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Re: r.biel@ucl.ac.uk
by Farouk Sohawon
06 September 2002 11:23 UTC
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Dear Mark Jones,

Thanks to you and Lou giving a good account of Robert Biel's book and its 

Speaking on Zed's behalf concerning the size and price, 370 pages in Royal 
format is not a slim volume 
and US$25.00  is not an exorbitant price for a book of this size, and this is 
highest price Zed would charge in the North.  I can point out to you that we 
have a 
two-track policy in terms of prices.  In the North we charge a realistic price, 
or what 
we consider to be realistic, but this goes a long way to subsidise the price in 
South.  You may or may not know that books published by Zed are available in 
many countries in the South at an accessible price to the local population.  

Again you may not know that Zed is a workers' cooperative and most of us 
here are politically motivated, but as we do not have any sugar daddies, we 
need to 
get the political and the economic right.

I hope this addresses your concerns.  If you need further elaborations, please 
get in 

In solidarity.

Farouk Sohawon

Forwarded by:           "Michael Pallis" <admin.ZEDBOOKS>
Forwarded to:           FAROUK
Date forwarded:         Fri, 6 Sep 2002 09:18:23 +0100
Date sent:              Thu, 05 Sep 2002 21:57:52 +0100
To:                     marxism@lists.panix.com
From:                   Mark Jones <markjones011@tiscali.co.uk>
Subject:                Re: r.biel@ucl.ac.uk 
Copies to:              r.biel@ucl.ac.uk, marxism@lists.panix.com, 
        a-list@lists.econ.utah.edu, psn-owner@csf.colorado.edu,
Send reply to:          marxism@lists.panix.com

> At 05/09/2002 19:29, Louis Proyect wrote:
> >Robert Biel's "The New Imperialism: Crisis and Contradictions in 
> >North/South Relations" (Zed Books, 2000) is everything that Hardt-Negri's 
> >"Empire" is not.
> This is a wonderful book by Biel and, prompted by my mentor Lou Proyect, I 
> just spent a day at the British Library going thru it. Great, especially, 
> on the importance to capitalist accumulation and to the wealth enjoyed by 
> the big swinging dicks of Wall St and their fashionable-parlor-socialist 
> acolytes and alleged critics, is the unsung and unpaid domestic drudgery of 
> Third World Women. As Biel points out, the same people who argue in favour 
> of the maquiladoras and the entrenchment of wage-slavery in the 
> peripheries, as somehow enlightening alternatives to such domestic 
> drudgery, are in  their own persons and in their engrossment of the labour 
> of others, beneficiaries of that domestic drudgery, for without the 
> immiseration and cruel exploitation of unseen masses of women, 
> part-peasant, part-proletarian, hag-ridden by patriarchy and ultimately at 
> the service of Wall St and its mouthpieces, imperialism could not continue 
> to exploit the South at all. These silent, invisible women, hundreds of 
> millions of them, are a condition of existence of late capitalism, of US 
> imperialism in  its exterminist phase of final decay. Those  who want to 
> silence such authentic voices of the oppressed women of the South as 
> Vandana Shiva are its servants. Biel provides a rebuttal to their craven 
> politics in terms which even economists can understand.
> However despite its strong points, so well summarised by Lou that you don't 
> need to buy the it, there are one or two, no, make that four, thing wrong 
> with Biel's book.
> First, his approach to the USSR (his Maoist inflection doesn't permit him 
> to comprehend either the scale of the human catastrophe ongoing in eastern 
> Europe, or the implications, positive and negative, of the disappearance of 
> the USSR for global relations of production and for US hegemony).
> 2nd his approach to the nature of contemporary imperialism (he's a 
> semi-kautskyite who believes in ultra-imperialism. Now. while it is true 
> that there exists a baleful solidarity of the thieving North against the 
> abused South, the idea that the USA is merely one imperial power among 
> others, a primum inter pares, is absurd. The US is the heart of the global 
> cancer of capitalism, the primary tumour).
> 3rd Biel's approach to the ongoing and apocalyptic eco-crisis, which 
> combines man-made climate change, mass extinction and poisoning of the 
> ecosphere is far too weak (He kind of mentions it, but it is hardly central 
> to his thinking; but, to paraphrase Trotsky, you may not be interested in 
> eco-catastrophe, but eco-catastrophe is sure interested in you).
> 4th Biel's political conclusions are tepid, insipid and utopian; and here I 
> diosagree with Lou's more upbeat judgment.
> I'm glad of Lou's review and despite my overall negativity, this is a good 
> book. Especially good factually (but an archive search of marxmail or the 
> A-List will bring up a lot better and more recent stuff, for free. Where do 
> Zed get off charging $25 for a slim paperback?)
> Mark Jones
> ~~~~~~~
> PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.

Farouk Sohawon

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