A propagandist-in-chief's war on intellectual imperialism and pursuit of a resistance episteme

Posts Tagged: Marxism

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I rarely post stuff on women’s issues, but I just discovered this commentary in the Guardian by Jill Filipovic, which was begging for a smackdown. Sarcastically entitled “Can Girls Even Find Syria on the Map?” the author calls for greater participation of women in the “major international debate” on Syria because she is unhappy with the ratio of female to male information warlords. As an a Arab woman and a Marxist “Critical Feminist”,  I have to ask bourgeois liberal feminists the following:

Who says this is YOUR debate in the first place? And by you, I mean you American and European “experts”. Women asides, what gives your universities, think tanks and media the right to be debating and determining the destiny of our region? Why do we never question the colonial mentality that underlies your Middle East departments and bureaus, your “centers for democracy” and “peace” for the Middle East initiatives? Who the hell are you to be studying us and issuing us Euro-American directives on “good governance” and “conflict resolution”? Crises of governance and conflicts which have been engineered by none other than your governments , with your intellectual cover.

What gives privileged white women the right to be pursuing their supposed “emancipation” on the backs of our oppressed people? And why are the needs of this “debate” greater than the need of Syria and its people?

On what moral grounds should Syrian and Arab women be celebrating the inclusion of more female liberal imperialists in framing the mainstream narrative on Syria? Should Syrian women thank their western counterparts for enjoining western governments to invade Syria? Or should they be thankful for the justifications made by these women for the arms that are being funneled to “moderate” takfiris and jihadis who oppress women in the most gruesome and violent of ways imaginable?  Do Arab women really need more Elizabeth O’Bagys and Christian Amanpours to distort and fabricate the reality they are living?

And who says that women’s liberation is best served by jumping on the male-dominated bandwagon which oppresses and disempowers the weak and marginalized? In this case and in others, the erasure of difference does not lead to greater gender equality; only to the assimilation of hegemonic ideology, and hence a more sinister type of subordination by consent.  

 How can women’s oppression be extricated from the same patriarchal-capitalist system which oppresses other classes and races? How can we ignore the “intersectionality” of hegemonic institutions which reinforce the different modes of oppression that women are subjected to?  As Bell Hooks and other proponents of Critical Feminist theory have argued, feminism is “a struggle to eradicate the ideology of domination that permeates Western culture on various levels, as well as a commitment to reorganizing society so that the self-development of people can take precedence over imperialism, economic expansion, and material desires.”

As a “female Middle East expert who lives in the region” to borrow Filipovic’s words, my voice is not excluded from this debate because it is a female voice as she contends, but because it is an anti-imperialist voice. And frankly, I don’t want a “voice” in this “international debate” if the terms of this debate are still dictated by the white man and his interests.

Yes, Syria does need more women’s voices, but only those resistant voices which have liberated themselves from the imperatives of bourgeois liberal individualism and which refuse to submit to the discursive parameters drawn up by the Academy and mainstream media.  What Syria needs is more women who understand how their liberation is linked to their freedom and dignity as human beings who are free from all forms of exploitation and subjugation. An integral part of this freedom is a sovereign and unitary Syria which is free from the predatory ambitions of the Empire and its Arab minions. 

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Third Wayer par excellence, As’ad Abu Khalil writes “It is important for Arabs to remember that Chavez supported the Ba`thist tyrants of Syria and Iraq.”
I say it is important for Angry Arab to remember that those of us he is reminding, support Chavez BECAUSE of his strategic alliance with Bashar al-Assad et al, rather than in spite of them. What is lost on the Western liberal and colonized [Angry] Arab minds, is that unlike them, we do not neatly extricate Chavez’s domestic policies from his foreign policies but see them as part and parcel of the Chavismo doctrine and practice. Chavez’s principled stands in the Arab and Islamic world, whether Palestine, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Lebanon or Iran are merely an extension of the socio-economic justice that he instituted within Venezuela, the participatory democracy he helped nurture there, and the regional independence and integration he helped foster among Latin American countries. Both Chavez’s internationalism and his domestic socialist program were driven by his wider pursuit of justice. It will never cease to surprise and disgust me, how self-styled Marxists like Angry Arab fail to see that and continue to view reality through the White Man’s liberal lens.

