This Godless Communism (In Color)

This Godless Communism (read it and weep – PDF). Strangely enough a lot of the information is actually accurate, but it is presented in such a way that the reader cannot really stop and think about some of the issues since they are so starkly different from what one expects a “normal” life to be.

Here are some very interesting highlights:

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Random Quote: Badiou

“[Adorno’s] Negative Dialectics begins, in a way, with a long discussion of Heidegger’s ontology because the latter presents itself as another proposal for going beyond Enlightenment rationalism, which Heidegger regarded as no more than a moment in the history of metaphysics. But it actually falls short of doing so, in Adorno’s opinion, which is why he won’t hesitate to claim (much to Lacoue-Labarthe’s chagrin) that Heidegger was a fascist through and through. So Heidegger’s ontology, a rival of his own, is ultimately discredited by Adorno because it fails to go beyond Enlightenment rationalism – unlike negative dialectics, which will combine Kant’s critique and Hegel’s dialectics and transcend them in a new way.” [Five Lessons on Wagner, 30]

The Hollow Crown: Henry IV (Parts I and II)

This is already old news (with Olympics and all) but I still wanted to mention that BBC’s installment of Henry IV (Part I and Part II) was excellent. Watched as one long story, it makes for a great long enjoyable experience.

Part I and Part II do not exactly fit, I think, into one seamless narrative and they were probably not performed one after another, or so the scholars are telling me. The entire story is that of Harry becoming a king, a legitimate kind (unlike his father, or so the suspicion goes). Part II has two parallel stories developing – Harry and Falstaff. If in Part I they are bosom buddies and this fact greatly annoys the king, in Part II they are still very friendly, even if the end is near. I thought that the scene where Harry and Poins play yet another trick on Falstaff and overhear him making derogatory remarks about themselves and confront him was well done, but very much overemphasized the future break between the main characters. The purpose of the trick is once again to put Falstaff into an awkward position and watch him lie his way out (as in Part I robbery scene). The BBC version here makes it look like this is the reason Harry is going to break with Falstaff which isn’t so. Continue reading

Preface to Yakhot’s history of early Soviet philosophy

The entire Translator’s Preface published here:

Yehoshua Yakhot’s The Suppression of Philosophy in the USSR (The 1920s & 1930s) is essential reading for an understanding of the devastating impact of Stalinism on philosophy in the Soviet Union. The translator’s preface published today provides an introduction to this new English translation. To order your advance copy, click here.

bookAlthough twenty years have passed since the collapse of the Soviet Union, hardly any aspect of the society that arose after the socialist revolution of October 1917 has been exhausted by historians. To be sure, there was a flood of historical material in the half decade of perestroika before the Soviet Union was dissolved in December 1991. And, although many archival sources have become available since the early 1990s, little consensus has been reached regarding the overarching question: Was there an alternative to Stalinism?

In order to begin to answer this question, it has first been necessary to conduct extensive and painstaking work to restore the names erased from Soviet history in virtually every area: politics, literature, science, economics, and lastly, the subject of this book, philosophy. In each of these realms, the results have been uneven and incomplete, yet significant gains have been made by many researchers from the former Soviet Union, including writers such as Yehoshua Yakhot.