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Issue #1621      December 4, 2013

Holiday reading & gift ideas

The editor’s selection

Looking for some gift ideas or just thinking about catching up with some reading over the summer break? Then why not shop where your money counts, rather than feed the troughs of the multinationals! The Communist Party of Australia has a range of T-shirts, DVDs and books, including Marxist-Leninist classics, working class struggles, the environment, women’s issues and cultural works.

Battleship Potemkin and The General Line for just $20.

T-shirts

T-shirts always make popular and practical gifts. “Improve your Marx” (white shirt with black text) and Che Guevara (red or white with black graphic) are popular with students. “We are the 99%” takes up the Occupy Movement theme (white with black text). If you are looking for something very Australian, the classic white on blue Eureka T-shirt is a winner.

On a more classic, revolutionary theme, the Lenin T-shirt (red or white with black graphic) or the CPA’s own red T-shirt with a small yellow logo which includes the hammer and sickle and Southern Cross stars are also very popular. T-shirts are $25 each, sizes M-XXXL.

DVDs

Battleship Potemkin is considered one of the most important and influential films of all time, as well as possibly Sergei Eisenstein’s greatest work. It tells the story of the mutiny on the Russian ship Prince Potemkin during the 1905 uprising against the Tsarist regime. It was banned in many countries, particularly fascist Germany, Italy and Spain, and even Britain up until 1954! The film brought Eisenstein’s theories of cinema art to the world in a powerful showcase; his emphasis on montage, his stress of intellectual contact, and his treatment of the mass instead of the individual as the protagonist. The DVD also includes another of Eisenstein’s films, The General Line. $20.

Or how about eight films by Sergei Eisenstein on four DVDs for just $60. The other films are: October 1917, The Strike, Alexander Nevski, Que Viva Mexico!, Ivan the Terrible (Parts 1 & 2).

The Guardian is offering a very special DVD, Interview with Peter Symon, former General Secretary of the CPA and great ideologue, Peter Symon, was recorded in Sydney in 1994 by Avante Media Australia. It covers a range of topics, including domestic and international politics, the role of the Party, trade unions and runs for 95 minutes. Proceeds of this DVD go to the Guardian Press Fund. $25.

Classic Protest Songs from the Smithsonian Folkways is one of my favourite CDs. Twenty-two songs from anti-war, civil rights, labour, farm workers, and other struggles with great artists including Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Janis Ian, Big Bill Broonzy, Pete Seeger, Barbara Dane, Guy Carawan, Phil Ochs, ringing out with calls for peace and justice. $20.

Books

Eureka and Beyond: Monty Miller – his own story is a first-hand account of one of Australia’s most historic events written in a colourful and entertaining style. At a young age Monty Miller fought and was wounded in the Eureka Stockade in 1854. At 85 he was sentenced to six months hard labour for his leadership in the anti-conscription struggles in 1917. As well as Monty’s own description of the Eureka Stockade, the book contains extracts from “Labour’s Road to Freedom” with an introduction by Katharine Susannah Throssell (Pritchard). There is an introduction by Vic Williams along with his poem “Are You Ready Monty Miller?” $21.

Slipped Through the Net – The story of Melrose Desmond Donley by Elly Inta tells the story of a ward of state who was taken from his mother at the age of six months. Des was in and out of foster homes and then on to the harsh realities of a Salvation Army Orphanage. At 15 he was farmed out to a family as virtual slave labour, working from 3:30 in the morning until 9 at night, sleeping in a shed with a prickly straw pillow. He became a union delegate, joined the Communist Party and spent a life fighting for others. The fair skinned Des was in his 60s when he learnt of his Aboriginality. Up until his death at 95, he was still fighting for his stolen wages. $26.

Women, Race & Class by the Black American activist Angela Davis. It gives the best insight into the links between women’s issues, racism and the class struggle that I’ve ever read. It contains a fascinating historical background on slavery and the emancipation struggle of Black women in the US, Communist women and women’s rights. It is an extremely educational and interesting book on women’s issues. $30.

How often do you hear claims that Marxism is irrelevant to environmental issues! Red Roots, Green Shoots by Virginia Brodine puts a lie to this claim providing a Marxist approach to saving the planet. The first part of the book contains a collection of writings from newspaper columns, articles from the US Communist Party’s People’s Weekly World and speeches. Part II is the text of a second edition of People and Nature Before Profits.

The author recognises the important role that workers have to play on the job and in their communities to protect life on our planet, end the threat of nuclear destruction, and to create a socialist economic system that does away with the profit motive. $19.

Capitalism

Can Capitalism Last? A Marxist Update by Daniel Rubin could hardly be more topical. The book seeks to show why the influence of Marxism and socialism is growing and what value they have for the working people and the struggle for a better life. It brings together the major subjects of Marxism while dealing with contemporary developments. It was written before the most recent changes in the Middle East and Europe but is nonetheless very relevant. $20.

Today, with the rapid shift to the right in politics and the question of how to fight back high on the agenda, look no further than Lenin’s classics: On Imperialism and Imperialists; What is to be Done; One Step Forward – Two Steps Back; and “Left-wing” Communism, an Infantile Disorder. They take up important questions such as who revolutionaries should work with, tactics and strategy, methods of struggle, organisational principles and tasks facing a revolutionary party, and the differences between revolutionary parties and parties of social reform. All four for $25.

An Illustrated History of the Great October Socialist Revolution: 1917 Month by Month is exactly what its title suggests. This hardcover book offers almost 400 pages of historic photos and text, month by month throughout the year 1917. There are many classic photos and others that are not so familiar. The text gives a blow-by-blow description of developments. It is a book that can be read from cover to cover or just picked up to study the photos and sections of the text. $30.

For anyone wishing to demystify political economy or deepen their understanding, then People vs Profits (Volume 1), a collection of short pieces by the late Victor Perlo is just the book. The articles first appeared in the People's Weekly World newspaper of the Communist Party, USA. They deal with very important issues including labour and industry, social security, racism, oil, taxes, finance and although some date back to 1961, are remarkably topical, which says something about the capitalist system!

$32

Another book by Victor Perlo, Super Profits and Crises: Modern US capitalism, applies Marxist Leninist theory to contemporary issues, in a simple meaningful manner. $27.

No revolutionary’s bookshelf is complete without the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. $7.

In the spirit of giving, every T-shirt or book order will receive a free copy of Hot Earth which puts the CPA’s case for planning and regulation to deal with the climate crisis.

The best present of course is a subscription to the Guardian. See page 11 for details.

And while you’re in the mood for giving, don’t forget the Press Fund!

Cheers.

Tom Pearson

To order contact: shop@cpa.org.au

Next article – Culture & Life – Movie violence and celebrating WW1

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