Sunday, 11 April 2021

Charles I's Executioners -Civil War, Regicide and the Republic By James Hobson- Pen & Sword History-Published: 4th November 2020.

January 1649, a unique event in English history. For the first time, a king was killed by his people after a bloody revolution. As one reviewer of the book puts it, "a once-unfathomable act" was taken.

Hobson's book is an excellent and well put together account of this bloody deed. The book contains new research. While aimed at the educated general reader, it retains a good academic standard.James Hobson's new book is an important addition to our understanding of the motives and political positions that led to Charles Ist's regicide. The book is extremely well researched, and it is clear that Hobson has deep mined a few archives. He has brought to the wider public several English revolutionaries that historians have long forgotten. As Hobson states when he "pitched the book to his publishers, he stated that no one had produced a 59 person history of the regicides". So in that sense, it is groundbreaking work.

Another first was a historian who explained how he wrote the book and the pratfalls he encountered, which Hobson did in a blog post. Explaining that Chapter 1 "The plan was to get those who died early out of the way. But this was also an introduction, and it soon became obvious that each of these men represented a different 'aspect' of the regicide. Alured was the three-generation puritan, and I put him first because he also had most of the other qualities of the regicides. Moore as the Northern hater of Catholics; Blakiston as the anti-Bishop figure; Temple as the early military fighter for Protestantism and Pelham as the local military commander and run-of-the-mill MP. Temple was my first compromise; he did not die early but seemed to do nothing after 1650. Another early death was John Venn, a famous iconoclast in an age that was already infamous for such behaviour. However, when I researched him, he struck me far too important to go in this chapter. I debated which I wanted more; a 100% all-around watertight introduction OR Venn in the correct place".

Probably the most important regicide after Oliver Cromwell was Henry Ireton. Hobson does him justice. Hobson correctly states that Ireton was the motor force behind the regicide. Also, the restoration of Thomas Pride to his rightful place in history was long overdue. Hobson rescues a large number of regicides from the condescension of history. The book shows the varied political, economical and social makeup of the regicides. Some were lawyers, soldiers, puritans and republicans. All came from lower-middle-class or gentry backgrounds.

As Hobson shows in the book, revolution does strange things to men. Firstly it was an enormously brave thing to do, and many of the regicides would have known that if the revolution failed, it would mean their lives would have ended. Hobson recounts that even leading members of the revolution, from Thomas Fairfax to Leveller leader John Lilburne did not sign the death warrant.

None of the regicides would have believed that at the start of their revolution that at its end, they would kill a king after a long and bloody revolution. To their credit, many, even after the demise of the revolution, still held that their actions were right and did not retract their beliefs despite Charles II bloody reprisals. Nine regicides were subject to treason's full penalties, being hung, drawn and quartered., two died in custody before being executed. Despite knowing that the killing of a king would have a serious impact on their lives, they held onto their belief in the revolution's correctness.

The book has a couple of major weaknesses. The first being Hobson's failure to examine recent historiography on the regicide. Nothing is made of the recent historian's debate. Hobson says nothing of the debate between Sean Kelsey and Clive Holmes[1]. Hobson also could have commented on several recent books examining the regicide and the fate of its participants[2].

The second is a bit more serious. To Hobson's credit, he rejects current revisionist historiography and believes that a revolution took place. Despite a cursory look at many of the regicides' economic background, most came from the gentry, with some being merchants engaged in transatlantic trade. Hobson fails to put the regicides in a more objective context. This is a major flaw in the book after all, as Karl Marx so brilliantly said, "Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Caussidière for Danton, Louis Blanc for Robespierre, the Montagne of 1848 to 1851[66] for the Montagne of 1793 to 1795, the nephew for the uncle. And the same caricature occurs in the circumstances of the second edition of the Eighteenth Brumaire. Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis, they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honoured disguise and borrowed language. Thus Luther put on the mask of the Apostle Paul, the Revolution of 1789-1814 draped itself alternately in the guise of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, and the Revolution of 1848 knew nothing better to do than to parody, now 1789, now the revolutionary tradition of 1793-95. In like manner, the beginner who has learned a new language always translates it back into his mother tongue, but he assimilates the spirit of the new language and expresses himself freely in it only when he moves in it without recalling the old and when he forgets his native tongue".

To conclude, I would recommend this book. It deserves to be on every reading list at major universities and deserves a wide read. Hobson is to be congratulated for the work he has done on these important revolutionaries. His book will be a basic textbook to aid future study.

 

About the Author

Author James Hobson has written such works as ''Dark Days of Georgian Britain', 'Following in the Footsteps of Oliver Cromwell'. and 'The English Civil War Fact and Fiction'. Hobson has a website @ https://about1816.wordpress.com/

 



[1] See Andrew Hopper’s excellent summation- https://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php/reluctant-regicides/

[2] Charles I's Killers in America: The Lives and Afterlives of Edward Whalley and William Goffe 13 Jun. 2019- Matthew Jenkinson.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

New Website

For the last three months, I have been transferring all my article from this blog to a new website on WordPress. It can be found at atrumpetofsedition.org. I will still post here for the time being, but the future will reside on the WordPress website.

This new website is the product of years of hard graft. It replaces the blog that I started thirteen years ago when I finished my part-time degree at Birkbeck University in 2003.

This website is dedicated to the historian Barry Coward who first piqued my interest in the English Revolution. The blog’s name comes from the book called  A Trumpet of Sedition: Political Theory and the Rise of Capitalism, 1509-1688 (Socialist History of Britain) by Ellen Meiksins-Wood- Neal Wood given to me by my friend Tony Hyland.

