class antagonism

anonymous asked:

Okay so I freely admit my knowledge of history absolutely sucks so this will sound stupid but - is communism a good thing or a bad thing??? I'm asking because I see SOOOOOO many conflicting ideas coming from people and everyone ends up contradicting each other, it seems like tumblr is very pro-communism but at the same time there are people on here who are absolutely disgusted with tumblr's "pro-communism" ideas and at the same time people praise Karl Marx and I'm just confused sorry.

okay, thing is, you have to make two distinctions. there’s theoretical communism and applied-in-the-real-world communism, and when it comes to theoretical communism, one thing is marx (which is why marxism is a thing and stalinism is another) and another are other communists who interpreted his thought often for political reasons. now I once had replied to a post on the topic which I never posted to avoid extra wank but I have it in my drafts let me see if I can c/p it… yeah okay no but maybe I can reuse parts of it.

anyway: communism is originally marx’s theory/system. marx conceived it in a society that was ALREADY CAPITALIST and its entire idea was destroying the aforementioned capitalist society which was founded on inequality and exploiting workers (like if you read the capital, it has chapters dedicated to child labor and how horrible it is just to mention one). communism is a philosophical and economical THEORY which does indeed look good on paper, its problem is that at most you could make it viable in small communities because it implies that everyone must be on board with it to make it work, that corruption doesn’t exist, that people do automatically their best for the others and the community/collectivity and a lot of other things that literally can’t coexist when your problem is basic human nature. never mind that marx’s system was based entirely on the situation in industrialized nations during the second industrial revolution and it’s entirely tied in that historical timeframe and it doesn’t take reading the capital for that, and now we’ve gone past that. never mind that not all nations go through what the UK did during the second industrial revolution. we’re past the second industrial revolution. marx’s system is not viable in reality because not many places are in those same conditions. never mind that marx himself knew that perfectly - ie, there’s a part in the communist manifesto which goes:

We have seen above, that the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy. The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible. Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionising the mode of production.

These measures will, of course, be different in different countries. Nevertheless, in most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable. (….) When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character.

Political power, properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organise itself as a class, if, by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class. In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.

now, why did I bold exactly those parts? because the last one states that communism’s eventual target is everyone living in an equalitarian union, and the second is to show that according to marx communism could be a thing IN ADVANCED COUNTRIES. industrially.

and here we arrive to practiced communism which is our problem. because thing is, communism on paper is great - equality! no one is exploited! everyone contributes as they can how much they can! no classism! - but in practice, it has never been introduced in nations that were already capitalist. it’s mostly been countries that either had a strong agricultural/rural economy or came from centuries of dictatorships/monarchy, which means that regardless of how much communism is viable as a way of life or not, it wouldn’t and couldn’t have been applied there the way it was supposed to because those weren’t capitalist countries. you can’t have a communist society without capitalism first. period. and when you try to merge the two you have today’s china which is basically the worst of the two systems put together, never mind that if you look at mao’s CV, the cultural revolution and the likes it doesn’t sound to me that it’s the best way of life for everyone as marx put it. (and to add to that by the way, just the exploitation of workers in china that allows us to buy for ridiculous cheap from there is the most anti-communist thing anyone could ever conceive. and I’m just mentioning one thing.)

when **communism** has been implemented in both russia and china and everywhere else it was a thing, it was never a capitalist country. add that as I stated above in order for it to work it means EVERYONE IS ON BOARD and the people in charge don’t exploit it and you have a recipe for disaster, because if you look at it everywhere it was implemented, regardless of how much they might have started decently, it turned into a dictatorship not long later.

so this whole ‘shit happened in communist countries and people died but communism is still AMAZING’ topic is ridiculous because thing is, if one grasps the spirit, the entire point of communism as an utopian society (because that’s basically the outcome of that at the end of it) is having a society of equals where everyone contributes for what they can, there are no injustices like in capitalist society and your worth as a person isn’t put after your capacity to produce money for someone else. any so-called communist system calling itself communist and allowing people to die/oppressing its citizens/exploiting workers’ labor without allowing them to have unions/creating gulags/silencing disagreeing opinions is inherently a system that marx would have loathed because it goes against everything he wanted out of his vision. like, especially exploiting workers’ labor. that’s the reason why historically why most unions were communist/socialist when unions started being a thing. never mind that marx called for criticizing the status quo/people in power who exploited it, which should automatically suggest that most people who praise communist regimes aren’t really marxist.

