By Z. Merriam The use of reactionary language amongst upstart communists (and sometimes even veterans of the communist program) is a recurring problem which begs to be addressed. One may be conversing with a comrade, engaging in a meaningful conversation with them, and then all of the sudden, you might hear them use a slur. […]
This article is a follow-up of sorts to Trans People and the Dialectics of Sex and Gender: Against Radical and Liberal Feminism. The cause of so much confusion over the nature of gender is that gender is a construct of unparalleled proximity. Gender is a construct of the private home, of the confines of the […]
Introduction Here I propose a framework for a non-liberal, non-radical, and non-transmisogynistic feminism: a proletarian feminism. This work builds upon a materialist analysis of sex as a social construct (more available here), which is essential reading before you continue. For those unaware of dialectics some parts of this essay may be hard to follow, so […]
In two major articles already on anti-imperialism.com, we have defined in a preliminary way how we conceive of Global People’s War, and what we consider to be the basic role of revolutionaries in imperialist countries today. The theory of Global People’s War and what role First Worlders are to play in it of course needs […]
Oppression under capitalism takes many forms. It would be entirely incorrect and class reductionist to claim the only exercise of oppression in class society is that between the worker and capitalist. In fact, capitalism reproduces a host of repressive social relations including that of patriarchy, racism, homophobia, transphobia, national oppression etc. One generally under-examined oppressive apparatus is that […]
Nowadays, many celebrations born out of political struggle have been made sterile by the existing cultural hegemony. The capitalist class is able to appropriate radical ideas, concepts and history, and co-opt them by changing their meaning. International Women’s Day is no exception. What’s the history of International Women’s Day? Stuttgart, 18-24 August 1907. 884 delegates […]
Bourgeois ideology has long presented us with a vulgar conception of gender which reduces the essence of what it “means” to be a man or woman to a rigid set of biological characteristics. Over the past few decades, a great deal of progress has been made in exposing this idea for what it is: a […]
Given the recent track record in Libya and Egypt, women in Syria are increasingly aware of what is at stake in the struggle against imperialist-backed Islamists. Rather than submit to the dual oppression of imperialist-enforced patriarchy, these women are fighting back.
[This interview was sourced from Ideological Fightback. Re-posting is for educational purposes and does not imply endorsement of affiliation. Generally speaking, the USSR during the authors lifetime was not socialist. This is because it was no longer part of the movement for proletarian revolution. Instead it was led by a ruling class which eventually dismantled against the will of the […]
This is chapter three from the book ‘Patriarchy and Capital Accumulation on a World Scale’ by Maria Mies. The following text will be part of the curriculum of the upcoming second semester of People’s Liberation Universit The Dialectics of ‘Progress and Retrogression’ On the basis of the foregoing analysis, it is possible to formulate a tentative thesis […]
Maoism-Third Worldism is a theoretical culmination of historical revolutionary practice, a science of understanding the world so as to change it. It is the Marxism of today. Maoism-Third Worldism includes several historical and new paradigmatic shifts in understandings regarding class struggle. These include: All hitherto history is the history of class struggle! Maoism-Third Worldism reaffirms […]
Bell hooks was a leading figure in establishing ‘third-wave feminism’: a philosophical and practical branch of feminism centered around the history, experience, and interests of ‘women of color.’ Her writings are directly critical of previous feminist movements which favored white middle-class women, and she is generally critical of the standard feminist framework while finding cause in altering the scope of its discourse. Her central thesis in Feminist Theory, from Margin to Center is that the objective of feminism is not simply for equality between sexes but for an end to sexist oppression and the broader “ideology of domination” which supports it. In the process, she gets many things right in regards to the struggle against oppression while bringing a lot of detail and nuance into the discussion. In some regards, her critiques of feminism are applicable to nominally left-wing movements in the US today. Yet her explicit understandings of larger economic questions are lacking. Though she raises many salient points, these ideas are best understood as part of a broader yet more incisive critique of general social practice and relations between classes and groups.
