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Socialist Reading......

Yo friends! I need some advice from the more political active of ya! (Looking at Malc, Grim and Adam primarily I'm guessing on this one...)

I would like to have some books suggestions on the following:

Cuban Revolution and the Revolutionary Movement in South/Central America
France 1968 (Student and Workers Protests)
Pro-active Socialism and underground movements in the 60's through to modern day

Many thanks for tips!


Nov. 4th, 2005 12:14 am (UTC)
If I were you I'd get in touch with gavin_
Nov. 4th, 2005 01:39 am (UTC)
If your interested in anarchism, and those periods, then I have a few books I could lend to you.
Nov. 4th, 2005 10:31 am (UTC)
Ah, the Political Scientist. Forgot about you! :p

I would be interested, thanks. If you could send me titles and authors though I'd like to try and pick them up myself as it may take a while to get through them all!

Many thanks.
Nov. 4th, 2005 10:31 am (UTC)
Whose gavin_ ? I'd rather know why I'd be touching base before I starts enidng random posts out :p

Thanks for the tip though.
Nov. 4th, 2005 01:27 pm (UTC)
That'd be me. Hello.

France 1968 (Student and Workers Protests):

for the student aspect of it, I guess you want to look at the enrages, and possibly the situationists. For a start, you could try http://www.cddc.vt.edu/sionline/si/enrages.html ...but it's a slightly skewed account, written as it is by one of the Situationists. There are plenty of books on '68 more generally, but some are pretty ropey.

Pro-active Socialism and underground movements in the 60's through to modern day:

This is a a huge topic, which could take years to read on. By pro-active I guess you mean groups who did direct action, (so, anarchists) rather than groups who were trying to build the party and waiting for the revolution. This could still be anything from the CND and Greenwhich Common ladies to the weather underground, and a million other groups and activities in between.

By underground movements, do you mean the more clandestine, sometimes terroristic macho Marxist groups who appeared in the 60s and 70s, like the weather undergound, the angry brigade or baader-meinhof. They're a very 70s phenomenon and you don't get them these days, so there is no contemporary angle on this stuff. Or do you mean underground just in a general, diy culture/direct action kind of way? In which case, again, there's a lot out there.
Nov. 5th, 2005 12:14 am (UTC)
Hi, thanks for dropping by.

I guess what I'm looking for initially is more an overview of the events both leading up to, during and the after-effects of the May '68 protests in Paris. After reading this I can then start researching specific areas/groups in more detail if needs be.

For the underground movements in the 60's I am primarily interested (at present) on the groups that were more clandestine/terroristic in approach. Although saying that I would like to be able to get a book or two on the diy culture/direct action side of affairs too.

Any suggestions would be very gratefully received and I'll start trawling the web in search of copies!

Thanks again.
Nov. 6th, 2005 11:18 pm (UTC)
No worries, Mira pointed me towards your question. Why the interest in leftist terror groups? It's interesting to me since so many obviously non-terrorist activist groups are currently being attacked and classified as terrorist when they clearly aren't ('carnival against capital' which has never even existed as a group, and British and US animal rights groups being the famous examples), and anti-terrorist powers are used to interfere with peaceful activists. I guess Italy is the example for that being adopted as an approach by governments who decide terror is quite useful to them.

Anyway, to your question:

Okay, there's a few books on the Angry Brigade (uk Marxist bombers). I've only read the Tom Vague one, which isn't amazing, and which just collates material from other books. It's also stupidly romantic about the Brigade, and pretty sparse on critical analysis. So, there's an anti-reccomendation to start.

For other angry brigade stuff, the most substantial account is

The Angry Brigade : the cause and the case : a history of Britain's first urban guerilla group / Gordon Carr, Stuart Christie, John Barker

Or there is the recent autoboiography, Granny Made Me an Anarchist by Stuart Christie.

Though it's worth bearing in mind that despite the popular mythology of bomb-throwing anarchsits, all these 70s terrorist groups were fundamentally Marxists, specifically Maoists though they sometimes adopted anarchist or the vernacular of the time to look hip and catch the zetigeist. Mao's example of the peasants uprising against capitalism meant these groups thought there was a 'short cut' too for them, using a terroristic vanguard. Of course, this proved to be wrong.

There are books on the weathermen, an unrelated but parallell group in the states, but I've not read any of them. These books, if you search on COPAC, are mostly either called 'the weathermen' or 'the weather undergound.' Again, the ak press site is the best place to start. There was also a very good documentary, which I know Sheffield Hallam university library has a copy of you might be able to get on inter-library loan. It's called 'The weather underground.' The weathermen never actually bombed a single person (come to think of it, I don't think the angry brigade did, either). But they did uncover 'cointelpro,' the FBI's program of monitoring, intimidation, interference and harassment of radical groups counter to the government or business interest. Cointelpro was the agency, since disbanded under public pressure(at least under that name), mostly deemed responsible for stuff like the assasinations of black panther organisers.
Nov. 6th, 2005 11:19 pm (UTC)
(2nd part)...more...

I'm not really familiar with the German Baader-Meinhof, but you could try reading Michael Baumann's 'How it all began,' an autobiorgaphical account of his involvement with the group. There's also a new book on it I just found. The website has some pretty useful resoruces on the group - http://www.baader-meinhof.com/index.htm

For the Italian situation, things are more complex. There wasn't one famous group as with these others, but a variety of small attacks carried out by what was claimed by, or blamed on, 'the red brigades.' Their attacks were used as a pretext to clamp down on the left, and many people with no association with them were jailed. It later turned out that this was part of a 'stategy of tension' by neofascist groups, supported by government agencies, which used terrorism to undermine the left. Sanguinetti's book (below) anticipated this discovery by some time. There is a lot of literature on Negri's imprisonment and the court case around him on the internet. There's a book Italy: Autonomia by Semiotexte which is rare and expensive which has some useful articles in, and also the famous comic book about the red brigade kipnapping of aldo moro. That's probably on the internet, though. There aren't any full books on the red brigades, that I know of, but there are plenty of articles, most in relation to the 'strategy of tension.' (perhaps try googling that term) The Italian Situationist Gianfranco Sanguintetti wrote a useful book on this, 'On Terorrism and the State,' on the Italian Situation in this period. He argues, and it is now widely accepted, that many of the red brigades were government sponsered provocateurs who gave a pretence for cracking down on a large and successful movement. There's a useful, if polemical article on his text here - http://www.notbored.org/negri.html

for historical accounts of diy culture and direct action since the 60s generally, it's a bit topic, and I'm not really enthralled with the books I've read. But you could start with George McKays "DIY Culture..." and then look at his references.
Nov. 6th, 2005 11:26 pm (UTC)
a couple of assumptions I've made.

On italy.. Negri is a renowned Marxist intellectual who was imprisoned for, I think, 10 years, as a 'leader' of the red brigades, despite international protests at a crooked trial. No connection was ever established between them and him, as with many others imprisoned for the same sort of thing. He's since been freed and published a couple of very influential books on globalisation and the opposition to it.

COPAC is the network of academic libraries which you can search on the net.

ak press is a book distributor - www.akuk.com

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