(now we could also discuss over how both communism and capitalism taken in their purist form don’t benefit anyone except the people in power and so the best way is midway, because capitalism does have good aspects same as communism does, and actually the reason communism was groundbreaking in its historical moment was because it put attention on the need for equality and better working conditions when most poor people were exploited by the upper class. theoretical communism advocated a world where everyone contributes according to their own capacities and doesn’t end up sacrificing themselves on the altar of factory work, and that’s not what has happened until now in real life. taking the best from either system is what actually does work all things considered - counteracting 100% bonafide capitalism with 100% bonafide communism, which by the way can’t exist today, is fried air, as we say in italy.)

so, at this point the thing is: if you’re anti-communism meaning COMMUNISM THE WAY IT HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTED IN THE REAL WORLD then you have a point or ten because most times it has betrayed its own roots (really, marx would have been horrified at basically everything **communist** regimes have implemented) and it has been a tool of oppression/communist dictators have killed thousands of people same as their fascist counterparts and so on. at the same time, if you like marx then you like COMMUNISM AS A CONCEPT THE WAY IT WAS ORIGINALLY INTENDED, as in, you like the idea of a society where everyone is equal and not exploited as above. it’s two completely different things - personally I love the idea of communism as marx presented it but I know it’s not viable and I wouldn’t say that stalin or mao were amazing people TM just because they were **communist** (tbh today’s china is like the most un-marxist thing ever soooo). and at the same time I’ll feel free to praise marx to the heavens because he was a genius, came up with an amazing philosophical system which then started irl a lot of good things ie workers’ unions as above and gave the left an ideology to aspire to and because he didn’t advocate for genocide, while I absolutely loathe most applications of communism irl (and in most cases when communist ideals work out it’s in *socialist* countries, not communist ones).

we can also add that kids on tumblr being pro communism most of the time just read ‘communism = equality’ and think OMG AWESOME when they haven’t read marx or a history book so they don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about so let’s not even count them into the discussion. but never mind.

tldr: communism as a theory/political ideology the way it was conceived was a good thing and is still a good thing if you take the good parts from it (tbh the US could totally do with some more marxism especially when it comes to reviving workers’ unions, striking when you want things and the likes), never mind that in western countries that were under the US influence post WWII and in european countries pre-WWI communist parties were generally the ones protecting workers/their rights to strike and pushing for leftist policies along with the socialist ones. communism as an actually applied system in the real world is almost always a bad thing because it’s not what marx conceived, it betrays its own roots and I can only understand people who grew up under the ussr when it was a thing (or eastern europe) who loathe communism since a communist regime was what fucked their countries over. (that’s also valid for places like cambodia and NORTH KOREA I mean in theory north korea is *communist* but there’s literally nothing communist about NK.) we can argue about cuba for the next century or so since when it comes to it there’s pros and cons (ie: castro was a dictator? yes, not good, not communist. everyone getting free healthcare and instruction including curing people from other countries? yes, good, marx would have approved. and so on.), but even if you consider cuba the only place where it sort of worked (sort of, because if you ask people who flew cuba they certainly don’t agree and really it’s so complicated only people who studied the situation for years or live there could give an opinion), cuba has eleven million inhabitants and it’s not CHINA or the former USSR, which makes it fairly more manageable to govern. same as I said above: it maybe sort of POSSIBLY worked out not somewhat in a small country. in large countries it’s just not a thing you can reasonably conceive.

