Karl Korsch: Revolution for what? A critical comment on Jan Valtin’s « Out of the Night »

Article de Karl Korsch signé L. H. paru dans Living Marxism, Vol. V., No. 4, Spring 1941, p. 21-29

« Soiled with mire from top to toe, and oozing blood from every pore », a seafaring man emerges on this side of the Atlantic to tell a weird story of intrigue and conspiracy, of spying and counter-spying, of treason, torture, and murder. It is a true story, a reliable record of tangible facts, albeit mostly of facts that remind one of the « stranger than fiction » columns. Yet there is the difference that they are not isolated facts which seem unbelievable only because they do not fit into the common assumptions derived from everyday experience. Valtin’s book reveals a whole world of well-connected facts that retain their intrinsic quality of unreality even after their non-fictitious character has been established. It is a veritable underworld that lies below the surface of present-day society; yet unlike the various disconnected underworlds of crime, it is a coherent world with its own type of human actions and sufferings, situations and personalities, allegiances and apostasies, upheavals and cataclysms.


Khomeini’s blood terror targets Salman Rushdie

Article paru dans Workers Hammer, No 105, March 1989, p. 12-9

Tehran, Iran: Young students march in the streets of Tehran chanting, ‘Death to Salman Rushdie and America’ while holding posters of Ayatollah Khomeini and Salman Rushdie, condemning him to death. Thousands of people demonstrated in Tehran after a religious decree or « Fatwa » was issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, calling Salman Rushdie a blasphemer and his book the Satanic Verses an insult to Islam and Prophet Mohammad, and therefore condemned to death. (Photo by Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images)


When Ayatollah Khomeini issued his decree of death against novelist Salman Rushdie and the Viking/Penguin publishers of his Satanic Verses, a shudder spread around the world. Here was the ultimate statement of theocratic totalitarianism: not only must the book be banned, but its author executed for the « crime » of having written it. It was a throwback to the days when heretics were burned at the stake and witches boiled in oil. Suddenly the dark past of the Inquisition was no further than the local shopping centre. There it was, the benighted superstition of the Middle Ages in the middle of the Computer Age.