books versus
scrolls.
Post by John Thornton
I wonder what percentage of bittorrent material is virus laden?
Exactly zero books.
Post by John Thornton
A few years back when I was looking for some graphic and CAD software
the number of programs carrying a virus was shockingly high.
It happens. Reputation or trust metrics can help. But in the end, if you're
going to run arbitrary code, you're taking that risk.
Post by John Thornton
A friend told me movies have an even higher infection rate but I have no
firsthand experience with that.
That'd be pretty difficult it being that audio and video files are not
arbitrary code, and except for egregious codec bugs which I've seen maybe a
couple times in my life, cannot be an infection vector.
Post by John Thornton
If bittorrent is the new model of socialism you can keep it.
It's a fairly functioning one, yes. I suppose when socialism comes there
will be reactionaries clamouring for their old things too.

--David.
John Thornton
2009-03-27 16:53:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Picón Álvarez
I suppose when socialism comes there
will be reactionaries clamouring for their old things too.
This is even funnier.
People who prefer real books to electronic books are now equivalent to
reactionaries clamouring for old things when socialism finally arrives.
I assume you will put yourself in charge of re-education camps when that
glorious day comes?

John Thornton
David Picón Álvarez
2009-03-27 16:54:38 UTC
Permalink
From: "John Thornton" <jthorn65 at sbcglobal.net>
Post by John Thornton
People who prefer real books to electronic books are now equivalent to
reactionaries clamouring for old things when socialism finally arrives.
I'm very curious about what makes an electronic book not real. Is it a
figment of my imagination, perhaps? Do I need to review Hegel to work this
out?

Given the costs of production in labour and natural resources entailed by
the printing of books, I would say the topic does have a certain relevance,
yes. People who would choose some traditional commodity because of sensual
pleasure and, perhaps, some form of status conscioussness, as opposed to
what comes to be an equivalent form with essentially no cost of
reproduction, what can we call them but reactionaries?
Post by John Thornton
I assume you will put yourself in charge of re-education camps when that
glorious day comes?
What can I say? It's a dirty job but I just love doing it. Very original
quip, doubtless.

--David.
John Thornton
2009-03-27 21:25:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Picón Álvarez
From: "John Thornton" <jthorn65 at sbcglobal.net>
Post by John Thornton
People who prefer real books to electronic books are now equivalent to
reactionaries clamouring for old things when socialism finally arrives.
I'm very curious about what makes an electronic book not real. Is it a
figment of my imagination, perhaps? Do I need to review Hegel to work this
out?
A book is the physical paper and ink. A book is not the information
contained within. Books can have blank pages.
I think you'll need to revisit not Hegel but 3rd grade if you don't
understand this idea.
Post by David Picón Álvarez
Given the costs of production in labour and natural resources entailed by
the printing of books, I would say the topic does have a certain relevance,
yes. People who would choose some traditional commodity because of sensual
pleasure and, perhaps, some form of status conscioussness, as opposed to
what comes to be an equivalent form with essentially no cost of
reproduction, what can we call them but reactionaries?
Post by John Thornton
I assume you will put yourself in charge of re-education camps when that
glorious day comes?
What can I say? It's a dirty job but I just love doing it. Very original
quip, doubtless.
--David.
Funny, I didn't think of the quip as original.
I considered it a formulaic as your comment about reactionaries.

John Thornton
David Picón Álvarez
2009-03-28 13:09:35 UTC
Permalink
OK, this is my last reply on this topic, as I believe the tone is getting
out of hand (at least half of it is my fault) and I'm not sure it's entirely
on-topic for the list in any event.

From: "John Thornton" <jthorn65 at sbcglobal.net>
Post by John Thornton
A book is the physical paper and ink. A book is not the information
contained within. Books can have blank pages.
I completely disagree, and I think it's reasonable to do so. Books have
historically passed through several different stages. They have been written
on bark, parchment, papyrus, plastic. They've been written with all manners
of inks, or simply written by perforations on sheets (braille). They were
written as scrolls, codices, and probably other less successful form
factors. As to books having blank pages, a blank page is still information
(it can be conveyed through character number 12 in ASCII, for instance).

In fact, books are recognized as being "the same" across exemplars, copies,
reprints, editions, different form factors. When someone shows a book and
says "have you read this book?" they do not mean, usually, to ask if one has
read that particular copy of the book, but whether one has read that same
information in whatever format. People answer yes even if they've read an
electronic copy.

To denote particular physical embodyments of books we have words like tome
or volume. In fact the idea of a book is far from as simple as suggested,
given collections of works that are themselves at least nominally divided
into books and yet are printed and bound on a single volume.

[...]