so: some people praise marx because marx said a lot of good things, but being uncritically pro-communist means ignoring that communism when implemented (successfully-ish or not) has caused a lot of harm and isn’t that much different from other regimes, and that what marx preached was good for his historical moment and time, not for us, because the second industrial revolution is that and gone. never mind that people who come from communist regimes that hurt their nations or were political dissenters have all rights to be anti-communist, since as stated when applied irl it’s not what marxism preaches. and that said if you praise marx then you should criticize all of the irl applications of communism because marx would balk at pretty much 99% of what *communist* countries ended up being. but like there’s a lot of good in what marx says and that’s why some people say they’re communists - because they like it as a concept and want to make reality what they can of it, not because they approve of stalinism.

hopefully it was clear. xD

We therefore reject every attempt to impose on us any moral dogma whatsoever as an eternal, ultimate and for ever immutable ethical law on the pretext that the moral world, too, has its permanent principles which stand above history and the differences between nations. We maintain on the contrary that so far every moral theory has, in the last analysis, been the product of the economic conditions of society obtaining at the time. And just as society has so far moved in class antagonisms, so morality has always been class morality; it has either justified the domination and the interests of the ruling class, or, as soon as the oppressed class became powerful enough, it has represented its revolt against this domination and the future interests of the oppressed.
—  Frederick Engels, Anti-Dühring: Herr Eugen Dühring’s Revolution in Science (Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1976) 118-119.

i hope you hit your limit yesterday.

yesterday, male people told you precisely how pathetic, worthless, & contemptible they find the female experience.

to them, any attempt to organise as female people is laughable & shameful.  no matter how abstract your slogans (“no uterus no opinion” makes no attempt to exclude anyone from womanhood), no matter how obfuscatory your circumlocutions (”dfab”, “dmab” in reference to unambiguous sex).  any solidarity between female people will be ridiculed as the enterprise of “cis women”, i.e. members of the female sex who have not dissociated from it.

i hope you listened to them & i hope you saw their tantrum for what it was: the same entitlement, the same ego, the same contempt for female people, the same ignorance of female experience.

engels said that:  The first class antagonism which appears in history coincides with the development of the antagonism between man and woman in monogamian marriage, and the first class oppression with that of the female sex by the male.

patriarchy, male supremacy, institutional sexism, whatever you want to call it: it is the sex-class system through which male people subjugate female people, first & foremost to assert control over reproduction.

bell hooks said that:  “feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.

feminism is the movement to dismantle that sex-class system.  feminists must speak lucidly about sex, sex-class, socialisation, & reproduction.

& yet that speech & movement is condemned as oppressive, exclusionary, & cruel to male people, because sexist male people will never be happy with feminism.  never.  it’s not worth it to try to appease them.

Five theses on youth and the sociology of the election (or some quickly gathered thoughts)


Contemporary capitalism rarely appears simple. Back in 1848 Marx wrote in the opening of The Communist Manifesto about how “Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinct feature: it has simplified class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other — Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.” But already things were more complicated. Marx’s analysis hinged on showing how the opposition of these two classes was founded in the relation of domination of capital and wage labour. Suddenly, unable to leap into pure identification with a class, people become split and split up. For Marx, only in revolution, is the identification with a class, if only to abolish class society in turn, possible. Yet if the analysis of capitalism offers ever more dialectical complexity and obscurity, it also has crystalline moments full of clarity. The election provided one of these in terms of how the parties rallied support. On the one side was a popular movement, the conviction of disenfranchised people convincing others like them to vote similarly. On the other was big capital, and in particular the traditional mainstream media: broadcasting companies, newspapers, and the Conservative Party in the guise of a PR agency. As striking as the crowds of door-knockers on one side was the complete lack on the other, and vice versa for promotion in the mainstream media.


