The thing is, capitalism has never been reformed ‘peacefully’.
Reform movements which have formally disavowed violent means - from the Civil Rights movement in 1960s America, to Attlee’s Labour government in 1940s Britain - have only been historically successful because mass, organised, revolutionary movements of the politically disenfranchised outside of the formal reform movement have forced those benefiting from the status quo to cede concessions to non-violent, often middle-class, reformist leaders. Malcolm X, the Socialist Party of the USA and the Communist Party forced the American elite to come to the table with Dr. King; the syndicalist and communist trade unions in post-War Britain made opposition to Attlee’s NHS and limited nationalisations foolhardy.
Those who preach non-violence as a strategy rather than as a flexible tactic fatally mistake capitalism for a rational, logical system which plays by its own rules and respects human life.
Almost 350,000 service workers plan to strike on May 1, a traditional day for labor activism across the world, in the most direct attempt yet by organized labor to capture the energy from a resurgent wave of activism across the country since the election of Donald Trump.
Tens of thousands of members of a powerful California branch of the Service Employees International Union will participate in the strike, according to David Huerta, the president of the chapter.
“We understand that there’s risk involved in that,” Huerta told BuzzFeed News, “but we’re willing to take that risk in order to be able to move forward in this moment, while the most marginalized are in the crosshairs of this administration.”
Since Donald Trump’s election, there has been no shortage of wildcat strikes by groups disproportionately affected by his administration’s policies. But this time around, organized labor is driving the effort. According to a coalition of groups leading the strike, more than 300,000 food chain workers and 40,000 unionized service workers have said they will walk off the job so far.
Huerta’s union chapter represents tens of thousands of workers, including janitors, security officers and airport staff, while the Food Chain Workers Alliance, which represents workers throughout the food industry, says hundreds of thousands of its non-unionized members have committed to striking.
“We are a workforce made up mostly of immigrants, women, African Americans, and indigenous people….Without workers, who does Trump think will harvest the crops, craft the food, transport it to market, stock the shelves, cook in kitchens, and serve the meals?”
The revolution here in Rojava is a women’s revolution. From the front lines of the fight against ISIS, to running the cantons to trade unions that ensure all working women have their voices heard.
International women’s day has special significance here, with events and demonstrations taking place all over the region. We stand with women worldwide in the struggle against patriarchy, and today we stand with the women of Ireland. We call on the Irish Government to repeal the 8th amendment and allow women rights over their own bodies! Today news reporters, trade unionists, HPC (civilian self-defence units) heard about the strike and stood in solidarity.
Activists in French Guiana have lifted strikes that crippled the territory for almost a month after the government in Paris pledged an aid package worth billions of euros.
A general strike by 37 unions has paralysed the French territory in South America, with locals pressing for a “Marshall plan” along the lines of the huge US economic support given to help western Europe to recover after the second world war.
An AFP journalist said the government and the collective spearheading the protests signed a deal in Cayenne late on Friday, just two days before France’s presidential election. Under the accord, the French government pledged to provide €2.1bn (£1.85bn) in aid to the territory but did not give a precise timetable for its implementation. The amount would be in addition to just over €1bn in emergency funding agreed in early April but which the movement considered insufficient.
France’s overseas territories minister, Ericka Bareigts, hailed the deal as “a defining day” for the territory’s future.
African Heads of State pose for a group photo ahead of the start of the 28th African Union summit in Addis Ababa on 30 January, 2017.]
The head of the African Union has criticized Donald Trump’s ban on immigration from some Muslim-majority countries, saying it presents “one of the greatest challenges” for the continent.
As representatives of the AU’s 53 member states met in Addis Ababa for a two-day summit, the chief of its commission said the bloc was entering “very turbulent times” after the US President’s election.
“The very country to which many of our people were taken as slaves during the transatlantic slave trade has now decided to ban refugees from some of our countries,” said Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
“What do we do about this? Indeed, this is one of the greatest challenges to our unity and solidarity.”
Mr Trump’s executive order prevented people with passports from three African nations – Libya, Somalia and Sudan – from travelling to the US. It also blocked visas for citizens from four Middle Eastern countries – Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran.
The President has also suspended all US refugee programmes for 120 days, and ended the flow of Syrian refugees to America indefinitely.
