Sunday, December 17, 2017

Review: The Poverty of Statism. Anarchism versus Marxism A debate

The Poverty of Statism. Anarchism versus Marxism A debate The Poverty of Statism. Anarchism versus Marxism A debate by Rudolf Rocker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a damn good read by serious theorists who were also heavily involved revolutionaries of their day. Bukharin was the main theorist of the left wing of the Bolsheviks and Luigi Fabbri was a very important Italian anarchist in influence at the time second only to Malatesta. I think that their critique of the state is totally useful to many anarchists who cannot quite distinguish it from an anarchist organization and as such may be liable to turn reformist or join a government like Garcia Oliver.

Short but Sweet.

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Review: The Lightning Tree

The Lightning Tree The Lightning Tree by Patrick Rothfuss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For those in love with the Kingkiller Chronicle, this short story in the life of Bast and his somewhat creepy but also wonderous fae ways. Its pretty much the story of someone who goes out for carrots and in the process causes a fuck ton of mischief. If anything, it made me respect Rothfuss as a writer even more because the character really comes alive and truly has that inhuman quality to him, while being extremely 3 dimensional.

He has a lot of the cleverness of Kvoth, but without much of the common sense. My only sadness is I probably need to wait another 5 years for anything else in this series to be released.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Battle Brothers: Day 1

I got this game because it was 50% on steam and a gritty medieval fantasy strategy game about a mercenary company... so pretty ideal.  And without further ado!!!!!!

.....After barely surviving an ambush where my captain and the rest of the company were slaughtered, the 4 veterans loped into a nearby town to tend to their wounds.  Renaming the company "The Red and the Black" (with our flag depicting a monarch holding his own bloody head), they demanded revenge and set about recruiting four farmers for the task.  These including a miner, the only survivor of a mine accident and armed with a pick ax, a farmer with a long pitchfork, a miller (who was cut down in his first engagement), and a man whose lover was murdered by bandits.

After capturing and torturing to death a member of the outlaws, the Red and the Black caught up to their former foes.  Suffering a bad sword wound that incapacitated but didn't kill the drunk but suicidal axman veteran (this is literally part of his backstory and battle effects), the company slaughtered their foes and took the head of the enemy back to the local village for a reward.

In the next few hours, the company lost its miner (literally the opening enemy salvo took half of his face off), fought zombie warriors over a preserved hand, and recruited more class conscious peasants to the cause.  This game is punishingly hard and I hope that we survive.  Tune in for the next report!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Review: The Anarchist Expropriators: Buenaventura Durruti and Argentina's Working-Class Robin Hoods

The Anarchist Expropriators: Buenaventura Durruti and Argentina's Working-Class Robin Hoods The Anarchist Expropriators: Buenaventura Durruti and Argentina's Working-Class Robin Hoods by Osvaldo Bayer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading Patagonia Rebelde by Bayer, I figured I would check this one out too to get a more rounded idea of the development of Argentine Anarchism. While it appears that much of the same activity was happening as in Spain, it seems weaker, more divided, less developed in revolutionary theory than in individualistic propaganda of the deed, and created cycles of attack and counter attack to raise money to get comrades out of jail.

The actual murders of anarchists by other anarchists in debates over expropriation seems rather relevant for today's sectarianism and only furthers my view that we must support our comrades who are attacked by the state, while building up a credible revolutionary infrastructure who can actually revolt. This urban guerrilla activity is a necessary experience which came out of a very repressive situation, but ultimately failed. We need to examine historical periods like this if we can ultimately learn from our mistakes and hope to build a powerful movement that can take on our class enemies.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Review: The Occupation Of The Factories: Italy 1920

The Occupation Of The Factories: Italy 1920 by Paolo Spriano
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

This book is an interesting read by a Marxist-Leninist of the factory occupations which swept Italy in 1920 and a critique of a social movement's inability to seize the revolutionary moment. While mostly focusing on the Italian Socialist Party and the various strains inside, it includes the various factions in the state and industrialists for an overhead view of why things played out the way they did.

