Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

31

Mexican Notebooks

3
terms
6
notes

excerpts from his notebooks, 1940–1947

Serge, V. (2013). Mexican Notebooks. In Left Review, N. New Left Review 82. New Left Review Ltd, pp. 31-64

British: a nursery where babies and young children are cared for during the working day; North American: a representation of the nativity scene

31

We go inside to admire the Easter crèche

probably the latter definition

—p.31 by Victor Serge
uncertain
1 year, 5 months ago

We go inside to admire the Easter crèche

probably the latter definition

—p.31 by Victor Serge
uncertain
1 year, 5 months ago

(noun) a native or inhabitant of Annam, which was a French protectorate encompassing the central region of Vietnam / (noun) vietnamese

31

Pizzas, Greek, Russian, Annamite, Chinese restaurants.

—p.31 by Victor Serge
unknown
1 year, 5 months ago

Pizzas, Greek, Russian, Annamite, Chinese restaurants.

—p.31 by Victor Serge
unknown
1 year, 5 months ago
37

Objective judgements are necessarily unjust at a certain point. (1) Because they can never be entirely objective (impersonal); (2) because they do not consider the person from the inside, identifying with them like a novelist or poet, and so unaware of essential factors, that can only be intuited, through empathy. (In this sense, empathy and love perhaps attain another objectivity, of a non-scientific kind, since it is not subject to precise verification, but higher, more profound, more alive. The difference between the truth of the work of art and that of the document.)

I like the way he thinks

—p.37 by Victor Serge 1 year, 5 months ago

Objective judgements are necessarily unjust at a certain point. (1) Because they can never be entirely objective (impersonal); (2) because they do not consider the person from the inside, identifying with them like a novelist or poet, and so unaware of essential factors, that can only be intuited, through empathy. (In this sense, empathy and love perhaps attain another objectivity, of a non-scientific kind, since it is not subject to precise verification, but higher, more profound, more alive. The difference between the truth of the work of art and that of the document.)

I like the way he thinks

—p.37 by Victor Serge 1 year, 5 months ago
38

That intelligentsia is being torn up and crushed by the hurricane, it will only be able to rediscover its purpose in life by understanding the hurricane and flinging itself into it heart and soul. True, for a social category, impossible for most of those who comprise it. His end seems logical and courageous. Nothing more natural than the dignified refusal to live in conditions that are unacceptable. Being uprooted, the void, age too with its declining faculties, the fear that one is not sufficiently alive to attain moments that are worth living for, the fear of physical deterioration. Above all the torpor of a mind that has lost its source of sustenance, the exchanges that stimulated it. Under the harsh Rio sun, it must have been particularly palpable: unbearable.

wow

referring to Stephan Zweig (famous Austrian writer) committing suicide in Rio in 1941

—p.38 by Victor Serge 1 year, 5 months ago

That intelligentsia is being torn up and crushed by the hurricane, it will only be able to rediscover its purpose in life by understanding the hurricane and flinging itself into it heart and soul. True, for a social category, impossible for most of those who comprise it. His end seems logical and courageous. Nothing more natural than the dignified refusal to live in conditions that are unacceptable. Being uprooted, the void, age too with its declining faculties, the fear that one is not sufficiently alive to attain moments that are worth living for, the fear of physical deterioration. Above all the torpor of a mind that has lost its source of sustenance, the exchanges that stimulated it. Under the harsh Rio sun, it must have been particularly palpable: unbearable.

wow

referring to Stephan Zweig (famous Austrian writer) committing suicide in Rio in 1941

—p.38 by Victor Serge 1 year, 5 months ago
44

[...] What is left of the worlds I’ve known, in which I’ve struggled? France before the First War, the war, the victory, Spain, where the revolutionary yeast was so powerfully fermenting, the Europe of ‘the birth of our power’, Russia of the great epic years, Europe of complete hope, Germany and Austria of hesitant watersheds, Russia of Thermidor, West of the Popular Fronts? Nothing of these worlds will be reborn, we are hurtling towards newness, through disasters, towards unforeseeable rebirths or long twilights that now and then will resemble rebirths. And so many dead behind me on all these paths! Three or four generations of comrades.

