The Leftist theory, politics, and activism discussion Thread

Where on the left spectrum do you fall?

  • Anarcho-Communist

  • Democratic socialist

  • Liberal

  • Centre-Left/Social Democrat

  • Anarchist

  • Anarcho-Syndicalist

  • Marxist

  • Maoist

  • Leninist

  • Other


Results are only viewable after voting.

Bachafach^^^

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Sittin Sonny

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WaltzingMatilda

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He's already been taken out to the woodshed over there. Time to run away to his safe place over here and spread his Marxist bullshit.



Why do conservatives like to imagine that the world is full of safe spaces? To their chagrin of course
 

Bachafach^^^

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Looks interesting. Need to take a piss, then drive home. Will have a look later on. :good
Cool. Gnosticism is interesting to me and corresponds with Socialism in that both are seeking to live a life of moderation and in gnostics case spiritualism in a society that glorifies excess.

A lot of my hippie friends believe in the gnostic great "demiurge" and claimed to have seen this great reaper of souls during their DMT trips. Crudely the Demiurge is the being responsible for keeping man from ascending to the realm of the true God by polluting our spiritual persons through the materialism of this world. From my limited understanding the Demiurge is actually the creator of this world, and was the God of the old testament, whilst the spirit of man is the essence of the true God represented byb Jesus in the New testament.n


Now I dont believe in any of this but its interesting, as I view the global system of capitalism in the same way. The reaper of souls.
 
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WaltzingMatilda

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I'm not a conservative. I'm a liberal, but I would never associate myself with a scumbag like Bachafag.



It wasn’t necessarily aimed at you, just a general inquiry, seems ironic that the “right“ side of the political spectrum like to believe in safe spaces yet I’m yet to see one yet, are they imagining them?

Actually, my safe space was always the pub, but that’s another story
 
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DynamicMoves

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It wasn’t necessarily aimed at you, just a general inquiry, seems ironic that the “right“ side of the political spectrum like to believe in safe spaces yet I’m yet to see one yet, are they imagining them?

Actually, my safe space was always the pub, but that’s another story
Here are a couple real life examples of safe spaces.


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Bachafach^^^

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Lincoln and Marx
BYROBIN BLACKBURN
The transatlantic convergence of two revolutionaries.


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Abraham Lincoln, as president, chose to reply to an “Address” from the London-based International Workingmen’s Association. The “Address,” drafted by Karl Marx, congratulated Lincoln on his reelection for a second term. In some resonant and complex paragraphs, the “Address” heralded the world-historical significance of what had become a war against slavery. The “Address” declared that victory for the North would be a turning point for nineteenth-century politics, an affirmation of free labor, and a defeat for the most reactionary capitalists who depended on slavery and racial oppression.

Lincoln saw only a tiny selection of the avalanche of mail he was sent, employing several secretaries to deal with it. But the US Ambassador in London, Charles Francis Adams, decided to forward the “Address” to Washington. Encouraging every sign of support for the Union was central to Adams’s mission. The Emancipation Proclamation of January 1863 had made this task much easier, but there were still many sections of the British elite who sympathized with the Confederacy and some who favored awarding it diplomatic recognition if only public opinion could be brought to accept this.

The “Address” carried, beside that of Marx, the signatures of several prominent British trade unionists as well as French socialists and German social democrats. The Ambassador wrote to the IWA, explaining that the president had asked him to convey his response to their “Address.” He thanked them for their support and expressed his conviction that the defeat of the rebellion would indeed be a victory for the cause of humanity everywhere. He declared that his country would abstain from “unlawful intervention” but observed that “The United States regarded their cause in the present conflict with slavery-maintaining insurgents as the cause of human nature, and they derived new encouragement to persevere from the testimony of the working men of Europe.”

Lincoln would have wished to thank British workers, especially those who supported the North despite the distress caused by the Northern blockade and the resulting “cotton famine.” The appearance of the names of several German revolutionaries would not have surprised him; the defeat of the 1848 revolutions in Europe had swelled the flood of German migrants arriving in North America. At an earlier date — in 1843 — Marx himself had thought of immigrating to Texas, going so far as to apply to the mayor of Trier, his birthplace, for an immigration permit.
What path would world history have taken if Marx had become a Texan? We will never know. What we do know is that Marx remained in touch with many of the exiles. His famous essay on “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon” was first published in New York in German. Not all German émigrés were radicals, but many were. With their beer halls, patriotic songs, and kindergartens, they helped to broaden the distinctly Puritan culture of Republicanism. They had been educated to despise slaveholding, and eventually nearly two hundred thousand German Americans volunteered for the Union army.

