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Total Propaganda: Basic Marxist Brainwashing for the Angry and the Young

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  195 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Millennials have it bad. In 2017, they face the problems of underemployment, unaffordable housing and economists who write crap columns telling them that it's their fault for taking an Uber to brunch.

Today, the future's so dark, we need night vision goggles, not a few liberal guys shining a torch on a sandwich. Maybe today, we could use the light of Karl Marx.

Marx may not
Published August 31st 2017 by Allen & Unwin
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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Helen Razer
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Recommends it for: The Precariat
Recommended to Helen by: Karl Marx
Look. Clearly, this work has not earned five stars. Capital Volume one gets five stars. The Prison Notebooks. Not some Marxist twaddle by me. But, knowing that there will soon be persons offering it a very unfair one star, simply because they have read the name "Stalin" on the internet, I reason it is fair to give this introduction to Marxism (with jokes) an unfair rating.
Look. It's really not that bad. It might even be useful to you as an account of present day world systems. It is not a work i
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
There's something terribly thrilling about the word 'comrade' and rabble-rouser Razer peppers this excellent Marxism for Millennials book with it.

Don't let that description put you off. I'm 170 and I still got a lot out of it. For example, now I'm able to slay Marxism naysayers with a couple of hefty blows:

* Marxism is a critique of an economic system, not a prescription for government, gulag-style.
* It's all about who owns the means of production; it's always about who owns the means of produ
Al Bità
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
The full title of this book (Total Propaganda: Basic Marxist Brainwashing for the Angry and the Young) tells it all, really. But this also might turn certain people off… and my advice is: don’t let it do so!!!

Regardless of your thinking on this matter, you will enjoy Razer’s refreshing, funny writing style. Yes, it is also spiced up with expletives, which are the result of a combination of expressing outrage, frustration, comradeship, etc., but also none of this is malicious — indeed, it should
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was the best!!! It explains some of Marx's work in a way that's actually understandable (unlike even some other intro to Marx texts). Basically knowing about Marx has changed my life (much like learning about feminism at 20 did). It's like you can't unsee the world through a Marxist lens once you know about the base and the superstructure and materialism etc.
Also the idea that employers pay us as little as they can while ALWAYS extracting more from us than they pay us BLEW MY MIND. I
Donna Hines
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, arc
"Millennials have it bad. In 2017, they face the problems of underemployment, unaffordable housing and economists who write crap columns telling them that it's their fault for taking an Uber to brunch."
However, I would dare to say this extends to previous GEN X groups too as I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. For one I'm a single mom x 3 teens, bankrupt, extreme poverty, left homeless after divorcing 2013, LT unemployed having traded in career for homemaking x20yrs with med disabled son
Alex Long
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Who doesn’t love a book about Marx? Don’t be a dill - read this brillant and very funny book. Join your fellow Millennial comrades and help us overthrow capitalism so that we might have stable accommodation AND all the smashed av we could ever wish for.
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
While I have slightly more experience with Marx and critiques of capitalism than the exact target audience of this book, I'm still a crazy and scared Australian millennial looking for a way to get people to listen to me without having them read thousands of pages worth of political essays.

This book is the perfect replacement for my 1 am drunken rambles at birthday parties, even if the jokes may date it a bit in the future. It's an excellent primer and I'm glad to have bought it on a whim.

Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
At the airport, I temporarily dithered between buying this or three Terrible Magazines for ten bucks. Obviously no regrets. I am not the target audience (Millennial) nor in need of convincing about why we need Marx or that capitalism sucks. Which probably partly explains why I enjoyed this a lot. Other explanations: Helen Razer is funny, her long form writing here is better than her columns (always worth reading but nevertheless beholden to the genre) and she always has a fresh spin, even on her ...more
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great intro to Marxism, easy to read with interesting analysis of current world events. Thanks comrade.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Helen will help us save ourselves.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Challenging and fun. I've been challenging my economic based ideologies for some time now and this book appeared in my timeline on twitter around the same time I thought 'I need to read more about socialism and Marxism'. I think my phone has hacked my brain. I would give a copy of this to every 17y.o. It's important to challenge entrenched systems which oppress and reduce human life to dollar signs. Bring on the revolution!
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, politics
I am completely surprised by how brilliant I found this!

It is for sure aimed at a younger audience than myself, but as someone totally new to Marxism it hit the right notes. It was engaging, informative and actually very funny. I liked how it contextualised some of the ideology against current politics and simplified the ideas without me as a reader feeling completely thick.

*I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Daniel Bickle-Lazarow
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good, funny and easy to read. One of the most easy/entertaining Marxism texts I’ve read but I would definitely warn that Razer sometimes sounds like my mum explaining a meme that went viral 5 years ago (she referenced I can haz cheeseburger as if it’s at all relevant these days).