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Much has been written about what a misnomer it is to call the Syrian uprising-cum-proxy war a “revolution”. However, many [pseudo] leftists in the opposition camp insist that our labeling of their movement as counter-revolutionary is simply an emotionally-informed opinion and not a scientific analysis. I challenge any leftist supporter of the opposition to deconstruct the concept of revolution using a Marxist definition and a scientific socialist methodology as I did for my class today in this simplistic manner and see if they can reach any other conclusion:

-Revolutions entail change from one social system or economic mode of production to another, which is accompanied by political change. Revolutions cannot, by [Marxist] definition just be political, which is little more than regime change.  

-Capitalism is the dominant economic system in the world today; Imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism. The US is the leading capitalist, imperialist power in the world today.

-Any movement that resists or seeks to overthrow this global status quo is ipso fact revolutionary.

-Any movement that is not merely supported, but sponsored, financed and controlled by the hegemonic capitalist, imperialist power, ipso facto becomes a movement that serves the world order and hence the status quo.  

-When such capitalist-imperialist-sponsored movements actively seek to overthrow governments that defy the US, and have hence revolted against the world order, these movements effectively become counter-revolutionary and regressive forces which serve imperialism. And this is without factoring in even more reactionary Salafi-Takfiri and Wahhabi forces who are anathema to socialism.

Addendum to my class lecture: let’s add to that the Syrian National Coalition’s recent threats to boycott international meetings, in an attempt to blackmail the US and western powers into “taking action” on Syria— i.e. to increase the scope of western military intervention. The Syrian opposition emerges as a movement which is not merely counter-revolutionary as per the above definition, but an unabashed proxy force eager to be promoted to a satellite state which it aspires to build on the ruins of the Syrian state that it hopes its capitalist-imperialist masters will destroy on its behalf.

No leftist can support such a movement without defying the most basic Marxist premises and/or indulging in self-delusion.

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"Only the most totalitarian kind of hegemony could succeed in turning the progressive values, means and objectives of the oppressed into weapons against them: using anti-politics to dislodge anti-imperialism, revolution to eliminate resistance, freedom to strip away independence and people power to dominate the people."

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Les Politiques: 'Divisions Among The Arab Left regarding The Syria Crisis'

Comrade Sophia who blogs at Les Politiques has kindly translated this article from Le Monde Diplomatique which talks about the  divided state of the Arab left over Syria. I am also quoted in the article.  Sophia’s full article is reproduced below. 

'Divisions Among The Arab Left regarding The Syria Crisis'

