Guerrilla History Newsletter #4
Our reading/listening list for 13 August 2022
Hello dearest Guerrilla History listeners!
We’ve had a very busy week at the respective “offices” of Guerrilla History, with several great recordings taking place that you should all be looking forward to. Before we let you know about some of the upcoming things coming down the pike, we want to make sure everyone knows about our latest episode. We just launched a new mini-series yesterday! The topic is Sanctions As War, based off of the eponymous book, which is out from Brill and is set to also come out (much more affordably) from Haymarket in the coming months. The series is set to run for a couple of months, and will include numerous case studies of the pernicious impacts of sanctions on various countries. We started with a theoretical grounding of the topic with the editors of the book, Immanuel Ness (who has been on three previous episodes of the show - Workers Movements in the Global South, US Imperialism & the Western Left, and China & the Western Left) and Stuart Davis (who, while being a first-time guest of the show, is a brilliant scholar and a longtime listener of GH himself!). We can’t recommend this episode introducing Sanctions As War enough! We also already have two of the case studies recorded and ready to come out in the coming weeks - Cuba with Helen Yaffe and Yugoslavia with Gregory Elich. Be sure to stay tuned for those!
We also have episodes recorded and being edited featuring Noam Chomsky and Vijay Prashad, as well as Ben Norton of Multipolarista, so there’s a lot of new things to be excited for. As for our hosts’ latest, Adnan is currently working on a book on the crusading culture (check out his appearance on The Red Nation where he talked about this concept a bit!). Henry and his partner Safie also just recorded an episode of What the Huck?! with Dr. Harriet Fraad on the American culture of mass murder which should be released around the time this newsletter comes out, and is also working on finishing the edits of a new translation of Domenico Losurdo’s Stalin: History and Critique of a Black Legend. Meanwhile, Breht has released two new things on Revolutionary Left Radio in the past week. The first of which was a “passing the hat around” short appeal for a loved one of his in desperate need of assistance, while the second was a full episode titled Psychodrama: J.L. Moreno, Psychosociology, and Marxism with guest Walter Logeman.
The Reading List
Let’s turn now to our slightly shorter than usual list of reading/listening picks from our hosts and guests. To find the article/episode, just click on the name and the link will take you to it! If you want to go back to the episode(s) of Guerrilla History that the guests have appeared on, simply click on their name and you will be directed straight to the episode.
In preparation of our upcoming episode with Noam Chomsky and Vijay Prashad, we’re going to recommend you go way, way back to the first full episode of the show! In this episode with Vijay, we discussed his recent book Washington Bullets, which is an examination of the overt and covert US interventions abroad and their impacts. This will flow very well with the upcoming episode, which looks at the legacy of US interventions in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, as well as the fragility of US power. We of course also highly recommend reading the book itself!
The recommendations from the latest episode of RevLeft are in the show notes, but we will also include them here. "Who Shall Survive?" by Jacob Moreno, The Essential Moreno: Writings on Psychodrama, Group Method, and Spontaneity, and The Philosophy, Theory and Methods of J. L. Moreno: The Man Who Tried to Become God by John Nolte will provide a great look at the works and thought of J.L. Moreno. Of course, it is also worth checking out the blog of the episode’s guest, Walter Logeman.
Samir Amin’s The Law of Worldwide Value is another tool to help us analyze the crises of capitalism on a more global scale. On this topic, we have a related episode about World Systems with Ariel Salzmann, which we also recommend checking out. The main thing to keep in mind is that these processes of capitalism and capitalist extraction are global, and that we must ensure our analysis of the world are similarly global. Amin, of course, is right up at the forefront of scholars to look at when getting into this mode of thinking.
This web-archived article (in Russian) provides some very interesting information on the situation of Crimea from 1990-91 (well before the 1994 Budapest Memorandum that has been touted in some media). Here’s a rough translation of some key sections:
“During the second half of 1990, only the Crimean Regional Committee of the Party received letters from 8289 people in which people expressed their position. The results were that three-quarters of them are for the autonomy of Crimea within the RSFSR, 12% are for the same status, but in the Ukrainian Republic. The rest believed that it would be better for the peninsula to become an independent entity, or they were sure that Crimea could become a union republic.”