Here you completely ignore my substantive point with respect to costs of
reproduction (natural and human) of printed books, and prefer to address
something which is completely unimportant.
Post by John Thornton
Funny, I didn't think of the quip as original.
I considered it a formulaic as your comment about reactionaries.
Either you or I or both missed a sarcasm tag here. In any event, I think
there is such a thing as reactionary thinking.
Post by John Thornton
What I objected to was the idea of bittorrent sharing as a replacement
for libraries or the idea that this type of file sharing is somehow a
"better" model for socialism than libraries.
I think there are a few reasons why this is essentially true. Mostly,
libraries are and will always be limited by scarcity constraints to do with
space, transportation, number of existing copies of a work, and the very
cost of reproduction of making such copies. They are therefore organized as
institutions to allocate and handle scarcity. BitTorrent on the other hand
is organized to allocate and handle abundance. The costs of reproduction of
works over bittorrent are near-zero, lower the more people who want to have
the work (the inverse of libraries), and essentially constant. Those works
are also, in many ways that matter, freed from the commodity form. So I
don't see why you object so straneously to either statement. BT seems
clearly, if not socialist, certainly post-capitalist.

--David.
S. Artesian
2009-03-27 18:35:24 UTC
Permalink
Come on John, nobody's saying that. But... perhaps you should consider
this-- You ever travel on a subway, Metro, in NYC, Paris, Moscow, London,
Tokyo, Mexico City, etc. and see all those school kids with all those
textbooks in all those backpacks? Well, all those textbooks would fit
easily into one 11 ounce Ereader.

Matter of fact, I'm working on a project right now to do exactly that-- put
textbooks in eformat and provide students with electronic readers.

If you want to carry a paper printed book, go right ahead, but their is a
human need for compression, condensing, information.


----- Original Message -----
From: "John Thornton" <jthorn65 at sbcglobal.net>
To: <sartesian at earthlink.net>
Sent: Friday, March 27, 2009 12:53 PM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] New title in the HM Book Series: Witnesses to
Permanent Revolution: The Documentary Record


I assume you will put yourself in charge of re-education camps when that
glorious day comes?

John Thornton
40earthlink.net
John Thornton
2009-03-27 21:35:48 UTC
Permalink
Of course e-books have a place. It's a great idea. I have a Kindle and
for some texts it's great.
There are however some book that don't translate so readily into an
electronic format.
I also happen to like books. I have thousands of them and have no desire
to see them all replaced with electronic versions.
What I objected to was the idea of bittorrent sharing as a replacement
for libraries or the idea that this type of file sharing is somehow a
"better" model for socialism than libraries.
Both are silly statements.
That someone who doesn't believe file sharing is either a replacement
for libraries and/or a "better" model for socialism is a reactionary is
an equally silly idea.
David's post made both those ridiculous claims.

John Thornton
Post by S. Artesian
Come on John, nobody's saying that. But... perhaps you should consider
this-- You ever travel on a subway, Metro, in NYC, Paris, Moscow, London,
Tokyo, Mexico City, etc. and see all those school kids with all those
textbooks in all those backpacks? Well, all those textbooks would fit
easily into one 11 ounce Ereader.
Matter of fact, I'm working on a project right now to do exactly that-- put
textbooks in eformat and provide students with electronic readers.
If you want to carry a paper printed book, go right ahead, but their is a
human need for compression, condensing, information.
----- Original Message -----
From: "John Thornton" <jthorn65 at sbcglobal.net>
To: <sartesian at earthlink.net>
Sent: Friday, March 27, 2009 12:53 PM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] New title in the HM Book Series: Witnesses to
Permanent Revolution: The Documentary Record
I assume you will put yourself in charge of re-education camps when that
glorious day comes?
John Thornton
40earthlink.net
________________________________________________
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Send list submissions to: Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
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John
2009-03-28 00:35:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by S. Artesian
Come on John, nobody's saying that. But... perhaps you should consider
this-- You ever travel on a subway, Metro, in NYC, Paris, Moscow, London,
Tokyo, Mexico City, etc. and see all those school kids with all those
textbooks in all those backpacks? Well, all those textbooks would fit
easily into one 11 ounce Ereader.
My 17 year old started an engineering degree at university this year. He
bought a heap of huge heavy text books but now he's discovered he could
(illegally I presume) download his physics text book. He now has it with
him at all times (on his laptop) and the paper one sits at home. If he
could find and download the rest he'd be delighted.

Personally I do like a physical book in my hand, but if I had a small
portable device instead of a desktop PC, my opinion might well change.

So I definitely think ebooks are the future. Libraries are increasingly
recognising this fact too.
Cheers,
John
S. Artesian
2009-03-28 00:56:21 UTC
Permalink
I LOVE the physical presence of a paper book.It's much more fun to read ink
on paper, and nothing is going to ever, ever replace a public library where
physical books are public domain-- but there's lots to be said for carrying
less, and accessing more.

Here's one thing to keep in mind-- when I was in Paris for 3 months, I
discontinued my "hard" subscriptions to the WSJ, FT, and NYT, using instead
the esubscriptions-- I found it to be twice as time consuming-- even when
using high speed broadband connections. Following the links, moving back to
the "front page" index of articles, etc. is much more time consuming than
simply reading and turning actual pages.

The demise of physical print newspapers is one of things of capital where
exchange value, the demands of exchange value, and its "efficiency" which is
measured only, again, in terms of exchange, has smothered, extinguished use
value.

In short, digital news is of great advantage to reducing costs and
aggrandizing a greater portion of profits; but it is not inherently,
intrinisically more USEFUL than print media....