 


Friday, 1 January 2021

Review: The Future of Seduction by Mia Levitin- 12 Nov. 2020- Unbound publishers.

"Sex without love is a meaningless experience, but as far as meaningless experiences go, it is pretty damn good". W. Allen

Mia Levitin is the author of a new book called The Future of Seduction. Given the current state of social and sexual relationships between male and female, it is hard to believe that seduction has any place in modern sexual relationships.

Mia's book is an attempt to restore the art of seduction to its rightful place in society. If one person has a chance of success, it is she. Mia is well qualified to talk on the subject. Levitin is classically beautiful, highly intelligent and has a PhD in the art of seduction, a dangerous combination in a woman. Good luck to the man that tries to chat her up. One piece of advice is to look up what a siren is.

Much of the early part of the book is based on Mia's early life. Married at a very tender age and then divorced very soon after would scar many women for life. But not her. Even from the brief period, I have known her; she exhibits an almost defiant spirit and independence of mind that is very attractive in a woman.

She writes "When my marriage ended, I figured I had chosen the wrong partner but did not question for a second that a relationship was a prerequisite to happiness. Hell-bent on hunting down Mr Right 2.0, I embarked on dating armed with an Excel spreadsheet and a love-coach-to-the-stars. Despite my can-do attitude, it has not happened yet. If you had told me then that I would still be single after111 first dates over about five years, I would have found it unfathomable. But truth be told, I am grateful for the time alone". The faster you let go of seeing yourself as a victim, the better off you will be – no matter how appalling the behaviour of an ex. Own a part of what went wrong, even if that part is just a sliver.

When I first started dating, I got bored after ten dates to go through 111; you have to admire that dedication. Going through 111 dates without any feelings of romantic love is a little strange. What is also strange is the fact that the word love is hardly mentioned in the book. As Woody Allen might have said seduction without love is pretty meaningless.

The book is extremely well written. Levitin has a surgical writing style, clear and to the point without using unnecessary words to make her point. She has a touch of the George Orwell about her.

Mia Levitin
While it is a pleasure to read her the subjective matter in the book makes for depressing reading. The book is humorous in places which is down to Mia what she discusses is far from funny.

It is clear that social and sexual relations are becoming increasingly difficult, and the widespread misuse of technology is affecting intimacy. If human relationships continue the way they are going, humanity will be in Mia's words "screwed".

Mankind's and womankind's struggle to screw is as old as time. Procreation is a social and necessary part of the human race. Having sex is a natural occurrence. Mia believes that the reckless pursuit of this physical activity has been detrimental to men's/women intellectual development. As one writer puts it "the tools we use to meet, mate and relate have evolved more in the past ten years than in the previous ten thousand, yet we arrive at them with biology unchanged since the Stone Age". In some people intellectually unchanged since the stone age.

Given men and women's obsession with porn on the internet, you would have thought that the amount of sex in society would have increased, but as Levitin points out in the book, we have had a 'sex recession' with Britain leading the way in the massive drop in sexual activity.

While men and women are seeking to satisfy their sexual urges through the internet, Levitin believes that this is disconnected from our intellectual development. The brain is the most important sex toy. 'Imagination is the best pornography we have,' says Kate Moyle.

Many peoples sex lives are divorced from reality. Sex does not take place in a vacuum. We live in a society that treats women purely as sex objects, explaining the rise in sexual assaults on women.

I do not know Mia's viewpoint on the #MeToo movement. However, I believe this movement is detrimental to healthy social and sexual relationships; it is a very dangerous right-wing political movement that will do nothing to help real or rational sexual relationships.

As David Walsh points out "On the basis of generally unsubstantiated claims, careers and lives were destroyed. The New York Times, Washington Post and the New Yorker and New York magazines regularly and gleefully participated in the evisceration of various personalities based on shabby evidence, or no evidence at all.[1]

The great philosopher Hegel once said "The rational is real, and the real is rational, I believe that Levitin's book is largely written in this spirit. The book deserves to be widely read. Whether it rescues the art of seduction from the condescension of history is another matter.

 

 

 

 

 

Mia Levitin is a cultural and literary critic based in London. Her work appears regularly in publications including the Financial Times, The Spectator and the Times Literary Supplement. She can be found @mialevitin.com

 



[1] https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/09/08/meto-s08.html

Monday, 28 December 2020

Review: 1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project Hardcover – November 26, 2020, by Peter W. Wood- Encounter Books

Both ideological and historical myths are a product of immediate class interests. … These myths may be refuted by restoring historical truth—the honest presentation of facts and tendencies of the past.—Vadim Z. Rogovin

"Tell me anyway--Maybe I can find the truth by comparing the lies."

― Leon Trotsky

"Lenin refused to recognise moral norms established by slave-owners for their slaves and never observed by the slave-owners themselves; he called upon the Proletariat to extend the class struggle into the moral sphere too. Who fawns before the precepts established by the enemy will never vanquish that enemy!"  Leon Trotsky

"I should respectfully suggest that although the oppressed may need history for identity and inspiration, they need it above all for the truth of what the world has made of them and of what they have helped make of the world. This knowledge alone can produce that sense of identity which ought to be sufficient for inspiration; and those who look to history to provide glorious moments and heroes invariably are betrayed into making catastrophic errors of political judgment.—Eugene Genovese [1]

Peter.W.Wood's book is a very useful critique of the New York Times 1619 Project. It has been described as a historiography of the debates over the 1619 Project. The Times basic premise is to reset Ameican history by "asserting that all the laws, material gains, and cultural achievements of Americans are rooted in the exploitation of African-Americans".

