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Marx for Beginners
January 28, 2012 6:31 AM   Subscribe

Marx for Beginners (running time: 7 minutes)
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear (27 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
HELP! HELP! I'M BEING REPRESSED!
posted by Fizz at 6:48 AM on January 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, I'm sold.
posted by codswallop at 7:08 AM on January 28, 2012


Some background.
posted by euphorb at 7:14 AM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


What happens to the woman? Is there a sequel?
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 7:15 AM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I assume she was shot while attempting to escape interrogation for antisocial activities.
posted by codswallop at 7:18 AM on January 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Where does that music at the end come from? I heard it so many times as a 70s kid and then it was if 1980 showed up and I didn't hear it again until just now. Weird.

I think the woman was there as a critique of Marxist thought, as well. It's definitely a good film to get people discussing these issues. I'm surprised I'd never seen it before.
posted by droplet at 7:23 AM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are better films to explain Marxism.
posted by timsteil at 8:00 AM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Understanding Marx will straighten out your head.
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 8:18 AM on January 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is dangerous stuff. Flagged.
posted by mattoxic at 8:28 AM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


This isn't a very good intro to the subject, and I wouldn't show it to kids because of the historical inaccuracies and all, but as an animation fan, I'm totally charmed. It reminds me of Antonio Prohias and Sergio Aragones, and it is pretty funny.

What happens to the woman?

She's still asking.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:33 AM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


This one is kind of cool. Found it via the YT side link dooeys.
posted by Trochanter at 8:44 AM on January 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Myself, I ended up at two Soviet propaganda animations from the 1920s. Absolutely fascinating and bizarre. Again, I'm reminded that there is a whole other history of animation of which I'm unaware in this hemisphere.

("LOOK! PAKHOMYCH HAS GOT EVERYTHING!"
"BUT MY HORSE JUST DIED.")
posted by Countess Elena at 8:46 AM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The cartoon mashup Trochanter linked is excellent and does a better job, I think, than the OP's linked animation of explaining the historical context and the ideals of communism with a visual language that almost anyone in American culture could grasp.
posted by briank at 9:11 AM on January 28, 2012


Where does that music at the end come from?

John Carpenter
posted by P.o.B. at 9:13 AM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


David Harvey has started releasing videos of his Reading Marx's Capital: Vol. 2 lectures (the volume 1 lecture videos on youtube, and in book form at Amazon).
posted by mediated self at 10:21 AM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


There is an interesting side story that I came across when I was reading up on the Marx for Beginners video that’s posted here. It’s the story of how the cooperative that published the book this video is based on self-destructed. The video is based on a comic book called Marx for Beginners by Mexican cartoonist Rius. From Wikipedia:
… Cuba para principiantes (1960) and Marx para principiantes (1972) by the Mexican political cartoonist and writer Rius, [are] pocket books which put their content over in a humorous comic strip way but with a serious underlying purpose. An English-language version of the first book was published in 1970 by Leviathan Press of San Francisco and Pathfinder Press of New York, to no particularly great impact. However, when Richard Appignanesi edited the first English edition of Marx for Beginners (1976) for the London-based Writers and Readers Publishing Cooperative, of which he was a co-founding member of with Glenn Thompson and others, it was soon clear that the collective had a hit on their hands. With a successful format identified, further "... for Beginners" titles soon began to appear.
However, later on the Writers and Readers Publishing Cooperative self-destructed and the ... for Beginners series split into two (from Wikipedia):
A schism developed at the start of the 1990s, when the Writers and Readers Publishing Cooperative which had been publishing the titles broke up. Appignanesi, who had been the first editor in London for the series and had also written several of the titles, joined the new publisher Icon Books as a co-founder, under whose imprint he re-published several of the titles and continued to publish and expand a British version of the series. Meanwhile, Glenn Thompson, now in America, also formed a new company, Writers and Readers' Inc., which also continued the ... For Beginners series, in several cases commissioning new authors to create replacement books for those being published in Britain. This led to a number of examples where the two ranges were publishing two different books on the same subject, each with exactly the same title.
The situation was eventually resolved in 1999 by the British range being rebranded as the Introducing... series, with titles starting with that word instead of ending "for beginners". In the latest reissues of these titles (from 2008) the "Introducing" is played down to the level of a series name, and the titles are instead prominently subtitled "A Graphic Guide".
This is from the forbeginnersbooks.com site which now owns the ... for Beginners series:
As the Writers and Readers and the Beginners series became more and more successful, however, it became much more difficult to maintain the co-op mentality. Questions of control arose. Some took it upon themselves to sell the titles to larger, corporate publishing houses. Thompson felt that he needed more control over the Writers and Readers. Compromising the cooperation values of Writers and Readers in order to preserve some of his more important ideals of reform and activism, Thompson took control as sole publisher. He went to New York and began a second branch called Writers and Readers Publishing, Inc.

