historical-materialism

People asked for a larger resolution picture of the parallel historical materialism map. I think this should be a better resolution.

(And again, this is very simplified and overall Not Good™ by many standards; I get that. It is simply meant to convey how historical modes of production change according to material and technological factors, as well as how those factors could give rise to either a class society (most of history’s unfortunate trend) or a classless society.)

I was never wicked acquainted with the Star Wars expanded universe (now called Legends), but I just watched a video on youtube that gave a good outline of the broad history (linked here). Based on what I’ve seen, I’m glad that it’s been scrapped in favor of the new canon. It just seems like their universe went through thousands upon thousands of years of the same shit: republics rise, they congeal into dictatorships, rebellions form to overthrow the dictators, and new republics are then formed; the process repeats. The technology of the Star Wars universe hasn’t seemed to evolve in any meaningful way over the course of eons – eons upon eons. Why do we keep ending up with liberal representative democracy even though the technology probably exists in-universe to accelerate productivity to the level of post-scarcity? (Hell, what about Star Trek replicators as a totally-plausible in-universe possibility?) Over time, the structures of society ought to change. 

There’s also way too much emphasis on the Skywalker and Solo lineages – Star Wars ought to treat these people as important figures in the Galactic Civil War time, then just let them gracefully disappear. Having new main characters who aren’t related to the Skywalkers (like Finn, Poe, and probably/hopefully Rey) is better storytelling, and it’s absolutely necessary so that the world doesn’t grow stagnant.

I’m probably hoping for too much, since the writers of Star Wars aren’t aiming to do world-building on historical-materialist grounds or write some colossal meditation on the human condition told through a multitude of unrelated characters. But even so, the EU/Legends did seem to have a lot of bland storytelling.

Emperor Palpatine clones!!!

Dark Side Luke!!!

Okay, guys, holy shit. How about something new???

Knee/elbow lightsabers!!!

sfoisajfoiasdjgoiasdjgoihsgoiera

The North American colonizers broke the traditional bonds of fealty and feudal obligation but, unlike the French, they only gradually replaced the traditional bonds with bonds of patriotism and nationhood. They were not quite a nation; their reluctant mobilization of the colonial countryside had not fused them into one, and the multi-lingual, multi-cultural and socially divided underlying population resisted such a fusion. The new repressive apparatus was not tried and tested, and it did not command the undivided loyalty of the underlying population, which was not yet patriotic. Something else was needed. Slave-masters who had overthrown their king feared that their slaves could similarly overthrow the masters; the insurrection in Haiti made this fear less than hypothetical. And although they no longer feared being pushed into the sea by the continent’s indigenous inhabitants, the traders and speculators worried about their ability to thrust further into the continent’s interior.


The American settler-invaders had recourse to an instrument that was not, like the guillotine, a new invention, but that was just as lethal. This instrument would later be called Racism, and it would become embedded in nationalist practice. Racism, like later products of practical Americans, was a pragmatic principle; its content was not important; what mattered was the fact that it worked.


Human beings were mobilized in terms of their lowest and most superficial common denominator, and they responded. People who had abandoned their villages and families, who were forgetting their languages and losing their cultures, who were all but depleted of their sociability, were manipulated into considering their skin color a substitute for all they had lost. They were made proud of something that was neither a personal feat nor even, like language, a personal acquisition. They were fused into a nation of white men. (White women and children existed only as scalped victims, as proofs of the bestiality of the hunted prey.) The extent of the depletion is revealed by the nonentities the white men shared with each other: white blood, white thoughts, and membership in a white race. Debtors, squatters and servants, as white men, had everything in common with bankers, land speculators and plantation owners, nothing in common with Redskins, Blackskins or Yellowskins. Fused by such a principle, they could also be mobilized by it, turned into white mobs. Lynch mobs, “Indian fighters.”


Racism had initially been one among several methods of mobilizing colonial armies, and although it was exploited more fully in America than it ever had been before, it did not supplant the other methods but rather supplemented them. The victims of the invading pioneers were still described as unbelievers, as heathen. But the pioneers, like the earlier Dutch, were largely Protestant Christians, and they regarded heathenism as something to be punished, not remedied. The victims also continued to be designated as savages, cannibals and primitives, but these terms, too, ceased to be diagnoses of conditions that could be remedied, and tended to become synonyms of non-white, a condition that could not be remedied. Racism was an ideology perfectly suited to a practice of enslavement and extermination.


The lynch-mob approach, the ganging-up on victims defined as inferior, appealed to bullies whose humanity was stunted and who lacked any notion of fair play. But this approach did not appeal to everyone. American businessmen, part hustlers and part confidence men, always had something for everyone. For the numerous Saint Georges with some notion of honor and great thirst for heroism, the enemy was depicted somewhat differently; for them there were nations as rich and powerful as their own in the trans- montane woodlands and on the shores of the Great Lakes.