Also she emphasises ‘thinking’ as political activism as opposed to actually doing stuff which I’m not entirely on board with. Regardless it’s good and I learnt a reasonable amount whilst having a jolly time. What more ca
Jon Mann
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite being a nicely-renumerated cog in the capitalist machine, I enjoyed this quite a bit.
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Solid and accessible primer/refresher on Marxism, with some great discussion of the ideas in the context of the US election/centrism/etc.
Lliam Gregory
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent introduction to Marxism for younger players. Worth a re-read too which makes me wonder if there’ll be a follow up book...? There should be!
Helen May
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I would have given this 5 stars, but I found the style gimmicky and distracting. To my knowledge, my fellow Millennials and I understand plain English and do actually use it. This technique was very cringey. But I got the point, eventually. I’ll do the further recommended reading.
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: political-stuff
Hilarious and astute political observations and an excellent introduction to Marxist theory for anyone who wants to change the world.
Leela James
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Discover your inner Marxist

An excellent (funny) introduction to Marx for ley worker who doent like squinting her eyes and brain to grasp what can be a super complicated theory of economic.
Sep 27, 2017 added it
an accessible intro to some marxist concepts with options for further reading. mostly succeeds in its attempts at humour, although - being largely reliant on understanding memes - they will likely be completely unintelligible in ten years. much of the book is similarly bound to present events, but this is a strength: making direct links between an obtuse literature and What It Means Right Now is super useful.
Eliza Genang
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very enjoyable, thought-provoking read for anyone who has a beef with capitalism (this really should be almost everyone). I'm a good 10+ years post arts degree, and needed a bit of a sharpen up on all of the concepts discussed, there really wasn't one dud chapter in this whole book, and many times when I passed it over to my partner with an urgent, "Start here, read this, it's what we were sort of talking about the other day but, like, well said." Read it, read it soon. If your bookclub loved ...more
Manan Younas
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Comrade ! It's a good time pass !

Witty & amusing. Liberal use of F-words. Great revision of Marxist concepts in plain F-english. I hope that Helen didn't want any of the readers to take this book as a serious pre-cursor to any revolutionary thought. I see this book as a funny discourse on a serious topic.

What I loved most about this book was Helen's expression and how she discussed 'historical materialism' and 'alienation' in a language which could be easily understood.

What I didn't like about
Juliet Johnson
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Essential reading for young and old.
Jess Bridgford
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have (tried to) read quite a few Marxist texts and this is probably the first that has actually been interesting and relatively easy to read without dumbing down the concepts too much. Plus it contains a decent sprinkling of Razer’s usual hilarity.
Steve Agland
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Having studied computer science and worked in the entertainment industry, I've had to learn history, economics and politics via ad-hoc and extracurricular means. I'm catching up, but gaping holes remain, and one of those holes was Marx-shaped. So when I saw that Helen Razer had written an accessible book about his thought, I dropped everything and immediately started waiting for the self-narrated audiobook, of which this is a review.

I have faint but fond teenage memories of Razer's hilarious exa
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is great. Though I can't be described as young any more, I am definitely angry, and am relishing the thought of lots of actually-young people getting Marxed up and developing the ability to identify the structural causes for their generalised sense of frustration and rage.

I of course have a few small quibbles, such as the insistence that "true communism cannot be declared a disaster, because it has never been tried" (an awful lot of people have really seriously intended to try it, and if th
Bear Mcbearington
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: currently-own
Fan-fucking-tastic. A great entry point into Marxism and why Capitalism and Neo-Liberalism are trash ideas for trash people. If you've tried to get into Marxist theory before but found texts written by Marx to be... long. Give this a shot instead. Great stuff.
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it
I don’t know what to make of this book. I’ve read it twice now and I keep coming away with very mixed feelings. I start off enthusiastic - I’m sympathetic to the ideals - but I end with a very wary feeling. And that leaves me unable to even say anything. So I get to the point of trying to write a review and not quite knowing what to say.
As I said, I am sympathetic - and increasingly so - to the view points. I can feel the walls that capitalism has constructed around me. But I am also very aware
Sree Hari
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you've always felt that something's wrong with the world with its gross inequality in wealth distribution, long hours and "alienation" from work, and harboured a suspicion that these problems may be systemic, this book presents what Marx have to say about all this through his 21st century funny and less boring medium Helen Razer.

Regardless of whether you agree to all she has to say, you're gonna leave with new ideas and better questions about our capitalist system, and maybe even sign up for
Apr 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: could-not-finish
Actually the book fulfills the promise given in the title.
It is total propaganda and it is brainwashing or at least an attempt of it.
My low rating I justify with my expectation, that reading this book I will learn something about Marx's proposition for this troubled world.
After some 40 pages I lost any hope.
I acknowledge a good knowledge of Das Kapital and last US election and probably many other issues.
Disclaimer - I am not a Millennial.
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