This is a rough translation of an article appearing in Le Monde Diplomatique, August French edition, accessible only to subscribers. Original title: ‘La crise syrienne déchire la gauche arabe’
In August 2011, the Lebanese nationalist leftist daily newspaper Al-Akhbar undergoes its first crisis, since its creation in the summer 2006.   Assistant editor, Khaled Saghieh, resigns from the journal he contributed to create citing  the lack of support from the journal to the Syrian popular uprising of March 2011.  Al-Akhbar has never kept secret its political proximity with Hezbollah, one of Syria’s president Bashar el-Assad principal regional allies, nor hidden its preference for dialogue between the government and part of the opposition over the pure and simple fall of the regime.  However, at the same time, the daily has opened its pages for the Syrian opposition to express itself.  Among those published was Salameh Khaileh, a Syro-Palestinian Marxist intellectual, arrested at the end of April 2012 by the security services.
Last June, the dissent appeared in Al-Akhbar English online version with an article by Amal Saad Ghorayeb: ‘Syria Crisis, there is a crowd’.  In it, the Lebanese chronicler adopts a clear line of support for the Syrian regime and critcises ‘third wayers’ who denounce the authoritarian Syrian regime while warning against western foreign military intervention, Libya style.  The same month, another Al-Akhbar collaborator, Max Blumenthal,  resigns denouncing what he calls ‘Assad apologists’ inside the journal editorial team.
What happened at Al-Akhbar is symptomatic of wider strategic and ideological divisions among the Arab Left regarding the Syria crisis.  Some show support for the regime in the name of the struggle against Israel and the ‘resistance against imperialisme’.  Others support the uprising in the name of a ‘revolutionary logic’ and the defence of ‘democratic rights’.  Finally, some express a middle position between a distant solidarity with the uprising demanding freedom for the protests while rejecting ‘foreign intervention’ promoting ‘national reconciliation’.   Diverse sensibilities exist within the Arab Left : there are communists, Marxists, Leftists Nationalists, Radicals, and Moderates.  The Arab Left appears, with the Syria crisis, as a fragmented mosaic.
Anti-imperialism as the analysis grid for the Arab Left
On one side, the unconditional support for Al-Assad is not mainstream among the Arab Left and very few are the voices calling to maintain the regime as it is.   But, on the other side, the unconditional support for the popular uprising is not a dominant position.  It can be found among movements that are at the extreme Left of the political Spectrum ; Trostkyistes, the Lebanese Socialist Forum, the Revolutionary Socialists in Egypt, Maoists, and the Democratic Voice of Morocco.   These latter movements have built relationships with a fraction of the opposition to the regime, namely the Syrian Revolutionary Left of Mr. Gayath Naisse.  They have participated, since the Spring of 2011, in discrete mobilisations like protests in front of  Syrian embassies and consulates in their respective countries.
Some intellectuals from the independant Left, like the Lebanese historian Fawwaz Trabulsi, support the logic of uprisings.  They demand the fall of the regime.  This current excludes any dialogue.  And even if this part of the Left insist on the necessity of pacifist popular protests, they do not deny to protesters the right to take up arms.  At the extreme Left, the partisans of the revolution diverge from the Syrian National Council on the alliance with Qatar, Turkey, or Saudi Arabia.  They denounce such alliances as compromising the independance of the popular revolution in Syria.
Denouncing the regime and calling for its fall does not prevent the radical Left from being suspicious of the support given to the Syrian revolution by Gulf monarchies neither from dissociating itself from the anti-Assad discourse of a part of the ‘international community’ headed by the United States.  However, their anti-imperialist reflex comes after their support for the revolution.  The priority is given here to the internal situation in Syria : the logic of the uprising of the people against their political regime is what counts first, as in Tunisia and Egypt.
[What has been described so far is the position of a minority situated at the extreme Spectrum of the Arab Left.]
On the contrary, a cautious distance toward the Syrian revolution is what characterises the majority of the Left in the Arab World.  This majority denounces the militaristaion of the uprising, a process it thinks is profiting the radical Islamists and foreign fighters entering Syria.  It fears the confessionalisation of the conflict leading to opposing religious minorities, Alawis and Christians to Sunnis radicalised by repression, seeing in this the spectre of an unending civil war.  This majority also takes into account the balance of regional and international powers : Iran and Syria against Gulf monarchies, Russia and China against the United States.  In this confrontation between multiple international state actors, the majority of the Arab Left does not hesitate to take sides where its affinities are rooted, with Iran and Syria as state actors against Gulf monrachies and with Russia and China against the United States.
Thus, when the union of Socialist and Leftist parties in Jordan, a coalition of six political formations including communists and Arab nationalists, met in Amman in April 2012 to commemorate the 9th anniversary of the 2003 invasion of  Iraq, the Syria crisis, more than the fall of Saddam, was front and center in the discussions, leading to firmly denounce any foreign intervention in Syria, where some of the speakers did not hesitate to draw the parallell  between the military intervention in Iraq and the support the SNC and the Syrian armed opposition enjoy in the West.
In Tunisia, in a communiqué dated May, 17, 2012,  the UGTT, Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail, which is the main unionised force in Tunisia whose executives come partly from the extreme Left, while affirming its support for the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Syrian people, warns against the ‘plot’ fomented by the ‘colonial states’ and ‘Arab Reactionaries’.  Two months before this, the Communist Labour Party of Tunisia (POCT, acronym in French) called, along with Arab Nationalist Movements, to protest the venue, in Tunis, of the conference of the Friends of Syria formed of the SNC and 60 international delegations.
The Lebanese Communist Party has adopted a cautious position.  While opening its Press to opponents of the Syrian regime like Michel Kilo (who is not member of the SNC), it abstained from participating in the daily protests that have been taking place for a year now in front of the Syrian embassy in Beirut.  The party is under criticism from the extreme left in Lebanon for its support for Qadri Jamil, head of the Popular Will Party in Syria, and member of the ‘legal’ opposition, who joined the newly formed Syrian government of Mr. Riyad Hijjab in June 2012 as vice PM for economic affairs.
It is mainly a reformist logic that has the favours of a part of the Arab Left : the solution to the Syrian conflict must be political, not military.  The final communiqué of the Arab Nationalist Conference meeting in June, in Hammamet, Tunisia, the gathering of 200 members of Arab Nationalist Leftist  - and to a lesser extent - Islamist formations, reflects this reformist logic.  Their communiqué, trying to please everybody,  recognises the right of the Syrian people to ‘freedom, democracy, and pacific alternance of power’, denounces violence from all origins, thus highlighting the violence of both the uprising and the regime and calling on both to commit to a logic of dialogue based on the peace plan of March 2012 of UN special envoy, Mr. Kofi Annan.
If, for a part of the Arab Radical left, the revolutionary perspective must come first in Syria,  the majority of the Arab Left has renounced this perspective.  This majority does not want the brutal fall of the regime.  For this majority, there is a contradiction in what’s going on in Syria : a cold war that doesn’t say its name.  The fear of the void in a post-Assad Syria reconciled with the US and allied to gulf monarchies is much stronger than the fear of the continuation of the regime.
Moreover, Syria is some sort of Janus to many Leftist militants in the Arab world.  Very few among them deny the repressive and authoritarian character of its regime, but even today,  the defensive discourse of a regime under international sanctions, echoes the profound ideological bedrock of the Arab left which can be found in the third worldist and anti-imperialist paradigm. To some, this ideological paradigm is nuanced by the attachment to the popular character of the revolt, to others, this ideological attachment is, to the contrary, multiplied and amplified by the increasing internationalisation of the conflict.
Not to forget the Islamist dynamic born from the Arab Spring which translates by seizing power, in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, by the Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood.  These events have provoked a backlash among part of the Left: from now on, Arab revolutions are feared because they may lead to an Islamist hegemony in the Arab world.
What stokes these fears among the Arab Left is the support of Islamist movements to the revolution in Syria: Ennahda in Tunisia, as well as the Msulim Brotherhood in Egypt and Jordan, are fervent supporters of the Syrian revolution.  Thus, the position of a majority of the Arab Left  toward the Syrian revolution reflects the history of their own confrontation with political Islam.  This is why, Arab Leftist parties with commitments to ‘revolution’ and ‘progressism’, and for some, to ‘Marxism’, have, paradoxically, set their preference for a negotiated and gradual transition in Syria, out of fear of the disillusion these revolutions will bring.