Betty Friedan is often credited with founding second wave feminism, what is today sometimes mockingly referred to as ‘white, middle-class feminism’ or ‘bourgeois feminism.’ Beyond whatever rhetorical value can be found in such phrases, what do they mean? What is the implication of Friedan’s work in relation to other outstanding social relations besides gender? More […]
This essay by Samir Amin discusses the possibility of forming a revolutionary Fifth International. I’ve abbreviated it for brevity and presentation and to give folks the opportunity to read it in full at the Third World Forum website, where is was originally published. As usual, re-posting here does not imply endorsement or agreement, but is to promote discussion around the broader topics. Rather than promoting the following as an answer, I hope it provokes further questions. – Nikolai Brown
Capitalism is a world-wide system. Therefore, its victims cannot effectively meet its challenges unless they organise themselves at the same global level. Yet “the Internationalism of the Peoples” has always had to confront serious difficulties produced by the unequal development associated with the globalisation of capital.
The historic lessons of the socialist and communist Internationals
The diversity of the conditions of reproduction of the different partners of global capitalism has always constituted a major challenge to the success of struggles conducted by the victims of the system. The Internationals of the workers’ movement were conceived precisely to surmount this major obstacle.
After a century and a half of the history of the Internationals it would be useful to draw some lessons which may clarify the present challenges and the options for strategic action.
The first International, which was called the International Working Mens’ Association, was created precisely to surmount the national dispersion of which the European revolutions of 1848 had showed the negative effects. The new social subject, the primary victim of the expansion of capitalism in Western and Central Europe, which had expressed its socialist or communist dreams in the year 1848, ended up being broken by the counter-revolution. It called itself “the proletariat” which at that time was composed of a minority assembled in the large factories and mines of the era, and a large circle of handicraft workers. The new proletarian class was exclusively localised in the North West region of Europe and spreading to the United States, meaning that the possibility of an intervention of the International made itself felt only within the borders of this region.
Despite its limitations, the first International was able to manage the diversity of social and political struggles in a democratic spirit which placed it at the forefront of its generation. The association brought together organisations of varying nature and status, (embryonic) political parties, unions and cooperatives, civic associations and personalities (like Marx, Proudhon, Bakunin!). Their range of intervention, analysis of challenges, strategies, visions and mobilising ideologies were diverse – extremely so. The limitations of the ideas of this generation are easily enumerated: the patriarchal notion of the relations between men and women, the ignorance towards the rest of the world etc. We could also thrash out one more time the nature of the conflicting ideologies (infant Marxism, anarchism, workers’ spontaneity et cetera), of their relevance and efficacy and so on, but this is certainly not the objective of this paper. We should keep the only lesson given by the first experience: the democratic respect for the principle of diversity. This is an important lesson for us today.
The Second International was conceived on wholly different principles. The accelerated proletarianisation of the epoch had given birth to new forms of workers’ parties with relatively important numbers of followers and influences on the working classes. The parties differed in many ways, going from English labour to the Marxist social democrats of Germany to the French revolutionary trade unionism. Nevertheless these parties rallied – at least at the beginning – to the objective of substituting the capitalist order with socialism. However, of greater importance was the principle of “one” single party for each country, “the” party that was supposed to be the exclusive representative of “the” class which in itself was seen as the unique historical subject of social transformation, “the” party that was potentially the bearer of “the correct line”, regardless of whether the party opted for – as history was later to show – moderate reform or revolution. Engels and the first Marxist leaders (Kautsky, Labriola and others) certainly considered these options as proof of progress in relation to the First International, as they probably were, at least in part. The new generation of leaders of the International did not always ignore the dangers of the main options of the time, as some were too hastily to observe (but that is not a matter of discussion in this paper). Still the limits to democratic practices in the political and social movements which were inspired by the parties of the Second International stemmed from these original fundamental options.