The official analysis of the election result rests on the resuscitation of myths about a “jilted generation” and the analysis of so-called “intergenerational politics.” Whilst it is true that many more young people voted in this election than in any over the past 20 years, this probably has very little to do with youth. Instead it has to do with the poverty of younger people: they are unlikely to be property owners, and are significantly less likely to have well paid professional jobs. The far greater division is between home-owners and renters. Home owners at this time are already terrified: since the Brexit vote the pound has lost between 15% and 20% of its value, with no correction (as we see in the international markets like the FTSE). Residential house prices have dropped month on month for four months now too. In terror, home owners were voting for the conservatives to conserve only one thing: the value in their homes. But ultimately this is part of a wider delusion: the bubble in house prices, combined with ever the ever increasing financialisation of this sector has for a long time given the impression of a growing economy. That there has been no real growth, and that one part of the population has essentially been paid off to ignore this fact with ever more spurious and speculative pricing of residential property, is simply more obvious to those who have none. Local governments have profited as much from this growth as private landlords, as they set themselves up to sell off and redevelop estates. The great swing in support for Labour came from those who, without the capital, have not been able to buy into the myth. Meanwhile Labour support has almost certainly increased amongst renters from all age groups.


Parliamentary politics in the West in the last few years has been characterised by new movements for populist candidates. It is significant that most people in these movements consider their politics to be “post-ideological” in one sense or another: they are distrustful of “professional politicians” (is this the final conclusion to an argument Weber began exactly 100 years ago?), of centralised messaging, and of advertising more generally. People involved in these sorts of politics have the strongest convictions that they are absolutely capable of seeing through lies, are not duped by the messages of corporations whether they be companies trying to sell products or political parties trying to win votes. Today, amongst a large part of the population, the belief in freedom from ideology constitutes the greatest victory of ideology. These changes have also led to transformations in the domain of advertising. Back in the 1940s sociologists would remark that once the telephone had been invented the technology underwent a change to create the radio, in order that for the sake of profit a technology of reciprocal communication between people became one in which people were spoken to but could not reply. The more recent transformations in this line is to maintain the centralisation, ownership and profit of the media, but to distribute the capacity to broadcast, so long as these broadcasts are subject to privatised generic platforms. It is believed by many users of these new forms of media that the democratisation of broadcast - despite the lack of democratisation of ownership and profit - amounts to a media that is more truthful, and less ideological.

In real terms this means that the old fashioned modes of advertising (adverts on TV and on the radio etc) are becoming defunct. People are not only less and less engaging with these old media (instead accessing the same content online, without sitting down at the TV or buying a newspaper every day) but the modes of advertising associated with them are broadly considered authoritarian by ever more people. The status of advertising on the internet is somewhat different. Advertising is widely acknowledged the owners of platforms to be an annoyance to users. And if there is any significant difference between people of different ages in the election, it is that younger people mainly have adblocks on their browsers. Platforms are currently cementing their monopolies by encouraging users to pay for a service without adverts. Meanwhile, adverts that take the form of social media, whether they be corporate crowdfunding or astroturfing are increasingly successful. But perhaps most successful of all is the work of the platforms themselves, which have cemented monopolies in the media. If an older generation are more susceptible to more obviously authoritarian and centralised media, they are also savvy in criticising the establishment of monopolies. The younger generation have shown exactly the opposite tendencies, with very few criticisms of  truly monopolistic media, from twitter, google, youtube, facebook, to instragram, etc. ever being levelled so long as those media offer apparently free expression.

If a real regime change in the media can be spotted here, it becomes obvious that the Conservative Party campaign operated in older models of centralised, authoritarian advertising, while the Labour Party campaign rested on the newer apparently decentralised models. Even to the extent that the “attack adverts” against Corbyn on youtube and facebook were simply invisible to most younger users because of adblocking. But ultimately it should be remembered that the real political economic interests of the “new media” are much the same as those of the “old media.” For the moment most of the large platforming corporations have tried to give an impression of being socially progressive. YouTube went as far as putting a link to a video at the top of every page a day before the election encouraging people to vote (i.e. supporting Labour who would always benefit from an increased turnout, especially amongst the demographics who use YouTube.) Yet we should not be surprised when these corporations eventually reveal their interests in political campaigns in years to come, which will likely be even more right-wing than the popular press of the late 20th century. Only in accepting the ideological character of one’s own positions, only in working through the negativity of one’s own dislocation from truth, will this be combatted.


