Jim Jay blogs:
The 33rd Carnival of Socialism is out now over at Harpy Marx. A damn fine job it is too!
Posted by Jack Stephens on September 21, 2008
It was Marx who had analyzed the phenomenon of capitalism when it was still nascent- foretelling its demise not so much because it was his wish, but pointing out that that the system is inherently unstable and full of contradictions. The Marxist conception of the State as an expression of class power is again vindicated by the manner in which the federal governments in leading capitalist countries- the US, UK, Japan, Australia and even the puny India- has stepped into the rescue and “buy” back sunk investments. It suits these governments to step out of business activities when it suits the latter, and step in when it suits them too, that is having the cake and eat it too! Noam Chomsky once called the US (that’s true of most capitalist countries) – socialism for the rich.
This of course, is not unprecedented. Again it was Marx (or Engels) who commented in the preface to the second edition of Das Capital, that the crisis of the capitalism system of production (not to say of distribution) is inherent because while production grows in geometrical progression, markets expand only in an arithmetic progression. Since then, the web of conflicts and contractions within the capitalist system has only grown more complex.
Posted by Jack Stephens on September 9, 2008
Kristin Bricker blogs:
Mexican journalist Gloria Muñoz Ramírez says that in 1997 she left her work, her family, and her friends to live in Zapatista communities. Her book The Fire and the Word: A History of the Zapatista Movement is the result of seven years of research, interviews, and—most importantly—listening in Zapatista territory.
Originally published in Spanish as 20 y 10: El Fuego y la Palabra in 2003 for the tenth anniversary of the Zapatista uprising and the twentieth anniversary of the EZLN, the book has since been translated into French, Italian, German, Turkish, Persian, and Greek. While English-speakers had to wait five long years to read it, Muñoz made The Fire and the Word worth the wait. The English translation updates the Spanish version, including new chapters and pictures of Zapatista history up through the Other Campaign in 2006.
Posted by Jack Stephens on September 3, 2008
Radical means open: to new understandings, to new perspectives, to new awareness, and the valuing of self-examination and critique. White Men’s Conservatism and White Men’s Liberalism are closed systems of thought the boundaries of which their ideologues refuse to acknowledge, identify, or name. Radicalism, as a social-political perspective, here means not closed. It means open to learning more. Not assuming I know it all. Not assuming anyone does.
Posted by Jack Stephens on July 18, 2008
Aruni Kashyap blogs on the recent repression by the Indian government on the people of India:
Manoj Deka’s brutal murder by Asam police in the name of counter insurgency operation holds multiple shocking implications about current politics in Assam. Manoj Deka was a senior leader of the Communist Party of India, Assam and held the post of the Morigaon district CPI General Secretary.
[Hat Tip: Bhupinder]
Posted by Jack Stephens on July 15, 2008
The recent military operations by Frontier Corps (FC) on the religious extremist groups around Peshawar led to a series of debates and discussion amongst the CMKP members regarding the position to be adopted on the question of Taliban and religious-extremists. The conclusion of the debate has been summarised by Ali Jan that is being presented as follows with minor editions
Posted by Jack Stephens on July 13, 2008
Alex Callinicos, is a leading figure on the left internationally and a major Marxist theoretician. He is a leading member of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and has participated in every major anti-capitalist mobilization since Seattle.
his talk was very interesting, it was titled : the Permanent Revolution in the Middle East. one of the most important things he said, that the struggle of the Palestinian People is not limited to the Palestinians themselves. It’s a broader one that involves the struggle of workers against the Arab Local Regimes who are the agents of Israel and imperialism. the conflict’s way out is the permanent Revolution that breaks the bounderies of individual societies.
Posted by Jack Stephens on July 11, 2008
Dave Marlow blogs:
Fellow blogger Renegade Eye put it best: “I don’t believe the Green Party is the alternative party formation, since it lacks a program and class basis.” The Green Party is incapable of leading a successful workers revolution, at least in its current manifestation, because of its inherent ties to reformism and its separation from class struggle. They are not a genuine proletarian party and so any progress achieved through the Green Party will be limited to the confines of a non-revolutionary framework.
Posted by Jack Stephens on June 28, 2008
Listening to David Harvey’s lectures on Capital Vol 1 not only gave me a feeling that I was re- reading Capital but also provided a refreshing enthusiasm that I had experienced when first reading the tome. Though the first three chapters are considered to be somewhat intimidating, these three chapters are also the most interesting ones. As Harvery points out, Marx follows different literary techniques in different parts of the book, and the first three are marked not only by philosophical flamboyance but also literary flourishes with copious references to Shakespeare , Schiller and Balzac (the latter, like Harvey, I read much after reading Capital).
Posted by Jack Stephens on June 27, 2008
The good news is, “Americans get to keep their guns.” The bad news is, Americans point their guns at their fellow poor instead of the wealthy who are truly the ones “stealing their jobs” and creating suffering world wide so they can have more wealth.
Posted by Jack Stephens on May 14, 2008
As’ad, a professor at CSU Stanislaus and a visiting professor at UC Berkeley, blogs about the radical left and the situation in Lebanon and the dangers in blindly supporting Hizbullah:
I believe that the radical left, or the revolutionary left, should be careful in evaluating the situation. I see that the Lebanese Communist Party has for all purposes conflated its position with that of Hizbullah–at least during this crisis. The radical left should keep a distance from an organization (i.e. Hizbullah) with which it does not share an ideology–a religious fundamentalist one at that. Today, I kept thinking of the leader of the Iranian Communist Party who sang the praises of Khumayni only to be forced to appear on TV (after the revolution) and make Stalinist-style “confessions”. He later was executed as were other communists.