—p.44 by Victor Serge 1 year, 5 months ago

[...] What is left of the worlds I’ve known, in which I’ve struggled? France before the First War, the war, the victory, Spain, where the revolutionary yeast was so powerfully fermenting, the Europe of ‘the birth of our power’, Russia of the great epic years, Europe of complete hope, Germany and Austria of hesitant watersheds, Russia of Thermidor, West of the Popular Fronts? Nothing of these worlds will be reborn, we are hurtling towards newness, through disasters, towards unforeseeable rebirths or long twilights that now and then will resemble rebirths. And so many dead behind me on all these paths! Three or four generations of comrades.

—p.44 by Victor Serge 1 year, 5 months ago

(noun) the washing of one's body or part of it (as in a religious rite) / (noun) the act or action of bathing / (noun) a building housing bathing and toilet facilities on a military base

49

entire families performing their ablutions before drowning themselves

—p.49 by Victor Serge
confirm
1 year, 5 months ago

entire families performing their ablutions before drowning themselves

—p.49 by Victor Serge
confirm
1 year, 5 months ago
49

Saw, almost without emotion, snapshots of the ruins of old churches in Russia and Italy; Cherbourg prostitutes with shaved heads; French collaborators hunted down in the streets and begging for mercy on their knees.

We have reached the level of the dark times of the early Middle Ages. The need to reflect on this. The extreme difficulty of reflecting on it.

—p.49 by Victor Serge 1 year, 5 months ago

Saw, almost without emotion, snapshots of the ruins of old churches in Russia and Italy; Cherbourg prostitutes with shaved heads; French collaborators hunted down in the streets and begging for mercy on their knees.

We have reached the level of the dark times of the early Middle Ages. The need to reflect on this. The extreme difficulty of reflecting on it.

—p.49 by Victor Serge 1 year, 5 months ago
51

My theses: [...] That the economic structure of the world has changed, traditional capitalism giving way to a planned economy, thus with a collectivist bent, which could be that of monopolies, of totalitarian parties—or of democracies of a new type, if they succeeded in coming into being (strong objections from Pivert). That the defeats of European socialism are not solely attributable to the inadequacy of leaders, although that is of some significance, but can be better explained in terms of the decline of the working class and of socialism as a result of modern technology—chronic unemployment, declassing of the jobless, tremendous increase in the productive capacity of machines, with less human labour required; greater influence of technicians. (Pivert rejects the entirety of these views without attempting to refute them; to speak of the weakening of the working class as a class appears sacrilegious to all; what can I do if it is the truth? A good Old Bolshevik, one of those who expelled and imprisoned us only to go before the firing squads themselves, would have given me this answer: there is no truth that can prevail over the interests of the party.)

That we are being carried along by the current of an immense revolution, but that the Russian Revolution will not repeat itself except in episodes of secondary importance. That socialism must renounce all ideas of dictatorship and of working-class hegemony and make itself the representative of the great masses among whom a socialistic consciousness is germinating, obscure and without doctrinal jargon. That the essential thing for the immediate future will be the restoration of traditional democratic rights, precondition for the rebirth of the workers’ and socialist movement; that we must try to break out of the void we are now in, to seek out the support and sympathy of the democratic masses wherever they are, make ourselves understood by them, bring our ideas up to date. That Stalinism, which has formed and nurtured armed resistance movements in France, Yugoslavia, Greece and elsewhere, constitutes the worst danger, the mortal danger that we would be crazy to claim we can face alone. That the years to come will be ones of confused struggles in which the socialist movement can do no more than re-establish itself—if it does not commit suicide through insurrectional demagogy. That it should seek influence on the terrain of democracy, in the Constituent Assemblies and elsewhere, accepting compromise in an intransigent spirit. That if the socialist left mires itself in an extremism bereft of influence, with a language barely intelligible to people and an outdated ideology dating from 1920, the Stalinists will confect a fake socialism, subtle and without scruple, which might very well prevail.