“At the referendum on January 20, 1991, the Crimeans were asked to answer one question: "Are you in favor of restoring the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic as a subject of the USSR and a member of the Union Treaty?" The turnout was 81.37% of those eligible to vote. 93.26% of the referendum participants were in favor of restoring autonomy. On February 12, 1991, the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR adopted the Law "On the Restoration of the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic" as part of the Ukrainian SSR. Thus, the provision on Crimea as a member of the Union Treaty was not implemented. Ukraine left the USSR, having in its composition the Crimea.”
There is also some very interesting (and overlooked) things that happened in 1995, but we will save that for the next newsletter.
Professor Wolff has submitted a new opinion article he wrote for Alternet titled Why capitalism should abandon its 'secular religion around markets'. In modern capitalist society, markets are given a mythological status, while as the Professor notes “The market is just another human institution invented and reinvented periodically across human history”. This narrative is preserved, despite the fact that the ruling class suspends or intentionally disrupts markets when it is favorable for themselves to do so. Professor Wolff argues against this mythologizing, and provides both analysis of the failures of markets in this article, as well as examples of suspensions of markets.
Alex has recommended a brand new text that we’re all VERY excited about - the release of the great Walter Rodney’s Decolonial Marxism: Essays from the Pan-African Revolution. Alex says, “To borrow from Fanon, this collection of essays demonstrates Rodney's creative, highly original and thought-provoking efforts to "stretch" Marxism in colonial contexts--all in the service of a Pan-African Revolution.”
This book is a collection of unpublished essays from Rodney focusing on the intersections of class and race, pedagogy, and national liberation through an anti-colonial Marxist lens. As with anything by Rodney, is is required reading, and certainly will become a vital arrow in our respective quivers when our copies come in!
Amanda’s first two suggestions are related, Keep your scorn. Kentucky needs your solidarity by Beth Howard in the Boston Globe, and Flooding in the sacrifice zone by Tarence Ray in The Baffler. Here’s Amanda on the situation:
“A few weeks ago, devastating floods hit Eastern Kentucky, a long-neglected area that lacks the proper infrastructure equipped to handle such disasters. In just 48 hours, 8-10.5 inches of rain fell in parts of Appalachia, including Eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia, and western Virginia. 37 are confirmed dead, with hundreds still missing, and thousands displaced or without power and electricity. Often "natural disasters" are the result of policy choices. These two articles lay out what most mainstream coverage of the flooding has failed to do, which is indict the root causes of the event: decades of extractive coal mining in the region stripped away the topsoil from the mountains leaving nowhere for rainfall to drain, compounded by decades of divestment from infrastructure What they deem a "natural disaster" is a actually a crisis made of capitalism. For those who can spare it, East Kentucky Mutual Aid is accepting donations to help distribute supplies via Paypal (PayPal.me/ekymutualaid) or CashApp ($ekymutualaid).”
Her next two recommendations are also related, US sanctions are blocking life-saving relief to Cuba by Natalia Marques in Peoples Dispatch, and US Offers Cuba "Condolences" While Enforcing Murderous Policies which is a 3 1/2 minute video from BreakThrough News on YouTube. Again, here’s Amanda for context:
“On August 5, a major oil storage facility caught fire in the Cuban province of Matanzas. The fire, which is still raging, so far has left one dead, 17 firefighters missing, and 121 civilians evacuated. So far the US government has only offered support in the form of “condolences.” The People’s Forum is organizing a letter-writing campaign urging President Biden to lift sanctions on Cuba and send aid. You can send a letter to Biden or donate at https://letcubalive.info/”
Be sure to thank our guests and hosts for their recommendations if you find them useful! This service is entirely for free, and only operates thanks to their generosity of time and effort in contributing. If you do find this resource useful, please consider sharing it with friends, family, comrades, and/or on social media. You can help support the show at Patreon, but the most important thing is that we help educate as many people as we can. Use the button below to get this newsletter into your inbox, and until next time, solidarity.