Good to see Terror and the Tour appear (in 2016 – I’m a little slow) in Liminalities journal and give Peter Phipps and Malcolm Crick a deserved nod, since they really set the tone for so much subsequent work, including anything I did. Click on the image for the pdf of the issue intro:
With importance for geopolitical cultural economy, anthropology, and media studies, John Hutnyk brings South Asian circuits of scholarship to attention where, alongside critical Marxist and poststructuralist authors, a new take on film and television is on offer.
The book presents Raj-era costume dramas as a commentary on contemporary anti-Muslim racism, a new political compact in film and television studies, and the President watching a snuff film from Pakistan. Hanif Kureishi’s postcolonial ‘fuck Sandwich’ sits alongside Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, updated for the war on terror with low-brow, high-brow versions of Asia that carry us up the Himalayas with magic carpet TV nostalgia. Maoists rage below and books go up in flames while News network phone-ins end with executions on the Hanging Channel and arms trade and immigration paranoia thrives. Multiplying filmi versions of Mela are measured against a transnational realignment towards Global South Asia in a contested and testing political future.
Each chapter offers a slice of historical study and assessment of media theory appropriate for viewers of Global South Asia seeking to understand why lurid exoticism and paralysing terror go hand-in-hand. The answers are in the images always open to interpretation, but Global South Asia on Screen examines the ways film and TV trade on stereotype and fear, nationalism and desire, politics and context, and with this the book calls for wider reading than media theory has hitherto entertained.
So, a bit bemused at the appearance of various Marx readers or ‘companions’ filled with US and UK based scholars, mostly, I thought it worth pointing to a few other irruptions of old beardo in the world.
Saurav Kumar offers this short read about misreading Marx, the horror of Modi, and experiments between communists and Ambedkarites: https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2018/05/marx-resonates-after-200-years/
While experiments in truth are the topic, this piece in The Hindu by Ramin Jahanbegloo, the Director of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Peace at Jindal Uni, is both trying to retrieve Marx from a bad rep and ‘nonsense’ accusations, and making some strange associations of his own about our ‘Socratic Gadfly’ walking to the British Museum every day but, allegedly, preferring dry tomes of philosophy than talking to the British masses!! Also cites Raymond Aron! Still: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/karl-marx-200-years-later/article23776934.ece
Famed scholar Armatya Sen manages to promote Satyajit Ray’s film, Agantuk in this piece. Also funny on Hamlet, the Nobel Laureate references Hobsbawn and 1955 Labour Party stuff (the days of Rajani Palme-Dutt in the CPGB should have got in here to – debates with). Sen is not yet embalmed: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/karl-marx-philosophy-200th-birth-anniversary-5163799/
As a contrast, one could ‘sharpen and deepen’ one’s understanding according to last years (199) version of this sort of thing (what is this sort of thing?) from the CPI(M): http://www.cpim.org/views/marx-today%E2%80%99s-world
OK, CMP stuff comes in various forms, but there is life in the old dog yet. Comrade Vijay Prashad, much respected, imagined Marx reading the blue books (I want to link to my forthcoming on the Blue Books, but its not out yet). LeftWord is one of the best new(ish) publishers in India so check out the blog and sales list too : http://blog.leftword.com/marx-turns-200/
The comrades of CPI M-L are serious about scholarship as well – this piece by Amitabha Chakrabarti at the 200 bicentenary commemoration is worth a read for its discussion of ground rent, agriculture and modes of production debates,though repeats a slight distortion in saying that in ‘last decade of his study Marx wrote about 30000 pages on Russian agriculture’ – Kevin Anderson is on the case, 30k notes in the last decade sure, but not all on agriculture. Yet, this is a healthy change of perspective from the Euro-Am usual fodder: http://cpimlnd.org/a-study-note-on-transition-of-agriculture-marxist-problematic-after-publication-of-capital-1867/
And just as a taster, meanwhile in Vietnam (and I do want to do a roundup for several other non-centrifuegalisms), this piece describes a presentation in Ha Noi by Nguyễn Xuân Thắng, Secretary of the Communist Party of Việt Nam Central Committee, Chairman of the Central Theoretical Council and Director of the Hồ Chí Minh National Political Academy. The text gives a bit of a flavour of how things can look quite different when you are winning. All students study Mac-Len Nin, relevant to the country and the world: http://vietnamnews.vn/politics-laws/427407/marxism-bears-eternal-value-for-world-and-the-vietnamese-revolution.html#lOuJOpWeBRpLvlF3.97