The celebrants of the heroic feats of imperial Spaniards had found empires in central Mexico and on top of the Andes. The celebrants of nationalist American heroes found nations; they transformed desperate resistances of anarchic villagers into international conspiracies masterminded by military archons such as General Pontiac and General Tecumseh; they peopled the woodlands with formidable national leaders, efficient general staffs, and armies of uncountable patriotic troops; they projected their own repressive structures into the unknown; they saw an exact copy of themselves, with all the colors reversed - something like a photographic negative. The enemy thus became an equal in terms of structure, power and aims. War against such an enemy was not only fair play; it was a dire necessity, a matter of life and death. The enemy’s other attributes - the heathenism, the savagery, the cannibalism - made the tasks of expropriating, enslaving and exterminating all the more urgent, made these feats all the more heroic.


The repertory of the nationalist program was now more or less complete. This statement might baffle a reader who cannot yet see any “real nations” in the field. The United States was still a collection of multilingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural “ethnicities”, and the French nation had overflowed its boundaries and turned itself into a Napoleonic empire. The reader might be trying to apply a definition of a nation as an organized territory consisting of people who share a common language, religion and customs, or at least one of the three. Such a definition, clear, pat and static, is not a description of the phenomenon but an apology for it, a justification. The phenomenon was not a static definition but a dynamic process. The common language, religion and customs, like the white blood of the American colonizers, were mere pretexts, instruments for mobilizing armies. The culmination of the process was not an enshrinement of the commonalities, but a depletion, a total loss of language, religion and customs; the inhabitants of a nation spoke the language of capital, worshipped on the altar of the state and confined their customs to those permitted by the national police

— 

Fredy Perlman,

The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism (1984)

explainguncontrolandsafespaces  asked:

You are anti capitalist. The other end is communism. Is that what you support? If a person chooses not to work in your ideal economy what happens to them?

I feel like the reason you’re asking this is because you’re assuming that communism would entail “the collective” forcing a person to perform labor and then extracting their labor product when finished, yes? As if to imply that starvation in a capitalist economy is significantly better? Nah, we don’t want some collective committee forcing an individual to perform labor – and if you think that’s what the anti-capitalist critique boils down to, you’re denying yourself a layered understanding of capitalism itself, as well.

Are you under some sort of impression that workers get to control the full product of their labor under capitalism? That the critique of capitalism is merely “do basically everything the same as capitalism except have a significant place for the state sector and regulation”? Or, like, “the state does everything”?

C'mon mate, read a bit on historical materialism – the social structure of society is overwhelmingly dependent on technology, the material conditions, and our relationships to the means of production. For instance, we had feudalism when there was the windmill, we developed capitalism as the steam engine and the commercial factory took off, and now we’re fast approaching a scenario where extensive automation could free millions upon millions of people from even needing to work a job beyond couple-hour shifts, if that. The changing technology will necessitate a change in social structure, as history has shown, or we’ll continue to slip further into obfuscating barbarism managed by a ruling class of capitalists and state bureaucrats. Rather than continue to compel people to work 8+ hour shifts, starve, or have their jobs lost to machines, machines ought to replace every job they feasibly could; at that point, society should democratically control the abundance-producing machines. Figure out what jobs need to be done to satisfy needs, cut out the many jobs that literally aren’t needed to sustain society (and are just there to help with profit extraction and bureaucracy), automate wherever possible, divvy up the work that can’t be automated, and then people get to pursue whatever they want once those economic faculties are covered. In the end, people have bountiful leisure time, thus expanding their freedom (ya know, the fetishized but actually-neglected concept of capitalism). I’m simplifying the process a bit, but that’s the general trajectory that ought to be embraced.

The capitalist system has many innate tensions within it, but that automation conundrum is HUGE – capitalists want the most profit possible, and soon they will automate away jobs as wages start to increase again. This is why liberals miss the point in the grand scheme of things – yes, increased minimum wages CAN lead to job loss, and automation WILL consume jobs left and right in the coming decades. But that’s not due to the “greedy workers wanting more” or whatever bullshit right-wingers argue – it’s because the system is not structurally designed to meet everyone’s needs. It’s not about freedom or individualism or serving human need; it’s about profit extraction for a small caste of elites.

Zoom out and consider where humanity has gone and will continue to go as time moves forward. You’re sitting in an idealistic fantasyland if you think capitalism can maintain itself forever as the modes of production change and as we slip further into environmental collapse. I implore you to dig past surface ideology you’ve been fed since childhood and locate the true source of tyranny and widespread human suffering.

Being a “Marxist” isn’t enough

It wasn’t until recently that radicals in bourgeois academic circles became bold enough to call themselves “communists” again. Before that, a trend emerged—which still continues today—of socialist academics calling themselves “Marxists,” but never daring to append the more dangerous names of Lenin and Mao to that title. They would declare fidelity to a critique of the current system they lived in, but continue to offer lukewarm, ineffective solutions to mitigate the ills of capitalism, indistinguishable from reformist solutions put forward by liberals. This allowed them to keep their jobs and ultimately become pet radicals for the bourgeoisie. The most prominent examples that immediately come to mind are Richard D. Wolff and Noam Chomsky—radicals in name, liberals in practice.