Also speaking in Ethiopia, the UN Secretary General commended African countries for opening their borders to refugees and people fleeing violence while other parts of the world, including the developed West, close boundaries and build walls.
Antonio Guterres, attending his first AU summit as the UN chief, said: “African nations are among the world’s largest and most generous hosts of refugees.
“African borders remain open for those in need of protection when so many borders are being closed, even in the most developed countries in the world.”
Mr Guterres didn’t make a direct reference to the recent executive orders signed by Mr Trump, which also included a commitment to build a wall along the Mexican border, but his comment drew enthusiastic applause from hundreds of African leaders, officials and dignitaries who attended the opening of the summit, the Associated Press reported.
im still fairly ignorant about leftism sorry but from my readings of council communism it sounds very similar to syndicalism. what would u say are the main differences?
They’re actually wicked similar tendencies. There are a few differences, though.
Council communism uses Marxist perspectives and methods of analysis (historical materialism, etc.), whereas syndicalism generally does not. (”Generally” being the keyword there – Greg is a syndicalist with a Marxist perspective, for example.)
Syndicalism is understood pretty much exclusively as an anarchist tendency, whereas council communism is not necessarily anarchist. In cases where council communism supports a transitory “dictatorship of the proletariat” state, it opposes centralization and Leninist conceptions of the vanguard party, seeking full direct democracy in the economic base in an attempt to wield the state for the benefit of the proletariat; syndicalists don’t advocate for this transition period.
Workers’ councils are defined as setups of spontaneous organization born in times of revolutionary struggle, whereas syndicalism relies on trade unions that exist before the struggle really takes off. For this reason, many traditional council communists argued that trade unions could only be reformist in nature and that separate revolutionary councils would instead be created by class conscious workers in times of tense material conditions; this also led many of them to refuse to work with reformist individuals or organizations of any sort (which I think is silly). Syndicalism posits that unions will become increasingly revolutionary as workers develop class consciousness.
All said, both tendencies involve near-identical final products in terms of organizational structure – councils/unions hollowing out the capitalist system from below and reforming society into linked confederations based on mutual aid, direct democracy, and a for-need economic system. When push comes to shove, a lot of it is just semantics debate. The unified leftist front that topples capitalism for good will have to focus on directly-democratic institutions of worker control in some very real capacity, and I think council communism and syndicalism truly get to the heart of this idea.
do you know where the antifa red and black motif originated?
Antifa has its roots in far-left politics, given that it sprang up from the German Communist Party in 1932, which wished to create a militant anti-fascist group for communists, which would then be called Antifaschistische Aktion. It was swiftly stomped out by Nazis in 1933, but then was resurrected in the 1980s.
Because of it’s origins, most members of antifa adhere to some kind of far-left school of thought. So, most members are either communists, anarchists, all kinds of socialists, syndicalists, mutualists, etc. Although, I have seen some self-professed social democrats who heavily lean towards far left politics who are in antifa before.
Anyways, the symbolism inside the logo becomes pretty obvious with that in mind. The original logo of Antifaschistische Aktion from 1932 was actually entirely red like so:
Given that the red flag has been a definite symbol of communism and socialism since 1871 after its use as the banner of the Paris Commune, that’s where the red flag originates from.
The red flag was also used by anarchists up until the 1880s, when anarchism started to branch off from other popular far-left movements. From then on, the black flag was adopted as a symbol for anarchists, sometimes with a large circle-A featured on it. Given that large portion of antifa members identify as anarchists (with many of them also identifying as communists as well), it does make sense that they would add the black flag along with the traditional red.
Sometimes you may also see antifa using a red and black bisected flag like this:
Which is the flag for anarcho-communism and anarcho-syndicalism, with origins from la Confederación Nacional del Trabajo, or CNT, which is a Spanish confederation of anarcho-syndicalist labour unions. CNT, along with la Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI) is best known for the establishment of Revolutionary Catalonia in 1936, which was a region of Spain which was organized by anarchist and socialist trade unions, militias, and parties during the Spanish civil war. Revolutionary Catalonia was a pretty rad place until 1939 where it was destroyed by Franco, Mussolini, and Hitler bombarding them all at once.