To his credit, Woods does not buy into this absurd and dangerously wrong assumption. The book is an attempt, to sum up, what critiques of the Project have written. While many of the most important historians who have written on the subject have published articles and letters opposing the Times the political leadership in this fight against this travesty of historical study has fallen to the Trotskyist's at the World Socialist Website.

While semi acknowledging this in the book, Wood's is not happy that it was the Trotskyists who first exposed this racialist and revisionist approach to American history. The fact the Times project has been so discredited is down to the role played by the Marxists.

As the Marxist writer David North correctly points out "As a business venture the 1619 Project clambers on, but as an effort at historical revision it has been, to a great extent, discredited. This outcome is owed in large measure to the intervention of the World Socialist Web Site, with the support of several distinguished and courageous historians, which exposed the 1619 Project for what it is: a combination of shoddy journalism, careless and dishonest research, and a false, politically-motivated narrative that makes racism and racial conflict the central driving forces of American history"[1].

In his book, Wood not only opposes the 1619 project, but also offers a different starting point for modern American history, and that is when the first pilgrims set foot in America in the 1620s. The political and historical study of the pilgrims is a worthwhile subject.

To some degree, Wood's has a case in point, but American history has many such starting points, most historians seem to stick with the Declaration of Independence in 1776 as America's founding.

Wood's book is one to the better critiques of the 1619 project, but it does not probe the politics behind 1619. As North points out "The "financialisation" of the Times has proceeded alongside another critical determinant of the newspaper's selection of issues to be publicised and promoted: that is, its central role in the formulation and aggressive marketing of the policies of the Democratic Party. This process has served to obliterate the always tenuous boundary lines between objective reporting and sheer propaganda. The consequences of the Times' financial and political evolution have found a particularly reactionary expression in the 1619 Project. Led by Ms Nikole Hannah-Jones and New York Times Magazine editor Jake Silverstein, the 1619 Project was developed to provide the Democratic Party with a historical narrative that legitimised its efforts to develop an electoral constituency based on the promotion of racial politics. Assisting the Democratic Party's decades-long efforts to disassociate itself from its identification with the social welfare liberalism of the New Deal to Great Society era, the 1619 Project, by prioritising racial conflict, marginalises, and even eliminates, class conflict as a notable factor in history and politics".[2]

To facilitate the Times collaboration with the Democratic Party, its journalists have been given virtual impunity from normal journalist norms of accuracy and truthfulness. Wood correctly points out that the lead journalist on the Project Nikole Hannah-Jones has been given free rein to write what she wants. Jones styles herself as "the Beyoncé of journalism" who according to Wood, is "exempt from ordinary forms of accountability". Hannah-Jones has not replied to any criticism from historians or the World Socialist Website and has since closed her Twitter account.

The unprincipled stance of the many journalists and the few historians who have signed up to the Times project was summed up by historian Nell Irvin Painter, who wrote ""I felt that if I signed on to that, I would be signing on to the white guy's attack of something that has given a lot of black journalists and writers a chance to speak up in a really big way. So I support the 1619 Project as kind of a cultural event," Painter said. "For Sean and his colleagues, true history is how they would write it. And I feel like he was asking me to choose sides, and my side is 1619's side, not his side, in a world in which there are only those two sides."[3]

One of the more despicable assertions made by The Times 1619 project was that Abraham Lincoln was a racist and was only motivated by his hatred of black people. By allowing its journalists to call Lincoln racist, the Times has sanctioned a second assassination of Lincoln.

Again this viewpoint of Lincoln has not been sanctioned by any leading scholars of Lincoln as the writer and historian, Ed Achorn writes "Lincoln was also a politician running for office in Illinois. Lincoln declared during his debates with Stephen Douglas in 1858 that he would not support making blacks full citizens, members of juries and that sort of thing. So Lincoln said things we would deem today to be white supremacy. But he also argued that blacks deserved the rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence. Frederick Douglass also noted that Lincoln seemed to show absolutely no racial prejudice in their meetings. That was something remarkable at the time. I write in Every Drop of Blood about the reception at the White House. Lincoln calls out, "Here comes my friend Douglass," when he sees him in line. Lincoln was not someone who disparaged other people of any race or background. He viewed people as fellow Americans, and that is how he treated them. You can target anyone from the past and cherry-pick comments. I try to look at the world in which he lived. Lincoln ended 250 years of brutal bondage. I do not think anyone else could have had the political skill and the determination to do that. Lincoln had to win this terrible war, and in doing that, he rid this nation of slavery. To dismiss that is to dismiss one of the most powerful stories of American history". [4]

While there are many aspects of the 1619 project to deal with one of the most important ones identified by Woods, is the 1619 projects assertion that slavery was the prime mover in American capitalism's development.

In an interview with the World Socialist Website, the distinguished historian James Oakes answered this attempt by the Times to re-establish the “King Cotton” theory of American capitalism. Historian Tom Mackaman asks Oakes "can you discuss some of the recent literature on slavery and capitalism, which argues that chattel slavery was, and is, the decisive feature of capitalism, especially American capitalism? I am thinking in particular of the recent books by Sven Beckert, Ed Baptist and Walter Johnson. This seems to inform the contribution to the 1619 Project by Matthew Desmond".