We have two opposite but equal manifestations of capital that sort of sum up
the limits of technology under capitalism--

Example 1: Agriculture where the continuous overapplication of pesticides
etc. is maintained as it is the most cost-effective way for CAPITALIST
agricuture to reproduce itself despite the social cost, and despite new
technologies of controlling infestations, blights etc with "organic" or
environmentally synergistic methods.

Example 2: Digital media where the new technology replaces the old, based
purely on its value reproduction capability regardless of its usefulness.

Sorting out this dialectic willl be one of the great tasks, and
achievements, of communism.

----- Original Message -----
From: "John" <johnedmundson at paradise.net.nz>
To: <sartesian at earthlink.net>
Sent: Friday, March 27, 2009 8:35 PM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] New title in the HM Book Series: Witnesses to
Permanent Revolution: The Documentary Record
Joaquin Bustelo
2009-03-29 16:01:01 UTC
Permalink
John says: "So I definitely think ebooks are the future. Libraries are
increasingly recognising this fact too."

I think it is probably a shame that the discussion developed in a polarized,
either-or, binary way, and I know I'm at least partly to blame for making
what I viewed as a half-serious, half-flippant wise crack counterposing file
sharing technology to the social institution of libraries as the real
socialist future or whatever, only to have it taken WAY too literally, and
especially conceiving of this in a narrow, short-termist way.

But if the "napsterization-of-everything-and-nothing-less" idea was perhaps
overdone, the library-as-socialist-paradigm is also deserving of further --
and pretty serious and profound -- analysis.

I think -- nay, I HOPE and PRAY -- that the "library" model will become
outmoded. And first of all, of course, in a sense that we all agree with: as
a tiny, fenced-off, not terribly user-friendly island of "free" (but free
only as in "free beer," not as in "freedom") access surrounded on all sides
by the shark-infested waters of commercial publishing (and broadcasting,
etc.). Looked at another way, "library-ism" will expand to encompass all
"content."

But that means libraries lose their specific, elevated, distinguished
character.

Under water or in space, "air" is a special resource, carefully contained,
preserved, delivered in precisely measured and quite expensive supplies, the
very king of commodities for without it all others lose their use-value.

But where I am sitting now, air's use value hasn't changed but it isn't
anything because it is everywhere: at most it is a conduit for (at this
moment) Love of My Life by Queen, or a container for hotness, coldness,
wetness, or pollution. But air, in and of itself, on the earth's surface,
under normal conditions, it isn't anything, nothing at all.

You may think that ain't so but do a thought experiment: imagine you're
checking out some space, a hall for a concert or an apartment with someone
else, and the person looking at it with you says there was a door to a
closet on the main hallway, can you go see what is in it? You go there, open
the door, find nothing on the walls or on the floor or hanging from the
ceiling. Do you go back an say it's full of air? Or do you respond, there's
nothing there at all, it's empty.

I remember years ago writing about Napster, I think it was here, that it was
like a library of Alexandria of music. The statement was a bit hyperbolic
but only a bit. I still remember my joy at finding songs from my childhood
in Cuba, by a child music and movie star from Spain named Joselito, that I
think had never, ever been distributed in the United States, and certainly
NOT in the last forty or fifty years, and that I hadn't heard in decades.

And like that, the Tom Lehrer classics from That Was the Week that Was, the
late 50's/early 60's genre that I call "sickies," teenage love interrupted
by plane and car crashes, suicides, resuscitations of the dead and all
manner of other macabre circumstances, one-hit wonders galore, from the
folks that did Telstar and Wipe Out to Sukiyaki, the Japanese song that for
some inexplicable reason was a monster hit in 1963 [though I admit that to
hear the Bob Dylan/Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers cover of it, I had to
wait for YouTube]. Oh yeah, and the recordings of 1930's Black Cuban singer
"Bola de Nieve" (literally, "snowball.")

The question is, what librarian or group of librarians would know to have
all that available in the audio section, in addition to the obvious stuff
like Beethoven, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, beat poets reading their works
and Barenaked Ladies singing Brian Wilson -- live? It could be me. It would
HAVE to be me -- which brings to mind a RECENT addition to my music
collection, the "It could be you," which probably won't mean much to anyone
but us hard core Kyle XY fans (a just-cancelled TV series that I had only
discovered a couple of months ago thanks to a very "underground" specialized
sci-fi torrents site. And actually, its *social* side, comments people were
posting about goings on in the series, and not too much to the "supply side"
technical stuff of torrent files and trackers).

I refer to the old Napster because, although technologically it was more
primitive, in a way socially it was more advanced. In those days before RIAA
scorched-wallet lawsuits, everyone shared everything they had and you could
see what was in everyone else's collection.

When I say "bittorrent" -- really meaning unfettered file sharing -- is the
future, not "libraries," that is what I mean. The domain of freedom changes
qualitatively when EVERYONE is a "librarian," when there isn't ANYTHING
still extant that isn't available to anyone anywhere at any time with a few
clicks.

