Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

December 7, 2014

Richard Greener talks about James Brown

Filed under: african-american,music — louisproyect @ 5:00 pm

My old friend Richard Greener was a business associate of James Brown for many years. In this interview we compare notes on the great rhythm and blues musician prompted by my review of Alex Gibney’s documentary “Mr. Dynamite” and the feature film “Get on Up” in CounterPunch.

11 Comments »

  1. “Business associate”. No wonder the working class ignores the organized left while anarchism and leaderless assemblies gain in size and prestige.

    Comment by Thom — December 8, 2014 @ 6:21 am

  2. What a drooling imbecile, turning everything into an acid test. That’s the only explanation of Thom’s outburst–too much LSD.

    Comment by louisproyect — December 8, 2014 @ 9:53 am

  3. Thanks for posting this. Learned a lot from it and it gave me a deeper appreciation of the artist.

    Marx apparently used to make positive mention of Balzac’s writing, and Balzac, as you know, was a conservative. But he had a very sharp artistic insight into the social reality around him. I think that’s why his writing is filled with so much vitality. That contrasts with Stendhal, who was progressive politically but whose ‘Scarlet and Black’ I’ve never been able to read past page 20 (my loss of course). But I *loved* reading all the drama and mono-maniacal characters of Balzac, and eagerly read through several of his novels with no problems, not able to wait to pick up the book again to find out what happened next.

    Comment by Reza F. — December 9, 2014 @ 1:13 am

  4. As a writer I want my novels to be evaluated only on their merits without any regard for what the reader may know or think about me. The book’s the thing. And, I am sure James Brown wanted his music to stand on its own – as it does and always will. I’m happy to share some of my personal remembrances of him, but let’s not forget that James Brown is as important an American musical artist as we have seen because of what he did not who he was.

    Comment by Richard Greener — December 9, 2014 @ 2:04 am

  5. Louis’s biggest modern leftist hero is a stock broker who made big money getting a share of the surplus value workers create through speculation, so no surprise there.

    He thinks class origin is of no importance to workers though, unlike say things that are extremely relevant to them like Jarrod Diamond’s latest best seller or the origins of mercantilism in England.

    Probably because he lives in one of the most expensive parts of the entire US: the upper east side, a real hotbed of labor unrest to be sure.

    Comment by marcis — December 9, 2014 @ 4:24 am

  6. “As a writer I want my novels to be evaluated only on their merits without any regard for what the reader may know or think about me. The book’s the thing”

    Unless you’re a Marxist, then the class is the thing.

    “Just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the conflict existing between the social forces of production and the relations of production.”

    Comment by marcis — December 9, 2014 @ 4:27 am

  7. “Louis’s biggest modern leftist hero is a stock broker who made big money getting a share of the surplus value workers create through speculation, so no surprise there.”

    Don’t you understand how cretinous this sounds? Marx’s partner for his entire adult life owned factories. Furthermore, Karl Marx dabbled in the stock market and paid for his daughter’s debutante ball. You can read about this in Wheen’s bio. Despite his call for the overthrow of capitalism, a large part of his most popular works were bankrolled by British and American bankers. Wheen revealed that when Marx made more than £400 from English stocks he described them in a letter as “springing up like mushrooms this year”.

    Comment by louisproyect — December 9, 2014 @ 11:49 am

  8. “Probably because he lives in one of the most expensive parts of the entire US: the upper east side, a real hotbed of labor unrest to be sure.
Comment by marcis — December 9″

    Be reassured, marcis. I called on Louis a few years ago. His place was cramped and in a dingy neighborhood. There was somber mosque down the street. I felt at home because I was on vacation from my own apartment in the so-called ‘Third World’. You ought to do a tour of the Upper East Side. All of it isn’t like the movies and more varied than you think.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — December 9, 2014 @ 5:44 pm

  9. Peter I’ve done my share if “touring” there. I spent ten years cleaning at New York Presbi. All of New York is a dump. It doesn’t change the price of real estate or mean that working class people can afford a “cramped” or “dingy” place there.

    Comment by marcis — December 10, 2014 @ 6:05 am

  10. “Don’t you understand how cretinous this sounds? Marx’s partner for his entire adult life owned factories. Furthermore, Karl Marx dabbled in the stock market and paid for his daughter’s debutante ball.”

    Except Marx and Engels were self described “head workers” who only sought to assist a burgeoning workers movement, not to lead it. In fact they explicitly rejected leadership positions in several groups because they weren’t workers, they passed a resolution requiring US sections of the First International to have at least 2/3 working class membership (to get rid of all the “middle class quacks” that were “so common in the social conditions” there), and they rejected admission of a Slovenian section to the International because it was “formed exclusively of students”, etc etc etc I can go on.

    Their watchword was “the liberation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself”

    Not to mention that they were theorists living a long time ago in a different stage of capitalism. We’ve had a lot of negative lessons since, from every ‘vanguard’ organization in every country, every sterile academic twat and every parliamentary bureaucrat.

    Like unions the movement will be workers only. We’ll seize everything from every other class and abolish them by making them toil alongside us in equal conditions. Deal with it or get dealt with.

    Comment by marcis — December 10, 2014 @ 6:13 am

  11. Like unions the movement will be workers only. We’ll seize everything from every other class and abolish them by making them toil alongside us in equal conditions. Deal with it or get dealt with.

    What a fucking blowhard. He is out of here, for about the fifth time I should add. The punk uses a Cambodian IP proxy so it is difficult to put a permanent ban on him. Why would anybody take the trouble to use a proxy, fake names and email addresses for the sole purpose of picking fights with me? I feel like I am being stalked. What a fucking loser. Sitting around in his parent’s basement with nothing on his mind except the need to “expose” Proyect. If he had a life, he’d find a job in NYC or wherever he lives and move out of his parent’s house. Then, he would find a lover and enjoy the first happy day in his life. And then maybe he could get involved with some struggle and put his ideas into practice. That’s what normal people do rather than semi-psychotic, rigidly dogmatic weirdos that troll the Internet looking in vain for some kind of vindication of their pathetic lives.

    Comment by louisproyect — December 10, 2014 @ 12:08 pm


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