So yeah we have long lists of theory to chew through, but they can't all be good or adequate. Which writers would you recommend to skip or to read only for a specific purpose, like historical context, as a complementary dialogue with another writer you agree with, or for a good example of what bad theory/praxis is?
Also, to avoid this thread being derailed into anarchist-tankie shitflinging, let's try to explain to each other the value of this or that author, if they're mentioned. I'll start off with Lenin. I can't fathom the use of reading him beyond as part of the history of the USSR. What use does he has? I would argue that his post-revolution writings and speeches are important to understanding the problems he had to deal with in implementing his theories, and how material reality forced him for a change of course. Otherwise, him and the rest of the Bolshevik crew seem redundant to me, apart from the many theorists (that got purged) because there could be some hidden gems.
David Harvey, his analysis of Capital is utterly confused and omnious.
I'd also skip Focault and most of the Frankfurt school stuff.
You faggots can't even recognize a joke, how are you even in an imageboard
le epic trole
His general model of praxis is still the best we have organizationally speaking. The use of a well organized vanguard party, combined with a multi tactic approach (agitation, direct action, electoralism, strikes, etc) is applicable to pretty much any situation. His analysis of imperialism is also pretty much still the best and most relevant, although it could do with an update.
Reddit, not even once
In response to the OP question, I would say there is very little that is "useless" to read among the lists of what we normally call leftist thinkers, but that's in the case that you're actually reading them. In terms of skimming and reading excerpts, the worst effect I've seen has been from Bookchin and Stirner, as the former usually leads to "dude Marx forgot the secret ingrediants of nature and municipalities in his dialectical formula lmao" and skimming Stirner leads to people acting like they read a really edgy self help guide. But if either of those theorists are what genuinely strike up your interest in leftism, absolutely read them and take notes and form an opinion, because even if I disagree, if you have an articulable opinion based on the text we can have constructive theoretical discussion. But you actually need to fucking read them.
Well, fair point. But I only asked it to understand the particular use of Lenin's ideas.
I was hoping there would be somewhat more elaboration on your picks.
Bakunin is a writer I'd recommend to skip. His only lengthy book is rather useless as a work of theory and can serve only as supplement for studying 19th century German history because what he mostly talks about there is the ascendancy of the German state, also he is far too often inconsistent and vulgar in his materialist analysis, attributing some inner nature to peoples rather than the material conditions they live under. The value of the rest of his his work is pretty much the same; good only for historical context within the development of the socialist movement in the 19th century with little to no theory or realistic praxis (stemming from his vulgar materialism). If you're interested in his critique of Marx it's just a few pages and Marx quotes him anyway in his reply to him.
What I would recommend from Bakunin is his writing on religion (not God and the State), he has the best philosophical arguments I've seen against the existence of God and his materialist conception of the universe is pretty good too. Also his two early essays "On Philosophy" from his religious days because he carries a lot of his philosophical conceptions from them. The only issue is that these aren't explicitly leftist works.
State and Revolution and Imperialism are both required marxist reading. I cant imagine the level of retardation you need to have to make such a stupid statement.
Yes, I haven't read him. I've explained why I am skeptical about reading his pre-revolution writings, and there's nothing "retarded" about that. The only required Marxist material is Marx himself.
Now why don't you explain why he's "required" instead of whining?
Firstly, Imperialism is a very good book, and explains in pretty simple terms both how wealthy nations economically exploit poorer nations through finance and such, and also shows pretty well how monopolies form more generally which is still relevant today. For example, many of the companies he talks about as examples of monopolies are actually still major companies today, over 100 years after he wrote that book. Secondly, State and Revolution explains quite well the need for a new state post revolution, as opposed to "abolishing" the state or trying to reform a capitalist state. It's also has a really good explanation of the withering away of the state, which is obviously Engel's concept not Lenin's, but Lenin explains it in more simple terms pretty well. He's required because he's one of the most influential writers in history, and his theory is still wholly relevant.