There was an affinity between the German democratic nationalism of 1848 and the free labor doctrine of the newly-established US Republican Party, so it is not surprising that a number of Marx’s friends and comrades not only became staunch supporters of the Northern cause but received senior commissions. Joseph Weydemeyer and August Willich, both former members of the Communist League, were promoted first to the ranks of Colonel and then to General.

Lincoln may have recognized the name Karl Marx when he read the IWA “Address,” since Marx had been a prolific contributor to the New York Daily Tribune, the most influential Republican newspaper of the 1850s. Charles A. Dana, publisher of the Tribune, first met Marx in Cologne in 1848 at a time when he edited the widely read Neue Rheinische Zeitung. In 1852, Dana invited Marx to become a correspondent for the Tribune. Over the next decade he wrote — with some help from his friend Engels — over five hundred articles for the Tribune. Hundreds of these pieces were published under Marx’s name, but eighty-four appeared as unsigned editorials. He wrote on a global range of topics, sometimes occupying two or three pages of a sixteen-page newspaper.

Once the Civil War began, US newspapers lost interest in foreign coverage unless it directly related to the war. Marx wrote several pieces for European papers explaining what was at stake in the conflict and contesting the claim, widely heard in European capitals, that slavery had nothing to do with the conflict. Important sections of the British and French elites had strong commercial ties to the US South, buying huge quantities of slave-grown cotton. But some European liberals with no direct link to the slave economy argued that secession by the Southern states had to be accepted because of the principle of self-determination. They attacked the North’s option for war and its failure to repudiate slavery.

In Marx’s eyes, British observers who claimed to deplore slavery yet backed the Confederacy were simply humbugs. He attacked the visceral hostility to the North evident in the Economist and the Times (of London). These papers claimed that the real cause of the conflict was Northern protectionism against the free trade favored by the South. Marx rebutted their arguments in a series of brilliant articles for Die Presse, a Viennese publication, which caustically demolished their economic determinism, and instead sketched out an alternative account — subtle, structural, and political — of the origins of the war.

Marx insisted that secession had been prompted by the Southern elite’s political fears. They knew that power within the Union was shifting against them. The South was losing its tight grip on federal institutions because of the dynamism of the Northwest, a destination for many new immigrants. As the Northwest Territory matured into free states, the South found itself outnumbered; the North was loath to recognize any new slave states. The slaveholders had alienated Northerners by requiring them to arrest and return fugitive slaves, yet they knew they needed the wholehearted support of their fellow citizens if they were to defend their “peculiar institution.” Lincoln’s election was seen as a deadly threat because he owed Southerners nothing and had promised to oppose any expansion of slavery.
Marx gave full support to the Union cause, even though Lincoln initially refused to make emancipation a war goal. Marx was confident that the clash of rival social regimes, based on opposing systems of labor, would sooner or later surface as the real issue. While consistently supporting the North, he wrote that the Union would only triumph if it adopted the revolutionary anti-slavery measures advocated by Wendell Phillips and other radical abolitionists. He was particularly impressed by Phillips’s speeches in 1862 calling to strike down all compromises with slavery. He approvingly quoted Phillips’s dictum that “God had placed the thunderbolt of emancipation” in Northern hands and they should use it.

Marx continued to correspond with Dana and sent him his articles (Dana was fluent in German). By this time Dana had left the world of journalism to become Lincoln’s “eyes and ears” as a special commissioner in the War Department, touring the fronts and reporting to the White House that Ulysses Grant was the man to back. Marx argued in Die Presse in March 1862 that the Union armies should abandon their encirclement strategy and seek to cut the Confederacy in two. Dana may have noticed that Grant had reached the same conclusion by instinct and experience. In 1863, Dana became Assistant Secretary of the War Department.
Marx was delighted when Lincoln — emboldened by the abolitionist campaign and a radicalization of Northern opinion — announced his intention to issue an Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863. The Proclamation would make it difficult for the British or French governments to award diplomatic recognition to the Confederacy. It also allowed for the enrollment of freedmen in the Union army.

