More Books 1

Homage to Catalonia

by George Orwell

© 2007 Robert D. Skeels. Reproduced with permission.

Some of the passages when he speaks of what a classless society looks like are the most inspiring things I have ever read. Orwell's service in the POUM is indicative of his commitment to a better world.

Vietnam: The (Last) War the U.S. Lost

by Joe Allen

© 2008 Robert D. Skeels. Reproduced with permission.

Joe Allen presents a history of the United States' invasion and occupation of Southeast Asia never discussed in mainstream accounts. Aside from demonstrating several major factors which combined to end the war, the book shows the importance of movements influencing and overlapping each other. This is clearly laid out in discussing the impact the civil rights and black power movements had on the nascent anti-war movement. Another important thread in the book is the often ignored account of how brutal the intervention was. The revelations on the staggering amount of ordinance dropped on the Vietnamese people underscores the degree of violence the U.S. ruling class resorts to when imperial interests are on the line.

In the struggle against the empire's current horrific occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, the lessons laid out in "Vietnam: The (Last) War the US Lost" couldn't be more valuable. From fighting the endemic imperialist racism leading to My Lai and its modern counterpart Haditha, to linking social justice struggles to the enormous costs of the war, to supporting GI resistance in practice as well as principle. If there is any overarching lesson from the book, it is that an anti-war movement diminishes in the absence of an understanding of imperialism.


Vietnam: The (Last) War the U.S. Lost
By Joe Allen, Foreward by John Pilger
Haymarket Books 2007 ISBN: 9781931859493

The Irish Soldiers of Mexico

by Michael Hogan

© 2006 Robert D. Skeels. Reproduced with permission.

!Viva los San Patricios!

Wonderful historical account of how an oppressed people realized fighting for imperialists and Calvinists was against their own interests and switched sides. While the unprovoked aggressors ultimately won the war, slaughtered the San Patricios, and still occupy more than half of Mexico, the fact these brave Irish stood alongside the Mexican people is so inspirational. One day I have to visit Ciudad de Mexico to see the monument to the St. Patrick's Battalion, among other things.

Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal

by Anthony Arnove

© 2008 Robert D. Skeels. Reproduced with permission.

Anthony presents a sober account of how calculated the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq was. Exposing all the rationales for the war as lies, "Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal" turns to the real reasons for the bi-partisan project in Iraq; to further imperial aims in the middle east. In the The Logic of Withdrawal chapter Anthony systematically nullifies all arguments against withdrawal, and the following chapter argues for the only principled stance -- troops out now!

Targeting Iran

by David Barsamian

© 2008 Robert D. Skeels. Reproduced with permission.

Very good. The Chomsky chapter gives basic historical information any progressive should already be familiar with. It is the Abrahamian, and especially the Mozaffari interviews that are of real interest. Nahid Mozaffari's paints a picture of vibrant women's and artist movements in the face of repression. One thing all three chapters make emphatically clear, the west needs to keep hands off Iran. Let the Iranian people determine their own future, unlike 1953! Next up, Revolution and Counter Revolution in Iran by Phil Marshall.

The Meek And the Militant: Religion And Power Across the World

by Paul N. Siegel

© 2008 Robert D. Skeels. Reproduced with permission.

While the first chapters of the book should find welcome acceptance among atheists, it is a little difficult and even condescending for those of us who have a belief system. When the book really hits stride are the chapters on the origins and historical roles of various religions worldwide. These chapters are invaluable in understanding the impact and role religion plays in society and politics. For example, the genocidal policies of 'manifest destiny' have deep ideological roots in Calvinism. The final chapter is also very important in that it explains the relationship between Marxist parties and religion. Far from the forced atheism and religious intolerance reactionary opponents of Marxism would have us believe, a Leninist party is completely tolerant of religion. Besides copious quotes from Lenin on the subject, the author give examples of religious freedom in Cuba, and political participation by priests in the Sandinista government.

The Communist Manifesto: A Road Map to History's Most Important Political Document

by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Phil Gasper (Editor)

© 2008 Robert D. Skeels. Reproduced with permission.

Phil's annotations are nothing short of brilliant.

Women and Socialism: Essays on Women's Liberation

by Sharon Smith

© 2005 Robert D. Skeels. Reproduced with permission.

Sharon Smith's book tackles current issues employing historical and sociological evidence to show how traditional feminism is bourgeois and hence offers no real hope for addressing the issues working women face on a constant basis. After providing the historical causes for women's oppression and the abortion debate in the first two chapters, Smith explains the sad state of modern feminism, its cause, and demonstrates why only a class-wide struggle will ever provide women with real equality and emancipation. A favorite quote from the end of chapter 3:

"Feminists have traditionally accused socialists of subordinating the fight against women's oppression to the class struggle. Yet socialists have held to the principles of women's liberation that long ago fell by the wayside for mainstream feminists, precisely because socialists fight for the interests of the entire working class."

Chapter four lays out the clear hypocrisy of Bush's supposed liberation of woman in the near east, which only substituted one form of oppression with another. It also makes the case for self determination as part of the road to woman's liberation, and condemns the racist policies cropping up in the western world under the guise of helping women. An important point throughout is how all mainstream religions are typically reactionary and used to enforce ruling class ideology on women.

The final chapter shows a glimpse of what society could look like without the existing bourgeois oppression against women and other super-exploited members of the working class by drawing on the aftermath of the 1917 Russian revolution. The massive gains made by woman under the short lived worker's state have still to be realized in supposed "free western democracies." Unfortunately we don't have a complete picture because Stalin's reactionary counter-revolution took away the vast majority of gains women made under the Bolsheviks. Nevertheless, the potential is visible in this and the argument made for women's liberation through class struggle is stronger now than ever.

The major retreats on every front of the women's movement combined with the post-feminist (read bourgeois) concepts like "power feminism" demonstrate why a grassroots effort by working women in conjunction with the working class is the only answer to solving exploitation and oppression. This book is a must read for anyone concerned with equality and emancipation of women, other exploited minorities, and the working class as a whole.

Chapters
  1. The Origin of Women's Oppression
  2. Abortion Rights: The Socialist Case
  3. What Ever Happened to Feminism
  4. Women and Islam
  5. Women and Socialism
Comments