There’s other flags often used alongside with the antifa logo, but I won’t get into those given that you only asked about the red and black. This is just based off what I know and if anyone has any other info to add, then feel free to do so.
are you a libertarian leftist or an authoritarian leftist?
I don’t think that is a meaningful question to begin with- I don’t buy the terms of the question. On some questions I will, of course, lean toward left libertarian positions, and on others I will necessarily favor an authoritarian position. I am much closer to an ML or MLM than to an anarchist, but I principally oppose dogma and don’t use either term to reference my politics because, as always, I am in disagreement with many common ML and MLM lines and will not cede my own critical thinking skills to party line, any sooner than I would cede them to anarchist egoism or to humanism, simply because I lean in their direction.
Revolution itself is authoritarian- certainly there will always be people who do not consent to life under communism, or socialism, or honestly anything but fascism. Revolution, whether anarchist or Leninist, requires the use of force to submit the will of the few to the will of the many, in one of many forms. Liberal revolutions have done the same thing, fascist revolutions have done this- revolution by its nature does impose circumstances to which some affected people will not meaningfully consent. Frankly I think forms of socialism which do not fight to maintain legitimacy in the eyes of the people or fail to provide for the affected people after a reasonable time frame and with reasonable limitations (such as rations during war, which even US citizens have experienced and would experience again in different ways in some circumstances) are subject to dissolution by their people- this is something many anarchists would find agreeable and libertarian. But I also think that socialist states have not just the right but the duty to suppress those elements which it sees as dangerously right wing, destabilizing, or contrary to the interests of socialism. On the matter of revolution as necessarily authoritarian, Engels himself wrote:
Revolution is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its
will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets, and cannons, i.e.
extremely authoritarian means. And the victorious party of necessity is
compelled to maintain its rule by means of fear which its arms inspire
in the reactionaries. Would the Paris Commune have lasted more than a
single day if it had not relied upon the authority of the armed people
against the bourgeoisie? Are we not justified, on the contrary, in
reproaching the Commune for having used this authority too little?
Therefore, one of two things may be true: either the
anti-authoritarianists do not know what they are talking about, in which
case they are only sowing confusion. Or else they know, and are
betraying the cause of the proletariat. In either instance they are
merely helping the cause of reaction.
So clearly the question of “libertarian communism/anarchism” then is not a meaningful question in the context of revolution because revolution itself is authoritarian to some extent.
The question is not even necessarily a meaningful question in the context of protecting the gains of revolution from loss to liberals, or reactionaries, as few anarchists would say that they’d allow 10 fascists in an area being claimed by, say, 90 anarchists to render that region subject to fascist ideology and rule. They would acknowledge the need to repress or drive out those fascist elements for the sake of protecting the gains of their revolution. Is this not authoritarian? Certainly it is a use of force, even violent force. On the need to suppress reactionary elements for the sake of protecting revolution, Lenin wrote:
And the dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e. the organization of the
vanguard of the oppressed as the ruling class for the suppression of the
oppressors, cannot lead simply to an expansion of democracy. Alongside
an immense expansion of democratism which for the first time becomes
democratism for the poor, democratism for the people and not democratism
for the rich, the dictatorship of the proletariat imposes a series of
exclusions from freedom in relation to the oppressors, the exploiters,
the capitalists. We must suppress them in order to free humanity from
wage slavery; their resistance must be crushed by force: it is clear
that where there is suppression, where there is coercion, there is no
freedom and no democracy.
Where anarchists often frustrate me is their refusal to acknowledge that often their resistance to the existence of socialist states necessarily includes them broadly in a number of groups whose existence then puts the gains of that revolution at stake, and that it is on these grounds (their commitment to ending the existence of all states, socialist or not) that they have often been suppressed in ways I do ALSO generally find absolutely to be examples of massive overkill and overreaction to that threat, considering I do not see warfare as a fun means of conflict resolution but a last resort in every case. Frankly, I also think the failure of many socialist states to make attempts to meter out autonomous anarchist regions with which borders and relations can be negotiated, has been a major failure on the part of the left historically and caused bloodshed on both sides that never needed to happen. The desire of some socialist states to devour all the land they can is not something I approve of, and I do think anarchists have the right to be anarchists, but of course I object to any attempts by anarchists to undermine the power of legitimate socialist revolutions which involve the use of a state, just as they would certainly object to attempts by liberals or fascists or even “authoritarians” to undermine the way in which they wanted to structure and run their autonomous regions/communes/etc.
