marxism


The book is now out of print, which is a shame, but Another Vietnam is a stunning collection of photographs from Vietcong photographers of their side of a long, long war they won. It makes you wonder what the situation would be like if the DPRK had won their revolutionary war against the USA. The images may be found here, along with descriptions (ht: cp).

 

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Some photographs, taken by me and Aina Skoland (who was in our group). As you can see, people like to dress well and go about their daily lives as one might expect.

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Three wise communists

Yes, indeed. This is from the train that took me last year from Pyongyang to Beijing. A preparation for a series of photographs on the DPRK (North Korea) – which I have at last finished processing:

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It reads: xian ren zhibu, which would be better translated as ‘no loitering’.

Another gem from G.E.M. de Ste. Croix. In his discussion of the viability of Marx’s approach to class, he mentions as an aside the chances of becoming an individual saint in the Roman Catholic Church. Of the thousands of saints, only 5 per cent have come from the lower classes which have constituted over 80 per cent of European populations (Class Struggle, p. 27).

A new website has just been launched by the Communist Party of the UK, along with a range of other people, called Culture Matters. I have the first post of what should be a number on the complex issue of Marxism and religion.

In an earlier piece, I commented on the struggle over ‘traditional’ and simplified’ script in China, noting that Taiwan’s decision to keep the traditional script was a deeply anti-communist move. The same could be said of Hong Kong and some older overseas Chinese communities. To add to this, it is worth noting that the DPRK (North Korea) immediately fostered the hangul script (they call it Chosŏn’gŭl), which was first designed in the fifteenth century. By contrast, South Korea for a long time continued to use the elite hanja system (based on Chinese characters). Why? The southerners saw it as an anti-communist move.

But I am interested here in another feature of the politics of script. In traditional Chinese practice, it was the custom for a married woman to be called taitai, madam. Her full name would have her husband’s family name and then the title, as in Wang taitai or Zhang taitai. A husband would call his wife Wo taitai, ‘my madam’ or perhaps ‘my Mrs’. This practice is still common in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and older overseas Chinese communities. However, in mainland China the practice was eradicated after 1949. You do not call a married woman taitai, indeed you do not call her by her husband’s name at all. She has her own name. Guess why.

 

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