May 31, 2017

Jacob Blumenfeld defends Communism for Kids


Over the weekend, the New York Times ran a moving op-ed from Jacob Blumenfeld, one of the English translators of Bini Adamczak’s Communism for Kids. In it, Blumenfeld defends the book against the wave of hysteria and stupidity that has accompanied its publication. We wrote about the American right’s… how do you say… shrill response to the book back in April, and the coverage has yet to improve. Blumenfeld points to alarmist write-ups at a score of right-wing and mainstream outlets, most of which suggest that the book is a full-throated endorsement of genocide, Satanism, and civilizational collapse, directed at the youngest and most vulnerable among us.

Setting aside the fact that this civilization fucking blows, and that Satan is the lord of this world, to suggest that Communism for Kids is somehow pro-Gulag is patently insane. As Blumenfeld points out, the book is actually a thoughtful and earnest critique of the history of communism, which nonetheless accepts the premise that capitalism depends on, and is designed to maximize, the exploitation of a global working class to further the aggrandizement of a global economic elite.

Furthermore, it’s not really for children. It’s just for people who don’t have the patience for technocratic doublespeak and the vile dispassion of the economic commentariat. As Blumenfeld writes, “the idea behind the book is that one can speak truthfully and poignantly about the political philosophy and economic history of capitalism and communism in much simpler language than that of economists, political scientists and policy experts.” Which seems a fair and democratic notion, regardless of your politics.

If you believe that another world is possible, and that no amount of frantic mudslinging will change that fact, Adamczak’s book—and Blumenfeld’s defense of it—are well worth reading.


Simon Reichley is the Director of Operations and Rights Manager at Melville House.