Recently I’ve become very skeptical of people who call themselves “Marxists” but don’t seem to be engaging in the kind of revolutionary activity that Maoist collectives in the US like the Red Guards or Revolutionary Collectives seem to. What do they mean by “Marxism” then?

Marxism is much more than a critique of capitalism, it’s dialectical and historical materialism—a science that was initiated by Marx and Engels and is still being developed to this day. Crucially, it’s a science that can only be advanced through revolutionary practice. If these “Marxists” are really scientists the same way Marx and Engels were, people who were actively engaged in the revolutionary struggles of their day, then where is their experimentation? After all, chemists and physicists have their laboratories and observatories; they’re constantly learning and putting their science to the test.

Furthermore, the communist movement has advanced far beyond Marx and Engels; we have the experiences of the Russian Revolution and the Chinese Revolution, and the experiences of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China, the latter giving us the invaluable experience of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. There have been two ruptures in the science of revolutionary communism since Marx and Engels, those of Lenin and Mao. Today being a “Marxist,” that is, adhering fidelity to the science that Marx and Engels developed (and not just their critique of capitalism), means being a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist. This is exactly like how physicists recognize that their science has developed a lot since Newton, and today the rupture of Einstein is recognized as a fundamental component of their science.

While Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and physics may both be sciences in the same analogous way, physicists (thankfully) don’t append the names of the main theorists who produced ruptures in their science, probably for good reason. The name “Marxism-Leninism-Maoism” may not be ideal, but since the class struggle is a particularly vicious one and developments of a science of revolution in a world where capitalist ideology is overwhelmingly hegemonic prove to be difficult, the distinction has become necessary. The word “socialism” today means a million different things depending on who you talk to, most of them a far cry from what the Bolsheviks used the term to mean. “Communism” is quickly starting to look that way too. Maybe the name “revolutionary communism” would better encompass every aspect of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, but I could quickly see revisionist trends twisting it around as Maoism gains hegemony in the communist movement.

Regardless, there’s a point I want to stress here: you can’t just be a “Marxist.” You have to be a communist. That means you need to be engaged in the class struggle and you have to uphold the developments it’s made since Marx and Engels. You have to go one step further than recognizing that the proletariat is the grave-digger of capitalism; if you’re a scientist and your science is revolution, you need to be engaged in revolution and struggle alongside the proletariat. Otherwise you’re just another liberal appropriating radicalism you didn’t earn.

Western Marxism as a whole thus paradoxically inverted the trajectory of Marx’s own development itself. Where the founder of historical materialism moved progressively from philosophy to politics and then economics … the successors of the tradition … increasingly turned back from economics and politics to philosophy.
—  Perry Anderson, Considerations on Western Marxism, London: New Left Books, 1976, p. 52.
youtube

Fred Goldstein on Historical Materialism

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“Tragedy of the Commons”

pure-blooded  asked:

i noticed that a some of your art consiste of historical figures, or at least figures with old historical clothings. can you give me a good recommendation for books or other reference material with historical clothes or even textile if you know/use any? tahnk you! ♥

Hi ! I do love historical and folkorical clothing, even though I usually takes bits I like to incorporate into the designs without really pushing accuracy too far. There are a few books I frequently use as a ref like Racinet’s Le Costume Historique but I mostly skim through internet-based ressources like museum digital archives - the digital archives of the Kyoto Costume Insitute are sorted by decades from the 1700s on with mostly occidental stuff, and I’m crazy for the repros of the History of Costume in Japan among other things (there’s also an english-language website with a different layout, not sure how different the content is though) Otherwise, I’ll just refer to regular stuff I can find through googling and folklore/fashion websites, like fashion engravings, period art/photos, ethnoloy documentation, etc. 

And I make loads of pinterest boards. Not super accurate ones, since the themes are very broad and I do have some cleanup to do with misplaced pins, but it does help to gather all sorts of refs around.
I have loads of boards such as Central Asia, French first empire & restaurations era (rougly very late 1700s to 1840s), Maghred, Middle East and Islamic World, Hats, Heian Era and people playing music instruments in paintings or whatever

The “asexuals do not belong in LGBT+ spaces” position, tends to overlook what LGBT+ spaces actually physically look like, what they provide for the community, and why they’re often – in reality –  inclusive to a great number of people. 

The importance of inclusive spaces is perhaps more visible in smaller cities and towns, especially in schools, community centers, and colleges within those smaller cities and towns where the visible LGBT+ population is lower. 

We (asexuals) are often asked to “create our own spaces.” However, this is challenging. We’re small in number. We’re physically distanced from one another. We’re not always well equipped to build a thriving community. 

…and these are challenges faced by LGBT+ people within smaller areas. So, pooling resources and joining several smaller communities together into one larger one is a wise choice. It makes the community stronger. 

You have more people to create educational materials. You have more people to contribute to food banks and shelters. You have more people to run fundraisers and awareness campaigns. You have more people to join group meetings. 

You have more people to provide social emotional supports. You build more connections with local business and service providers. You can disseminate research materials and historical resources easier. 

