Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Unacceptable in the 80s

I've been here before on the blog about this matter, but please bear with me. Just posted on the unofficial myspace page for the Socialist Standard is the 'An A to Z of Marxism', an unpublished SPGB pamphlet that originally dates from the mid eighties.

Previously, the A to Z was posted in six parts on the MySpace Socialist Standard page, but this time I've taken the trouble to cut and paste all six parts together into one blog post for your perusal.

No longer do you have to be left hanging by your R's, wondering which S will follow the entry on Russia. Will it be Saint-Simon, as in Henri Saint-Simon, the Utopian Socialist; Sangria, as in Paul Lafargue's favourite tipple; or Saturday, as in Saturday's alright for fighting as Fred and Charlie go on a pub crawl down 1860s Tottenham Court Road, only to finish the night off with a polemical punch up with the Lassallean mob taking up residence at the Communist Club in Fitzrovia? (I won't spoil it for you.)

"Charlie, these Wetherspoons pub menus are excellent, and such good value. I suggest we line our stomachs with the five-bean chilli before we go on the lash and, that way, you might avoid a repeat of last week's incident with the cobblestones and the street lights down Tottenham Court Road."

Before I get a second wind for some more piss-poor jokes, reproduced below is the original introduction to the unpublished pamphlet that will give you some flavour as to what the text was setting out to do. Wonder why the SPGB didn't get round to publishing it?

It's a shame it wasn't published then. It's a shame an updated and revised edition isn't being published now.

"This dictionary is intended as a reference-companion for the socialist. It is aimed particularly at the newcomer to the socialist movement who may be unfamiliar with socialist terminology.

Our approach has been to combine brevity with clarity, as far as possible, with cross-referencing and a guide to further reading at the end of most entries.We have been selective.

We have concentrated on those words and ideas that are relevant to the case for socialism. In addition, there are many biographical entries of individuals and organisations of interest to the socialist movement. The inclusion of any of these should not necessarily be understood as an endorsement of their ideas and practices. Likewise, many entries have suggestions for further reading but the views expressed in these books are not necessarily the same as those of the socialist movement.

It will be obvious that there are some errors, omissions and unworthy inclusions. We make no claim to comprehensive, final and definitive truth. This dictionary can and should be better. We therefore invite suggestions and constructive criticisms for use in future editions of this dictionary."

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