From these transformations it is possible to establish a putative characterology of the electorate. On one side are those stubbornly formed through subjection to the old-fashioned model of centralised authority. They are ego-weak and resigned, as faithful in their opinions as they are to the state and the past. On the other side are those who see themselves as dissenters and protesters, free from corporate control, and wanting to bring about a state of freedom identical to their own.

From the 1960s onwards notions of radicalism were dominated by the threat of “recuperation”: the idea that any truly radical act would in turn be subverted and put to use by capital for profit. During the last decade this model has been overcome. It is not radical history that sells - the iconic martyr on a tshirt or the nostalgia of ’68 - but the assumed radicalism of the present. It is not now the worry that radical acts might be bought up and repurposed: instead capitalism merely sells the idea that whatever you do, so long as you do it in some privatised media space, is already radical. To those who believe they know the “truth”, and they know it by the fact they are tweeting it, they seem constantly assured they are breaking new ground even when they are promoting the state hiring tens of thousands of more police officers.

That the mass media of the twentieth century conditioned mass ego-weakness has not been overcome by a resurgence of ego-strength, but instead by something like identity-strength undergirding new multiform communitarianisms. Far from Marx’s analysis in which nearly all of one’s life is split off from oneself as labour power, the new identitarians reach for a reconciled life in their transfiguration into pure semblance. Little do they seem to care that these semblances are entirely owned by others, and little do they care how they look so long as they seem expressive. In this way hidden conservatism combines with the universalisation of fashion.


The establishment of a new “cult of youth” remains a signficant and dangerous threat for radicals. Walter Benjamin once remarked that “The Social Democrats preferred to cast the working class in the role of a redeemer of future generations, in this way cutting the sinews of its greatest strength. This indoctrination made the working class forget both its hatred and its spirit of sacrifice, for both are nourished by the image of enslaved ancestors rather than by the ideal of liberated grandchildren.“ Hope in the past is happily exchanged for hope in the future. But what is most worrying about today’s youthful voters for the Labour Party is that whilst being adults they persistently cast themselves as grandchildren. Far more dangerous than the dream of a better future for those who will live later is the regression in which one persistently fantasises oneself as a messiah in the shape of a wunderkind. Under the spell of auto-infantilism all real movement into moments of danger, all moments in which one’s desire might be frustrated by reality, are ruled out in advance. For this reason expression leads more easily to voting than to struggle and violence

On the other side in our characterology, hatred lives in a cul-de-sac. That the Conservatives returned the highest vote share demonstrates that a seething isolated rage remains the dominant affect in UK politics. But this hatred, by those who feel it as an affliction, is directed at all the forces of change. It demands things go back to the way things were (even if they were never truly that way.) And it is fueled by its own impotence.

On one side of this divide are those who believe they will bring about change but do nothing, and on the other are those who actively want to undo change but can’t. The only political transformation that would reconcile this division would be for the young to recognise their own maturity, to ache through the mounds of death and used up people upon which they stand; and at the same time for those who are older to be freed from the powerful and dominant notion that age is a burden through fantastic freedom made concrete. All of this is to outline the need for a new and avant-garde politics of the ego. Until then, not only are we doomed to the endless idiotic regurgitation of myths about a new politics of the young, but also we ourselves will be responsible for bringing about a second catastrophe - as the ideological structures of the new media reveal themselves in force - whose heralds we blotted out.

The Speech I Got Arrested For (But Not Really) [shared with permission]

So my best good pal who walked out of the pokey earlier this afternoon gave this speech at the thing, a couple whiles before the cops decided to assault peaceful protesters and then haul people off to jail for the crime of not running away fast enough (seriously; they’re calling not getting away “resisting a police officer”).  They told me I could share it wherever I pleased to, so this here’s me using what little voice I’ve got.