It just makes sense, and that’s generally what I’ve seen from local LGBT+ spaces such as community centers, school clubs, youth centers, faith organizations, and so on. They serve people based on their need. 

If the need is there, they provide. Obviously, some asexual people are in need of resources. LGBT+ organizations who are well equipped to provide resources have chosen to do so for asexual people in need. 

Furthermore, asexual people aren’t taking what they don’t need and denying resources to other people in the LGBT+ community. Asexual people have been involved in supporting LGBT+ spaces. 

Now, this does not mean that spaces that are exclusive to specific groups are not necessary. They absolutely are necessary, because people should have the opportunity to speak on and prioritize their issues with people just like them. 

It’s also critical to know when and when not to speak on certain issues, which is always going to be a critical issue in community spaces regardless of who is actually included and who is not included. 

There are going to be issues that impact one community, that do not impact another. There are going to be overlapping issues as well. The point of a community space though is to come to a common understanding. 

The point is to support one another and provide for those who are in need, in the face of a cis/heterosexist ideology which has had a huge negative impact on many different identities. 

The point is not to further define what is considered an acceptable sexual or gender identity, and the degree to which you must suffer in order to truly deserve help from a community. That’s not the point at all.

I would love to have a thriving asexual community where we could build up our resources and support one another, but we don’t really have that right now due to various physical limitations and ongoing internal/external conflicts.  

There’s no shame or harm in using resources and to exist in spaces that LGBT+ people have welcomed us to use and be a part of. It’s reasonable to do when you’re the only asexual person in your town you know and you need help. 

So, villainizing asexual people for using resources and being a part of a community they have been invited to be a part of doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t consider the realities of LGBT+ organizations. 

chasing--the--universe  asked:

I'd to point you to a couple of things. They are. Soviet Russia. Maoist China

Original.

Soviet Russia and China are examples of countries that were still entrenched in feudalism at the times of their respective socialist revolutions, which effectively catapulted them into variations of state capitalist development instead of full workers-democratically-control-production socialism. The state became the analogous capitalist class and instituted developments and policies over the course of a few decades that private capitalists elsewhere were pushing for centuries – think forced proletarianization of peasants and concentrated industrialization. The state took over the functions of a bunch of private capitalists, appropriating surplus value generated by workers and distributing the surplus where deemed necessary; they often put this towards the industrialization of infrastructure and public services, but it just as often was used to enrich the party apparatus. Even Lenin literally deemed this setup as “state capitalism”, the idea being an intermediary stage for formerly-feudal societies before full socialism. 

As a libertarian socialist/Marxist, I don’t defend the actions taken in these countries, but it’s important to contextualize what was going on. The idea is that it’s near-impossible to just jump from feudalism to socialism – a period of capitalist development/accumulation and liberal institutions makes the jump more viable. As far as I’m concerned, this could have been accomplished through mutualism or market socialism, combining the liberalism of markets with the democratic accountability of worker control (thus mitigating much of the poverty and violent consequences of class domination).

To quote Terry Eagleton:

“Marx himself never imagined that socialism could be achieved in impoverished conditions [i.e. Russia and China]. Such a project would require almost as bizarre a loop in time as inventing the Internet in the Middle Ages. Nor did any Marxist thinker until Stalin imagine that this was possible, including Lenin, Trotsky, and the rest of the Bolshevik leadership…

Building up an economy from very low levels is a back-breaking, dispiriting task. It is unlikely that men and women will freely submit to the hardships it involves. So unless this project is executed gradually, under democratic control and in accordance with socialist values, an authoritarian state may step in and force its citizens to do what they are reluctant to undertake voluntarily. The militarization of labor in Bolshevik Russia is a case in point. The result, in a grisly irony, will be to undermine the political superstructure of socialism (popular democracy, genuine self-government) in the very attempt to build up its economic base…

As Marx insists, socialism also requires a shortening of the working day – partly to provide men and women with the leisure for personal fulfillment, partly to create time for the business of political and economic self-government. You can not do this if people have no shoes; and to distribute shoes among millions of citizens is likely to require a centralized bureaucratic state. If your nation is under invasion from an array of hostile capitalist powers, as Russia was in the wake of the Bolshevik revolution, an autocratic state will seem all the more inevitable…

To go socialist, then, you need to be reasonably well-heeled, in both the literal and the metaphorical senses of the term. No Marxist from Marx and Engels to Lenin and Trotsky ever dreamt of anything else. Or if you are not well-heeled yourself, then a sympathetic neighbor reasonably flush in material resources needs to spring to your aid. In the case of the Bolsheviks, this would have meant such neighbors (Germany in particular) having their own revolutions, too. If the working class of these countries could overthrow their own capitalist masters and lay hands on their productive powers, they could use those resources to save the first workers’ state in history from sinking without a trace. This was not as improbable a proposal as it might sound. Europe at the time was aflame with revolutionary hopes, as councils of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies (or soviets) sprang up in cities such as Berlin, Warsaw, Vienna, Munich, and Riga. Once these insurrections were defeated, Lenin and Trotsky knew their own revolution was in dire straights.

