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Showing posts from September, 2011

No Investigation, No Right to Speak

Yesterday, in a conversation with a friend on the bus, I once again encountered one of the typical arguments raised by a certain sector of student and trade union socialists whenever they hear the words marxism-leninism-maoism : "why maoism, isn't that just something that applies to third world movements––what does it have to do with Canada or the United States?"  The friend who brought it up this time, I should point out, was only curious and, after hearing this dismissal of maoism from others, was only asking the question because he honestly wanted to know what I thought.  Unfortunately, I feel that most people who ask this question are doing so rhetorically in order to dismiss a revolutionary theory that they know nothing about but imagine, as is typical amongst self-proclaimed "radical experts", that something they've never honestly investigated can be dismissed with a snide comment.  Without investigation there should be no right to speak, we maoist-inf

Dogmatism in the Left

Due to a number of conversations, debates, and arguments I've had over the years with comrades and not-so-much-comrades, and due to the fact that I often use the term dogmatism  in reference to other leftists with  barely any explanation, I felt that it was necessary to post something about how dogmatism functions within the left as it should be understood by critical leftists.  All of us, whatever our shade of red or black, have probably been guilty of acting dogmatically at some point of our lives.  And sometimes, even if our entire approach is not in itself dogmatic, we can occasionally come across as dogmatic, uncritically fail to realize that some of our practices are dogmatic, and then fail to self-criticize and assess our behaviour.  Sometimes I catch myself, when pressed into unexpected arguments and confrontations, making statements that seem more religious than critical––I'm sure that all of us have had the experience of being forced into denouncing conservative famil

Understanding Social Reform In A Non-Reformist Manner

Considering that the crazy right-wing crypto-fascist mayor of my city wants to cut every single service, and is in danger of losing his own constituency, I want to spend this post addressing a misapprehension that is sometimes levelled at some of the articles on this blog.  Due to my comments regarding Layton's death , or the boycott campaign I endorsed , it is easy for some readers to think that I have been endorsing a political line that amounts to a "drop out of society" approach.  Even though I was careful to qualify my position in some of the articles in question, I feel that the medium and the way people read things through an ideological lens that conditions us to misunderstand a nuanced political position––that is always dynamic and always open to the future––that used to be a basic understanding of critical communism. That is, I have always endorsed a dialectical understanding of reformism and revolution: the boycott campaign, for example, was an attempt to u

Comment Categories Rant

In the years that I have been blogging I have become increasingly annoyed with certain categories of comments that have popped up on my blog, on other blogs and websites, on reddits where sometimes my posts are reposted, and perhaps even on facebook.  (Although, since I still refuse to join facebook, I can only assume that commenting practice is similar – from what I've been told it's pretty much the same.)  The categories of commenting that annoy me, and that are utterly common and predictable, together comprise the meta-category of belligerent stupidity  and because today I am feeling rather grumpy, and am coming down with a cold, I feel that I should write yet another ranty and semi-humourous post about the categories of belligerently stupid commenting that most annoys me to make up for all the boring and pseudo-theoretical musings I've recently posted. 1. "I clearly know nothing about this area but you're wrong." Commenters who feel the need to dismi

Marxism Beyond Marx, Leninism Beyond Lenin, Maoism Beyond Mao

As a communist who endorses the revolutionary theory of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism  it is very important to insist that, whenever I refer to myself as a "maoist" (as often happens when I find myself enmeshed in theoretical arguments), that what I mean by "maoism" is something that goes beyond Mao Zedong the person.  Similarly, I believe in a leninism that stands over V.I. Lenin and a marxism that stands over Karl Marx.  Simply put, I treat marxism as a living science and not a set of religious texts codified by genius prophets whose words and actions are sacrosanct representations of a divine law of history.  Although years back, during the first few posts of the interblog dialogue I shared with BF of Workers Dreadnought , there was a discussion of the concept of a living marxism and a maoism beyond Mao, I want to reemphasize this position. Just as there are many Trotskyists who treat Trotsky as a prophet––who see themselves as guardians of a pure theory that emerg

Toronto's RSM

Students involved in the Proletarian Revolutionary Action Committee have just launched the Toronto Revolutionary Students Movement.  This past Wednesday, on clubs day at the University of Toronto, they worked at a booth, flyered the student body, and engaged with students who were interested, or at the very least curious, about the possibility of revolutionary communism.  Although they are beginning as a small group of fellow activists, they still managed to show their presence by dropping a large "big character" poster from a nearby overpass. "Each generation must discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it." (Frantz Fanon) The Revolutionary Student Movement in Toronto is hoping to link itself to the Revolutionary Student Movement in Quebec (or, more precisely, the Mouvement √Čtudiant R√©volutionnaire) and is even planning on a multi-city conference between various revolutionary student groups (such as the Marxist Student Association in Ottawa), a possibility

The Obsolete International Socialists

Around a week ago, when I was looking at the sources of this blog's traffic, I encountered a Toronto blog run by a member of the IS (International Socialists, the name used outside of Britain for the Socialist Workers Party) who was apparently annoyed by my recent posts regarding Jack Layton.  Aside from the typical and unremarkable kow-towing to the opportunistic NDP-is-the-legitimate-representative-of-the-working-class line, what I found truly amusing was the author's comment in response to my aforementioned posts: "Wow, I didn't know there were any Maoists in North America any more.  Glad to see that - besides being churls - they still manage to utterly miss the point." (No, I am not going to provide a link to this blog because I do not want to provide it with any traffic.  Nor do I want its author or its hermetically sealed readers to parachute into this blog space with their asinine and ignorant comments.) Although I find it rather hilarious that I hav