The thesis seems to be that the occupation movement failed because a lack of disciplined leadership in the PSI, the likely fact that it was a dialectical steam valve of the workers movement which would have been slaughtered in the streets (rather than in the defensive positions of the factories), and the idea that they could have gone for broke if they had national action (and were sold out by reformist leadership), but Turin and some of the anarchist strongholds were more advanced than the workers in the rest of the country.

I am actually a novice when it comes to Bordiga, Gramsci and others that was very interesting. That being said it seemed to slight the anarchists who had hundreds of thousands of participants and set the tone in Turin and other places for more confrontational action.

If anything, this book awakened in me a need to read more of this period from different viewpoints and with more of a focus on Gramsci, Luigi Fabbri, Malatesta, and Bordiga.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Review: Ready for Revolution: The CNT Defense Committees in Barcelona, 1933-1938

Ready for Revolution: The CNT Defense Committees in Barcelona, 1933-1938 Ready for Revolution: The CNT Defense Committees in Barcelona, 1933-1938 by Agustín Guillamón
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are very few books which really dispel most historical interpretation of an event and movement as much as this book. The level of organization and commitment of basic rank and file militants and their fierce connection to the labor movement and their local community is vital to understand.

According to Garcia Oliver, "The Revolution does not exist to satisfy some aesthetic appetite but to resolve a series of social questions".

This book takes you into the heart of things, from a literal play by play of the worker victory over the army uprising in Barcelona, to meeting minutes of the FAI, defense committees, and plenums discussing questions which few anarchists in the US have even given much thought: should we "go for broke" and seize power from the state and other left wing organizations, should we form an alliance of convenience, what should the defensive structures look like, what kind of autonomy do they have vis a vis the unions, revolutionary ward committees and the necessity of revolutionary committees to coordinate struggle (vs ad hoc involvement), what is the role of "intelligence" and "control patrols" (police), prisons, and others.....

This is not a primer book on the Spanish revolution, but definitely gives one an idea of the lengths in which the anarchist movement needs to actually go in terms of preparedness, depth of organizational capacity, and in terms of needed theoretical advancement. A must read for anyone serious about revolution.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Orcs..Orcs..Orcs... I beat Shadow of Mordor!

Finally, a game where I get to murder my way through Mordor with a side story about the time between The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings!  While not super dense in terms of story, the atmosphere of this game deserves definite praise.  The combat system borrows from the latest batman game with added gory finishing moves and its lots of sneaking, listening to orc banter, poisoning their beer supply, freeing prisoners, getting chased by monsters, and seeking out orc leadership to slay.

But what really shines about this game is the nemesis system.  Essentially you can play orcs off against each other to fuck with the orc boss hierarchy and get the orcs that are cowed by you into the higher chain of command.  You can have them challenge each other in duels and raids, raise your squeeky orc nobody into a body guard of an orc chieftain only to betray him.  And burn and destroy stuff until the hand of sauron begins to notice your existance.  The end is pretty epic, if a tiny bit anti-climactic... but gets me excited for the sequal which Im sure will be even better.

Every time you get defeated/killed, the random orc who kills you gets promoted to an orc leader and if its an orc captain who does it, they increase in power and renown. 
Its a tiny bit weird being a wraith, but if you think about it like you are kinda the good version of a ring wraith, its pretty cool. You get all sorts of wraith powers which turn you into a an elf/ninja hybrid of orc slaying.  The game is a bit simple, but the system it created has real possibility.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

"The Masque of Anarchy"

"‘What is Freedom?—ye can tell
That which slavery is, too well—
For its very name has grown
To an echo of your own.

‘’Tis to work and have such pay
As just keeps life from day to day
In your limbs, as in a cell
For the tyrants’ use to dwell,

‘So that ye for them are made
Loom, and plough, and sword, and spade,
With or without your own will bent
To their defence and nourishment.

‘’Tis to see your children weak
With their mothers pine and peak,
When the winter winds are bleak,—
They are dying whilst I speak.