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An excellent piece by Mazda Majidi. Indeed since when were “popular” and progressive/revolutionary synonymous? 
When analyzing an opposition movement anywhere in the world, this is the first question that needs to be asked. Just because part of the population of a given country comes to the streets or takes up arms does not mean that they are revolutionary or progressive. This is so even if they are responding to real social and political problems. Right-wing forces routinely mobilize parts of the population —predominantly disaffected elements of the somewhat privileged “middle class” and others—to promote right-wing agendas….
Revolutionaries and progressives must stand on principles, and make a political assessment of movements in question. Even if the majority of the population were swept up by a reactionary movement, that movement is not revolutionary. Even if the majority of Libyans supported imperialist intervention—which is highly unlikely—that would not justify support by progressives for imperialist intervention…
In the imperialist era, the right to self-determination has been bound together with the “national-colonial question,” that is the specific global division of power between imperialist oppressor and oppressed nations. This has long been a cardinal question for revolutionaries inside the imperialist countries: what attitude they will take towards their own ruling class’s imperialist plans, and towards the independence movements among the oppressed nations. Lenin, the Russian Revolution and the early Communist International recognized that these independence movements weakened imperialism and could hasten its downfall. They offered a united front, although not necessarily political support, to independence movements in the struggle against imperialism. This is the specific meaning of self-determination in the era of imperialism.”

Full article here

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A critique of my work on Third Wayism: "Asad Apologists: The Ostrich Syndrome"

A former editor at al-Akhbar offers a leftist critique of my own Marxist critiques of Third Wayism. Apparently, I am an Assad “apologist” who doesn’t understand Lenin and who is not a fan of the great anti-colonial thinker, Frantz Fanon. Incidentally, I had already quoted Fanon for my next piece which will appear in Akhbar later this week. I have also quoted Fanon in the past in connection with Syria and the Arab Spring on my blog here.

Unlike most Third Wayers, the author gives credit to Assad’s role in supporting the resistance project, but he makes many problematic assertions such as this one which, despite its professed anti-interventionism, appears to view NATO as  the Syrian people’s saviour and a force that could potentially save lives: “ In fact, opposing foreign intervention may have a very high cost in terms of human life given that the regime might be capable of unleashing its full wrath on dissenters in the absence of external restraint. Some third wayers might argue that it is a painful price one has to bear if the issue is indeed about organic revolution and not either a grand struggle for power or merely saving lives in the short term.” 