Marx and Lincoln had very divergent opinions on business corporations and wage labor, but from today’s perspective they shared something important: they both loathed exploitation and regarded labor as the ultimate source of value. In his first message to Congress in December 1861, Lincoln criticized the “effort to place capital on an equal footing with, if not above, labor in the structure of government.” Instead, he insisted, “labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor . . . Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

Lincoln believed that in America the wage laborer was free to rise by his own efforts and could become a professional, or even an employer. Marx held that this picture of social mobility was a mirage, and that only a handful could succeed in acquiring economic independence.

For Marx, the wage worker was only partly free since he had to sell his labor to another so that he and his family might live. But, since he was not a slave, the free worker could organize and agitate for, say, a shorter working day and free education. Weydemeyer had launched an American Labor Federation in 1853 which backed these objectives and which declared its ranks open to all “regardless of occupation, language, color, or sex.” These themes became central to the politics of Marx’s followers in America.
Lincoln’s assassination led Marx to write a new “Address” from the IWA to his successor, with a fulsome tribute to the slain president. In this text, Marx described Lincoln as “a man neither to be browbeaten by adversity, nor intoxicated by success, inflexibly pressing on to his great goal, never compromising it by blind haste, slowly maturing his steps, never retracing them . . . doing his titanic work as humbly and homely as heaven-born rulers do little things with the grandiloquence of pomp and state. Such, indeed, was the modesty of this great and good man that the world only discovered him a hero after he had fallen a martyr.” However, the tragic loss could not prevent Northern victory opening the way to a “new era of the emancipation of labor.”

 

Bachafach^^^

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Karl Marx: ten things to read if you want to understand him
May 4, 2018 9.40am EDT
James Muldoon, University of Exeter, Robert Jackson, Manchester Metropolitan University