‘’Tis to hunger for such diet
As the rich man in his riot
Casts to the fat dogs that lie
Surfeiting beneath his eye ;

‘’Tis to let the Ghost of Gold
Take from Toil a thousandfold
More than e’er its substance could
In the tyrannies of old.

‘Paper coin—that forgery
Of the title-deeds, which ye
Hold to something from the worth
Of the inheritance of Earth.

‘’Tis to be a slave in soul
And to hold no strong control
Over your own wills, but be
All that others make of ye.

‘And at length when ye complain
With a murmur weak and vain
’Tis to see the Tyrant’s crew
Ride over your wives and you—
Blood is on the grass like dew."

"The Masque of Anarchy" - Percy Shelley, English Romantic Poet, in the Aftermath of the Peterloo Massacre (1819), an army attack on 70,000 people protesting starvation caused by a callous tax on grain, horrendous working conditions, and a lack of universal suffrage.

Thursday, July 6, 2017


Wrote in the aftermath of July 4th:

Piercing lights, booms, cheers
a cacophony of flags and voices
dripping with national fervor
.. a fever
pitilous to foreign towns
ripped to shreds by ordinance
white phosphorous melting and caramelizing bodies
faces in a horrible rictus
and people clap
as the marching band plays on
lights and smoke
a show
a facade america
dripping with blood
as a people wink out of existence
like an extinguished firework
falling to the ground
all joy lost
as the world moves on to more explosions.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Despair I and II


Waking dreams of a future unfinished
potential unrealized
drowning in decay and cynicism
rabid and selfish
holding back the curtain of progress
what promises?
a past that haunts the living?
a world murdered by its children?
the beating heart ripped from its chest
unseeing eyes
And the repeated calling of the abyss welcoming you home...

Despair II

You ever try walking across a rainbow?
  --try doing it without feet.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Poetry and Anarchism

"knocked over by the storm
we die in the cages of hatred
the weak throw themselves
on those who are even weaker
and close our mouth with mocking filth

my voice is strangledand the hands of the enemies 
tear my thinking tongue apart.
Pursuers take the resounding present
and living world from me.
where will I feel the flow into airless silence.
I am starving in a decayed placeless mind
cut to pieces earthless.
forced into nothing
drains me
turned to ice
empties from the mouth
into world growing pain."
--Carl Einstein, German Anarchist and distant relation to Physicist Albert Einstein. Participant in the soldier and worker councils following the German defeat of WW1 and the Spartacist uprising (where he gave euology at Rosa Luxembourg's funeral). Wounded fighting in the Durruti Column with the CNT-FAI in Spain and later fled following the victory of the fascists. Trapped in southern France following Nazi Germany's defeat of the French Third Republic, Einstein took his own life by jumping from a bridge on 5 July 1940.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Review: Resurrection

Resurrection Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was utterly amazing. In my opinion, one of the finest pieces of Russian fiction I have ever read and definitely my favorite Tolstoy story I have read so far. It depicts a Russian noble's attempt at redemption and is indictment of the state, prison system, the police, the Russian Church, land ownership, and capitalism.

"Having captured hundreds who were evidently guiltless and who could not be dangerous, the Government kept them in prison for years, where they became consumptive, went out of their minds, or committed suicide; keeping them only because the officials had no inducement to set them free, but thought that safe in prison they might possibly be of use to elucidate some question at a judicial inquiry"

Im not even sure how Tolstoy was able to get this book past the tsar's censors, because its brutal attacks on state institutions barely holds any punches (except maybe against the tsar personally, but even then is pretty openly hostile to the state and authority).

The other main character in the story is a sex worker who becomes politicized in prison by revolutionaries. Maslova's relationship with the political prisoners opens the door to some amazing conversations and depictions of the different viewpoints of anarchists and socialists at the time as to the reorganization of life, while also being a view into the utter degradation of prison life.
The book doesn't have a perfect view of sex work, but what it does is preserve the humanity of the sex worker in a way that most 2nd wave feminists cannot even manage.

