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Showing posts from May, 2012

"Less Talks More Rocks"

In the city where I live, Toronto, the activist left has reached a point of stagnation.  When it is not liquidating itself in reformist movements, its demonstrations have generally become lack-lustre affairs where a roster of usual suspects are trotted out to preach to the converted––boring people by droning on and on about what they already know––just before everyone embarks on a marshalled march route, promoted as "family friendly", that is more like a parade than a political demonstration.  Years ago we used to have snake marches, housing occupations, and a variety of direct actions that, while not organized enough to seriously challenge capitalism, were at least worthy of the label militant .  But now, as even the most recent May Day march demonstrated, we have become extremely complacent. Perhaps this complacency is the logical result of a movementism that, pretending its strength is in multiple trajectories and a fictional spontaneity, could only produce stagnation.  

Seize the Time! Blaze a Revolutionary Path!

[The following document is a call-out for a revolutionary youth conference, to be held in October 2012, sponsored by the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada (PCR-RCP).] From the Arab Spring, to the UK riots and the #Occupy movements in North America, exploited workers and oppressed masses continue taking the streets. To tackle the economic crisis they created, capitalists and their lackey governments ruthlessly attack and further impoverish the majority of working and poor people. While this minority of the rich and powerful—intent on protecting their obscene profits and lavish lifestyle—gorges itself on the exploitation and immiseration of workers, the vast majority of the world’s population must toil for the most basic necessities to sustain life. “Where there is oppression,” said Mao Zedong, “there is resistance.” At the forefront of these popular struggles, youth from the proletariat and popular classes are rising up against the authority of the ruling regimes. Radica

"Wannabe" Intellectual Complains about "Wannabe" Revolutionaries

Samir Amin once remarked that people who want to change society generally have better ideas than people who want to preserve the status quo.  And the ideas of those whose way of thinking is the product of pre-capitalist values are even worse: whereas liberal ideas––being the unremarkable product of "common sense" capitalist ideology––is banal, conservative ideas––the cobbled together product of the ideological sensibility of pass modes of production––is simply backwards.  Liberal intellectuals, then, are boring, predictable, uncreative, commonplace; conservative intellectuals don't really exist because the term conservative intellectual  is an oxy-moron. I was reminded of this redundancy when I encountered an article about a protest to support the Quebec student strike ––interesting mainly because it wasted a paragraph joking about the acronym of a group of which I'm a member––in one of this country's most well-known conservative newspapers.  The columnist, a sm

Onwards Maoist Century!

When it comes to "maoism" I think a lot of people are unaware that those of us identify as marxist-leninist-maoist  are only speaking of a theoretical tradition that crystallized around 1990.  To be sure, the term goes back to the 1960s and the Chinese communists' split from Soviet hegemony, but then it was simply short-hand for a dominant current of anti-revisionist communism. Before 1990, and especially in the 1960s and 1970s, "maoism" simply meant a type of marxism-leninism that identified with the ongoing Chinese Revolution rather than Soviet revisionism.  Beyond this, it had no coherent and/or consistent theoretical content.  The maoists pre-1990 were generally anti-revisionists, concerned with upholding the revolutionary line of marxism-leninism.  The maoist, in this context, was only a maoist insofar as s/he argued that the Chinese Revolution (specifically the Cultural Revolution) was carrying forward world revolution and that Mao Zedong was just the mo

On the Class Consciousness of the Intelligentsia

Recently, due to conversations in both internet forums and concrete life, I have been thinking again about the class position of the so-called intelligentsia ––academics, university students, artists, and other "mental labourers"––especially in the context of the centres of capitalism.  While I find the somewhat pernicious trend of leftwing anti-intellectualism extremely problematic, I have also found the inverse intellectual resignation troublesome.  It is one thing to argue that the intellectual life should be opened up to those who lack the privilege of access, but it is quite another to argue for the primacy of the privileged leftwing intellectual–– especially  when these intellectuals often defect to the bourgeois camp, or at the very least show no interest in agitating for revolution, time and time again. This topic concerns me because, obviously, I currently belong to this class of intellectual workers: I sell my labour in a casualized academic environment while wo

The Quebec Student Strike through the MER

Despite the fact that it has become the largest and most militant student strike in the history of Canada, I have held off writing about the Quebec student strike for several months for a variety of reasons.  The first  of these reasons was that I was hoping to take a solidarity trip to Montreal (a plan that fell through due to work and commitments in Toronto); the second reason was that I wanted to write an "official" article on the student strike (meaning, of course, one that is published in a "proper" magazine/journal of sorts) which may or may not reach more readers, and I didn't want to undermine my chances of getting accepted by posting the same analysis on my blog ahead of time; the third and most important reason was that I felt the analysis provided by those comrades embedded in the strike would be better and far more insightful than anything I could produce (and I occasionally posted links of some of this analysis on r/communism ). Now the second rea

That Infuriating Uncritical Criticism

Nothing is more infuriating than liberals who imagine they are anti-capitalists but refuse to question their liberal assumptions.  And though it might seem like a broad general statement to claim that nothing  is more infuriating than this, I am hard-pressed to think of anything more infuriating.  Honest reactionaries do not infuriate me; I know that they are my enemies and they know that they are mine.  Imperialism and capitalism are not infuriating ; they just are social facts, limits that need to be overthrown––these realities, and the clear ideologies connected to them, are something that I despise and it is not infuriating to despise them.  After all, I don't feel the need to waste time debating with the imperialist because a part of me is stupidly convinced they might be an ally––again, I know they're my enemy. But the liberal who arrogantly imagines s/he is an anti-capitalist and then wastes my time reproducing liberal ideology and calling it anti-capitalism  is utterl

What Tendencies Count as Revolutionary?

In the stagnant ocean that is the mainstream left at the centres of capitalism, multiple currents vie for recognition as the  current.  And though we are not living in a period, at least in Canada, where a spectacular exchange of polemics between these currents is exploding with the same ferocity and heightened consciousness as it did twenty or thirty years ago––when the stagnant ocean of day was more tumultuous, its waves somewhat higher––because the ocean has become something of a lake, if not a pond, and the dry land of capitalist ideology is larger than the waters of anti-capitalist ideology, those of us who are part of this mainstream left are very aware of the various political tendencies, many of which claim they are the  tendency. Now I'm all for this contention, because I believe that the dialectical process of unity-struggle is creative and transformative, but I also think that this contention needs some sort of philosophical clarity.  We need to question whether we en

Again: Class Essentialism

In past entries I have complained about a  class essentialism  where a social relation is misconstrued as a social essence.  If the proletariat is the revolutionary class, the argument goes, then every individual proletariat is essentially revolutionary.  Spontaneous rebellions on the part of the working class will be necessarily revolutionary; the ideology of the working-class in these situations will develop on its on and might not need the help of an "outside" party.  Any mistakes made by this essentially revolutionary class are understood as the fault of outside agitation, for internally the proletariat can be nothing other than revolutionary (for that is its true nature); indeed, any chauvinism expressed by this class is nothing more than an ideology imported by the ruling class to "divide the workers"––a temporary confusion, nothing to which they are truly committed. One rather dubious definition of fascism claims that fascism is a "petty-bourgeois&q