About James Robb

I am James Robb. For most of my adult life I have been an industrial worker. For twenty-five years I worked on the production line in meat packing and car assembly plants, and in diverse other industries, from fish processing to carpet to biscuits to leather tanning. In recent years I have been a high school teacher and part-time scribbler. My first novel, The Chain, was published in 2012.

In my youth I was won to the materialist conception of history, and still regard it as one of the most useful tools for unpicking the knotty problems of history and politics.  For all but a few of my 65 years, I have lived in New Zealand. The blog will thus have a certain bias towards New Zealand politics and history, without, I hope, the slightest trace of patriotism.

While discussion of working class politics and history will form the central thread of this blog, the struggle for working class emancipation touches every aspect of life in capitalist society, so there will be some digressions into the related worlds of reading and writing, nature and science, farming and fishing, bourgeois culture and thought, and anything else that might take my interest.  I address myself in the first place towards those who sense the deepening crisis of capitalist society, and who look to the lessons of two hundred years of working class struggle for answers.

The headline image is a detail from a mural painted in 1932-33 by the great Mexican muralist Diego Rivera in the Detroit Institute of Arts. That industrial workers should be the subject of a work of art is unusual enough in itself; even rarer that they should be portrayed without sentimentalism, without condescension, without pity. Rivera’s workers are not just oppressed and exploited, they are also dignified, confident, creative, and bound by solidarity. Rivera’s workers think and fight. My goal is to write this blog in the same spirit.

I invite questions, criticisms, corrections of fact, and discussion of the ideas I put forward here. To the best of my ability I will respond.

17 responses to “About James Robb

  1. Pingback: The Naked Class Politics of Ebola | Counter Information·

  2. Hi
    I read your article on being witchhunted on Ukraine. My friend Chris Ford has suffered the same abuse. He is active in this http://ukrainesolidaritycampaign.org/ The links are particularly good on the buried (by Stalin) left tradition in Ukraine. You might have met my friend Gerry Foley ( now deceased)) who used to write for Intercontinental Press.

    • Thanks for your comments, Jim. I am traveling at present and Internet access is a bit problematic, but I will definitely check out the link you attached soon. I never met Gerry Foley, but I do remember liking his articles in Intercontinental Press.

  3. Pingback: GUEST BLOG: James Robb – Capitalism’s trail of blood and ‘exemptions’ « The Daily Blog·

    • Not sure yet. I’m hoping to resume the blog some time in 2016 (from China), but I’m also told that there are ‘ways around’ the Fb ban. We’ll have to wait and see.

  4. We posted your article on Sex and Gender on our blog Facts For Working People. We saw it on Left Horizons UK, comrades and a site we are in discussions with. Some of us come from similar traditions. I am Richard Mellor, I am a retired equipment operator. I started our blog with John Throne (Sean O’Torain). We would be interested in your thoughts on our blog and also congratulate you on the excellent article we shared. Sean has just completed his second book, We’ll Take a Cup of Kindness Yet, his first, The Donegal Woman was a best seller in the North of Ireland. You can read more about them at this link on our blog. https://weknowwhatsup.blogspot.com/2018/07/well-take-cup-of-kindness-yet-book-for.html
    My e mail is aactivist@igc.org. Sean’s is loughfinn@aol.com I didn’t see any other way to contact you other than this. Anyway, we would be interested in any thoughts you may want to share about our blog. I have added your site to our site list. Comradely, Richard Mellor

  5. Thanks for reblogging my article, Richard, and for your kind remarks. I have read a few of your blog posts, and find much of interest there. Let’s keep in touch.

  6. Hi James, I’ve been enjoying a Eugene Debbs twitter accounts that simply tweets out choice Debbs quotes and was thinking a Harry Holland account might be good. What do you think?

    • Great idea, Jeremy, but too much for me to take on. I have amassed quite a collection of Holland’s writings in electronic form (well actually, mostly just photos of pages of his newspaper articles, pamphlets etc) which I could send you if you are willing to put in the hard yards on it. There is some really great writing amongst it.

      • Hi James,

        Definitely keen to see what you’ve got. Not sure whether it would get a following on Twitter but I find the Debs quotes extraordinary for their clarity and it’s a sad reminder of just how timid most of the modern left is.




  7. Hello James: I stumbled across your blog when I was looking up Komsomolsk-na-Amure, which is described as having been built “on a welter of mass graves” by the writer Colin Thubron in his new book “The Amur River.” And how glad I am that I did. Your blog is really well-written, which is such a pleasure to find at the end of a random Google search. I look forward to reading more. All the best to you, Wendy

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