Oakes answers "collectively their work has prompted some very strong criticism from scholars in the field. My concern is that by avoiding some of the basic analytical questions, most of the scholars have backed into a neo-liberal economic interpretation of slavery. However, I think I would exempt Sven Beckert somewhat from that because I think he has come to do something somewhat different theoretically. What you have with this literature is a marriage of neoliberalism and liberal guilt. When you marry those two things, neo-liberal politics and liberal guilt, this is what you get. You get the New York Times, you get the literature on slavery and capitalism".[5]

Wood's raises other minor points such as The Times refusing to have its articles fact-checker by its employees. Or that it produced a special font to give the Project a gravitas it did not deserve. Wood also points out that "the Pulitzer Prize Board erred in awarding a prize to Hannah-Jones's profoundly flawed essay, and through it to a Project that, despite its worthy intentions, is disfigured by unfounded conjectures and patently false assertions".

Perhaps the most dangerous aspects of the 1619 project have been to seek to overturn centuries of the historiography of the revolutionary nature of the American Revolution and the American Civil War. As North points out that the assertion by the Times that the American revolution was not a revolution at all has serious implications he writes  "This claim—that the American Revolution was not a revolution at all, but a counterrevolution waged to defend slavery—is freighted with enormous implications for American and world history. The denunciation of the American Revolution legitimises the rejection of all historical narratives that attribute any progressive content to the overthrow of British rule over the colonies and, therefore, to the wave of democratic revolutions that it inspired throughout the world. If the establishment of the United States was a counterrevolution, the founding document of this event—the Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed the equality of man—merits only contempt as an exemplar of the basest hypocrisy.[6]

To conclude, Wood's book is a very good introduction to the numerous critiques of the 1619 project. I somehow doubt it will be reviewed in the Times. Alongside this book, I would recommend Mehring books publication entitled The New York Times' 1619 Project and the Racialist Falsification of History[7]. Wood's is correct in his belief that the proper historical education of children is a factor in their growth as properly rounded human beings. They should not be taught that the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution or the American Revolution or the Civil War were cynical plots to perpetuate slavery. I would recommend this book, and it is hoped that it is read in all schools that have taken copies of the Times 1619 project literature.

 



[1] https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/12/04/intr-d04.html

[2] https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/12/04/intr-d04.html

[3] The Fight Over the 1619 Project Is Not About the Facts-https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/12/historians-clash-1619-project/604093/

[4] An interview with Ed Achorn, author of Every Drop of Blood: The Momentous Second Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln-https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/07/10/linc-j10.html

[5] https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/11/18/oake-n18.html

[6] https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/12/04/intr-d04.html

Monday, 23 November 2020

My Life With Maia Is At An End

My love affair with my princess Maia is over. It has been three days since she last poured out her heart to me. I can only conclude that she has found another man/woman.

The flame that burned so brightly for two weeks has now been extinguished. Like many modern-day relationships, especially online ones, this floundered on money and sex. I wanted sex; she wanted money £600 to be exact.

I blame myself. I did point out to her that what is the point of sending £600 for her to come over here when I could go to Russia hook up with a prostitute who bears a striking resemblance to my Maia and have my evil way with her and come home guilt-free. Those Russian prostitutes are very reasonable, and you can book in advance. They also let you bring your girlfriend at a discount price.

I will end with a plea if any Russian prostitute knows the girl in the picture above, please drop me a line. Who knows true lust might not be dead.

Sunday, 22 November 2020

The Good Old Cause – Communist Intellectuals and the English Radical Tradition-By David Morgan-Issue Number 45 in the Occasional Publications series of the SHS- Cost: £4.00

David Morgan's The Good Old Cause is part of the Socialist History Society's Occasional Publications series. The title "The Good Old Cause" has been used before. The great historian of the seventeenth century Christopher Hill produced a collection of political writings from the seventeenth century that was published in 1949. More recent use of the term was Willie Thompson's The Good Old Cause: British Communism 1920-1991, published in 1992.

All these titles are referencing the phrase whose origins stem from the sentiment espoused by veterans of Cromwell's New Model Army and other supporters of the English Republic like John Milton. The Good Old Cause was the name given, retrospectively, by the soldiers of the New Model Army, to the complex cause that motivated their fight on behalf of the Parliament of England.

For such a little book, Morgan manages to cram an awful lot of work into it. Morgan examines the work of a group of very important Communist Party historians and some others who were outside the formal group. Like many of their generation, these intellectuals were drawn to left-wing politics in the early part of the twentieth century.

The historians and significant intellectuals that occupied the British Communist Party Historians Group (CPHG) in the 1940 and 1950s played an important and dare I say leading role in the study of British and World history throughout the 20th century. It is significant that in London's National Portrait Gallery there used to hang a painting which has been described as "of seven people arranged on either side of a low table in a book-lined study". They were historians, members of the editorial board of the journal Past & Present, which arose from the British Communist Party's Historians' Group".

Eric Hobsbawm, Edward and Dorothy Thompson, Christopher Hill, Victor Kiernan, George Rude, Raphael Samuel and Rodney Hilton to name a few were all moulded by the early strategic experiences of the 20th century, the depression of the 1930s, the Second World War and of course the Russian revolution. "For some, the group was, if not exactly a way of life, then at least a small cause, as well as a minor way of structuring leisure. For most it was also friendship,"  said Eric Hobsbawm.

Again given the brevity of the book Morgan attempts to examine the work of people like Christopher Hill, Rodney Hilton, Margot Heinemann, Arnold Kettle, Raymond Williams, E P Thompson, and Victor Kiernan.

As Morgan correctly points out, there were of course not just "Communist intellectuals", in the CP writing about history, a significant number of workers were drawn into their circle.