And I'll repeat here what I USED to say back in 1999 and 2000, which is that
anything and everything digital can be Napsterized, and everything that CAN
be Napterized WILL BE Napterized. Now with people downloading 8-gig rips of
blu-ray movies, the observation seems trivial, but back then it could take
hours to download a single 3meg Beatles tune, and it was not so obvious.

But it is the *implications* of the Napsterization of everything that are
most exciting. It means content becomes free in multiple dimensions. It
becomes free as in freedom: you can play it, you can sing it, you can
perform it; free as in free beer; and free as in being negated and becoming
something entirely different, free to be ripped and mixed, source material
rather than a fixed "product," a fetishized commodity.

But this TRANSFORMS the role of a library from being a repository of fixed
and finished works to being a source/dump for content, an input/output
component of a cultural blender. And library goes from being a small
isolated island to being an open-ended expanding Universe. And it shifts
decisions like: what must be preserved, what should be preserved, what could
be preserved, what can be thrown out, and what should never have been
created to begin with, FROM "librarians" TO, well, everyone, an entire
population of creator/users.

My son, that lanky kid now taller than I am that looks like he stepped out
of a Guitar Hero advertisement much of the time except that he HATES guitar
hero --"WORSE than posers"-- AND he's just discovering that Brian May isn't
just an astronomer with an asteroid named after him but God (or at least one
of them, a denizen of an Olympus where Mercury has dethroned Seuss) and he's
discovering it thanks to a really random, almost quantum interactions, like
me all of a sudden hearing Bohemian Rhapsody again a few weeks ago on a new
"good old boys" oldies station that plays, well, ANYTHING, and not just the
57 San Antonio Corporate Headquarters-blessed white bread cuts, and thereby
suddenly reawakening in me not just an interest in that music, but an
obsession with all things Queen is, this whole thing going on with me and
Queen and most of all Luke is, I think, a taste of what is coming. As is
too, of course, guitar hero.

Because what I did was to let the torrents flow -- getting complete
discographies, album covers, documentaries, concert movies, music videos and
even a learned academic discussion on gender in Wayne's World and the sexual
politics of Queen. So when my son hit me with some stuff he'd read in
Wikipedia on Bohemian Rhapsody I hit him back with the hour-long Beeb
documentary that most of those comments came from. And then he hit me with
the guitar solo -- well, a part of it, anyways, and a guitar version of the
repetitive cross-handed piano part that introduces what I think of as the
main section of the song.

Because Stuff that REALLY catches his ear, he plays, not just on his iPod,
but on his guitar. The way people with guitar hero do, except they sound
better than my son, with his little 10-watt amp but enjoy it less, I
suspect.

Of course, in the bright communist future of humanity, there won't be a need
for guitar hero, because adolescents won't have to take civics and economics
and even history and algebra will be significantly easier, leaving plenty of
time to learn guitar and piano, or the Harp, for that matter.

My idea of hell -- or at any rate, of the failure of communism -- is a place
with gatekeepers and suggesters/esforcers of good taste.

And my idea of success is one where anything and everything is preserved,
where there is nothing outside the library and thus the library ceases to
exist at all, but withers away, like the state, dissolving into society as a
whole. And librarians are replaced by ever more complicated and intelligent
search algorithms on Google.

Joaquin

Joaquin Bustelo
2009-03-27 22:44:25 UTC
Permalink
John Thornton replies to my saying Bittorrent, not libraries, are the future
with:

"Many of us like to hold an actual book in our hands.

"The idea that libraries are somehow outdated and will be replaced with
something like bittorrent is beyond funny."

Well, libraries have ALREADY been displaced by bittorrent and other file
sharing in the video and audio fields. The issue with books is more one of
the display device. Paper and ink are still superior display technologies to
LCD's. But sometime, probably within the next few years, someone will make a
display device of equal or "close enough" quality and then that will be the
end of many/most books. And *despite* inferior display tech, online is
absolutely massacring daily and periodical print.

"I wonder what percentage of bittorrent material is virus laden?"

Based on my experience, a tiny fraction of one percent.

There aren't very many downloads that are "virus laden," since the use of
antivirus software is quite widespread and someone who downloads a virus
will most likely have it detected and quarantined automatically. And people
let those running trackers and indexing sites know, so the file you need to
start the download is no longer available and the swarm is no longer
organized by a tracker and it dissipates.

If it isn't the FIRST person to complete the download, it will be the
second, third or fourth. And for popular content, it isn't unusual for tens
of thousands of people to be in the swarm over the first few days. The
chances that a download that's been completed by one or two dozen people
being "virus laden" are infinitesimal. I've never seen it happen.

That is in part because, as a practical matter, to use movie, music or text
files as malware you'd need to place them in a proprietary (usually
Microsoft) format that allows simple content containers to do all kinds of
other things, especially telling your computer what to do. And you'd need to
access them with software that enables this behavior, like from Micro$oft.

"A few years back when I was looking for some graphic and CAD software the
number of programs carrying a virus was shockingly high.

"A friend told me movies have an even higher infection rate but I have no
firsthand experience with that."

Does your friend happen to work for a media monopoly or copyright cartel as
a publicist?