"And what seemed most surprising was that all this was not being done accidentally, nor by mistake, nor only once, but had been done continuously for centuries, with only this difference, that at first people's nostrils used to be slit and their ears cropped; then a time came when they were branded and fastened to iron bars; and now they were manacled, and transported by steam instead of on carts
The arguments brought forward by those in Government service who said that the things which aroused his indignation were simply due to the imperfect arrangements of the places of confinement, and that they would all be put to rights if prisons of a modern type were built did not satisfy Nekhlyudov, because he knew that what revolted him was not a consequence of a better or worse arrangement of prisons. He had read of model prisons with electric bells, of executions by electricity as recommended by Tarde, and this refined violence revolted him yet more"

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

I Just Beat Knights of the Old Republic II

I know its a little late to be playing this... like a decade late. But I saw it for $3.50 on steam and figured why not. So here is my review. I really liked this game. The graphics are obviously a bit dated, but it has such a cool atmosphere and story that its easy to overlook.  Where this game shines is in your ability to make decisions that either are associated with light side, dark side, or skirt both.

A number of characters fit basic star wars tropes but have a lot more depth to them.  My favorite character in this story by far is the mysterious Kreia.  She is beautifully voice acted and her actions and motivations keep you guessing through the very end.  She reminds me of the Bene Gesserit from Dune (the original Jedi) and this is an utterly perfect representation of the much more fluid essence of the force than a yin yang (dark/light).

What I also appreciate about KOTOR is that it is so much darker than many of the movies (empire strikes back and Rogue 1 being in a similar vein.)  The temptations of the dark side are strong as taking ruthless action sometimes seems the best choice in a perilous situation, but can have long term consequences.  I definitely recommend it.  Still quite fun!


My favorite scenes for those who have played it include the battle on Dantooine,  the "OH SHIT! A FUCKING JEDI!" moment when you make mince meat out of hundreds of bounty hunters in a cantina, the feeling of finally growing into force powers/light saber and feeling a sense of newfound power compared to your enemies.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review: Children of the Dragon

Children of the Dragon Children of the Dragon by Frank S. Robinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was recommended this book by my friend Daniel as a cross between Conan the Barbarian and class struggle. "something I definitely think you will like." After having just finished it I have many conflicting thoughts.

First of all, he wasn't wrong. The book tells the story of captured brigand who ends up leading the anti-imperialist resistance against the foreign occupation by an all powerful god-emperor and his bureaucrats. Not shying away from intense violence and structural critiques, this book includes torture, repression, sexual violence, bloodthirsty retaliation, starvation, land expropriation, and other themes that would be very present in any Fanon text.

"As in Taroloweh, the Ksavra Land Decree was enforced against the barons and their stranglehold upon agriculture was smashed. Some of them yielded without bloodshed, others barricaded themselves in their manor houses and fought to the death. But all of them were drowned in the surging peasant tide.

Through the towns and villages too, Jehan carried the relentless war of liberation. Here it was the merchants and the officials, and of course the priests who were the target of enflamed mobs. Temples would be set ablaze and the priests brutally slaughtered.

Red and black with fire and smoke was the sky above Nitupsar...."

While being hyper critical of structural violence of occupation and authoritarianism, it remains cynical of the short term effects of revolutionary activity and the dislocation it can cause.

I also feel that the books handling of gender was pretty bad. While its class politics were ok, the women in the book were often depicted as manipulative if not outright crazy. (with one major exception). Instead, they were shown as the eternal victims, seldom empowered and not particularly focused on. There were also uncomfortable scenes of sexual violence which occur throughout the book as a way of demonizing the bad guys and also committed as revenge by resisting peasants on their conquerors... and they were hard to read.

If you like gritty depressing stories like Blood Meridian.. or want a conan the barbarian story mixed with class struggle. Then Read it. I still haven't made up my mind on how I feel about it.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Battle for the AbyssBattle for the Abyss by Ben Counter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was one of the grittier books in the series, a total bloodbath. Starting with the secret hidden weapon of the Mechanicum being used to wipe out the enemies of Horus before hostilities really begin... it follows the hunt for this new mega ship.

while it depicts some of the goriest space battle scenes I have ever read, its pretty damn 2 dimensional in characters and motivations. As a warhammer 40k book it fits in well in the universe. As a novel, its nothing special.

