Re: [OPE-L] old books and new books

From: David Yaffe (david@DANYAF.PLUS.COM)
Date: Tue May 30 2006 - 07:18:46 EDT

Hudson's book referred to by Juriaan was published in Britain by Pluto
Press in 1992.They have recently reissued his Super Imperialism and Global
Fracture. Both are essential for understanding US imperialism's developing
relationship to the European imperialist countries and the oppressed nations.

David Yaffe

At 19:23 29/05/2006 +0200, you wrote:
>To tell you the truth, I realise I wrote somewhat derisively about Marxists
>using "old books to write new books", but if I had the opportunity and time
>I'd quite like to do same, in the sense that a lot of the older literature
>is forgotten - somebody had a breakthrough idea, but for some reason it was
>swept aside by the preoccupations of the moment, or, they put it out in some
>obscure publication that was little noticed etc.
>Recently I talked to a socialist professor who commented about young
>leftists "that they knew nothing about May 1968 and all that stuff", never
>mind a more distant past, he had to explain all sorts of stuff that a
>previous generation took for granted. (I was 9 years old in 1968 and watched
>the protests on TV, read a considerable amount about it later, as a
>student - because, by that time, many '68 radicals had lectureships and
>wrote a lot of books). We sort of sat there thinking, yeah, we're getting
>old, and we don't even realise in total what that means.
>To take a specific personal example, as a compulsive browser, recently I
>acquired by chance a second-hand a copy of Michael Hudson's book "Trade,
>Development and Foreign Debt" (1992), which makes a lot of excellent
>points - this guy (I do not know him personally) is really very good and on
>top of the material. Yet his book is no longer in print as far as I know,
>and few people would know about it, not many libraries have it here. So
>then, what happened to the ideas?
>Russell Jacoby once wrote a book about "social amnesia", suggesting to me
>the way the context of the past is effaced to suit the present, and the
>importance of historical continuity, of historical thinking and social
>context, the fact that the historical context has things to teach us. It
>might even be, that the old books are better than the new ones, in
>particular cases, to the extent that they stated a point as well as it can
>be stated. There was a time that I abandoned my dogeared copies of Marx's
>"Capital", thinking I was finished with all that, but I've had occasion to
>get copies again, and leafing through them, I've found myself thinking
>"hell, I didn't even realise he said that" which is to say that, in youthful
>enthusiasm, you might skip over things, and not read as well as you

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