Seriously, I download literally hundreds of movies, tv shows, music videos
and other video files a year. I can't remember the last time such a file, or
an audio file, or a book or magazine was infected with a "virus." And I
download stuff from all over, including fairly way-out private sites,
usenet, as well as the most public trackers.

Virtually the only times I've ever found actual malware is in executables,
i.e., program files. And there you will find the more outrageously
overpriced a program is, the more likely the free file is to be infected.
Things like CAD programs, Avid video editing suites, photoshop, dreamweaver
and so on. And anything that says it is or has a keygen (a generator of keys
that activate a program) is almost certainly some sort of Trojan. As to who
might be BEHIND the malware, let me just say I would not be flabbergasted to
discover it was the very software publishers of the infected programs.

"If bittorrent is the new model of socialism you can keep it."

Well, it isn't a model of a post-capitalist society, but it IS a striking
illustration that the commodity form arises from monopolization of the means
of production (in this case, the production of copies). Once freed from this
monopolization, the works shed their commodity form, and an integral part of
this is that they become subject to ripping, mixing re-editing and so on,
creating once again the beginnings of a non-commercial or "folk" cultural
production.

* * *

One more thing about malware ("viruses"). In my day job as a journalist I
have had a significant focus on sci-tech and especially computers for two
decades, and for a decade until a couple of years ago it was my major focus,
my "beat." There's a HUGE amount of misinformation/disinformation out there
about computer "viruses" and especially a huge amount of hype that is absurd
on its face about how every day thousands of new viruses are "discovered"
and so on. For *many* years I would not run anti-virus software on my
computers simply because they took up too much of the computer's resources.
Now that we have absurdly fast processors wallowing in gigabytes of RAM, I
do run a couple of the scans on the freeware version of AVG, but would not
hesitate for a second to disable it if it had the slightest negative impact
on performance. Keeping antivirus software updated manually and scouring
dangerous downloads is really all you need (and, oh yeah, the good sense NOT
to run the latest-and-greatest computer game the very day it becomes
available on file sharing networks, but waiting a few days so anti-virus
"definitions" catch up, in case there is malware embedded in it).

That's not for everyone, I realize. You are substituting your own expertise
(but not nearly as great as some geeks pretend) for the brute-force clean
room bubble "security" programs create. Reliance on that bubble is ALSO
dangerous: the software cannot protect the computer from the carelessness,
gullibility or stupidity of a user with PHYSICAL access to the box.

In MY OWN case, I run an open home network which people can join freely. And
the individual computers aren't firewalled, networking with windows is hard
enough without it. I can "lock down" the network not just with a password
but restricting it to only authorized (my own) computers and making it
largely invisible to others in about 30 seconds, should I want to for bill
paying or shopping. But for the rest time, I'm happy to share.

Bottom line, the internet and computer networks are much less dangerous than
it is claimed.

The REASONS such a dire picture is presented by ALL the media is that they
are ALL part of the copyright cartel, and in bed with the "security"
software racketeers who both advertise on news media and feed it "content"
that in reality is just more advertising for their products.

Joaquin
chegitz guevara
2009-03-27 00:14:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joaquin Bustelo
Paul Lefrak writes: "Public libraries are probably the institutions that
would most resemble socialist institutions of the future. ?Folks should
really take advantage of them. "
Bullshit. Bittorrent is the protocol that most resembles the socialist
technology of the future. Folks should rip the book and put it online.
Joaquin
If you look at the texts included, it already is online, most likely.
Einde O'Callaghan
2009-03-27 00:40:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by chegitz guevara
Post by Joaquin Bustelo
Paul Lefrak writes: "Public libraries are probably the institutions that
would most resemble socialist institutions of the future. Folks should
really take advantage of them. "
Bullshit. Bittorrent is the protocol that most resembles the socialist
technology of the future. Folks should rip the book and put it online.
Joaquin
If you look at the texts included, it already is online, most likely.
No they're not - I work on MIA and I'd know if these texts by these
writers were available online since I'm one of the people dealing with
these authors. None of the texts have been published in English before -
that's why Richard Day and Daniel Gaido spent time compiling and
translating this collection. And we haven't gotten round to publishing
the German texts either because, for example, most of Kautsky's stuff
from this period is in Gothic script which is difficult to OCR without
very expensive software etc. etc. etc.

Einde O'Callaghan
Ambrose Andrews
2009-03-29 05:43:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by chegitz guevara
If you look at the texts included, it already is online, most likely.
I dunno - I looked for quite a few of them and most weren't on MIA or
elsewhere obvious.

-AA.
--
Ambrose Andrews
LPO box 8274 ANU Acton ACT 0200 Australia
http://www.vrvl.net/~ambrose/
mailto:ambrose at vrvl.net
home:+61_262305976
work:+61_261256749
mobile:+61_415544621
irc:{undernet|freenode|oftc}:znalo
xmpp:ambrose at jabber.fsfe.org
sip:znalo at ekiga.net
CE38 8B79 C0A7 DF4A 4F54 E352 2647 19A1 DB3B F823
556A 6D19 0904 827C 9DB8 3697 32D0 1E11 403F 2BE1
Einde O'Callaghan
2009-03-29 10:33:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ambrose Andrews
Post by chegitz guevara
If you look at the texts included, it already is online, most likely.
I dunno - I looked for quite a few of them and most weren't on MIA or
elsewhere obvious.
As I've already pointed out they are not in MIA because we are dealing
with new translations of documents that have never appeared in English
before.

