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Showing posts from July, 2013

Unity in Struggle and Struggle in Unity

Long time commenter Mulciber asked me to write about my thoughts on unity within the anti-capitalist left, particularly the marxist left.  They wanted to know my opinion on "how the various kinds of Marxists can get past their hair-splitting theoretical differences and unite based on common interests."  So here follows a reflection on this question. 1: multiple tendencies as an unavoidable fact Long ago, when I first became an anti-capitalist activist, like many others I was troubled by the proliferation of various anti-capitalist organizations, some of which refused to work with each other.  The most rational solution, to my mind, was for all of the groups to put aside their differences, combine into a single organization, and work together for the "greater good" of post-capitalism.  That is, I naively and uncritically believed that the principle of utility could be applied to the general left and that it needed to be applied.  Such a belief was reinforced, as

"Against Avakianism"

Over a week ago, a good comrade and friend emailed me a copy of the recent Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Naxalbari [CPI(M-L)Naxalbari] journal .  And though I am still partially confused as to why the CPI(M-L)Naxalbari is still a separate organization from the larger CPI(Maoist) that is actually engaged in people's war (especially since they support the people's war), I was rather impressed by this issue of their journal.  Specifically, I found the critique of the RCP-USA, Against Avakianism , both impressive and important. As some of my readers might be aware, the CPI(M-L)Naxalbari is one of the former members of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement [RIM] that is not only involved in efforts to rebuild this organization, but has been interested in ideological struggle with former members of the RIM that have walked away from this project.  Excluding the "Prachanda-Bhattarai"revisionism of the maoists in Nepal, or the earlier disintegration

October Road Mythology

The dogmatic assumption that the Bolsheviks simply seized power in 1917 due to one magical moment of insurrection has caused serious problems for the theory of revolutionary strategy.  Here, then, is a simplistic formula resulting from this dogma: a party just needs to be a tiny organization that agitates for revolution, waits for the time to be "right", and then conveniently appears to take the reigns of the popular uprising it agitated for––a cabal of militants accepted by the masses who have finally learned the truth. If I am oversimplifying the insurrection discourse surrounding the October Revolution, I am only doing so because this is, in fact, the most common interpretation of the events surrounding the Russian Revolution.  So common, in fact, that bourgeois ideologues maintain that this was what happened: there was a popular movement, we are told, that the Bolsheviks helped grow and that they opportunistically seized when the time was right… Because, hey, Lenin'

Modern Penal Colonies

The recent Pelican Bay Prisoner Strike  has reminded me, yet again, of how I am immeasurably sickened whenever someone talks about the United States being a beacon of freedom.  After all, we have to wonder about how free a country is when it has the highest incarceration rate in the world.  In this context, it is ludicrously hypocritical to speak of wars being waged in the name of "freedom" when there is really no content to this claim of freedom: a country that maintains the largest population in human history of people who are literally unfree must be confused whenever it uses the concept of "freedom" to justify its violence.  In this context it is also ridiculous for peace-loving liberals to talk about how much they love their country, babbling about how, if it would only forsake the supposedly aberrant wars it is waging, it would be lovely if it would work according to a set of authentic freedom-loving values that never existed to begin with. Hence, there i

Over One Million!

 This month MLM Mayhem  has finally broken one million page views.  And though I have been posting less due to the time absorbed by childcare––thus guaranteeing that I have less traffic––I am still glad to have become a blogger "millionaire".  Indeed, I am under the delusion that over a million page-views means that there are over a million votes for communism! 1,000,000 pixels doesn't actually look all that impressive in grid form. In any case, based on this rite of passage, I want to ask those faithful readers who have contributed to the one million count for direction.  That is, because my lack of sleep and time tend to render me incapable of thinking of post topics, I am opportunistically using this event to solicit ideas for future posts.  Really, my brain isn't working properly these days so please reply with creative input––no promises that I will actually follow-up on all your input (I'm ignorant in so many areas, and disinterested in so many others

A Theoretical Failure?

Recently, I have been receiving annoying comments, some of which I didn't even bother moderating, on my Ten Theses On Identity Politics  post.  As usual, people who are annoyed that I have bothered to critique their political [lack of] practice would rather just insult me from a position of ignorance rather than take the time to think through my critiques.  What I find most interesting, and off-putting, is the claim that I am ignorant of the ideology adopted by third world anti-capitalist movements which, at least according to one angry commenter, is apparently influenced by identity politics!  Aside from the fact that these comments lack any significant argument, relying only on grand proclamations, is telling. Indeed, it made me realize that the ignorance these people attempt to ascribe to marxist movements––movements which are pursuing revolution in the global peripheries––is an ignorance they themselves possess, especially if they assume that marxism is just a tiny first world

The Analysis of Egypt Repeats Itself

After all the hoopla declaring the "Arab Spring" of 2011 a "revolution" predictably receded, as I once argued it would , the events surrounding the recent military coup in Egypt have once again made Egypt the focus of the same socialist groups who see every mass movement as automatically revolutionary.  And though anyone who dares to call themselves a socialist, let alone a communist , must agree that it is right for the masses to rebel , we must also demarcate our support for spontaneous uprisings from our definition of revolutionary movements––without a party capable of organizing these explosions of mass rebellion into a coherent formation unified by revolutionary theory and practice, all we can do is rebel rather than make revolution.  Unfortunately, since the tendency to see every rebellion as a revolution is a common mindset amongst the dormant mainstream left at the centres of capitalism, and we get excited by massive demonstrations in other countries, the 20