Several years after the passing of Glenn Thompson, a few investors got together to discuss the cultural value and importance of his Beginners series and decided to buy the rights to the titles. For Beginners, LLC was born. Inspired by his innovative and radical concepts on the power and influence of independent publishing, we adopted Glenn Thompson’s ideals and intentions, re-releasing 20 of his Beginners titles and authorized one new title, Dada and Surrealism For Beginners, in the summer of 2007.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear at 11:40 AM on January 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


mediated self, thanks for the pointer to the David Harvey course. I think I'm going to convert them to mp3's.

I first heard Harvey in one of those RSA Animate videos on the latest Wall Street fiasco. In it, he talked about another crisis, in the seventies, where he said the response to the crisis was "to discipline labour". That was a powerful moment. I thought it made for a very interesting "lens" as Harvey puts it, through which to view these things.

Very interested to view these lectures, and thanks again.
posted by Trochanter at 12:18 PM on January 28, 2012


Here is the original David Harvey RSA video.
posted by Trochanter at 12:31 PM on January 28, 2012


Living in Georgia, you'll hear so many know-nothings talk about Marx in the same tone of voice as they would say Satan. Folk who are completely submerged and drowning in indoctrination, who have not the slightest understanding of what they thoughtlessly dismiss.
posted by JHarris at 12:37 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Introducing" is played down to the level of a series name, and the titles are instead prominently subtitled "A Graphic Guide".

The "Graphic Guide" versions are lousy...the ones I've seen reproduce the same material from the original "Introducing" editions but the books are physically smaller, so some of the text is ridiculously tiny. Thankfully the "...for beginners" series has retained the same 9 x 6 inches format.
posted by mediated self at 1:33 PM on January 28, 2012


The "Carlos Casteneda for beginners" book is the crappiest book ever printed.
posted by sneebler at 5:11 PM on January 28, 2012


Merely having that book in my house makes it impossible for me to distinguish between "Post Comment" and "Preview".
posted by sneebler at 5:13 PM on January 28, 2012


I remember sitting down at the age of thirteen at my local library with a copy of the Communist Manifesto. I'd heard a lot about it, at least in theory that it was a radical document, betwixt vague family lore about socialism in Canada being a familial thing (maternal grandparents were labour radicals) and my grade eight teacher speaking of communism in the same blanket condemnation that you refer to say, famine or quack medicine. It was a red bound paper back, and I expected at least metaphorically, to open the soft cover up onto some sort of alien portal into enlightenment or at least find a strong declaration of war. For a nerdy atheist kid to whom sex, while weird, was no great secret, drugs were tedious and rock and roll less transgressive than opera to my social milieu, this was what I hoped was the good stuff.

It was a lot shorter than I expected and obsessed with debating the point that communists did not indeed share their women in common, indeed it was capitalism that so exchanged females in such an exploitative fashion. I won't say my innocence was shattered, but it really removed my ability to take adults seriously.
posted by Phalene at 6:35 PM on January 28, 2012


Living in Georgia, you'll hear so many know-nothings talk about Marx in the same tone of voice as they would say Satan.

Really? I thought Darwin had replaced ol' Karl at the top of the Hierarchy of Evil these days.
posted by AdamCSnider at 8:45 PM on January 28, 2012


It's too bad that every time communism crops up it rapidly devolves into impoverished dictatorships. A different model is probably needed.
posted by dibblda at 12:57 AM on January 29, 2012


There are multiple Satans, or rather they would claim that he's everywhere in the world. Darwin, Marx, D&D, environmentalists, climate scientists. Their most recent edition is Obama.

The only reason Nyarlathotep doesn't troll these types is that it's way way too easy.
posted by JHarris at 1:34 AM on January 29, 2012


It's too bad that every time communism crops up it rapidly devolves into impoverished dictatorships.

Except for most of Europe and tiny portions of America.

I think the best line in the video is the line: "The profit comes from unpaid labor". Yes. How else could it be? The capitalist is providing no asset other than the fact he happens to own a big chunk of money all at once. That value isn't enough to explain the ongoing profit. It can only come from pay workers less than the value they are producing.
posted by DU at 11:10 AM on January 30, 2012


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