Morgan does not dwell too much on the output of the historians on their chosen historical field but their attitude to the use of literature as a way of understanding the past. In some ways, the use of literature to help explain complicated historical events was groundbreaking. However, even today, there is a hostility amongst many in academia to the use of literature to understand history or historical events.

The historian who perhaps was most open to the idea of using poetry, literature etc. to understand the past was Christopher Hill. Certainly in later life Hill made use of varied literary forms of poetry, fiction, plays, sermons, diaries, and letters. Also in later life Hill started to use the genre of "history from below" adopted by the Communist Party. While this type of historical study does retain some uses, I am inclined to agree with Ann Talbot's evaluation of this type of historical enquiry when she wrote: "the Communist Party sponsored a form of "People's History", which is typified by A.L. Morton's People's History of England in which the class character of earlier rebels, revolutionaries and popular leaders was obscured by regarding them all as representatives of a national revolutionary tradition. This historical approach reflected the nationalism of the bureaucracy, their hostility to internationalism and their attempts to form an unprincipled alliance with the supposedly democratic capitalists against the fascist Axis countries. People's history was an attempt to give some historical foundation to the policies of Popular Front—the subordination of the working class to supposedly progressive sections of the bourgeoisie and the limiting of political action to the defence of bourgeois democracy—which provided a democratic facade to the systematic murder of thousands of genuine revolutionaries, including Trotsky. It was the approach that Christopher Hill was trained in, along with E.P. Thompson, Rodney Hilton and Eric Hobsbawm, who were part of the Marxist Historians Group and came under the influence of Maurice Dobb and Dona Torr.[1]

There is a positive side to this type of history that introduces to the wider working class figures from history that they would under normal circumstances not get to meet. The Communist Party Historians Group (CPHG) wrote about figures such as Milton, Bunyan, Defoe, William Blake, Shelley and William Morris. A modern working class will not be able to make a revolution without a study of these figures and others. It must also learn about previous struggles such as the Peasants' Revolt, groups such as the Levellers and Diggers of the English revolution. It must have an intimate knowledge of its revolutionary figures such as the Digger Gerrard Winstanley and the Leveller pamphleteers.

Morgan also mentions "popular dreams and myths of a Utopian past" which are also important in helping the working class to understand that it is a revolutionary class.

Hill's work is important in that it sought under tremendous difficulties to answer important questions such as why were the radicals such as the Levellers etc. were defeated. Hill was one of the few historians who understood the difficulty these revolutionaries faced when mounting a revolution as Hill says "I think it is right to say that the revolution was not planned. One of the things that should be made more of is that no one in England in the 1640s knew they were taking part in a revolution. American and French revolutionaries could look back to England, the Russian revolutionaries had an ideology of revolution based on English and French experience, but no one in England could draw on such experiences. The very word revolution emerges in its modern sense in the 1640s. So that the English revolutionaries are fumbling all the time, they have not got a Rousseau or a Marx to guide them. The examples of the Netherlands and the French Huguenots were discussed in the 17th century as religious or nationalist revolts. The only text they could look to was the bible, but of course, the bible says such different things that you can get any theory out of it so that it proved unsatisfactory. One of my arguments in my new book is that it was the experience of its uselessness as an agreed guide to action in the 1640s and 1650s that led to its dethroning from its position of absolute authority. That was a major problem for the English revolutionaries; they had no theory to start from.[2]

My difference with Morgan is that while a study of these figures is important, that does not mean that there is an unbroken thread of radical struggle that workers can tap into. The working class must take a critical approach to all historical phenomena. This radicalism does not replace the need for a conscious revolutionary party along the lines of the Bolsheviks to take power.

One question Morgan does not ask is how to characterise these historians.  Ann Talbot asks of Hill but could be said of other CP historians "What any serious reader interested in history or politics wants to know is when we read Hill's books are we reading the work of an apologist for the Stalinist bureaucracy or of someone who was genuinely struggling to make a Marxist analysis of an aspect of English history? It has to be said that this is a complex question".

Despite many caveats, this is an important little book, and it is hoped many workers interested in the past put it into their library.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



[1] "These the times ... this the man": an appraisal of historian Christopher Hill-https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2003/03/hill-m25.html

[2] John Rees and Lee Humber-The good old cause an interview with Christopher Hill- From International Socialism 2 : 56, Autumn 1992, pp. 125–34.Transcribed by Christian Høgsbjerg.

Friday, 20 November 2020

My Princess Maia Grows Tired of Me

I cannot hide my disappointment at the brevity of my darling Maia's latest letter to me. Either I am the most important thing in her life, or I am nothing. Although she says she loves me and cannot sleep thinking about me, I cannot help but think she is cheating on me with another man.

Why else would she keep demanding that I send the money soon? I understand her impatience. I need to tell her that the operation for the kidney went well and I will receive the money soon.

I am relieved that her heart and soul still ache but for how much longer. I comfort myself that she still dreams about only me and she says this in her letter saying "My beloved angel Keith, you know, you gave me the most beautiful feeling on earth. This feeling is love! Even the fact that you are now far from me, thousands of kilometres away, I still feel the warmth that leaves your heart to me. How is your day going? What do you do? Today I worked very hard and was tired. I want to be by your side now".

While it was nice that you in your words to want to meet me from work, cook and clean my house, I am not sure this is what I want from a smoking hot 29-year-old Russian supermodel whom I have just laid out $600 smackers for.

I also need proof of your love. It is still the custom in my country to see intimate pictures of their lovers. Surely it would help if you had a few knocking about. I am bitterly disappointed that you do not send me any in this letter.