As the world reflects on 200 years since the birth of Karl Marx, his writings are being sampled by more and more people. If you’re new to the work of one of the greatest social scientists of all time, here’s where to start.
Marx’s own writing
James Muldoon, University of Exeter
The long history of brutal, totalitarian “Marxist” regimes around the world has left many people with the impression that Marx was an authoritarian thinker. But readers who dive into his work for the first time are often surprised to discover an Enlightenment humanist and a philosopher of emancipation, one who envisaged well-rounded human beings living rich, varied and fulfilling lives in a post-capitalist society. Marx’s writings don’t just propose a revolutionary political project; they offer a moral critique of the alienation of individuals living in capitalist societies.
1. An Introduction to a Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right (Available here)
Originally published in 1844 in a radical Parisian newspaper, this fascinating short essay captures many of Marx’s early criticisms of modern society and his radical vision of emancipation. It also introduces several of the key themes that would shape his later writings.
Marx claims that the bourgeois revolutions of the 18th century may have benefited a wealthy and educated class, but did not challenge private forms of domination in the factory, home and field. Marx theorises the revolutionary subject of the working class, and proposes its historic task: to abolish private property and achieve self-emancipation.
2. Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 (Available here)
Not published within his lifetime, and only released in 1932 by officials in the Soviet Union, these notes written by Marx are an important source for his theory of capitalist alienation. They reveal the essential outline of what “Marxism” is, and provide the philosophical basis for humanist readings of Marx.
In these manuscripts, Marx analyses the harmful effects of the organisation of labour in modern industrial societies. Modern workers, he argues, have become estranged from the goods they produced, from their own labour activity, and from their fellow workers. Rather than achieving a sense of satisfaction and self-actualisation in their labour, workers are left exhausted and spiritually depleted. For Marx, the antidote to modern alienation is a humanist conception of communism based on free and cooperative production.
3. The Communist Manifesto (Available here)
The Communist Manifesto in its original edition. Wikimedia Commons
Opening with the famous line, “a spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of communism”, the Communist Manifesto has become one of the most influential political documents ever written. Co-authored with Friedrich Engels, this pamphlet was commissioned by London’s Communist League and published on the cusp of the various revolutions that rocked Europe in 1848.
The manifesto presents Marx’s materialist conception of history and his theory of class struggle. It outlines the growing tensions between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat under capitalist relations of production, and predicts the triumph of the workers.
4. The German Ideology (Available here)
For anyone seeking to understand Marxism’s deeper philosophical and historical underpinnings, this is one of his most important texts. Written in around 1846, again with Engels, The German Ideology provides the full development of the two men’s methodology, historical materialism, which seeks to understand the history of humankind based on the development of its modes of production.
Marx and Engels argue that individuals’ social consciousness depends on the material conditions in which they live. He traces the development of different historical modes of production and argues that the present capitalist one will be replaced by communism. Some interpreters view this text as the point where Marx’s thought began to emerge in its mature form.
5. Capital (Volume 1) (Available here)
Published in 1867, Capital is Marx’s critical diagnosis of the capitalist mode of production. In it, he details the ultimate source of wealth under capitalism: the exploited labour of workers. Workers are free to sell their labour to any capitalist, but since they must sell their labour in order to survive, they are dominated by the class of capitalists as a whole. And through their labour, workers reproduce and reinforce both the economic conditions of their existence and also the social and ideological structure of their society.
Capital, volume 1. Dive in. Wikimedia Commons
In Capital, Marx outlines a number of capitalism’s internal contradictions, such as a declining rate of profit and the tendency for the formation of capitalist monopolies. While certain aspects of the text have been questioned, Marx’s analysis informs economic debate to this day. For anyone trying to understand why capitalism keeps falling into crisis, it’s still hugely relevant.
On Marx and Marxism
Robert Jackson, Manchester Metropolitan University
1. A Companion to Marx’s Capital
– David Harvey
From social movements to student reading groups, from Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century to articles in the Financial Times, Marx’s economic writings are at the centre of debate once again. And one of the figures most associated with these discussions is the geographer David Harvey.
Based on his popular online lecture series, Reading Capital with David Harvey, this book makes Marx’s Capital accessible to a broader audience. Guiding readers through Marx’s challenging (but rewarding) study of the “laws of motion” of capitalism, Harvey provides an open and critical reading. He draws out the connections between this world-changing text and today’s society – a society which, after all, is still shaped by the economic crisis of 2008.
2. Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life – Jonathan Sperber
For Jonathan Sperber, a historian of modern Germany, Marx is “more a figure from the past than a prophet of the present”. And, as its title suggests, this biography places Marx’s life in the context of the 19th century. It’s an accessible introduction to the history of his political thought, particularly as a critic of his contemporaries. Sperber discusses Marx in his many roles – a son, a student, a journalist and political activist – and introduces the multitude of characters connected with him. While Francis Wheen’s well-known Karl Marx: A Life is a more freewheeling account, Sperber’s writing is both highly readable and more deeply rooted in historical scholarship.
3. From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation – Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Writing about the US just over 150 years ago, Marx noted that: “Labour in a white skin cannot emancipate itself where it is branded in a black skin.” And the influence of his ideas about the relationship between race and class is visible in debates right up to the present day.

Penned by academic and activist Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, who came to popular prominence in the recent #BlackLivesMatter movement, this is a timely read for those interested in the various ways Marx’s thought is being rebooted for the 21st century. A penetrating book, it connects the origins of racism to the structures of economic inequality. With plenty of Marxist ideas (among others) in her toolbox, Taylor critically examines the notion of a “colour-blind” society and the US’s post-Obama order to great effect.
4. Why Marx was Right – Terry Eagleton
A call to reconsider the widely accepted notion that Marx is a “dead dog” from renowned literary theorist Terry Eagleton. In this provocative and highly readable book, Eagleton questions the plausibility of ten of the most common objections to Marx’s thought – among them, that Marx’s ideas are outdated in post-industrial societies, that Marxism always leads to tyranny in practice, that Marx’s theory is deterministic and undermines human freedom. Always witty and passionate, Eagleton peppers his spirited defence (with some reservations) of Marx’s ideas with his own literary and cultural insights.
5. Jacobin magazine – edited by Bhaskar Sunkara (available online)
In the era of the Occupy movement, “taking a knee” and #MeToo, the discussion of Marx’s ideas has gained an increasing presence on the internet. One of the most notable examples is the socialist magazine and online platform Jacobin, edited by Bhaskar Sunkara, which currently reaches around 1m viewers a month.
Covering topics from international politics and environmental movements to the recent education strikes in Oklahoma and West Virginia and Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign, it’s a lively source for anyone who wants to see an analysis of contemporary politics that’s influenced by Marx’s thought.
 
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