Radical books in Seoul

I found these at a used bookstore in a grotty underground mall:







Manuel Castells? Teresa Ebert? You’d have a hard time finding these anywhere, let alone in a non-English speaking country. How did they get to a tiny hole-in-the-wall shop that also sells records, and whose proprietor smokes and drinks beer in the back (and in the front)? Did someone die, retire, get disillusioned? There’s no way they could end up there randomly, clearly they were part of a collection. Which has since been dumped in central Seoul for $5-10 a piece. When I get a job, I know the first place I’m going to assuage my alienation.


10 thoughts on “Radical books in Seoul

  1. Those are some finds. I have a copy of the Macherey book and I actually take it out from time to time to look at it. The use of white space is incredible.

    • Yeah, I don’t know if I’d ever read them, but just to have on the shelf to impress people with would be cool. There are even more Marxist books there, but I can’t risk posting photos as the legions of English-speaking Marxists in Korea might decide to pay a visit before I do.

  2. That’s very cool you’re studying those titles! I can’t read Tagalog but can understand a few of the curricula titles. I’ve heard The Philippines is a very diverse place where Communists, Marxist-Leninists, and Trotskyists all rub shoulders. I’m associated with the New Socialist Group in Canada, who occasionally have study groups: http://www.newsocialist.org/

    • That’s great to hear. I’m not sure if we got lots of those here. We’re Maoists by the way. The last time we heard about Trotskyites, they were publicly attacking us for “supporting US imperialism” because of our stand against Chinese imperialism.

      • That’s cool, I mean, I’m a Trotskyist of sorts (not an -ite 🙂 ) but I I think there’s common ground with Maoism on some issues, particularly a critique of underdevelopment and imperialism. I don’t know the issue you’re referring to, but Chinese imperialism clearly has to be opposed. As a third campist, I don’t see why opposing the latter means supporting US imperialism – surely they’re both terrible. But then some Trotskyists are better defenders of Stalinism than the Stalinists themselves… which is ironic, given what the Stalinists did to them.

        BTW I found another Marxist bookshop in Seoul, it’s on the front page.

  3. I’m not quite sure what the difference is between a Trotskyite and a Trotskyist but we were quite pleasantly surprised by the charge really, having gotten used to being accused as pro-China lackeys for consistently opposing US imperialist interests in the Philippines. Now this group’s saying its the other way around: we’re pro-US by protesting Chinese incursion in Philippine waters. We find it funny really. 🙂

  4. That’s ridiculous; what group was claiming that? Do you have any articles in English about it? (“Ite” was what the Stalinists called followers of Trotsky; “ist” is what they called themselves. Historical errata!)

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