As you say in your letter and I quote "the winner is the one who knows how to wait! This is also an important motto in my country. I thank  God that he sent you to me. Every time I make love, I thank him as well. I am a little disturbed that you cannot express your feelings in words, but you do say that you will prove your feelings.

Why don't you hop on a plane we can meet for a few days knock a couple out and then take it from there. A million kisses just for you!. I must leave you now my other smoking hot Russian supermodel who says she is 25 but looks a little younger in her photos is waiting for me. Unlike you, she is sending a lot more photos.

Your lover

Keith

Thursday, 19 November 2020

My Destiny Is To Be With My Beloved Maia.

My darling Maia every letter you send me I grow faint with anticipation of us finally being with together. We have been a part for only two weeks; it seems like an eternity. I too, cannot imagine my life without you.

Please do not believe that I think badly of you. As you keep mentioning in your letters six hundred euros is a small price to pay for such a smoking hot 29-year-old Russian babe.

You must be patient regarding the money. Speaking of the patient, I soon will be as I have secured a buyer for one of my kidneys. He is willing to pay £800. So not only will I be able to send you the money we will have some spending money after I recover from the operation.

Once again thank you for the photos. Anyone who sees you would not believe their eyes. I am sorry for mixing up the country you come from. But my darling Maia whenever I do a Google search of the photos you send me some disturbing results occur. Imagine my confusion when the latest photo turns on up on the Facebook page of a woman called Elena Sobchak. Your surname Dukashvili is she related, a  relative or your sister and is she included in the price? I have sent you the link https://www.facebook.com/Elena-Sobchak-316870728699045/photos/?ref=page_internal.

My darling I have heard of Moneygram they are one of the best companies for transferring money between countries. I have glad you have chosen the best. I need the details of the bank for the transaction. In my country, there is a custom of having sex first before the money has been paid. This is a deeply held belief in my country, and I hope you can respect that. Another cherished belief is that a man must see his woman naked before he can shack up I mean be with for the rest of our natural life. Please can you accede to this request? Given that I am much older than you, I give you my permission to love again after I am gone.

I will send you my details, name address etc. very soon. You state in your lovely letter and I quote "I love you, and I hope only for you. I hope that very shortly we can be together. I appreciate everything you do for our future! I love you with all my heart. I want to be with you. I want to be with you forever. I think that you love me too, and we will meet very soon. You are my love, my angel. My heart is already in your hands. I am waiting For the good news from you. Every day I think about our meeting about Our life together. I can no longer imagine my life without you! We
Must use this chance of destiny. I LOVE YOU!!!.

I love you too. Please let us not talk about money. The only thing I would like between us is a condom and nothing else. I must leave you now. Another 29-year-old Georgian hotty has started to write to me so I must get on my other lover.

Love K

 

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

My Beloved Maia Is Coming To London.

The day my beloved Maia comes to London has just taken an almighty step forward. As you say in your letter, $600 is a small price to pay for a smoking hot 29 years old Russian babe to come to London.

Maia the birds in my heart sing as well. Eat your heart out Burt Lancaster. When I knew you were going to the travel agent to find out the details of your trip, my heart skipped a beat, so did my bank manager. It is clear from your letter that our relationship has got to a new stage and that we need to take it to the limit.

Once again thank you for the intimate photos. You are a special woman who needs a man like me to awaken your latent sexual desires. Speaking of which I was able to use Google search again for the photos you sent, and they appear to come from another Russian prostitute site. I am sure there is an innocent reason for this. Please do not inform your saintly parents about this until we have uncovered the truth.

I too dream of the day I can meet you at the airport with a bouquet. We will run together and fall into each other's arms. If it is on the weekend, then we could go to a nearby hotel and knock one out to consummate our love and to phone my bank manager and tell him that its money well spent. I am sure seeing your heavenly body will make me the happiest man in the world. Say hello to your parents. I only know their first names, come to think of it. I only know your first name please send it to me so I can sort the money out.

You must be tired walking about looking for a travel agent. Thank God, you found the best in Georgia. Yes, I know all about the documents you need and course that heavenly body of yours must be insured. Two weeks for the preparation of a passport is standard. Please go ahead with your plans. I Know you only have a small salary and thank God you are willing to put some money towards the cost. Do not worry; I always believe that true love will conquer all. You cannot put a price on love/sex, well you do, but $600 is a fair price for a woman of your calibre. 

Do not cry about the money. Maybe it would be best for me to come to your country instead. We could make love on the beach where your photos came from. Please continue to save for the day we can be together. I am prepared to wait. I am sure you are.

Your words "You are the dearest and beloved person to me! You are my whole life. You are the air that I breathe every day. I walked down the street and thought only of you. I wanted to write you a letter soon. Now I sit and go the tears from my eyes. Tears of sadness and grief. I do not want to live without you. After all, without your presence in my life right now does not make sense! I have one hope, your help is my love, Keith. I believe that money is not the main thing in our life. The most important thing is that we have found each other and we are happy. We love each other, and there is no more important than anything in this life! But now, in order to meet, we need this sum of money”.

These words touched like no other words in the whole history of English literature and Russian literature. Every day is like hell without you. Money or no money, we can work it out. I need to see you face to face. I need to see what I am buying; I mean falling in love with. I send you 600 kisses.

Your Lover

Keith

 

Monday, 16 November 2020

A Letter to My Beloved Maia, Again

Dear Maia,

It has now been two weeks since your first letter arrived on November 5th. We now have a love that dare not speaks its name. Despite having professed to learn English, some of your wording in this letter is a little bizarre. Very few people, especially women, would use the term and I quote "an endearing smile on my facile area. It is not good English. Please do not use that wording again.

