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Showing posts from February, 2012

"So Who's Paying for the Revolution?"

Around a month ago, when I was disseminating free communist propaganda outside of a subway station, I ended up in a conversation with an interested commuter regarding the ongoing Peoples War in India.  Although he was not entirely antagonistic to the idea of communism and revolution, he wanted to know who was funding the Indian Peoples War .  Initially I found the question rather bizarre; those of us familiar with the history of revolutions, after all, are well aware that the greatest revolutions built themselves organically and the entire notion of "funding", occasional ideological and material support from internationalists notwithstanding, is generally ahistorical.  Indeed, I tried to explain that revolutionary movements gained their strength from the oppressed masses, that they primarily "funded" themselves by creating their own resource initiatives, that a lot of these movements accumulated weapons by taking them from the enemy, and that thinking about organic

Whose Speech and For Whom?

Recently, after having to reread and discuss Nadine Strossen's Hate Speech and Pornography  for a class I teach, I was reminded again of the idiotic liberal obsession with "free speech".  Strossen, champion of the ACLU, is a particular example of this idiocy; her supposedly clever arguments paradigmatic of the logic employed by every liberal raving about the highest good of "free speech" and the terrible evil of censorship.  It is not hard to get the impression that, in the liberal moral universe, censorship is more evil than allowing people to starve because they cannot afford food.  This is because, in the liberal view of things, society progresses because of the supposed "openness" of a Millsian marketplace of ideas––just like capitalism and its invisible hand! The aforementioned Strossen article is an excellent example of liberal "free speech" nonsense because the ACLU, of which Strossen is merely an ideologue, is a joke of an organizat

Principally Unprincipled Maoism

One of the characteristics of communism that generally serve to make those of us who identify as communist appear rather silly to the broader public is the alphabet soup proliferation of communist/marxist organizations.  Sometimes the proliferation of multiple commie groups is for principled reasons (significant ideological differences, the degeneration into revisionism of some groups and thus the need for renewal, or even healthy line struggle between multiple organizations), other times it's for the most asinine and unprincipled reasons (an ego split in an organization that is disguised as "political", the arrogant need to resist merging, dogmatism), and generally it's a combination between the two.  Indeed, the continuous emergence of competing communist parties and organizations is so clearly a part of what it means to be a communist that it was hilariously caricatured in Monty Python's 1979 film Life of Brian . There are times when it is the mark of a h

On Protracted Peoples War as a Universal Development of Revolutionary Theory

Around a week ago I informed two internet comrades that I wasn't going to write on the theory of Protracted Peoples War (PPW) as a universal development of revolutionary communist theory anytime soon.  The reason I gave for abstaining was, like so many others who have been either intrigued or convinced by the Canadian Revolutionary Communist Party (PCR-RCP) articles ( here and here ) that have asserted that PPW is the  proletarian strategy of revolution even at the centres of world capitalism, I am also waiting for the larger theoretical offering before extrapolating, without requisite theoretical/historical/practical investigation, a larger meaning of the theory from the conceptual germ so far available. And though I still do not plan to theorize anything more than what has already been presented in the articles cited above, I have recently changed my mind about blogging generally on this issue for two reasons: 1) my recent review of Liebknecht's Militarism  (1907) ended up

Reading Karl Liebknecht's "Militarism"

The other day, the good folks of r/communism  attempted to start a "communist of the day" discussion around Karl Liebknecht .  Although the post produced very little discussion, it made me remember how I always intended to read Liebknecht.  So yesterday I dusted off the copy of Liebknecht's Militarism  (which I have since learned is only half of a larger work, Militarism and Anti-Militarism ) that I procured at a book sale nearly two years ago and have just finished reading all 178 pages. (On a side note, I'd like to say that the r/communism moderators––who I know from outside of the reddit world––have done an excellent job of producing a subreddit where, unlike r/socialism, radical thought is actually promoted and in a decidedly non-sectarian manner.  And though the quality of r/communism will not convince me to join the reddit community, it has caused me to lurk this tiny corner of the reddit universe on a semi-regular basis.  So without participating on reddit

On Dialectical Materialism

In order to escape the ranty nature of my most recent posts, and because I used the last rant to blather about the meaning of historical materialism , I have decided to make this post about dialectical materialism , that other part of Marx's methodology, but in a far less polemical manner.  Dialectical materialism is intrinsically connected to historical materialism, after all, and though they are part of the same totality, many theorists and revolutionaries have found it useful to separate these moments, isolating them from each other in order to explain them separately before putting them back together.  And though there is sometimes a danger in dividing them into moments rather than seeing them as part of a whole (i.e. an entirely mechanical approach to this methodology as evidenced by Stalin's Foundations of Leninism ), there is still something analytically important about this division. Ever since this blog has been in existence I have complained about the inability of

On Historical Materialism

Recently, the author of the target of my last post responded to my critique.  Initially, since I found the response to be little more than a dodge of the criticisms and a flight into the supposed theory of historical materialism (apparently he was doing proper historical materialism and I wasn't), I planned to only respond in the comments string.  A response that fails to answer specific criticisms, and side-steps the issue with a red herring debate, is usually a response I wouldn't bother to take seriously.  But since he was making claims about historical materialism, and attempting to argue that my critique had nothing to do with proper historical materialism, I decided that the issues raised in my original comment deserved further exploration because of a larger problematic.  That is: what is historical materialism ? As someone whose doctorate was earned through a study and application of historical materialism, and as someone who is currently working on a book about the

Without Revolutionary Theory...

The rejection of history, the willful ignorance of the hard-earned lessons of the past, which is so common in the movementist so-called "analysis" of the [predictably] dwindling occupy movement and last year's uprisings in the middle east, has once again reared its head in this blaise and flippant article about the role of theory in revolution.  Or, rather, lack of role , since the article argues that theory really has nothing to do with a revolution aside from explaining what happened after the fact and allowing us to perceive its "possibilities and limitations at a given point in history."  Theory is just a tool; we don't have to think about what we're doing and why we're doing it until after the fact; revolution is spontaneous––these are the same banal and confused claims certain sectors of the directionless left have been making for years.  Repetition, however, does not make something correct. The title of the article in question, Was George W