Just dont get beetween a worldeater on the verge of close quarters combat!

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Friday, April 14, 2017

Review: Legion

Legion Legion by Dan Abnett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was one of the best stories from the Horus Heresy series so far and it was not even related to any of the main characters or central plot. It concerns the mysterious alpha legion and their weird and in my opinion weak plot deviced turn to chaos.

However, where this story really shines is with its description of the imperial army and the new addition of a secret cabal of ancient alien races. Honestly I just would like to read a story about them and if they have additional back story after the incidents in this book.

it's written in a really exciting arching crescendo... but im not sure if I buy their turn, particularly after the events of the heresy when their original reasons for "betrayal" are over.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Review: Frantz Fanon: A Critical Study

Frantz Fanon: A Critical Study Frantz Fanon: A Critical Study by Irene L. Gendzier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am fortunate to have had Irene Gendzier as a graduate student advisor at Boston University and to be gifted this book by her when she retired. In an interesting twist of fate, I ended up finished it on a flight home from 2 weeks in Cuba.

While many people have read Wretched of the Earth and some Black Skin, White Masks, I think this book has interesting perspectives on both the strengths and influence on Fanon (particularly on Algeria) as well as his weaknesses and where he falls short. While the man has been deified for decades, its interesting to remember that he himself had distinct changes in thought and was heavily influenced by a range of struggles going on...some for which he didn't understand the full political situation. This is not to reduce the brilliance of his work, but to place him realistically in the situation in which he lived.

The particular questions on his critiques of the FLN are heavily covered in this as the revolution he so supported began to unravel in autocratic dictatorship. I recommend this book for anyone searching for the real Fanon and to examine questions of his thought that were not covered in his books. Filled with analysis and commentary from revolutionaries, and militants who knew him.... a very good read!

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Review: Descent of Angels

Descent of Angels Descent of Angels by Mitchel Scanlon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A meh book not connected in time to the main line of the Horus heresy story. It has some minor tidbits on the history of Caliban and the planets entrance into the imperium. A coming of age story written in a really 2 dimensional trite way. I haven't read past it yet, but you can probably skip this book in the series.

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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Review: Cuban Anarchism: The History of a Movement

Cuban Anarchism: The History of a Movement Cuban Anarchism: The History of a Movement by Frank Fernández
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have long known that Anarchists were the major factor in the Cuban labor movement for decades, but this book really filled in the long history of struggle in that country. I was both taken aback by the scale and strength of the movement, its relationship with Marti, as well as its participation well into the 1959 Cuban revolution. It also helped me further develop my analysis on the Cuban revolution and the absolute destructive role it played on silencing devoted anarchist organizations and militants.

Lastly it makes me further respect the role of anarchists in the Cuban diaspora as they are really between a rock and a hard place when it comes to being both libertarian and communist. A must read for anyone who wants an external narrative to the Cuban Communist Party and to the right wing Cuban population in the US. It is a brutal exposition of the way many anarchists in the world turned their backs on their comrades and ignored their own structural critiques in a romanticized version of events.

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Critical Reading of Purim

Since today is Purim, here is my critical reading of the story:

There were Jews in Parthia (Persia, Babylon) and an advisor to the king wants to exterminate them. The kings new queen is Jewish and convinces the king to kill the advisor, all his sons and 500 supporters at Shushan castle. Ok...legit self defense.