As some of you may have heard, I’ve recently been released from being locked up in the men’s processing center of the Marion County Jail. Which, as a non-binary trans person with gender non-conforming proclivities, would not have boded well had I not had the company of good comrades nearby, and the knowledge that people were still fighting for us on the outside. Also, there were neo-nazis. So there’s that. And to top it all off, I’ve been repeatedly deadnamed in the media. So, please, don’t read the names of the arrests, out of respect for me as your friend and as a person. But, in its full, uncut glory, I present to you the call-to-arms I issued last night: 

 Good evening. My name is Cambria. I organise locally in several Leftist, Labour, and Trans liberation circles, and tonight I am speaking on behalf of the Michiana and Central Indiana IWW’s General Defence Committee. The mission of the GDC is to provide defense and relief to members of the working class who are being persecuted for their activity in the class struggle, and to aid those who find themselves persecuted by the powers that be in their struggle for justice and freedom. This aid may include bail, bond, or legal aid, and may take the form of a grant or a no interest loan. Members may also rest assured of solidarity from the organization, including motions of support, letters writing, and public education as to the case (or cases) in question. Such gestures of solidarity are offered to political prisoners, regardless of membership in the IWW or GDC. 

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Every industrial and commercial centre in England now possesses a working class divided into two hostile camps, English proletarians and Irish proletarians. The ordinary English worker hates the Irish worker as a competitor who lowers his standard of life. In relation to the Irish worker he regards himself as a member of the ruling nation and consequently he becomes a tool of the English aristocrats and capitalists against Ireland, thus strengthening their domination over himself. He cherishes religious, social, and national prejudices against the Irish worker. His attitude towards him is much the same as that of the “poor whites” to the Negroes in the former slave states of the U.S.A.. The Irishman pays him back with interest in his own money. He sees in the English worker both the accomplice and the stupid tool of the English rulers in Ireland.

This antagonism is artificially kept alive and intensified by the press, the pulpit, the comic papers, in short, by all the means at the disposal of the ruling classes. This antagonism is the secret of the impotence of the English working class, despite its organisation. It is the secret by which the capitalist class maintains its power. And the latter is quite aware of this.

—  Karl Marx, Marx to Sigfrid Meyer and August Vogt
In New York, London, April 9, 1870
, from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels Selected correspondence Progress Publishers, 1975, pp. 220-224.
Excerpt on Engels’ “Origins” from MacKinnon’s “Toward a Feminist Theory of the State”

“Whatever one can say about Marx’s treatment of women, his first failing and best defense are that the problems of women concerned him only in passing. Friedrich Engels can be neither so accused or excused. His Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State is the seminal marxist attempt to understand and explain women’s subordination. The work has been widely criticized, mostly for its data, but its approach has been influential. Often through Lenin, who adopted many of its essentials, the approach and direction of Engels’ reasoning, if not all of its specifics, have become orthodox marxism on ‘the woman question.’

“To Engels, women are oppressed as a group through the specific form of the family in class society. In pre-class sexuality egalitarian social orders, labor was divided by sex. Not until the rise of private property, and with it class society, did that division become hierarchical. Anthropological evidence is used to demonstrate this argument. Under capitalism, women divide into ‘the bourgeois family’ and ‘the proletarian family,’ as ‘personal life’ reflections of capitalism’s productive relations. Women’s economic dependence is a critical nexus between exploitative class relations and the nuclear family structure. Women are not socially subordinate because of biological dependence, but because of the place to which class society relegates their reproductive capacity. Engels applies this analysis to housework and childcare, women’s traditional work, and to monogamy and prostitution, issues of women’s sexuality. Socialism would end women’s oppression by integrating them into the workforce, transforming their isolated “private” work in the home into “public” social production. By eliminating the public/private split incident to divisions between classes under capitalism, socialism provides the essential conditions for women’s emancipation.

“Engels thus grants that women are specially oppressed, that they are second-class citizens compared with men, that this occurs structurally in the family, antedates the current economic order, and needs to be changed. Engels attempts to set women’s subjection within a totality of necessary but changeable social relations—as necessary and changeable as class society. His work holds out the promise that women’s situation has been grasped within a theory of social transformation that would also revolutionize class relations. He suggests, at least, that women’s equality, including their entry into the wage labor force on an equal basis with men, would do more to change capitalist society than simply advance women as a group within it.