It is not that the building of socialism cannot be begun in deprived conditions. It is rather that without material resources it will tend to twist into the monstrous caricature of socialism known as Stalinism. The Bolshevik revolution soon found itself besieged by imperial Western armies, as well as threatened by counterrevolution, urban famine, and a bloody civil war. It was marooned in an ocean of largely hostile peasants reluctant to hand over their hard-earned surplus at gunpoint to the starving towns. With a narrow capitalist base, disastrously low levels of material production, scant traces of civil institutions, a decimated, exhausted working class, peasant revolts, and a swollen bureaucracy to rival the Tsar’s, the revolution was in deep trouble almost from the outset…

Imagine a slightly crazed capitalist outfit that tried to turn a pre-modern tribe into a set of ruthlessly acquisitive, technologically sophisticated entrepreneurs speaking the jargon of public relations and free market economics, all in a surreally short period of time. Does the fact that the experiment would almost certainly prove less than dramatically successful constitute a fair condemnation of capitalism? Surely not. To think so would be as absurd as claiming that the Girl Guides should be disbanded because they cannot solve certain tricky problems in quantum physics. Marxists do not believe that the mighty liberal lineage from Thomas Jefferson to John Stuart Mill is annulled by the existence of secret CIA-run prisons for torturing Muslims, even though such prisons are part of the politics of today’s liberal societies. Yet the critics of Marxism are rarely willing to concede that show trials and mass terror are no refutation of it.” 

TL;DR:

1) You can’t just expect socialism to quickly arise in materially- and socially-isolated countries in the throngs of feudalism (Russia and China). A material base of industrialization and a social base of liberalism are generally understood to be useful/basically-necessary prerequisites to build from. If other capitalist countries had undergone socialist revolution and provided aid to the struggling formerly-feudal state capitalist countries, they probably wouldn’t have congealed into top-down bureaucracies. A domino effect of worker revolutions across capitalist countries is considered necessary for socialism to fully take hold, just as a domino effect of bourgeois revolutions across feudal countries was needed for capitalism to fully take hold.

2) The violent primitive accumulation of early capitalism and the concentrated industrialization of state capitalist Russia and China served similar analogous functions in the broader context of historical materialism. Private capitalism for the enrichment of individual capitalists over the centuries, state capitalism supposedly for the enrichment of society’s material base and an eventual transition to full socialism. 

3) Capitalist societies have unleashed violent imperialism, mass enslavement, systemic poverty, and police states. If we’re going to bring up the disasters of isolated countries that set their aims at socialism, then we need to bring up the centuries-long disasters of not-isolated capitalist countries that have actively oppressed domestic and foreign populations of people. 

4) We live in an era of material abundance aided by advanced technology and automation; any attempt at socialism in late-capitalist countries would be significantly easier than what Russia and China experienced. As such, these industrialized late-capitalist countries need to undergo social revolution and provide aid to each other and to struggling countries that would have otherwise been state capitalist. 

(This answer has mainly been for the benefit of people already at least relatively sympathetic to anti-capitalism; I realize it is unlikely to sway someone so entrenched in capitalist ideology that they have no clue what socialist movements have entailed and strove for. If your analysis stops at “Russia and China were bad and that’s what socialism means and therefore it’s not worth fighting for”, then I don’t know what to tell ya. If your analysis stops at “capitalism preaches liberal individual freedom so therefore it is good”, then I don’t know what to tell ya. Dig past the ideology you’ve been spoon-fed by capitalist media and the state since childhood and recognize that you’ve been conned, all for the enrichment of the bosses and the bureaucrats.)

-Daividh

On the Necessity for Communists to Seek the Truth

A revolutionary is faced with the most difficult task in the world: the overthrow of capitalism and the abolition of the present state of things. We aren’t interested in wasting our time with untested theories divorced from reality or lofty ideas that have never been tried. We want to start first and foremost with correct theory and with a concrete analysis of our concrete conditions.

Part of this requires looking to the past. Socialism has a long history and many different strains of thought have been tried. What is the sense in starting from scratch when we have all this experience to go off of? Any serious revolutionary should analyze the history of leftist movements to see what worked and what didn’t before moving forward.

We are not charlatans who want to proselytize our particular brand of socialism or speak endlessly about revolution without an understanding of how to actually go about waging revolution in the first place. We want to change the world.

As revolutionaries, there are a few points we need to consider:

- Firstly, we must only use ideas that work. We should not waste our time with anything that has failed because of the theory itself. We should analyze the failures of past movements, experiences, leaders, and organizations to understand what led to them so we don’t keep making the same mistakes. We need to synthesize a theory based in historical practice. This requires being completely honest about what happened in leftist history and making sure we do not spread lies about the history of socialism. We shouldn’t shy away from anything, even if we’ve been conditioned by our upbringings to be wary of it. We need to go into things with an open mind.

