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Tag Archives: German History

Karl Marx


The Modern Marx: A World Still Wanting to be Won
Dr. William A. Pelz
June 11, 2011, Saturday, 2:30 pm
Open University of the Left
Lincoln Park Public Library

1150 W. Fullerton, Chicago, corner Racine
Across from DePaul University 8232;(Red Line: Fullerton)

“The interest in Marx seems a vindication,” the historian Eric Hobsbawm wrote in 2008 as the global economic crisis unfolded.  “His analysis of capitalism put its finger on globalization and periodic crises and instabilities. Over the past few decades people thought the market would sort everything out, which seemed to me a statement of theology rather than reality” (The Sunday Times, 11/21/08). 

Indications of Marx’s relevancy abound, from Fukushima to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Arab Spring to Wisconsin, from anti-austerity social movements in Europe to the austerity legislation that threatens Chicago’s public school students and teachers.  

Yet, Marxist thought remains on the historical margin.  Can a reinterpretation of Marx challenge the legitimacy of market theology?  What can be learned from Marx’s own political struggles, his sense of history, his political mark on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? 

Open University welcomes historian Dr. William A. Pelz, author of the new biography, Karl Marx: A World to Win (Pearson, 2011).  The book covers the important aspects of his life and the major theoretical arguments of his work.  It also explores the Industrial Revolution through the lens of Marx’s view of socialism, not simply as an ethical idea but also as a way of framing the industrial system and its impact on workers.  (Copies of the book will be available from the author.)  Karl Marx is part of Pearson’s Library of World Biographies series, which includes books on Simon Bolivar and Sun Yat Sen. 

A Chicago native, Bill Pelz is an academic historian and specialist in European and comparative labor history.  His previous books include Against Capitalism: The European Left on the March (2007); The Spartkusbund and the German Working Class Movement (1988), and Wilhelm Liebknecht and German Social Democracy (1994).  His articles have appeared in the American Historical Review, Film & History, German History, German Studies Review, International Labor and Working Class History, International Review of Social History, Labor Studies, Journal of European Studies, Science & Society, Soviet Studies, Sozialismus, JahrBuch fuar Forschungen zur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung, and International Labor History Yearbook, among others.Pluto Press will publish his forthcoming book, a history of the European working class, next year. 

Open University events are free and open to the public.  Now in its 23rd year, the Open University of the Left is Chicago’s premier progressive forum and film series:  

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Big Society


Video spoofs ‘Nazi’ library cuts

The Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 2nd March, 2011, p.5

By Daily Telegraph Reporter

A video posted on the internet that compares a county council to Nazi Germany for making cuts to libraries has been condemned as “sickening”.

The spoof clip, which was uploaded to the YouTube website, shows Adolf Hitler in his bunker with sub-titles of him supposedly ranting about opposition to spending cuts in Gloucestershire.

One councillor, Philip Booth, was criticised by the Tory county council leader, Mark Hawthorne, for describing the video as “great stuff”. Mr Hawthorne said: “I am always disgusted when idiots try to use Hitler, Nazism and the Holocaust to score political points. To see this branded ‘great stuff is sickening.”

Mr Booth, from the Green Party, defended the clip, which is from the 2004 film Downfall, which depicts Hitler’s last days. “I think it has come out of the frustration of library campaigners that they haven’t been listened to,” he said. “I apologise if anyone has taken offence.”


You can see the video at:

The Daily Telegraph, ironically, has listed the video as one of its top spoof videos!

The article online:

Philip Booth’s blog, Ruscombe Green is at: It was voted 11th best blog in the Total Politics Top 30 Councillor Blog national poll for 2010. It was also voted 10th in the Green Blog poll for Total Politics in 2010.

Report on the issue in This is Gloucestershire, ‘Man behind Youtube Hitler spoof video stands by library message’, at: See also:  

Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries (FoGL):

Friends of Minchinhampton Library:

See also the ‘Hitler Versus Library Campaigners’ video, by Phil Bradley at the Use Libraries and Learn Stuff blog:  

Book Burning:

Heinrich Heine on Burning Books:

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New from Haymarket Books
Rosa Luxemburg

By Paul Frölich

Written by a contemporary of (and sometime collaborator with) Rosa Luxemburg with an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the German Social Democratic Party, this biography strikes the right balance between personal insight and political analysis. Tracing Rosa Luxemburg’s development from a humble Polish girl with a keen interest in herding geese to the most important leader of the German Communist Party, the image that emerges from Frölich’s narrative is that of arguably the most remarkable woman ever produced by the international socialist movement.

PAUL FRÖLICH (1884—1953) was a member of the German Social Democratic Party from 1902 until 1918, when he, along with Rosa Luxemburg, became a founding member of the German Communist Party.

Trade paper | 320 pages | $18
Available from

With questions or for a review copy, contact Jim Plank (

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