“Engels’ work has had a continuing impact on contemporary theorists. Adaptations and extensions of his themes are often qualified by ritual disclaimers of his data while appropriating his ‘insights’ or ‘socio-historical approach,’ or claiming to reach his ‘conclusions … by a different route.’ Engels’ views are often most accurately reflected when he is not quoted. Zaretsky, for example, begins his analysis of the relation between socialism and feminism with: ‘To talk about ending male supremacy takes us right back to the dawn of history—to the creation of the family and class society.’ He argues that the personal is ‘a realm cut off from society’ under capitalism, developed in response to the socialization of commodity production, where woman is oppressed because she is isolated. Socialism is the solution. Many contemporary marxists also share a tendency, in which Engels and liberal theory are indistinguishable, to interpret the division between work and life under capitalism in terms of coincident divisions between market and home, public and private, male and female spheres. While Engels’ account is not universally accepted by marxists, despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that he is widely misinterpreted—a fate his account deserves—his general approach to women’s situation is sufficiently accepted among marxists and socialist-feminists as not even to be mentioned by name or footnoted. Or, one often suspects, read.

“Engels legitimates women’s interests within class analysis by subordinating those interests to his version of class analysis. His attempt to explain women’s situation fails less because of his sexism than because of the nature of his materialism; rather, the positivism—more specifically the objectivism—of his materialism requires his sexism. He not only does, but must, assume male dominance at the very points at which it is to be explained. His account works only if essential features of male ascendancy are given; it moves from one epoch to another only if sex-divided control of tasks, and the qualities of male and female sexuality under male dominance, are presupposed. His positivism makes the inaccuracy of his data fatal. He describes what he thinks, attributes it to what he sees, and then ascribes coherence and necessary dynamism to it. In his theory, if something exists, it is necessary that it exists; this does not explain why one thing exists instead of something else. What becomes of such a theory if the facts turn out not to exist, or—as with sex equality—never to have existed? Perhaps this is why Engels must believe that women were once supreme, despite data and suggestions to the contrary, for eventual equality of the sexes to be historically imaginable. He is dependent for explanation on a teleology of what is; he must explain what is in terms of what is, not in terms of what is not. Sex equality, unfortunately, is not.

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anonymous asked:

Why did Rosa Luxemburg oppose the right to self-determination?

For a few reasons, firstly she identified the fact that “national self determination” is a utopian myth, there is no possibility for national independence within the framework of international capitalism - this was true when she wrote and it’s even more obvious today. Even calling it a “right” betrays the bourgeois liberal origin of the concept, self determination is a question of power, not abstract “rights”. She was also concerned by the “social patriotic” elements within the second international which she correctly identified as reactionary while Lenin was joining with Kautsky to defend them. 

She was also correct to point out that Marx and Engels’ support for things like Polish independence were based on an analysis of the material conditions which existed at the time, and that now Marx’s words were being deployed by reactionary dogmatists in an anti-marxist way, in order to cede ground to nationalism without basing their ideas on an analysis of the international situation (new stage of capitalist accumulation, revolution in Russia etc) Again she was proven right by history, as Bolshevik support for ‘self determination’ led directly to counter revolution… She explains this brilliantly in The Russian Revolution, in fact you should read the ‘nationalities’ chapter on self determination because she puts it much better than I can paraphrase. For example:

“While Lenin and his comrades clearly expected that, as champions of national freedom even to the extent of ‘separation’, they would turn Finland, the Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, the Baltic countries, the Caucasus, etc., into so many faithful allies of the Russian revolution, we have witnessed the opposite spectacle. One after another, these ‘nations’ used their freshly granted freedom to ally themselves with German imperialism against the Russian revolution as its mortal enemy, and under German protection, to carry the banner of counter-revolution into Russia itself (…)