In case it has escaped people's notice, most documents in the history of
Marxism were NOT written in English and only a very small proportion of
them have ever been translated into English.

The translators and editors hsve contributed documents to MIA in the
past and I'm sure that after teh print editions have covered their costs
- in particular we wouldn't like the forthcoming Haymarket edition to
suffer a loss (we also collaborate with Haymarket) - we can hope that
the comrades will make the texts available to us.

Einde O'Callaghan (MIA)
Ambrose Andrews
2009-03-29 10:53:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Einde O'Callaghan
Post by Ambrose Andrews
Post by chegitz guevara
If you look at the texts included, it already is online, most likely.
I dunno - I looked for quite a few of them and most weren't on MIA or
elsewhere obvious.
As I've already pointed out they are not in MIA because we are dealing
with new translations of documents that have never appeared in English
before.
Yes, sorry. I redundantly replied to an older message before reading
the rest of the thread.

-AA.
--
Ambrose Andrews
LPO box 8274 ANU Acton ACT 0200 Australia
http://www.vrvl.net/~ambrose/
mailto:ambrose at vrvl.net
home:+61_262305976
work:+61_261256749
mobile:+61_415544621
irc:{undernet|freenode|oftc}:znalo
xmpp:ambrose at jabber.fsfe.org
sip:znalo at ekiga.net
CE38 8B79 C0A7 DF4A 4F54 E352 2647 19A1 DB3B F823
556A 6D19 0904 827C 9DB8 3697 32D0 1E11 403F 2BE1
Workers' Republic
2009-03-26 19:16:28 UTC
Permalink
And then wait while your library hands over your lending record to the
Department for Homeland Security . . .
Message: 9
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2009 09:46:53 -0430
From: Paul Lefrak <lefrak at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Marxism] New title in the HM Book Series: Witnesses to
Permanent Revolution: The Documentary Record
To: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
<b0eece200903260716q44edc4di724188632274a5f1 at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
Sorry, but as a librarian I have to make the following comment. In
the U.S.
at least (and many other countries as well), you can borrow the book
from
your public or university library even if your own library does not
own a
copy (which will almost definitely be the case). Once you determine
that
your library does not own it, ask the reference
Paul Lefrak
---
'In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she
receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons
her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.' Proclamation of
Independence, 1916.

'The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on
the brain of the living.' Karl Marx, 1852.

www.workersrepublic.org
chegitz guevara
2009-03-26 19:26:17 UTC
Permalink
As if they aren't already monitoring your activity.
Post by Workers' Republic
And then wait while your library hands over your lending record to the
Department for Homeland Security . . .
Michael Friedman
2009-03-26 20:29:44 UTC
Permalink
Message: 24
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2009 09:03:23 -0000
From: "Paddy Apling" <e.c.apling at btinternet.com>
Subject: [Marxism] Dyson on Global Warming
To: "Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition"
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Message-ID: <C3CA7121AD274D73BC32430A5BF338DE at PaddyPC>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
I have not raised the issue of global warming on this list for many moons,
but the fact that we have just gone through the coldest winter for many
years
"we"? It's G-L-O-B-A-L. Get it???
--
Michael Friedman
Ph.D. in Biology
City University of New York

Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics
American Museum of Natural History
79th Street and Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Office: 212-313-8721
Cell: 718-812-4246
nada
2009-03-27 03:53:51 UTC
Permalink
Bitorrent and file sharing is only one small part of cyber-communism.
The key is, of course, being "Open Source", getting rid of copyrights,
expanding access via free accounts, fiber optics and satellite hook ups,
destruction of Great (and small) Fire Walls, etc.

David
Tom Cod
2009-03-27 04:21:43 UTC
Permalink
[below is a local Alaskan retrospective on the Exxon Valdez oil spill, an event I was personally involved in as a local resident, fisherman and clean up worker. Presently I remain one of thousands of class members in the lawsuit against Exxon but have only received around $900. of the hundreds of millions awarded in damages. I am working on writing something up about my experiences with this historical episode. I was in Kodiak when it it happened and got involved in organizing Kodiak Crewmens Association to represent our interests. In previous years I had worked in Cordova and Valdez itself. needless to say organized political groups from the radical left played no role in this, except for some of us who had a previous background therein.]

VALDEZ, Alaska -- Tankers had come and gone from the Valdez oil terminal for 12 years, including more than 8,700 trips without a serious accident. But then came the infamous voyage of the Exxon-Valdez.
It was the pride of the fleet and Exxon's newest tanker that ran aground on Bligh Reef shortly after 12 a.m. on Good Friday in 1989.

Eight of the ship's 11 cargo holds were ripped open, and nearly 11 million gallons of North Slope crude oil spilled into the pristine waters of Prince William Sound. It was the beginning America's worst environmental disaster.