- Secondly, we need to understand the nature of the society we live in and who controls it. For a society to exist in which a ruling class exploits an oppressed class, there must be a state which lays claim to a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, necessarily wielded by the exploiting class. The state has a class nature as a tool for class oppression, and so long as there are class antagonisms which give rise to the existence of a state, a state must exist. We should ask ourselves, then, what kind of things the state is friendly to and what kind of things it’s hostile to. Understand that the media and education systems are inextricably tied to the state and ultimately serve the interests of the ruling class. What does the bourgeoisie think of revolutionaries and revolutionary movements and how does it want to shape public opinion around them? Be very wary of anything that sounds like something you learned in school, because it’s probably complete bullshit.

- Thirdly, we need to understand that opportunism and revisionism are dominant in the imperialist centers. Many people who claim to be leftists will turn around and stab us in the back. Our history and ideas will constantly be attacked by people who say they are our friends.

- Finally, we need to be aware that revisionism and opportunism have a basis in material conditions. When “leftists” in the imperialist countries seem to believe everything the United States tells them and their lines reflect a support of imperialism, this support comes from a material interest in the perpetuation of imperialism. Errors such as these are possible because some leftists in the imperialist countries can get away with a lax attitude toward any capitalist system that benefits them and are liable to be perfectly comfortable believing lies if it suits these interests.

Without even doing investigation, based on past experiences and her understanding of capitalism a revolutionary can immediately have an idea about what’s probably true and what’s probably false. If something stated in the media is contradicted by what the masses say, the masses are probably right. If someone is parroting the line of the US State Department, be wary of them—is this person or organization your comrade making a mistake or a dedicated shill for the capitalists? If hegemonic media outlets are friendly or hostile to something, question the class motivations behind this relationship and investigate those things further.

Even before Martin Luther King’s turn to the left toward the end of his life, he was the subject of hatred and disdain from liberals because of his political activity. He was vilified in the media.

Today he is regarded nearly universally by liberals as a hero. And Martin Luther King, Jr. is a rather tame example. Today, there is still a bizarre notion floating around that the Black Panther Party was a “black KKK,” though some liberals, somewhat unwittingly, seem to approve of them. This was not at all the case when they were active. The truth is, this is par for the course. To quote Lenin:

What is now happening to Marx’s theory has, in the course of history, happened repeatedly to the theories of revolutionary thinkers and leaders of oppressed classes fighting for emancipation. During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received their theories with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander. After their death, attempts are made to convert them into harmless icons, to canonize them, so to say, and to hallow their names to a certain extent for the “consolation” of the oppressed classes and with the object of duping the latter, while at the same time robbing the revolutionary theory of its substance, blunting its revolutionary edge and vulgarizing it. Today, the bourgeoisie and the opportunists within the labor movement concur in this doctoring of Marxism. They omit, obscure, or distort the revolutionary side of this theory, its revolutionary soul. They push to the foreground and extol what is or seems acceptable to the bourgeoisie. All the social-chauvinists are now “Marxists” (don’t laugh!). And more and more frequently German bourgeois scholars, only yesterday specialists in the annihilation of Marxism, are speaking of the “national-German” Marx, who, they claim, educated the labor unions which are so splendidly organized for the purpose of waging a predatory war! (From The State and Revolution)

But what is unique about Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky, Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King, and to a certain extent, Lenin himself (in certain “leftist” circles), among others: they never had a chance to lead a workers’ state following a successful revolution. Of the people listed, Lenin alone can lay claim to this, but it was only for a short period of time and so there is not much “ammunition” that can be thrown in his direction. The bourgeois state may still view these figures unfavorably, but in some instances can tolerate a certain amount of praise for them. But what if any of these people had had a chance to lead? Would they still enjoy the same amount of praise among liberals and so-called “revolutionary” leftists?

“I hold that it is bad as far as we are concerned if a person, a political party, an army or a school is not attacked by the enemy, for in that case it would definitely mean that we have sunk to the level of the enemy. It is good if we are attacked by the enemy, since it proves that we have drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves. It is still better if the enemy attacks us wildly and paints us as utterly black and without a single virtue; it demonstrates that we have not only drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves but achieved a great deal in our work.” Mao Zedong, To Be Attacked by the Enemy is Not a Bad Thing, But a Good Thing

I think it follows that the leftists who are painted as evil and “without a single virtue” as Mao puts it are likely those who posed the most threat to capitalism and bourgeois rule. If the masses were permitted to believe that a viable alternative to capitalism not only could exist, but already has, the consequences would be enormous. Any attack on a socialist leader, be it Stalin, Mao, Castro, Hoxha, or Ho Chi Minh, is intended to undermine the legitimacy of socialism. If you’re a socialist, even if you are highly critical of these figures, you should be very cautious not to spread any misinformation, unverified informations, or outright lies about these figures propagated by the bourgeois media, state, and education system, because doing so serves the interests of the bourgeoisie and imperialism.