To be sure, in all these cases, it was really not the “people” who engaged in these reactionary policies, but only the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois classes, who – in sharpest opposition to their own proletarian masses – perverted the “national right of self-determination” into an instrument of their counter-revolutionary class politics. But – and here we come to the very heart of the question – it is in this that the utopian, petty-bourgeois character of this nationalistic slogan resides: that in the midst of the crude realities of class society and when class antagonisms are sharpened to the uttermost, it is simply converted into a means of bourgeois class rule. The Bolsheviks were to be taught to their own great hurt and that of the revolution, that under the rule of capitalism there is no self-determination of peoples, that in a class society each class of the nation strives to “determine itself” in a different fashion, and that, for the bourgeois classes, the standpoint of national freedom is fully subordinated to that of class rule. “

- Rosa Luxemburg

anonymous asked:

Why do you support Stalin?

Before addressing your question, we’d like to point out that our ‘support’ of Stalin, or any other relevant figure within Marxist history, is not based on the dogmatic upholding of every view set to stone by these people but rather acknowledging their faults, achievements, and how their actions shaped the ideological line we uphold today.

Stalin played a crucial role in developing Marxism-Leninism in the Soviet Union, in particularly overseeing the transition of state capitalism, as enabled by Lenin with the NEP, into a socialist state. This transition was accompanied by mass scale industrialisation and collectivisation of agriculture on a record time, in part influenced by the rising aggression of fascist states and the general concern of a future war between these states, and the Soviet Union. It goes without saying that there were several contradictions in the economic aspects of the Soviet Union to actually recognise it as a socialist state, and Stalin, as Mao pointed out, departed Marxist-Leninist dialectics when declaring that all class antagonisms and bourgeois elements in the Soviet Union had been eradicated.

Through Stalin’s leadership and the CPSU (b), we saw the Soviet Union struggling mostly on its own against a massive fascist threat, suffer heavy casualties, yet destroy Nazi Germany and liberate Europe from fascism as well aiding nations in Asia against Imperial Japan.

And despite contradictions and the party’s organised resistance to change and anti-careerist measures, Stalin did his best to maintain the Soviet Union on the path towards socialism, to a workers democracy.


This antagonism [to immigrants] is artificially kept alive and intensified by the press, the pulpit, the comic papers, in short, by all the means at the disposal of the ruling classes. This antagonism is the secret of the impotence of the English working class, despite its organisation. It is the secret by which the capitalist class maintains its power. And the latter is quite aware of this.
—  Marx - Letter 1870
This antagonism [to immigrants] is artificially kept alive and intensified by the press, the pulpit, the comic papers, in short, by all the means at the disposal of the ruling classes. This antagonism is the secret of the impotence of the English working class, despite its organisation. It is the secret by which the capitalist class maintains its power. And the latter is quite aware of this.
—  Karl Marx, Letter, 1870.
Interpersonal Communication (Klaine fic)

Title: Interpersonal Communication

Pairing: Kurt/Blaine

Rating: PG-13

Word Count: ~4100 words

Summary: Until Kurt met Blaine, his main goal was just to get out of high school unscathed. Nerd!Kurt/Bad Boy!Blaine AU.

Author Notes: I don’t generally do the tropes thing but I saw some art recently that was really cute and made me want to try a little nerd!Kurt and badboy!Blaine. Mainly just a little thing I challenged myself to write to get over some writer’s block. It’s an AU version of season 2. And season 1, I guess? AU where Kurt never joined the glee club, basically.

Thanks to januarium for the read-through and title help!

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This public force exists in every state; it consists not merely of armed men, but also of material appendages, prisons and coercive institutions of all kinds, of which gentile society knew nothing. It may be very insignificant, practically negligible, in societies with still undeveloped class antagonisms and living in remote areas, as at times and in places in the United States of America. But it becomes stronger in proportion as the class antagonisms within the state become sharper and as adjoining states grow larger and more populous. It is enough to look at Europe today, where class struggle and rivalry in conquest have brought the public power to a pitch that it threatens to devour the whole of society and even the state itself.
—  Engels - Origins of the Family 1884