"You got to see it for yourself to really get the feel for what's happened to the beaches around here," said one oil spill clean up worker back in '89. "And it makes me angry, because it was totally preventable." With the oil spill response system totally inadequate and overwhelmed, the oil drifted through the sound. It eventually traveled 460 miles from the shipwreck, and 1,300 miles of shoreline were polluted.

"It's dead, everything is dead," said another clean up worker. "It's three feet deep. Did you know that?"
The black tide took a heavy toll on the sound's wildlife. "We haven't seen one live animal in this whole cove," said an animal rescue worker shortly after the spill. The carcasses of more than 35,000 birds, and 1,000 sea otters were found after the spill. But since most of the bodies of the dead animals sank, many believe this was only a small fraction of the actual death toll.

The spill touched off a wave of anger among local fishermen. "I want to know why Exxon and the rest of these are so adamant about not hiring local people to equip their boats that are ready to go out and save their own fisheries," said a fisherman during a 1989 Exxon hearing.

Exxon said it spent more than $2 billion to clean up the spill. "It's a well-meaning effort, but we're never going to get Prince William Sound cleaned up," said a clean up worker. And now, 20 years later, Exxon-Valdez oil can still be found along the sound's rocky beaches, as the debate continues about its effects on the environment.

"The sea otters are not back at the levels they were in the west side of the sound, as well as some of the seabird population, and ducks," said Nancy Bird with the Prince William Sound Science Center. The spill touched off a two-decade-long legal battle between spill victims and Exxon.

"They dumped the oil right in my back yard right where I live, and I feel even what they've paid me so far is not enough," said a local man affected by the spill. "But in terms of dollars, they'll never be able to pay me for what they did -- never." The company paid $300 million to Alaskans and businesses, and $1 billion in settlements to the state and federal governments.

Nearly 32,000 spill victims wanted Exxon to pay punitive damages, but last year the U.S. Supreme Court handed them a bitter disappointment. The justices reduced a $2.5 billion punitive damages judgment against the company to $500 million. "The average payment per individual will be about $3,000, but many will receive nothing," said attorney Lloyd Miller.

A lot has changed since the spill. An arsenal of spill response equipment is now on standby in Prince William Sound. "I sleep better having been involved in the effort 20 years ago," said Bruce Painter with Ship Escort/Response Vessel System. "I sleep much better with what we have in place now."

High-powered tugs now escort loaded tankers through the sound. "It really changed everyone's mindset around what could happen in the sound if we don't pay attention," said SERVS Director Mike Meadors.
The spill made protectors of Prince William Sound determined to keep it from happening again.

"I think it enlightened a lot of people," said Valdez fisherman Pat Day. "I think a lot of people who just took it for granted became more involved, and their emotion became deeper because they saw it hurt." But even though there is wide agreement that the precautions put into effect after the Exxon -Valdez

ktuu.com (Anchorage TV Channel 2)

_________________________________________________________________
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David Picón Álvarez
2009-03-27 07:25:33 UTC
Permalink
From: "nada" <dwaltersMIA at gmail.com>
Post by nada
Bitorrent and file sharing is only one small part of cyber-communism.
The key is, of course, being "Open Source", getting rid of copyrights,
expanding access via free accounts, fiber optics and satellite hook ups,
destruction of Great (and small) Fire Walls, etc.
Completely agree. It's a fairly interesting tech though, insofar as it helps
in sharing out the bandwidth in an efficient way. Certain things that are
somewhat in the horizon and that I think are of relevance for this mission
too would include mesh networking and cognitive radio. The catchiest slogan
I've read on this (for the US context) is by Eben Moglen: broadcasting is
unconstitutional!

One thing which is also necessary and isn't getting done more due to social
than technological issues is a big uptake of cryptographic tools. Tools like
GnuPG and its front-ends allow to set up trust networks and even can help
pseudonymous handles to acquire certain trust over time, used correctly. The
GnuPG web of trust is a very powerful model. Same for CACert, which offers
free SSL certificates.

--David.
Paul Lefrak
2009-03-28 20:42:53 UTC
Permalink
This has been an interesting discussion, but I think there's a false
counterposition being stated: that of libraries as being essentially seen
as repositories of dead-tree books vs. the unlimited and way in which
e-books can open up much greater storage capabilities and access (including
free access) to a much less... weighty... quantity of printed material.

Comparing *social institutions* like public libraries to a *technology* or a
technological protocol like e-books or bittorrent is worse than comparing
apples and oranges. Forward thinking libraries and those in the profession
do NOT see e-books as competition to libraries as public institutions. Many
public libraries have begun to lend e-book readers and electronic books to
users for free. Library professionals can help users navigate the many
formats and ways to access material and help with finding such material that
may not be apparent to the user. And more than just books as well.

Certainly public libraries under capitalism are subject to all the
distortions of being a capitalist institution: budget cuts, ideology,
scarcity of radical viewpoints, a liberal capitalist ethos, support for all
the reactionary restrictions of copyright and the way artists and authors
are compensated under capitalism, capitalist management and anti-labor
policies, cooperation with the state, etc. One could make the same points
with regard to historically progressive things like public transportation as
well.