Some other excerpts from Hisham Safieddine’s piece:

"In their attempt to distort and discredit third-way politics, most first wayers identify the essence of the Asad regime as anti-imperialist, when in reality it is ultranationalist with an anti-Zionist silver lining—a thick lining one might still argue. Sometimes, they invoke Lenin’s critique of third-way politics, with little accompanying class analysis. However, a more apt analogy would be the non-aligned movement of the Cold War era. Apologists will confuse the lack of political power (i.e., the power of decision-making) with a lack of political position (i.e., a practical political agenda or plan), and draw a caricature of who is a third wayer as a criticism of last resort.

To continue to insist on blanket support for Asad under the pretense of an anti-imperialist stance is to confuse anti-imperialism with blind support for nationalist elites. Furthermore, a refusal to conflate the two is not an invention of “liberal armchair intellectuals” as some first wayers claim. Such a refusal was substantively formulated by one of the pillars of anti-colonial thought, Frantz Fanon, whose name is conspicuously absent from the political lexicon of Asad apologists. Long before neo-liberal elites had come to power, Fanon warned against the excesses of nationalist bourgeois elites in using anti-imperialist or anti-colonial discourse to disguise their own comprador role in consolidating imperialist structures of control. Fanon’s analysis might actually help explain why some Arab leftists, who are likely more sensitive to anti-colonial history than international anti-imperialists, are third wayers rather than outright supporters of the regime. But instead of invoking Fanon, apologists will go so far as to invoke Lenin’s quote about third-party politics, which is really a language trick no different than someone quoting Tony Blair’s own reference to a “third way” in order to undermine third-way politics in Syria. Lenin was at times more than willing to compromise when it came to dealing with imperialist forces (i.e., the Brest Liovsk treaty). In the instance of his critique of third-way politics, the communist leader was actually more concerned with class struggle and contemptuous of those, like liberal socialists, who did not take a firm and uncompromising position in this struggle against the bourgeois class….

Lenin’s critique of third-way politics may thus ironically lend itself more to backing calls for no compromise with Asad, given that the Syrian uprising’s class composition is largely made up of the countryside peasantry and suburban working class…”

FULL ARTICLE HERE

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Lenin versus the early Lukács

While highly theoretical, this essay traces the thinking of imperialist-enabling leftists like Counterfire to the Marxist thought of Georg Lukács.  Lenin’s critique of Lukács, as well as his central ideas on history and revolution as found in his  "Left-Wing" Communism – An Infantile Disorder (a MUST READ btw in the context of the so-called Arab “Spring”), in addition to other cited works, offers profound insights into the very flawed theoretical premises upon which many western and Arab leftists have based their current political positions vis-a-vis Libya and Syria  in particular. 

Some excerpts which are of particular relevance to Third Wayers’ position on Syria:

For Lenin the ‘subject’ of the revolutionary process (that which acted, that which needed to achieve class consciousness) was naturally the proletariat. But Lenin pointed out that what the proletariat needed to understand and therefore to act on, that is the ‘object’, was not only itself but the interrelation of ‘all the forces, groups, parties, classes and masses’ – i.e. the whole of society. ‘Subject’ and ‘object’ therefore were not the same and consequently could not be identical.

This is, for example, precisely the meaning of Lenin’s insistence that even if oppressed classes are completely unwilling to go on in the old way this is not at all sufficient for a revolution. Only if in addition the ruling class is also unable to go on in the old way could a revolution occur. As we already cited, in Lenin’s formula: ‘The fundamental law of revolution, which has been confirmed by all revolutions and especially by all three Russian revolutions in the twentieth century, is as follows: for a revolution to take place it is not enough for the exploited and oppressed masses to realise the impossibility of living in the old way and demand changes; for a revolution to take place it is essential that the exploiters should not be able to live and rule in the old way. It is only when the “lower classes” do not want to live in the old way and the “upper classes” cannot carry on in the old way that the revolution can triumph’ (Lenin V. I., 1920a, p.84).

The Marxist concept of totality necessarily means that a political line can only be derived from the analysis of ‘all the forces, groups, parties, classes and masses operating’. It cannot be derived only from one element – that of the situation of the working class itself.