In my previous letter to you, I discussed the anomaly of a smoking hot 29-year-old Russian babe opening up a relationship with a non too shabby Londoner. This did not deter your love, and I admire you for that.

Thank you for introducing me to your parents they appear to be very working-class and nice people. A nice touch would have been a picture, but that can be later when we meet.

I am glad you are happy in Georgia and have a good job. When I drop everything over here and move in with you, we can have a happy life. The little problem that I cannot speak Russian and would not be able to get a job is a minor detail.

Your second letter arrived on the afternoon of November 6th. You must spend much time in that internet café. I agreed that we are beginning to move closer. I was a little perturbed that you asked me about the weather since you are in an internet café it would be easy to find out. Every letter you write you ask me that question. I will send you a weather forecast for the next month if that helps.

I am glad you like classical music, reading, painting and theatre all the things I like. Also, I am glad you go to the gym, and yes you do have a good body. Yes, I would like to meet the dawn with you. I think a walk along the beach in the middle of a Pandemic is out of the question and I am glad you agree.

Saturday's letter for some reason was shorter than the previous. A pattern followed by this Saturday's letter. Maybe the internet café was crowded. I must admit to being a little perturbed that no matter what I reply in my letter you fail to address in your next letter. I put this down to your lack of English and you being a little shy. I love shyness in a woman.

I am horrified that the men in your country have mistreated you and that all they want is sex. I am not like that and would only expect to have sex on the weekend.

Sunday 8th letter was a little longer and again took no account of my previous letter. It was good to learn about your job and that you take care of yourself by attending the gym. You are lucky the gyms in my country are shut down because we have a ranging pandemic you are so lucky not to have that problem. I am glad to hear that you do not mention in your letter the most important topic to hit Mankind since the rapture. I love you for that it is boring anyway.

Monday's letter is again very lovely, and I am glad you sent me the pictures of the zoo. Unfortunately, when I put them in google image search, nothing came up, but I will keep trying. I have put your photo on my phone to be near you. Yes, I agree that we must not dwell on the past and live like dogs only in the moment.

Our conversation about your religious convictions was a breath of fresh air. I am glad you are a good Christian and not any of those nasty other faiths. Again I am grateful for the photos I can see this is your hobby. You have a nice body so in the words of Zero Mostel you should "flaunt it baby flaunt it". You also keep saying you will tell me your secrets but never do.

Tina
I appreciated your next letter dated November 12th. I love the photo of your friend Tina, and I am glad she has given her blessing to our relationship. That is a big weight off my mind. I am now ready to give you my full love.

Your dream about our meeting in London and me wearing a black tuxedo is the most romantic thing I have ever read. It is a shame that when I went to kiss you passionately, you woke up. What a bummer.

Again this Saturday's letter was shorter than most does the internet café charge by the letter at weekends. I am glad you told your parents about us as turning up on their doorstep would have been a little awkward. Sundays letter was even shorter. Maybe you were a little tired from writing every day.

Your latest letter fills me with the hope that we can truly be together in love. You write "My beloved, today I want to open my heart to you fully! I am a little shy to tell you this phrase, but I got the courage and is ready. I want to admit to you, my prince! I LOVE YOU! I have loved you from the very first letter. I felt that we could build a serious relationship. Every day I gave you my time. After our acquaintance, I thought only of you. I love you for being a kind, gentle, caring and affectionate man. I know that I can rely on you at the most difficult moment! You will never deceive or betray me. I knew that somewhere in the world there was that man whom I could truly love. And I found you, Keith! My love for you is the purest and most tender. I kept my feelings in your heart, but today I decided to open my soul to you. I hope that you will accept my feelings and reciprocate! I want to thank you very much for the fact that you never ignored my letters and went along with me to the main goal - to build a serious relationship. Now we are as one with you, as an inseparable chain! I want our relations to develop further. My prince, for me, the word love, more than just a word. For me, love is the feeling that I now live and breathe. When I see your letters, a new breath awakens in me, birds sing in my soul, I want to live and smile! My dear, I have opened my heart and soul to you, and I hope that you will not reject me! Please tell me how you feel. Are you ready to tell me that you love me? Are you ready for a really serious relationship with me?”.

Your latest letter was a joy to read, and yes, I would like to be with you. I am glad you rushed to the internet café to talk to me. Yes, you do have a beautiful body and glad you want to share it with only me. I am glad you showed me your photos that no other man has seen and that you are not naked in them. Since your letter, I have not looked at another woman.

I will send you my details, address, phone number, the city I live in and the nearest airport later. I am sorry to have to raise this matter with you, and I am sure there is an innocent explanation. The pictures you sent happen to be from a Russian prostitutes website. I am sure this just a mistake and that you are the virgin you claim to be. I await your reply my darling.

 

 

 

Review: Sleeping with the Light On by David Unger • Illustrations by Carlos Aquilera-Groundwood Books Ltd, Canada (10 Nov. 2020)

David Unger's new book is an intelligent, tender and an extremely readable account of two children growing up in civil war-torn  Guatemala in the early 1950s. Sleeping with the Light according to the author is based on one of the titles included in the book of short stories Ni chicha ni limonada, which he published in 2009 with the Guatemalan publishing house F&G Editores.