So I think the quotes I picked here make pretty clear that I’m probably what you would consider authoritarian, but that doesn’t mean that I am opposed to the actual control of society primarily by the proletariat because I do, and I take the “democratic” in “democratic centralism” actually quite seriously, and I think many major affairs in a socialist state should be impacted by things like referendums, local meetings, trade unions and representatives from them, etc, and advocate the actual involvement of everyday people in the business of state administration. I don’t advocate dictatorship except dictatorship of the proletariat, I don’t advocate violence except as I see necessary to win and maintain revolutionary gains, I don’t advocate repression except as a means to protect revolution from collapse to fascist or liberal elements, and I think socialist projects of the past have too often failed on all of those counts in ways I won’t unthinkingly defend. But the basic right of socialist states to defend their own interest, including through the use of force, absolutely exists as far as I am concerned.
hold up signs as President Donald Trump speaks at the 2017 North
America’s Building Trades Unions National Legislative Conference in
Washington; a man carries a child following a suspected chemical attack,
at a makeshift hospital in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib
province, Syria; fans arrive during a practice round for the
Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga.; An Iraqi Federal Police member fires an RPG towards Islamic State militants during a battle in Mosul, Iraq; and, South Sudanese refugee children gather with their belongings after crossing into Uganda at the Ngomoromo border post in Lamwo district, northern Uganda.
These are just a few of the photos of the day for April 4, 2017.
(Photos: Susan Walsh/AP, Edlib Media Center, via AP, Matt Slocum/AP, Khalid al Mousily/Reuters, Reuters)
when competition permits the worker to bargain and to argue with the capitalists, he measures his demands against the capitalists’ profit and demands a certain share of the surplus value created by him;
listen… i need u to all promise me a thing….. wen the newsies live on stage movie goes up on netflix…. u gotta watch it…… u gotta promise me…. gotta promise urself…… that u will watch it…….plz… im begging u…. my crops….. they need u to do this…….they need u to watch this disney musical about the power of trade unions as told via a bunch of scrappy muddy new york boys who like to leap into th sky and spin……..
Here we are my last couple of days in Brussels and enjoying the last few coffees and brunches. It has indeed been an experience unlike any other. A massive thanks to EPHA for letting me take part in what they do and the contribution they make to our health. Their efforts are far reaching and their tasks are very challenging. Here is a little recap; Advocating for the health of our countries and the continent is not an easy task. There are so many layers to passing a policy that it takes much effort and discipline to stay and fight against the system. I have written other blogs that recaps my learnings and understanding of the policy making system.
I have learnt:
- What it means to advertise junk food and even alcohol to children. The implications this has on their health and lives later on.
- How food banks and food vouchers don’t really help us bring people out of poverty but rather can have the opposite effect since it is not looked at from a health perspective but rather an economic one.
- How the lack of education on healthy diets creates inequalities and the link between inequality and the enormous drain on public health care is ever so obvious.
- I have learnt that public funding of research and development for new medicines are not required to show evidence of findings, and how the pharmaceutical companies are being seen in the wide ranging eye of the NGO’s. Their influence and the advantage they take of their influence and the many misunderstanding of the industry and its regulations.
- There is genuine concern across all related professionals in the access to medicine when it comes to the new “Adaptive Pathways” that allows for faster approval of new medicine without adequate time given to see any side effects and issues new medicines could carry.
- Anti microbial resistance is a real threat to our lives and the lack of innovation in medicine will make this an even bigger problem for our children in the future.
- Industries have a lot of power and although we would like to believe that the interest of the public is always a priority the reality is that this is not the case and we need to hold governments more accountable for passing off policies that benefit Private organisations and hinder the health of our society.
- I have also learnt the severe lack of health care provided in the eastern countries and the huge concern this is for the EU as whole as a sick population often means a very unhealthy economy also.