But a second, wrong, idea is that Marxism is only the study of the ‘below’ – i.e. precisely the concept, paralleling Lukács, that all that is required by the working class is knowledge of itself, or more loosely, all that is required by the oppressed is knowledge of the oppressed. This, as we have seen, is not a Marxist concept. The Marxist concept of history, as of politics, is not to replace the knowledge of ‘the above’ with the knowledge of ‘the below’ but to understand the relation of ‘all the forces, groups, parties, classes and masses’ – that is the totality of society.

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A must read: Counterfire and counterrevolution in Libya

Old but brilliant article on Libya which adopts a Marxist analysis to critique what Lenin called “infantile Leftists”. The essay is really applicable to Syria, and I will be definitely borrowing from it for my future articles. Pardon the long excerpts but they are really worth reading:
"To justify that position, Counterfire had to ludicrously misrepresent reality. Nearing the end of the imperialist offensive John Rees posed the following absurd issue: ‘So the question now posed is this: in whose interest will the new rulers of Libya act?’ If John Rees doesn’t know the answer to this question either he has lost his powers of reason or he has cut himself from all sources of information during the last months. The answer to ‘in whose interests the new leaders of Libya will act’ is determined by the alignment of forces that brought them to power. The ITNC was carried to power by the imperialists and they will act in the interests of the imperialists.
Finally, what theoretical analysis led them such a position? Particularly in the case of Counterfire, it is clear that it is because their theory is not Marxist – something dealt with previously here. Marxism understands that anything is determined by the totality of the forces acting in it. As Lenin put it in regard to class struggle in Left-Wing Communism: ‘the Communist Party… must act on scientific principles. Science… demands that account must be taken of all the forces, groups, parties, classes and masses operating in a given country’.
Acting in the situation in Libya were not only the forces within that country but imperialist powers from outside it. Whatever were the original intentions of those fighting against Gaddafi’s regime, which doubtless from day one ranged from those fighting for liberty to puppets of imperialism, the side of ITNC was entirely seized control of by the imperialists. The imperialists therefore led the assault on Tripoli and therefore it was necessary to fight against them. That is what an analysis of the inter-relation of all class forces in Libya shows.
The reason Counterfire justified being on the same side of a military conflict as the imperialists is due to a non-Marxist theory which sees the class struggle not as resulting from the total contradictions of all classes in society but from some sort of populist unfolding of the masses – put vulgarly, if people are on a demonstration, or if there is a mass movement, it must necessarily be progressive. Regrettably this is not true – as Marx analysed from the 1848 revolutions onward. It is perfectly possible to have large movements which are either reactionary from the beginning or seized control of and manipulated by reaction and imperialism. It is not the fact that a lot of people are involved that makes a movement progressive, but which class benefits from its victory or defeat. In Libya imperialism has benefited from what has occurred and, regrettably, various people who wanted to try to be progressive were on the same military side as imperialism.”

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samimnot:

basically

samimnot:

basically

(via cultureofresistance)

Source: samimnot

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NOVEMBER 9, 2011

Over the last few years, the word socialism has become more and more common. Usually, it’s used in an extremely negative way and in almost all situations the politician or commentator uttering the word either has no idea what it means or is being intentionally misleading. We publish the following to set the record straight.

Myth #1: Socialists want to take away your property

This myth confuses private property with personal property. When socialists talk about the abolition of private property, they are referring to the socialization of the means of production—the resources and equipment that create wealth. Working people do not own this type of property—which is why we have to work to survive.

Right now, the wealth of the 1,000 billionaires is equal to that of the 3.5 billion poorest people on the planet. In order to provide everyone with more, that wealth must be commonly owned, and not the property of those few capitalists.

Socialists have no interest in taking away one’s home, car or individual items intended for personal use. In reality, as the foreclosure crisis has shown, under capitalism the banks own most of this property as well—and will take it away as they please.

Myth #2: Socialists are against democracy and for a dictatorship

The two-party “democratic” system under capitalism is in fact a dictatorship of the rich. Under it, working people create all the wealth, but capitalists—who own the corporations and banks—have all the economic power and use it to control politics. That fact never changes, even if we have the right to vote. We get to vote on who will oppress us next, while all the important decisions are made in executive boardrooms.

Under socialism, society’s vast resources cannot be privately hoarded. They are used and distributed according to a plan that the working class and its organizations decide. Because wealth will not be concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite, it creates the basis for genuine democracy — real “rule of the people” — for the first time.