The point I originally wanted to make was that as social institutions,
public libraries contain the future germ of socialist society in being much
more than just dusty bookshelves. They have real potential to serve as
community centers, "peoples' universities", and as institutions that can
provide free access to all forms of lifelong learning. Despite all the
distortions of being a capitalist institution (and believe me, there were a
lot... I was the union steward for the librarians in my system!), the public
library where I worked offered, completely free of charge (yes, I understand
they did come out of property taxes): public Internet access, computer
training, literacy training, tens of thousands of free public programs,
storytime for children, concerts, performances, art exhibits, language
exchanges, community meeting spaces, reference assistance, special
collections, access to all sorts of databases not found on the internet,
assembling oral histories, tax assistance, small business advice, talking
books for the blind, after-school tutoring, interlibrary loan, etc.... in
addition to the more "traditional" services of lending and providing access
to print books, audiobooks, periodicals, movies, documentaries, and music.

I think it's just wrong to counterpose public libraries to e-book technology
and bittorrent. The latter have incredible potentials and need to be
integrated into public libraries as social institutions, ones that will
someday still exist and be far better than they are now under capitalism.
Maybe I'm biased, but I would argue that public libraries are probably one
of the best things even under capitalism, at least in the USAmerican 21st
century version of it.

I don't remember who made the point that public libraries may potentially
cooperate with U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, but the same holds true for
bookstores and medical records as well. Certainly by subscribing to
something called "marxmail" you'd be taking probably about the same risk as
you would by ordering a radical title from your public library in the U.S.

E-books are fantastic. But they are a technology based on the individual
(not that that's necessarily a bad thing...) as opposed to a social
institution like public libraries which are community-based. I think this
aspect has been missing from the discussion which at least for me has been a
good one, even if it has been more than a bit U.S.-focused (which I admit
I'm contributing to here).


Paul Lefrak
Shhhhhh.....


Date: Sat, 28 Mar 2009 14:09:35 +0100
From: David Pic?n ?lvarez <david at miradoiro.com>
Subject: Re: [Marxism] New title in the HM Book Series: Witnesses to
Permanent Revolution: The Documentary Record
To: "Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition"
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Message-ID: <93495FCF02A74992B32052D1EF8336D1 at Nautilus>
Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed; charset="iso-8859-1";
reply-type=original
[...]
Post by John Thornton
What I objected to was the idea of bittorrent sharing as a replacement
for libraries or the idea that this type of file sharing is somehow a
"better" model for socialism than libraries.
I think there are a few reasons why this is essentially true. Mostly,
libraries are and will always be limited by scarcity constraints to do with
space, transportation, number of existing copies of a work, and the very
cost of reproduction of making such copies. They are therefore organized as
institutions to allocate and handle scarcity. BitTorrent on the other hand
is organized to allocate and handle abundance. The costs of reproduction of
works over bittorrent are near-zero, lower the more people who want to have
the work (the inverse of libraries), and essentially constant. Those works
are also, in many ways that matter, freed from the commodity form. So I
don't see why you object so straneously to either statement. BT seems
clearly, if not socialist, certainly post-capitalist.

--David.
Louis Proyect
2009-03-28 22:12:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Lefrak
This has been an interesting discussion, but I think there's a false
counterposition being stated: that of libraries as being essentially seen
as repositories of dead-tree books vs. the unlimited and way in which
e-books can open up much greater storage capabilities and access (including
free access) to a much less... weighty... quantity of printed material.
I want to put in a good word for libraries for without Columbia
University's, I would not have been able to provide the kind of content
that I have to mailing lists since 1992 when I first discovered the
Internet (yes, I know some of you don't think much of that content--tough.)

When I go to the library on campus looking for a particular book, I
always spend some time looking at the books surrounding it on the
shelf--often finding something just as useful or even more useful. It is
really quite an elevating experience.

Unfortunately, this experience cannot be replicated at a public library
where the stacks are off-limits. Perhaps the main thing that socialism
can enable is a library where people are invited strongly to examine the
actual bookshelves.
Bill Quimby
2009-03-28 23:56:02 UTC
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Post by Louis Proyect
When I go to the library on campus looking for a particular book, I
always spend some time looking at the books surrounding it on the
shelf--often finding something just as useful or even more useful. It is
really quite an elevating experience.
Yes, absolutely! And it is not just seeing a title, but opening the interesting
book for a few minutes and browsing the contents. I recall running into
Count Witte's memoir and noting his disdain for Roosevelt (Teddy) because
he did not offer wine with lunch! (This on his travel to Portsmouth for the
1905 Peace Treaty.)
Post by Louis Proyect
Unfortunately, this experience cannot be replicated at a public library
where the stacks are off-limits. Perhaps the main thing that socialism
can enable is a library where people are invited strongly to examine the
actual bookshelves.
Ummh.. You may be thinking about the NYPL and the whole "submit a request,
wait for 45 minutes" phenomena which is pretty unusual. Most public libraries
have open stacks.

- Bill
Post by Louis Proyect
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