[Hat Tip: Farfahinne]
Posted by Jack Stephens on May 12, 2008
I’ve recently watched a couple of documentaries about radical movements in the 1960s and 70s:Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst, The Weather Underground and a narrative film about the Naxalite movement in West Bengal called Calcutta My Love.
Both of the first two films were fascinating but left me feeling irritated at the ludicrousness of it all – especially at the white privilege that protected many of these so-called revolutionaries, whereas members of the Black Panther Party faced a decidedly different fate.
Posted by Jack Stephens on April 15, 2008
The Angry Black Woman is hosting the first (and possible only) Carnival of Allies. All posts are due May 5th!
This got me thinking about those white folks who exist in that liminal space where they are against racism but don’t understand how it works and get defensive, hurt, and freaked out when folks point out how they benefit from it without trying…I am wondering how you turn that kind of person into an ally. I’m wondering if maybe I cannot simply because, when they read my words, they are so filled with defensiveness and perhaps guilt, nothing I say can get through. If they can’t listen to me, can they maybe listen to other White people?
I call a Carnival. The Carnival of Allies. Where self-identified allies write to other people like themselves about why this or that oppression and prejudice is wrong. Why they are allies. Why the usual excuses are not good enough. I figure allies probably know full well all the many and various arguments people throw up to make prejudice and oppression okay. Things that someone on the other side of the fence may not hear. Address those things and more besides.
And when I say allies, I’m talking about any and every type. PoC can be (and should be) allies to other PoC, or to LGBTQ people if they are straight, or any number of other combinations. If you feel like you’re an ally and have something to say about that, you should submit to this carnival.
Posted by Jack Stephens on April 8, 2008
If your hero is Justin Timberlake or Santa Claus, Madonna or the Tooth Fairy… or any such legend or fluff merchant you’re wrong. Your hero is actually Hossam el-Hamalawy, currently reporting the uprising in Egypt, led by the textile workers of Mahalla.
The Textile Workers’ League activists Kamal el-Fayoumi and Kareem el-Beheiri, as well as a number of the Mahalla detainees, are currently undergoing interrogation at the Tanta Prosecutor’s Office. I have a report from an activist, which I couldn’t confirm yet, that Kareem was subject to severe beatings in police custody. The activist I spoke with said he heard this from one of the recently released detainees. We should know soon whether Kareem and the others were abused in custody or not when the lawyers who are attending the interrogation come out…
For continuous updates on the detainees, please follow Tadamon, April 6th Strike, Abna2Masr and the HMLC blogs, especially as reports are coming out that those ordered by the prosecutor to be released in Alexandria and Mansoura, remain in police custody… Shehab Ismail also called me from NYC yesterday to say his sister Sarah who had been detained earlier in Cairo was still in police custody despite a release order…
Posted by Jack Stephens on April 7, 2008
“Sudy” blogs about WAM and what radical feminism means to her:
Radical is not negative, folks. There seems to be a misunderstanding that when womyn of color are angry, it’s all negative. From the WOC I am in community with, there is anger. Lots of it. It’s in our blood from a life line of violence, rape, and racism. I think people hear what they want to hear and what they want to hear is the anger, it makes WOC easier to dismiss. But, the creative energy, the laughter and light is ten fold the anger. I’m angry, sure, but I’m much more than the anger and I believe in more positivity than I do in bitterness.
How does that relate to WAM?…
Posted by Jack Stephens on April 2, 2008
Marco, a graduate student in Western Australia, blogs:
So many people have written about what’s wrong with the world, but very few are writing about what people are doing to change the world. Getting politicised requires: a) learning about what’s wrong with the world, and b) knowing what to do about it. So many people reach A; You know, they read Noam Chomsky and all about the horrors of capitalism and the like, but they never learn or become convinced of their own power to intervene in reality and change things because often they’re not exposed to the rich history of people’s movements and what they’ve achieved, and all the creative things that people are doing in the present… Therefore, in my work, my focus is on activists and what people are doing to change the world, instead of just coming up with another theory of capitalism and how fucked it is.
Take Marx for example. As Harry Cleaver points out (see article here), Marx was more interested in writing about capitalist domination, and not in working class subjectivity! Like Cleaver, I would argue that this is the entirely wrong starting point! The starting point of my work is not capitalism, but the revolutionary subjectivity of those challenging capitalism, and it is for precisely this reason that I am studying social movements.
Posted by Jack Stephens on February 29, 2008
This little book was first published 160 years ago on 21st February 1848.
The world has not stopped listening to it ever since.
Posted by Jack Stephens on February 18, 2008
Burningman blogs on the Revolutionary Communist Party’s response to the Nine Letters to our Comrades, which was a group of critical letters on the RCP and it’s leadership by a former RCP member:
The Revolutionary Communist Party has decreed on a “matter of basic orientation.” The unsigned author(s) don’t mention the object of their scorn by name, but they call the Nine Letters to Our Comrades nothing but “completely dishonest and unprincipled attacks, including crude distortions of our views, aims, and methods.” The distortions and purported lies are not discussed, noted in particular or corrected. Off limits and not up for consideration. Decided. Think about that. Read the Nine Letters, then the RCP’s initial public response and hear the elastic snap.