Why would you say he's not worth reading if you haven't even read him? Clearly you aren't very knowledgeable of his theory, so why would you even bring it up? Surely you should at least read theory before claiming it's not worth reading.
also, I cant even describe to you how stupid it is to claim that the only required Marxist reading is Marx himself. Marx doesn't explain how to actually carry out and sustain a revolution, and claiming that all marxists need is one theorist is beyond retarded, verging on just contrarian nonsense
BTW thanks for the explanation. It actually got me interested, but my point above still stands.
I'll also add that it's really, really stupid to be sceptical of reading any book. Reading any book critically can do nothing but good. It will either help you add more knowledge to your beliefs, or give you a better understanding of theory your against. Even reading fascist literature helps you know your enemy, there is literally zero reason to be sceptical of reading books.
No problem, I disagree but there's no reason for animosity, I came off too strongly in my first reply and should have just explained my points. Good luck in your future of reading more theory, comrade. polite sage though
True, but the point is that you don't want to invest time in vaguely relevant literature. The point of this thread is to help anons sort out their reading lists instead of just randomly going through books.
Yeah that's fair enough, I generally do believe that Lenin is a very important theorist, and personally Lenin was actually one of the first theorists I read properly just because he's pretty easy to read as far as theorists go. I actually tried to read Capital v1 as my first proper marxist book (after reading the Communist Manifesto, but that isn't even properly theory if we're being honest) but I realised I had made a mistake after re reading the first chapter like five times and figuring out I needed a better starting off point
Is there a way to read Hegel without turning into a reactionary and/or SocDem?
Nope. Into the garbage it goes.
t. ex-Zig Forums
are you legitimately not capable of reading something you disagree with? is this bait?
What's the best ideological shield from being consumed by reactionary bullshit?
Are you seriously afraid you'll turn into a reactionary?
don't forget Materialism and Empirio-Criticism
Not him, but there's a reason why Neocons exist.
Maybe but even that is debatable. Marxism is the following of Marx's established system of analysis, one that brought Marx himself to many different conclusions throughout his life, not one comprehensive internally consistent doctrine that can be studied in a void. Marx dismissed many of the supposed Marxists of his day, saying "if they are Marxists, then I'm not a Marxist", and the proper reading of this is as an internal dispute between two parties who both have the same claim to Marxism. (See the Torah where two rabbis are arguing about God's intention but when God arrives and speaks on the side of one of the rabbis the other says to God, "get out of here, this isnt your debate.")
There are other Marxist thinkers just as important and essential to Marxist thought as Marx himself. Lukacs talks about this in one of his writings on Orthodox Marxism as a distinguishing feature from religious ideologies, since what is meant by Orthodox Marxism is the method of analysis which can in good faith (if not correctly) be used to bring someone to conclusions superficially opposite to Marx's thinking, whereas religious belief starts with ontological assumptions about the divine that can be reinterpreted through different methodology but must always come to the same conclusion.
Very curious how you can possibly find nothing of use whatsoever in "State & Revolution" or "Imperialism"
Not to sound like Kermit, but you can skip most of the French postmodernist philosophers like like Foucault, Derrida, et al. At the time they were active, France had a culture of "celebrity philosophers" who would show up on mainstream shit like talk shows and game shows, and most of these philosophers took a turn to the right when the Cold War started flaring up to keep their social positions. They're a fucking masterclass in meaningless, obtuse naval gazing and sounding vaguely subversive while not actually challenging anything if you're into that, and their theories, and understanding their theories can help you better understand the sorry state of the modern Western left, but reading them is ultimately a step backwards and you'd be better off reading proper Marxists.
When will ☭TANKIE☭s understand humour? I understand it was banned in the Soviet Union, but come on. Cringe
You misunderstood, I meant you should read his other writings on religion, not God and the State. It's not bad per se, but he repeats there in a much more watered down, fragmented form what he wrote already in earlier essays on religion.