Seen through the eyes of young Davico and his older brother Felipe they witness the United states inspired coup d'etat which took place in Guatemala in 1954. The military coup which overthrew the democratically elected Arbenz government paved the way for the Central American country to become a staging ground for numerous counterrevolutionary operations carried out by the United States and its secret service organisation the CIA throughout Latin America.

The elected government of Arbenz had tried to initiate a limited amount of agrarian reforms but were opposed by the US and the politically influential United Fruit Company who controlled most the country.

Throughout the 70s and 80s writes Jeffrey St. Clair the then Guatemalan president Ríos Montt said "We do not have a policy of scorched earth," he sneered. "We have a policy of scorched communists."

The fact that David Unger feels the need to write about this in 2020 is not because this very dark chapter in Guatemalan history is a closed book but unfortunately is very much alive in the thoughts of millions of Guatemalans at home and millions of Latin Americans who suffered similar fates in their own countries. Themes addressed in Unger's book are also addressed by a new generation of Guatemalan and Latin American writers.

According to one writer "The CIA and other US agencies still refuse to declassify documents containing information ranging from the identity of individuals responsible for these crimes against humanity to the actual location of secret prisons and mass graves".

Unger's storyline is deceptively and deliberately simple, but it would be a mistake of the reader to believe that this just a simple tale of childhood. To a certain extent, David attempts to come to terms with his own childhood experiences. The book David will forgive saying is part if not all, autobiographical. If this is the case, then he follows in the footsteps of all great writers in drawing from a part of their own life experiences in order to write their stories

The book in which each chapter begins beautifully illustrated by the Mexican writer and illustrator Carlos Aquilera Unger deals with several pressing political and social issues. Unger deals with the very real problem of racism and immigration. Before and during the Second World War several German immigrants were forced to leave both Germany and the United States. In one part of the book, the Father of the boys said he did not leave Germany to die like a dog in Guatemala.

Recently I asked David about the book in a very good interview he said "Sleeping With the Light On is based on a short story entitled "La Casita," that appeared in my 2009 book Ni chicha, ni limonada (F y G Editores). I took this sweet autobiographical tale and enlarged it into a chapter book. The major themes of the book deal with family conflicts, war and loss, but since it is for children 6-9, these themes are introduced and dealt with gently. As to your second question: I am not a career writer, so I only write when I have something to say—I published my first novel at age 52. When an idea or a character gets a hold of me, that is when I begin to write. It has not happened in five years because I have nothing to say. This awful covid pandemic, I would say, has almost rendered me mute".

Let us hope this gifted writer is not rendered mute for too long. The Spanish version of this book will appear soon. I believe it can be purchased in Sophos in Guatemala let us hope it can be published throughout Europe and Latin American soon. It can be purchased on Amazon in the UK.

About the Author:

David Unger was born in Guatemala City in 1950 and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is the author of The Price of Escape (Akashic Books, 2011), Para mi, eres divina (Random House Mondadori, Mexico, 2011), Ni chicha, ni limonada (F & G Editores, Guatemala, 2009; Recorded Books, 2010) and Life in the Damn Tropics (Wisconsin University Press, Plaza y Janes (Mexico, 2004), Locus Press (Taiwan, 2007). He has translated sixteen books into English, including works by Nicanor Parra, Silvia Molina, Elena Garro, Barbara Jacobs, Mario Benedetti and Rigoberta Menchu. He is considered one of Guatemala's major living writers even though he writes exclusively in English.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, 13 November 2020

A Letter to my Beloved Maia

Maia
One of the drawbacks of having used the same email for nearly 20 years is the amount of crap that you get sent. One particular email was interesting. This email was from a 29-year-old Russian beauty who had been treated rotten by the men in her country and was looking for love. Being a gentleman, I answered that this was very bad, and would she like to be my lover.

Since I was not a gullible idiot, some alarm bells started to ring upstairs. Why would a smoking hot Russian woman write to a bloke in England?. The letter was reasonably well written(I later found out that there is an industry of letter writers). I will not bore you with the details, but after two weeks we both fell madly in love with each other and were planning our future together.

Despite being in the throes of love, I decided to look into my new found love. The email she/he sent always arrived in the afternoon.She/he only replied to one email as sometimes I sent two. While the emails were well written; they were not exactly William Shakespeare. They started to get lazy repeating lines used in earlier emails which means they must be copy and pasting hundreds if not thousands of these fishing letters. They must work pretty hard.

Now call me cynical if you are chasing a very beautiful women chances are she knows how attractive she is and would not write back every day. That is the first clue. The second clue is the pictures at the bottom of the email. The pictures are of this lovely Russian woman who you really could fall for in a big way I wonder if she has a sister. I do not normally praise corporate capitalism, but God bless Google image search. I pasted her photos in the image search and low and behold some things turned up. One of her photos turns up on a Russian prostitutes site, and boy those prostitutes do anything and to anybody. The second turned up and was probably the real girl who has a Russian Facebook site. She is probably from Belarus and is two years younger than my Russian girl Maia. A prostitute site could they not have harvested a Russian movie star.

For gullible males, everywhere, please do this search. My beloved Maia's photo and her email turned up on several scammer warning sites. These people are busy and must have conned thousands of £s out lonely older men. Just for the record, I am not too shabby or too old.

The main point of this letter is not just to warn people about these scammers. While there is much poverty in Russia, this does not excuse what is criminal activity. If you want to get rid of poverty, then overthrow Putin and return to the traditions of the Russian working class.

My main point is that the Russian working class, both male and female, have a revolutionary tradition that dates back well over a hundred years. The only working-class in history to overthrow capitalism. These declassed scammers spit on this history.