On the whole these parties drifted towards imperialism and nationalism. The Second International very rarely addressed the colonial question and imperialist expansion. It often legitimised imperialism by claiming that its consequences were “objectively” positive (that it forced retarded people to enter into capitalist modernity). This historical perspective, however, was refuted by the imperialist nature inherent in the global expansion of capitalism. “Social imperialist” is an apt description of this alignment of the social democratic parties with the linear bourgeois economism (with which I pretend that Marxism has nothing in common), and continued to be one of their features up until the period after the second world war with their rallying atlanticism and subsequently social liberalism.
The drift towards imperialism reinforced the chances of a parallel alignment with the nationalistic visions of the leaders of capitalism, at least regarding international relations. As is well known, the parties of the Second International foundered in the chauvinism produced by the First World War.
The Third International was created to correct this drift, and it did at least partially. It did in fact make its presence felt globally, supporting the creation of communist parties in all the peripheries of the world system and proclaiming the strategic character of the alliance of the “Workers of the West” with the “Peasants of the East”. Maoism expressed this development when it enlargened the call for internationalism to include the “oppressed peoples” at the side of the “workers of the world”. Later the alliance between the Third International (which had become Kominform), the Non-Aligned Movement following Bandung (1955) and the Tricontinental (1966) reinforced the idea and the practices of the globalisation of anticapitalist struggles on a truly world scale.
Even so, the Third International not only conserved the organisational options of the Second, but also reinforced its traits: one “single” party per country, and that party being the bearer of the one and only “correct” line and the catalyst of all the demands the trade unions and mass organisations considered as “transmission belts”.
In addition, the Third International found itself in a situation that was unknown to the First or the Second: it had to protect the first socialist state, and later the camp of the socialist states. How this necessity evolved and what (negative) effects it had, in relation to the evolution of the Soviet system itself, is not the object of this paper.
The Fourth International, which reacted against this evolution, did not bring innovations with respect to the forms of organisation initiated by the Third, to the origins of which it only wanted to return. Continue reading
Captain America [sic] is an obvious work of fiction. The Nazis never had day-glow, power-of-the-gods weaponry, nor did the US have super-human soldiers. However, there is a frightening whitewashing of history that occurs in this Hollywood super-hero flick. The United States involvement in WWII is one of the only times the US has been even nominally correct in its belated efforts to curb Nazi Imperialism. However, the history of WWII is much more complicated than America = good, Nazis = bad.
The film opens with Nazi officer Schmidt discovering an ancient artifact in Norway that is possessed of the power of the gods. Schmidt intends to use this to create incredible weaponry with which he might take over the world (classic). The film’s protagonist is a small-statured young man, Steve Rogers, who is desperate to join the army to fight the war in Europe. He attempts to sign up many times, but is declined due to his numerous health problems. Dr. Erskine, who defected from Germany because he did not want his discoveries used by the Nazi regime, eventually discovers him. Rogers is sent to train for a special unit and is eventually selected for a life-changing procedure because of his exceptional determination, kindness, courage, and brains. Rogers is made into a super-human by Erskine’s serum and a machine of Howard Stark’s invention (predecessor to fictional war-criminal and arms dealer Tony Stark). He is used by the U$ as a piece of propaganda, traveling the country promoting the sale of war bonds. It is not until he arrives in Europe to perform for the troops that he enters the fray. Rogers frees several captured soldiers from the grips of the evil and crazy Nazi officer Johann Schmidt. It is revealed that Schmidt was treated with an incomplete version of the same serum used on Rogers as he rips off a mask revealing a “red skull” beneath. Rogers saves Amerika from certain destruction by crashing a plane armed with weapons into the Arctic and sacrificing himself.
One of the most important players in the war were the Red Army of the Soviet Union. It is often argued that the Soviets, who lost many millions of people (estimated between 23.4 million and 26.6 million) to the Nazi invaders, were the real reason for the defeat of the Third Reich. However, the Soviets are conspicuously absent in this film about a hero of WWII. There is not a single mention of the eastern front, or those who fought there. The war is mis-characterized as an Amerikan adventure in Europe. There is no real understanding of the social forces that brought so much of the world into a bloody war. The film is a perfect example of how Amerikans routinely glorify themselves and distort history. Continue reading