But then in an act that will seem familiar to a modern audience, Esther, the queen, petitions the king for several days of slaughter of thousands of other "enemies". And this is considered a wonderful and celebratory event. I have never been comfortable with this part of the story:

"And the other Jews that were in the king's provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of them that hated them seventy and five thousand--but on the spoil they laid not their hand--
on the thirteenth day of the month Adar, and on the fourteenth day of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness."
טז וּשְׁאָר הַיְּהוּדִים אֲשֶׁר בִּמְדִינוֹת הַמֶּלֶךְ נִקְהֲלוּ וְעָמֹד עַל-נַפְשָׁם, וְנוֹחַ מֵאֹיְבֵיהֶם, וְהָרוֹג בְּשֹׂנְאֵיהֶם, חֲמִשָּׁה וְשִׁבְעִים אָלֶף; וּבַבִּזָּה--לֹא שָׁלְחוּ, אֶת-יָדָם.
יז בְּיוֹם-שְׁלוֹשָׁה עָשָׂר, לְחֹדֶשׁ אֲדָר; וְנוֹחַ, בְּאַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר בּוֹ, וְעָשֹׂה אֹתוֹ, יוֹם מִשְׁתֶּה וְשִׂמְחָה.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Review: Ancillary Justice

Ancillary Justice Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was definitely a different take on science fiction. If I said it was a mix of Dune, the Chronicles of Riddick, Blade Runner, and The Left Hand of Darkness... it would still be scratching the surface.

It throws you feet first into a futuristic sci-fi world with moral ambiguity and expects you to sort it out yourself. Despite that, it takes a bit to realize what is really going on and and even still you are left with many thoughts about both the future of our species and the role of technology and organization. Much grittier than star trek and akin to the Expanse in its vision. A very enjoyable read.

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Review: Fulgrim

Fulgrim Fulgrim by Graham McNeill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At first I was slightly bored by this book and was wondering why they needed to replay additional history from the perspective of Fulgrim and his legion. It included some melodramatic ramblings about perfection in the Emporers children which seems a little too two dimensional to me, and just at the point where I started to get irritated at the story, it began to get interesting.

You have a runin with the Eldar (which most people already know the rough outlines of), but it is interesting. The end of the story is intense and brutal like the 3rd book.... so I definitely think its worth reading, if a bit painfully meh at times.

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Review: VALIS

VALIS VALIS by Philip K. Dick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is a mix between a fever dream, alex jones, and a quest to figure out what is actually reality. It is written as somewhat of an autobiographical account by Philip K Dick himself and according to his bio on the back, based off of a weird experience he had in the 70s. I am not quite sure how I feel about this book as it reminds me of convos I have had with conspiracy theorists and that really turned me off to much of it.

However, towards the end of the book, it starts to be much more of a complicated detective story into what is really occurring. I wouldn't rate this in the category with other Philip K Dick stories, but if you are into books blending the line of madness, science fiction, and truth.... I suppose this story is for you!

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Review: Left of the Left: My Memories of Sam Dolgoff

Left of the Left: My Memories of Sam Dolgoff Left of the Left: My Memories of Sam Dolgoff by Anatole Dolgoff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was really powerful and enjoyable. It is filled with wonderful anecdotes of a period of social struggle long past. It includes stories of wobblies unheard of, of carlo tresca, ben fletcher, emma goldman, maximoff, and the yiddish anarchist movement in the lower east side.

If you are interested in reading about the Anarchist movement during the great depression, of the way they organized to fight fascists here, of wobbly dockworkers, and prison stories, ....of Spanish, Cuban, and Russian anarchists.... of refugees from Mujeres Libres, and a meeting between old Italian anarchists and the up against the wall motherfuckers..... then this is the book for you.

Sam Dolgoff lived a revolutionary life as a working class intellectual and was on the pulse of the struggle for decades. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it was very real and heartfelt.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

To My Beloved

"There's steam and smoke and madness here
Theres no place for a guest to stand.
I cant so much as touch you, dear,
for I have hired out my hand
Come to me later! come at night
for then, my darling I am free.
My spirit wakes, my heart grows light,
the flame of love revived in me.
I'll sing as I have never sung,
the moment that your face appears;
and every word upon your tongue
shall turn to music in my ears.
I'll greet you then in such a way
as I would if I could dare.
Then all my troubles of the day,
my inmost wounds, will be laid bare.
And you will have my kisses all,
and tears enough--you'll have those too.
Whatever good is in my soul
I'll offer as a gift to you.
But now, beloved, you must go.
Love has no business in a shop.
I can't so much as touch you--no!
My life starts when the treadles stop."
--Morris Rosenfield, Yiddish slum poet.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Review: Rebellion in Patagonia

Rebellion in Patagonia Rebellion in Patagonia by Osvaldo Bayer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is amazing. I have seen the movie Patagonia Rebelde, but it doesn't come close to the craziness of what actually happened in reality.