Bourgeois propaganda is hegemonic under capitalism. If you are born into an imperialist country, the second you’re born, you’re met with an onslaught of liberalism, ideology, and propaganda intended to make you subservient to an oppressive system that seeks to keep you pinned to the ground while it sucks the value out of you and wreaks havoc on the rest of the world. Historical revisionism is no different in this sense. Given that this is the case, it’s no surprise that people in the imperialist countries tend to drift to ideologies with relatively “clean” hands, such as anarchism or Trotskyism (though reading into the history of anarchist and Trotskyite activity will remove these notions of “cleanliness” in short order). Again, if you hear something or read something that seems like it matches with what you learned in school, seriously consider the possibility that it’s wrong.

When I first became radicalized, part of what attracted me to communism was the fact that it explained things better than anything else I had come across up to that point. The explanations given to me by liberals always felt lacking. I had always sought the truth growing up, and I was always prepared to abandon my ideas at the slightest possibility that they could be wrong. I tried not to assume that any source was infallible.

I’m not married to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. If I thought something else would work better, I would abandon MLMaoism in a heartbeat. I gravitated to this ideology because in my historical research and my ideological investigation, it became clear to me that MLMaoism is the best weapon the proletariat has at its disposal, crafted from the real experience of the masses in waging revolution, adapted to account for our successes and rectify our past errors. When I look at what’s happening around the world, I see that the Maoists are the most committed revolutionaries, the most devoted to the masses, and that they are the leaders of the most advanced struggles for liberation around the world. I see that Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and its predecessor, Marxism-Leninism, have had the most success worldwide.

To this day I’m convinced that no-one interested in the liberation of humanity can remain a liberal after taking an honest look at the present state of things in the world. Communists are at the forefront of the movement which abolishes the present state of things. We will uphold our leaders, heroes, and martyrs high, in fierce defiance of attacks on them by the bourgeois state and its allies, including the so-called “leftists” who serve them. We seek the truth not only because we need to base our ideas on a correct analysis, but because the truth is itself revolutionary.

In person, it can sometimes be tough to jump right into a debate with someone who adamantly defends the status quo, someone who uses extensive bourgeois ideology and “common sense” to defend the capitalist mode of production. We all naturally get frazzled because it’s an uphill battle trying to win people over, away from the safe ideology they’ve grown up absorbing. Not only that, but there’s also a whole set of ideas and facts (noted in the above picture) that probably need to come together for someone of that nature to arrive at socialism. Trying to condense all of the above facts into quick little soundbites is a super uphill battle, and I wish there was some way we could have this process made easier for the lot of us. 

Most capitalism-apologists rely on a few basic ideological points, each of them off-base. Here are eight of perhaps the most important:

  1. Capitalism is about voluntary exchange and it’s pretty much any economic activity that doesn’t involve the state
  2. Capitalism is the end of history and the pinnacle of human development
  3. Capitalism is the same thing as markets
  4. The state is antithetical to the interests of the capitalist class
  5. Socialism is when the government does stuff; the more stuff the government does, the socialister it is
  6. “Small government” and anarchism imply laissez-faire capitalism
  7. There can only be top-down control of the economy by a bunch of separate capitalists (private capitalism) or top-down control of the economy by a concentrated state apparatus (state capitalism)
  8. Imperialism is caused by corrupt politicians, disconnected from an economic system that demands endless growth and capital accumulation among elites

I feel like the above picture covers most of these ideas in a very quick way and puts them to rest; further elaboration on each of the points is necessary of course, but that’s to be expected. Destroying these bullshit claims ought to be of paramount importance if you ever find yourself in some kind of political argument with a cappy. 

All being said, I can totally understand if there are those of you who just have no fucking interest in debating cappies. It’s a draining, disheartening process. Avoiding debate can be a self-care tactic, honestly. I generally only recommend it if you think there is any chance of converting them – if they’re running around in expensive suits handing out Cato Institute newspapers, then our arguments about capitalism being a particular historical development rooted in bloody conquest will probably have little to no effect whatsoever. There are, however, plenty of working-class and middle-class people who may be much more receptive if you meet them where they’re at, point to history, and commit some time and energy to talking to them about the topic; usually this works best with people you already know. 

Any further input on this topic is encouraged and appreciated.

things i have observed about different fandoms

Harry Potter

  • your hogwarts house is more important than your name
  • so vast?? so old??? scary, kind of.
  • really old classic fics
  • used to have ship wars like all hell, and kind of still does??? but not really??? it’s better now
  • every other fandom has a harry potter au.
  • split into different sects that are practically whole different fandoms. there’s the marauders fandom, the golden trio/canon era fandom, the fantastic beasts fandom, the next gen fandom – they’re all like little umbrella fandoms under one great big potter net.
  • no one’s favorite character is harry potter.
  • they don’t talk about the cursed child.
  • will never die.

Hetalia

  • holy shIT this fandom is a minefield
  • a lot of teenagers??? like??? a lot???
  • an alarming amount of smut fic
  • i dont know a lot of this fandom is really immature and there are so many ship wars?? like??? 
  • ignoring actual historical material in favor of coddling your favorite character
  • the dub is one of the most quotable things i’ve ever seen
  • hetalia is very much a starter anime. a lot of people get into this anime as like a gateway drug and grow out of the fandom later on.
  • lots of bad fic, with rare absolute GEMS thrown in.
  • some fics are beautifully researched, intricate, historically accurate, and amazing. so much potential for fic in this fandom.
  • george devalier.