22 years ago my first book was typeset and laid out in the days before electronics – well, an electric typesetting machine was plugged into a wall, but no digital file was produced. Nevertheless, I had crossed out the digital rights clause in my contract with Zed so I own this. At last some kind anonymous soul has bootlegged it and set digital copy free on the nets, though its a large scanned file and the bibliography was left off (I’ve made a rough scan of the biblio but that too is a large file). Nevertheless, notwithstanding, and such like phrasings, the book is still one of which I am proud, if nothing else for trialling a way of citing tourist backpacker-informants, for its stuff on photography and maps and for the reviews it got (and indeed keeps getting discussed, for example on films – see diekmann2012) and especially for its critique of charity and what charity is for. In the context of do-gooder well-meaning hypocrisy, the effort of charity workers serves wider interests as well as their own, and only marginally any individuals they help – who would be better helped in better funded state-run facilities if the funds extracted through business-as-usual colonialism were, you know, made as reparations for the several hundred years of colonial plunder. Ah well, the critique stands up, the charity industry sadly thrives, second only perhaps to weapons in terms of so-called development, writing books does not yet always change the world as much as you’d like (and no, I did not ever think a book would single-handedly stop Mother Theresa, but…).
I would welcome new readers.
Download The Rumour of Calcutta here: [John_Hutnyk]_The_rumour_of_Calcutta__tourism,_ch
Biblio here. Rumour biblio
And this retrieved by Toby:
Rosa writing to Henriette Roland Holst, August 2011 is firm, chastising and correct, and it seems effective, Holst forms a new group which later enters the SPD, although I know zilch about their influence after joining:
“Your long silence was all the more painful for me because I had to assume for various reasons you were dissatisfied with the general situation and consequently with your own. Now I hear: things are going well with you personally and with your health, but you want to leave the SDAP. The first things make me truly happy, but the last one—no! You certainly know I was strongly opposed to your staying in the party at the time when the others left it. I was and am of the opinion that you should all stay together—inside or outside. Fragmentation of the Marxists (not to be confused with having differences of opinion) is fatal. But now, when you want to leave the party, I would like with all my might to prevent you from doing that. You do not want to join the SPD, or so I hear. I’m not able to judge whether that is correct or not. If you want to join the SDP but can’t, enough said. But then by leaving the SDAP you are leaving the Social Democratic movement! You can’t do that, none of us can! can’t be outside the organizations of the musses, out of contact with them. The worst working-class party is better than none. And times can change. In few years a stormy period could sweep away the opportunist muck in Holland or even in all of Europe. But a person can not wait for such times from the outside, one must carry on the fight within, no matter how sterile or fruitless the effort may seem—to the very end. If you stay outside, You you are finished, dead for the political movement. Don’t do that! You also have responsibilities toward the International. Stay with the rank and file, that is our duty, we are all soldiers. I warn you against taking a false step”.
[Fn… Holst left the SDAP in 1911, founded the Revolutionair Socialistisch Verband (Revolutionary Socialist Association). and together with that group joined the SDP in 1916.]
Laugh out loud passage in Rosa Luxemburg’s letter of April 2 2011 to Kostya Zetkin (Clara’s son) about Lenin’s visits and the sharp dialectical criticism of Lenin by Mimi the cat.
While there are many who would criticise Lenin without reading or meeting him, the critical support that Rosa provides – the contestation, disagreement and solidarity, are exemplary, as is the cat.
And it confirms all I wanted to say about the politics of cats – The Politics of Cats – first version, later published in Stimulus Respond in an article of which I am still quite pleased – available as part of Handpicked, by Pavement books.
Yesterday Lenin came, and up to today he has been here four times already. I enjoy talking with him, he’s clever and well educated, and has such an ugly mug, the kind I like to look at … Mimi [Rosa’s cat] … impressed Lenin tremendously, he said that only in Siberia had he seen such a magnificent creature, that she was a barskii kot—a. majestic cat. She also flirted with him, rolled on her back and behaved enticingly toward him, but when he tried to approach her she whacked him with a paw and snarled like a tiger.