Thanks to Sudhanva Deshpande, I've been doing a series of socialist writing workshops across India - from Delhi, at Studio Safdar (see above), to Bengaluru to Mumbai to Chennai to Kolkata. Next year, we hope to take our LeftWord Books caravan on the road across Kerala and perhaps to Hyderabad.
After last summer's set of workshops, Mark Nowak of the Worker Writers School in New York interviewed me about the 'essentials of socialist writing', which was published in Jacobin magazine. After this summer's workshops, Mark wondered if we should continue our discussion. There was a great deal I had absorbed from the experience, notably from my friend P. Sainath with whom I did the workshops in Chennai (so well organized by our comrade P. K. Rajan of Bharathi Puthakalayam). So, Mark and I went at it again. This time the interview is published at the Boston Review, whose editorial staff helped shape it into a more concise form. You can read our conversation here.
I'm looking forward to doing versions of the Socialist Writing Workshop elsewhere and hope very much to hear from others about their own experience in teaching 'socialist writing'.
News came last evening that one of the most important figures in the Iraqi Kurdish movement - Jalal Talabani - is now dead. The picture above shows Mam Jalal or Uncle Jalal in his mountain headquarters during his guerrilla campaign against the Iraqi armies. Talabani was a complex figure who moved from his adherence to Marxism and Kurdish nationalism to a politics of patronage and Kurdish nationalism. What unites the Mam Jalal of all his 83 years is this irreducible element of Kurdish nationalism.
Talabani died not long after the Iraqi Kurdish population voted to ask their government to hold a dialogue with Iraq over secession. Talabani himself was not keen on this referendum or on secession. He had begun to believe - partly through his experience as the President of Iraq - that the point was to strengthen Iraq's minority provisions - not only for the Kurds but for Christians and Turkmen, the Yazidis and the Chaldeans. But the referendum happened, largely to bolster the power of Talabani's long-time rival. The 'yes' vote led to the embargo of the land-locked enclave by its neighbours.
The embargo of Iraqi Kurdistan continues. Neither the United States nor the Russians want to see any escalation here. They are eager to see the Iraqi Kurds draw down from their ambitions. My report at Alternet starts with the death of Mam Jalal and ends with prospects for Kurdish nationalism. It is my third report on Iraqi Kurdistan over these past three weeks. You can read it here.
Meanwhile, at my blog, I have two guest posts that you might find useful:
(1) Roberto Savio, who founded the Inter-Press Services and lives now in Rome, writes with great acuity about the German elections and its implications for the European project. You can read it here.
(2) Dmytriy Kovalevich reminds us of the murder of the President of Catalonia - Lluís Companys - by the Franco regime in 1940. This memory of a popular president, see above, comes during this time of crisis in Catalonia and in Spain. You can read it here.
Finally, and this is an exciting bit of news, LeftWord Books is holding a flash sale from October 5 to October 8. Our books are being heavily discounted - some by 85% of the marked price! To take advantage of the sale, either come to our bookstore in Delhi or else go online to our website at leftword.com. We are waiting for you.