Pensword Press

Confront Your Self

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

— Hamlet (1.5.167-8)

Vetiver - I Know No Pardon

The Ebola Virus

The Ebola Virus

In the theoretical mode of production of ideology…the formulation of a problem is merely the theoretical expression of the conditions which allow a solution already produced outside the process of knowledge because imposed by extra-theoretical instances and exigencies (by religious, ethical, political or other ‘interests’) to recognize itself in an artificial problem manufactured to serve it both as a theoretical mirror and as a practical justification.

—Althusser, Reading Capital

All of us without exception must study. What shall we do if there isn’t enough time? If there isn’t enough time, we must squeeze in the time. The problem lies in cultivating the habit of study; once we have done this, we will be able to go on studying. I say these things first of all for the benefit of those comrades who have committed errors, but my words are also directed to all of us comrades, including myself. There are many things I haven’t studied. I am a person with many shortcomings, I am by no means perfect. Very often, there are times when I don’t like myself. I have not mastered all the various domains of Marxist learning. And, for example, I don’t know foreign languages well either. I have only just begun recently to study economic work. But, comrades, I study with determination, and I will go on studying until I die; when I die, that will be the end of it! In sum, as long as I am alive I shall study every day. Let us all create an environment of study. I think I can learn a bit too; otherwise, when the time comes for me to see Marx, I shall be in an embarrassing fix. If he asks me a few questions and I am unable to answer, what will I do? He is certainly very interested in all aspects of the Chinese revolution.

—Mao, Speech at Military Affairs committee and External Affairs Committee, 1959

It is necessary to “set a fire going” at regular intervals. How often? Once a year or once every three years, which do you prefer? I think we should do it at least twice in the space of each five-year plan, in the same way as the intercalary month in a lunar leap year turns up once in three years and twice in five. The Monkey Sun Wu-kung becomes much stronger after being tempered in the Eight-Diagram Magic Crucible of the God of Supreme Power. Isn’t Sun Wu-kung a character of tremendous magical power? Even Sun, who is called “The Great Saint on a Par with the Emperor of Heaven”, needs tempering in the Eight-Diagram Crucible. Don’t we talk about tempering? Tempering means forging and refining. Forging is shaping by hammering and refining is smelting iron in a blast furnace or making steel in an open-hearth furnace. After steel is made, it needs forging, which nowadays is done with a pneumatic hammer. That hammering is terrific! We human beings need tempering too. Some comrades, when asked about being tempered, would appear very much in favour, saying, “Oh yes, I have shortcomings. I’m eager to get some tempering.” Everybody says he wants it. To talk about it is very easy, but when it comes to the real thing, when it means being “forged” with a pneumatic hammer, he backs away, scared stiff.

—Mao, Beat Back the Attack of the Bourgeois Rightists

Bob Marley - I Made a Mistake

Out of Sight, Out of Mind.  A documentary on Sam Mandez, who was placed in solitary confinement for 15 years.

Mao’s China and After

Mao’s China and After