Historically, there have been various political forms to defend the rule of the working class. In U.S. schools, they teach us that the Soviet Union, China and Cuba are evil dictatorships because of their single-party systems. But we never learn that they developed such governments to prevent counter-revolutions that would have brought back the dictatorship of the rich.

Myth #3: Under socialism, there is no incentive to work

Socialism rewards hard work, while under capitalism the richest people are the ones who do no work at all. In a socialist society, the working class controls the means of production and the fruits of its own labor and therefore has a real stake in the realization of its full capacity to produce. The main incentive to work under capitalism is the threat of being fired and starvation.

Under socialism, a person is paid according to the work they do. Under capitalism, the least productive members of society—the bankers and CEOs—grow obscenely wealthy while working class people live paycheck to paycheck.

Myth #4: Socialism is against human nature

Human “nature” changes depending on the type of society you are living in. Marx explained that the ruling ideas and behaviors of a society are those of its ruling class. We are taught to believe that humans are naturally violent, exploitative and selfish because those are the principles on which our society is built. Looking through human history, including thousands of years of communal, class-less societies, we can see that another “nature” exists. Even in our present society, we can see in our daily lives tremendous examples of shared sacrifice and solidarity—even if those don’t make the evening news.

Myth #5: Socialists don’t respect freedom of religion

Socialists consider religion a private matter, and actively fight against discrimination on the basis of religion.

Marx never called for the banning of religion. He pointed out how historically religious institutions have discouraged people from fighting against oppression. They instruct poor and working people to wait instead for a better after-life.

There are many examples, however, of movements that have used religious ideology while struggling for a better world. While many socialists are atheists, the PSL whole-heartedly welcomes people of all faith backgrounds that want to fight to make that world a reality.

Myth #6: Socialists only care about class oppression—not other forms of oppression

PSL members are tireless fighters against all forms of oppression. We believe that racism, sexism, anti-immigrant bigotry, homophobia and all other kinds of discrimination divide poor and working people and must be fought if we ever want to move forward. We put ourselves in that revolutionary tradition of socialists who take up the banners of Black liberation, women’s liberation and LGBT liberation.

Myth #7: Socialism collapsed when the Soviet Union collapsed

Socialism as a concept is not dependent on any single state. It will exist as long as the exploitative system of capitalism exists. It existed before the Soviet Union and therefore exists after it. It is a theory of how to organize society in a way that eliminates scarcity and puts the producers in control.

A few governments do exist that are trying to build socialism. Cuba, a country that had been impoverished by colonialism, is an example of what can be accomplished when the resources of society are used to meet the needs of the people, as opposed to enriching the capitalist class.

The Soviet Union was the first experiment of poor and working people taking power. Despite its own contradictions, it provided universal health care, free education, the right to a job, free childcare, as well as guaranteed maternity leave and vacation days for all workers. Since the Soviet Union’s overthrow, life expectancy and living conditions have plummeted in Russia. 

The Soviet Union also developed a privileged, bureaucratic leadership that departed from revolutionary socialism. But it must be remembered that it inherited a legacy of underdevelopment. For its entire existence, the world’s most powerful countries worked to weaken and overthrow it.

Myth #8: Socialism has no historical roots in the United States

Socialists have been consistent and dedicated participants in all the major struggles the U.S. working class has engaged in. Some of the main socialist holidays—International Worker’s Day and International Women’s Day—began in the United States. The first unions were established by radicals who wanted to abolish capitalism. During the Great Depression, socialists were leaders in the labor movement and organized the unemployed. In the 1960s, leading figures of the struggles against racism, war and sexism recognized that only socialism could put a final end to these injustices. 

 http://www.pslweb.org/liberationnews/news/10-09-23-eight-myths-about-socialismand.html

 *Source: Liberation, Newspaper of Party for Socialism and Liberation 

Source: http

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"Antonio Gramsci: “The popular element “feels” but does not always know or understand; the intellectual element “knows” but does not always understand and in particular does not always feel….One cannot make politics-history without this passion, without the sentimental connection between intellectuals and people-nation.”"

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"Paolo Freire: “conscientization is not exactly the starting
point of commitment. Conscientization is more of a product of commitment. I do not have to be already critically self-conscious in order to struggle. By struggling I become conscious/aware.”"

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thepeoplesrecord:

Every morning I wake up on the wrong side of capitalism. 

thepeoplesrecord:

Every morning I wake up on the wrong side of capitalism. 

Source: thepeoplesrecord

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