- The global implications on trade agreements and the consequences to us all of Brexit. In particular, the consequences to the people of the United Kingdom.- The passionate people that are working hard to ensure that our health remains to be a priority and that we do not forget how far we have gotten over the last century and the diseases which we have managed to tame or even cure.
I have also learnt about THE SYSTEM: Policy making system has been built on complexity. Rightly so its trying to ensure policies that cater for 28 of the most diverse countries you can imagine to exist. Its complex trying to create a standard in vastly different economic and cultural circumstances. I enjoyed learning how the actually policy process works which was my blog on the EU structure. It was also very fascinating learning who makes suggestions and who makes decisions. In the system you have the government, the industries, the NGO’s and civil societies, you have various agencies acting on behalf of various industries and regulators, you have the public and you have the member states. Everyone acting within their own interest and what they believe should be the priority. It is complex but also powerful. I enjoyed being in the centre of change and how it all takes place. Its surreal to believe that you are part of this and that some suggestions you may have made have made it across the board of influence. Unlike any other conventional job you actually make a difference to people across Europe and not just in your industry or just your area of interest. This was definitely the highlight.
But BRUSSELS, I have spoken a lot about the different issues on the side of policy making and EPHA but living in Brussels has also opened my eyes to Europe and what an amazing continent this is. The city it self is always vibing and has so many interesting cafes, restaurants and markets that can keep you busy all year round. The city is full of internationals and what I found most interesting is the diversity that Brussels loves to embrace. Although from my perspective Brussels is a small city it has everything one would need for entertainment. There are so many events that are related to the EU and policy making and almost every large organisation will have a base here to ensure they are close to all the action. Employers find individual diversity very positive so you have people form all over the world working here. Brussels is close to many of the major cities such as Paris, Amsterdam and London and has a small yet various population. It’s a happening city and definitely a place I could see myself coming back to. I have attached some of my favourite pictures that show a bit about how amazing this city is… even in the worst winter season 😃
Of course I cannot finish this blog without mentioning the two most important aspects of my internship. Marta and Sofie! I am so grateful to have made such strong friendships with these girls that I hope will carry us on for many many years to come. I have learnt so much from them both and have truly felt their support in the ups and downs. This experience really would not have been the same if it weren’t for the two of them and the laughs and tears we shared. Thank you for everyone who has read these blogs and hope you found them insightful. I enjoyed writing it and hopefully when I near my education I will have more insight I could talk about and share.
No one can seriously think it possible to organise the majority of the proletariat under capitalism. Secondly—and this is the main point—it is not so much a question of the size of an organisation, as of the real, objective significance of its policy: does its policy represent the masses, does it serve them, i.e., does it aim at their liberation from capitalism, or does it represent the interests of the minority, the minority’s reconciliation with capitalism? […]
Engels draws a distinction between the “bourgeois labour party” of the old trade unions—the privileged minority—and the “lowest mass”, the real majority, and appeals to the latter, who are not infected by “bourgeois respectability”. This is the essence of Marxist tactics!
Neither we nor anyone else can calculate precisely what portion of the proletariat is following and will follow the social-chauvinists and opportunists. This will be revealed only by the struggle, it will be definitely decided only by the socialist revolution. But we know for certain that the “defenders of the fatherland” in the imperialist war represent only a minority. And it is therefore our duty, if we wish to remain socialists to go down lower and deeper, to the real masses; this is the whole meaning and the whole purport of the struggle against opportunism.
V.I. Lenin, “Imperialism and the Split in Socialism”
French Guiana has been experiencing widespread protests for the past two weeks, following a general strike on 27 March and an occupation of the Guiana Space Station, which delayed a rocket launch.
The 500 Brothers, a collective of black-clad, masked people who say they are campaigning against crime and delinquency, called for a total shutdown on Monday, including road blocks after a police officer was injured in protests last week.
Despite being in South America, French Guiana remains part of France and has been paralysed by protests against a lack of investment from the mainland.
Demonstrators, led by a masked group known as the 500 Brothers, have been fighting for $2.5bn (£2bn) in aid.
France has made an offer of £1m, which has been rejected.
French Guiana’s been in a state of unlimited general strike since the 27th March. As noted by Antoine Karam, PS senator for the territory, “nearly 30 percent of the population does not have access to either drinkable water or to electricity, but on the other hand we have a space station.”