—p.51 by Victor Serge 1 year, 5 months ago

My theses: [...] That the economic structure of the world has changed, traditional capitalism giving way to a planned economy, thus with a collectivist bent, which could be that of monopolies, of totalitarian parties—or of democracies of a new type, if they succeeded in coming into being (strong objections from Pivert). That the defeats of European socialism are not solely attributable to the inadequacy of leaders, although that is of some significance, but can be better explained in terms of the decline of the working class and of socialism as a result of modern technology—chronic unemployment, declassing of the jobless, tremendous increase in the productive capacity of machines, with less human labour required; greater influence of technicians. (Pivert rejects the entirety of these views without attempting to refute them; to speak of the weakening of the working class as a class appears sacrilegious to all; what can I do if it is the truth? A good Old Bolshevik, one of those who expelled and imprisoned us only to go before the firing squads themselves, would have given me this answer: there is no truth that can prevail over the interests of the party.)

That we are being carried along by the current of an immense revolution, but that the Russian Revolution will not repeat itself except in episodes of secondary importance. That socialism must renounce all ideas of dictatorship and of working-class hegemony and make itself the representative of the great masses among whom a socialistic consciousness is germinating, obscure and without doctrinal jargon. That the essential thing for the immediate future will be the restoration of traditional democratic rights, precondition for the rebirth of the workers’ and socialist movement; that we must try to break out of the void we are now in, to seek out the support and sympathy of the democratic masses wherever they are, make ourselves understood by them, bring our ideas up to date. That Stalinism, which has formed and nurtured armed resistance movements in France, Yugoslavia, Greece and elsewhere, constitutes the worst danger, the mortal danger that we would be crazy to claim we can face alone. That the years to come will be ones of confused struggles in which the socialist movement can do no more than re-establish itself—if it does not commit suicide through insurrectional demagogy. That it should seek influence on the terrain of democracy, in the Constituent Assemblies and elsewhere, accepting compromise in an intransigent spirit. That if the socialist left mires itself in an extremism bereft of influence, with a language barely intelligible to people and an outdated ideology dating from 1920, the Stalinists will confect a fake socialism, subtle and without scruple, which might very well prevail.

—p.51 by Victor Serge 1 year, 5 months ago
59
  1. Idea that Marxism taught (teaches) conscious participation—well-informed, objective scientific consciousness and moral consciousness spurring on, nurturing the will—in history as it unfolds. Man no longer the object of history but the subject. Making history. Is a different attitude possible, without man abandoning himself? Consider the risks of this, the insufficiency of objective knowledge, the motives of the will, the weakness of the individual in society.

  2. Idea that first the socialist movement, then the Russian Revolution succeeded (partially) in curing the oppressed and exploited masses—and the intelligentsia which had rallied to those masses—of the age-old social inferiority complex of the perpetually defeated. Fertile role of the socialist movement in this sense invaluable. Idea that socialism altered the modern notion of man and his rights. (Socialist internationalism broke the circle of the white man’s humanism.)

—p.59 by Victor Serge 1 year, 5 months ago
  1. Idea that Marxism taught (teaches) conscious participation—well-informed, objective scientific consciousness and moral consciousness spurring on, nurturing the will—in history as it unfolds. Man no longer the object of history but the subject. Making history. Is a different attitude possible, without man abandoning himself? Consider the risks of this, the insufficiency of objective knowledge, the motives of the will, the weakness of the individual in society.

  2. Idea that first the socialist movement, then the Russian Revolution succeeded (partially) in curing the oppressed and exploited masses—and the intelligentsia which had rallied to those masses—of the age-old social inferiority complex of the perpetually defeated. Fertile role of the socialist movement in this sense invaluable. Idea that socialism altered the modern notion of man and his rights. (Socialist internationalism broke the circle of the white man’s humanism.)

—p.59 by Victor Serge 1 year, 5 months ago