Les Miserables

  • frENCH
  • the main character is jean valjean
  • much of the fandom does not realize this.
  • les amis are love, les amis are life. jean valjean?? who??? javert??? who’s that?? fantine????? WHO THE FC U K
  • emerges from the deep once every few years when a movie or something else comes out.
  • The Movie Musical shot the fandom to new heights and launched a new era, but now has mostly calmed down???
  • also will never die. been around since 1862 and still going strong.
  • used to be eponine stans (eppyboppers) who hated cosette??? and usually shipped eponine with marius or enjolras. thank god that’s over.
  • literally everyone ships E/R.
  • even the actors ship E/R.

Homestuck

  • no
  • nOOOO
  • NOOOOO
  • dying??? (hopefully)

Haikyuu!!

  • sO MUCH GREAT FIC
  • oikawa tooru is universally adored
  • pretty much everyone ships the same things?? like obviously not, and there are so many great character dynamics and rarepairs, but ships like bokuaka, iwaoi, kagehina, etc. are so ingrained in the actual canon that everyone ships them a LITTLE bit, even if you ship the character different ways too.
  • you can ship anyone with anyone. literally. go fuckin wild.
  • everyone has normal hair except for the one owl guy.
  • incredible aus.
  • YOU SHOULD HAVE COME TO SHIRATORIZAWA

Yuri!! on Ice

  • EVERYONE SHIPS VICTUURI. IT IS AN ACTUAL CANON GAY SHIP AND IT IS GOLDEN.
  • at this point 90% of the fandom is just screaming over any new content they get b/c it’s all so great.
  • everyone under 20 gets shipped with yurio, and every one of these ships is somehow controversial.
  • fandom swings back and forth between wanting JJ to die in a fire or being ready to protect him to the ends of the earth.
  • sala or sara??? nobody can decide??? (spoiler alert: it’s sara, that’s a real italian name, sala is the word for living room.)
  • even the people who despise the dub can’t hate it THAT much
  • at one point the fandom hated chris, but now he’s just kind of the weird overly sexual uncle at the family barbecue
  • giaCOMEtti
  • kubo-sensei is a goddess

mattykinsel  asked:

How do you know the surplus theory of value is real? Like.. you know? And what about situations where you lend a hand for a neighbour and they give you cash for helping idk, clean their garage or something with them. Is that an appropriation of surplus value - how so? Thanks so much!

I’m not sure what you mean by the first part. We live in a class system where the owning class gets to handle the material surplus (generated by the working class) by virtue of their ownership over society’s productive gears; it’s an objective fact that class stratification is real, and class stratification is materially realized in the exploitation of labor and the appropriation of the surplus. 

As for the second part, the communist goal is to make money and market transactions obsolete, not to send some bureaucratic committee around constantly blocking them when they do show up. Like, we don’t concern ourselves with some feudal baron coming into our towns and forcing us into serfdom because we have advanced beyond feudalism, and to suggest that we arrange ourselves in that way is just, well, silly – no one would take you seriously. Modes of production change according to material factors, which in turn influence social factors, which in turn acclimate people to different ways of living, and so on and so forth. Once socialism/communism firmly cements itself, the idea of subjecting everything to hierarchical market transactions and private property rights will seem absolutely ridiculous. Common ownership over the common inheritance will just be taken for granted. 

There’s this persistent argument coming from ancaps and right-wing libertarian types: “If someone wants to sell their labor to me in exchange for a wage, who are you to stop me??” This overlooks the fact that pretty much everyone does not willingly submit to wage labor if they have, ya know, literally any other viable option. If your needs can be more readily provided for through democratic production, in a scenario where you actually get a say in the work you do, why would you “voluntarily” choose to work beneath someone else who takes the bulk of the final product? To reiterate the above point, imagine some feudal landlord asking a bourgeois revolutionary in 1730, “if the peasant prefers to be tied to my land and prefers to pledge loyalty to me, who are you to stop me??” In the end, the bourgeoisie gained power and used enclosures and state violence to drive those peasants into cities to become industrial proletariat, forcing them to adjust to a new system of production. Class stratification isn’t voluntary. 

That tangent aside, it’s about transforming the material realities of society by harnessing power and technology for democratic/grassroots ends, not about dogmatically trying to institute the changes from above. Hopefully I was clear in my explanation, and thanks for the question!

-Daividh

notwithstanding the fact that the people of the soviet union, cuba, and the PRC achieved a quality of life unheard of in their respective nations, less thought has been put into the world-historical significance of their ability to liquidate oppressing classes and class systems in the course of revolution. how many western european countries are still constitutional monarchies? fucking scandinavia is full of constitutional monarchies.

what happened to the tsardom in russia? the kulaks? the monopolists and industrialists?

what happened to the landed gentry in china? the warlords who ran the countryside for years?

what happened to the latifundists and compradors in cuba? all the fucking mafiosos?

they must’ve gone back to their home planet or some shit.