First the level of class consciousness in Argentina at the time gives hope that such organization and solidarity could occur again. Yes it is a warning to the lengths that the state and capitalists will go to defend their power.... they will murder thousands in cold blood... Liberals will try to break sections of the left from each other and institutionally crush what the iron fist does not. They will attack reputations, use the press, distort history, buy off others... and plot until people are too weak to keep going. Yes a general strike is not enough. Yes guns will decide the victor.... but a people inspired is a powerful thing.

Also the chapter on the peoples' "avengers" happening after the sad fall of the FORA V's strike is an uplifting and inspiring tribute to human solidarity and sacrifice.

Lastly, while I knew that there were a number of foreign born anarchists, I never realized how many had come to Argentina and how many of them werent even Italian or Spanish, but came from Germany, Russia, Poland, and the Ukraine. On top of this, the vast majority of the workers who fought and perished in Patagonia were Chilean migrant workers.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Review: The Flight of the Eisenstein

The Flight of the Eisenstein The Flight of the Eisenstein by James Swallow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this book. it's pretty much the Warhammer equivalent of Roque 1. you will understand that comment after you read it.

it wasn't as good as the last one and didn't have a lot of the slow dread which had built up through the previous novels. Instead, it took the events of isvaan from the death guards perspective. Though I think it could have gone a little more in detail into the death guards primarch who is barely described in any dimension. I did like the alternative perspective of other legions falling to chaos in different ways. can't wait to start the next book!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Review: Galaxy in Flames

Galaxy in Flames Galaxy in Flames by Ben Counter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If history and fake history teaches you anything, its dont trust heiarchical structures and glorious leaders. Particularly ones that are secretly plotting to take over the human race and to betray their former comrades.

This book takes place right after the events in book two of the Horus Heresy. It shows the first moves by Horus in what will wrack the galaxy in war and bring a downfall of the great expansion of humanity. While these stories are not super heartfelt or deep, they still are really exciting and expand the already rich universe of Warhammer 40k. I have been a longtime fan of this story of humanity's decline and resistance and this book is the first of the 3 I have read so far which starts to undertake the rebellion itself. The series is fun, but dont expect tolstoy.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Review: Fool Moon

Fool Moon Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was not worth reading. The first book was meh and I figured maybe the second book would be better. But it was actually worse. The only part that captivated me at all was this conversation Harry Dresden had with a demon he trapped. One that was trying to steal his name in exchange for information. However, that conversation in no way relates at all to the rest of the book and is just kinda thrown in either as forshadowing or just to add some flavor.

I was reading just before posting this review that some people say the books get good on book 3 or 4 but I dont want to read another book about some weird pretentious bro with a kinda meh magic system hanging out with cops and fighting villains who dont seem to have real good reasons for why they are doing bad things... with friends who dont seem to be super 3 dimensional.

its got werewolves in it too, which are some of my least favorite of fantasy lore... and it was so cliche as to be irritating. Unless someone makes a good argument otherwise, this will be the last of the Dresden files for me.

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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Review: Storm Front

Storm Front Storm Front by Jim Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If I didn't know that this book was written in 2000, I would have sworn it was written in the 1950s/early 1960s. It has a style, and description befitting that era of sci fi, but a little bit grittier.

Anyway, whats not to like about a wise ass wizard who is also a private detective. He sometimes gets pushed around by others but when his magic comes out, everyone gets really surprised. He tackles the cases that no one else can and uses wit a and snark to persevere through hard situations. The book is good, not a great emotional masterpiece, but entertaining and hopefully the series can keep me busy until Scott lynch or Patrick Rothfuss decides to finish a book.

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