Ideology

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 11149
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: Ideology

Post by blindpig » Mon May 15, 2023 11:14 pm

The ideology of "artificial intelligence" as another form of idealism to enslave workers
No. 5/81.V.2023

There are three big old ideological systems that are exploited by the bourgeoisie to maintain its hegemony - religion, nationalism and democracy. All of them, in fact, are the most speculative varieties of idealism, lies, fairy tales and nonsense, designed to cloud the brains of the working people, to confuse them, playing on herd feelings. Religion is mainly offered to the most culturally backward peoples, nationalism to the weak, catching up countries, and democracy is the lot of the developed capitalist countries.

Such an established gradation does not mean that religious ideology is simpler or more primitive than, for example, democratic. It's just that these types of worldview and political thinking historically belonged mainly to successive eras. Religion to feudalism. Nationalism to capitalism in the period of bourgeois revolutions. Democracy to imperialism (although democracy was both ancient and feudal, it flourished precisely when the masses became a little more literate and already stopped believing in biblical tales).

Moreover, all three ideologies were effectively adapted in modern conditions by the oligarchy.

The contradictions between religion, nationalism and democracy are just as artificial as between different religions, different nationalisms and different democracies. Insofar as they are all false, insofar as at the moment they add up to various ideological configurations, sometimes monstrously mutant, or, on the contrary, they can declare "irreconcilable contradictions". The whole point here is in the class struggle, in the contrasting interests of various countries, detachments of the bourgeoisie, etc., who use them. In other words, all these “three whales” in all their varieties and bizarre combinations are an ideological wrapper of lies covering up some real political processes with real economic interests in each specific case, in each specific country. Chatter for the fooled masses.

At the same time, it should be additionally noted that what has been said above does not mean that nations do not exist objectively, that there is no national liberation struggle, and so on. Nations exist and fight, but nationalism has nothing to do with it. It is not nationalism that leads the people to the liberation struggle, but the oppression of people on a national basis, the infringement of their feelings, language, culture, and the like. The latter only creates a fertile ground for nationalism due to the fact that the masses, unfortunately, are not able to independently master Marxism, and the communists are by no means always able to play a leading role in the national movement.

So, returning to the topic of the publication, we are waiting for the formation of a new, "fresh" ideological system of clouding people's brains. It will not be as large and comprehensive as these three, but the bourgeoisie is making a serious bet on it. This is the ideology of "artificial intelligence".

Ten years will pass, and we will see that the prime minister of some small European country will be “artificial intelligence”. Dismissal of people, crises and social upheavals will be explained by the influence of "artificial intelligence". Unpopular decisions and reforms will be carried out under the pretext of their validity by an impartial "artificial intelligence". In the latter case, “artificial intelligence” will be presented in a similar way to the way arguments based on statistics and cost economic parameters such as GDP, trade balance, and so on are used today.

In short, the bourgeoisie will slip between themselves, their government and the people the lining of "artificial intelligence". Since the bourgeoisie will command this "intellect", insofar as its functionality will serve its interests.

It's the same here as with any technology. Since technology belongs to the "dead" element of the productive forces (tools of production), it serves the one who owns it. If we grow up to put this technology at the service of us, the fighting communists within bourgeois society, then this concrete manifestation of it will be useful and progressive. But basically and in general, you need to understand that "artificial intelligence" will work for the ruling class. And it is important now, in connection with these trends, to debunk the myths about technology itself, to give a correct, scientific, Marxist understanding of it, and, of course, to debunk the ideology that the bourgeoisie winds up on it, giving a social and political color to its meaning.

Technology and ideology of "artificial intelligence"
First of all, you need to understand that "artificial intelligence" and specifically "neural networks" is a computer program in the most literal and direct sense of the word. The "neural network" differs from other programs in its relative complexity and computational gluttony. And those "neural networks" that are called "artificial intelligence" differ from the usual computer programs by the ability to use them without knowing the encoding and mastering the interface, that is, entering requests and setting tasks occur through ordinary human language.

Purely technologically, the essence of the “neural network” is that instead of writing a lot of algorithms manually, it is based on a limited number of algorithms that, based on a huge amount of data, create new algorithms, the number of which is potentially limited only by the amount of data. Of course, these data must be “marked up” manually by a person, or with the help of a person, their primary processing must be controlled. For example, the now popular ChatGPT, based on tens or hundreds of thousands of algorithms and a giant array of labeled data, has generated about 170 billion algorithms. It is clear that manually writing 170 billion formulas is an impossible task, but due to the uniformity of the data, this process can be automated, which was successfully done. What distinguishes ChatGPT from other similar programs is primarily the amount of data used, requiring huge investments in computing power. Microsoft made a very expensive chat room that won the hearts of the townsfolk and scammers.

In short, a "neural network" is a program for automating tasks that can be solved based on statistically significant "averages". They found their first and most impressive application in the recognition of images, text, and in working with large arrays of verbal information. Those. where it is relatively easy to find patterns based on the search for common parameters in a large sample.

The very technology of "neural networks" and even similar "chat bots" is and will continue to be widely used, it is far from useless. Although so far it looks more like a toy, it can also be used in solving quite serious applied problems. The question is not that the technology is somehow wrong, bourgeois and non-proletarian. The technology is wonderful. The question is how and to whom it serves and in what ideological wrapper it is enclosed. The USSR applied remarkable nuclear technologies by creating the world's first nuclear power plant, and the United States - a bomb. As they say, feel the difference.

What are all these bourgeois lackeys of technocracy telling us?

It all starts with the names of the programs - "neural networks", "artificial intelligence". The words "neural" and "intelligence" refer us to the fact that we are allegedly facing some kind of machine copy of the thought process. Computer propagandists say so directly that the “neural network” uses the same principles as our brain. All this, of course, is complete nonsense, exploiting methodological illiteracy and the complete lack of philosophical culture among most people, including industry professionals. No mathematical model can even roughly reflect the process of thinking, because thinking (and more broadly reflection as a whole) is based on a qualitative process, operating with quality, and mathematics underlying programming is capable of expressing exclusively the quantitative component of being. Quality cannot be deduced from quantity, on the contrary, quantity belongs to quality. Quality has quantitative certainty, and not vice versa. Quantitative operation can give a technical solution, but not thinking. This is clear to everyone who owns diamatics.

The problematic of the impossibility of computer thinking can be revealed at a more understandable, non-philosophical level. So, all these neurobiologists and neurocomputers assert and proceed from the fact that thinking is a property of the human brain. They delve into the brain tissue, make mathematical models, trying to comprehend the scientific secret of thinking, to reveal its mechanisms. Whereas Marxism asserts otherwise, that thinking is a property of highly organized matter - human society . A person thinks as a manifestation of society, and the brain is an organ of thinking. If we take a person who is healthy in every sense with a reference brain, without society, no thinking will arise in him. Therefore, to look for the mechanisms of thinking in the brain tissue is the wrong question. Moreover, it has been reliably established that depriving a person of a part of the brain leads to the fact that part of the functionality of the lost tissues is taken over by the remaining ones, that is, the brain connected to the sense organs is a universal biological mechanism in which the property of highly organized matter - society - is manifested. thinking. Technoromantics turn everything upside down, fall into empiricism and induction. Their technologies control technologists, the form determines the content, the manifestation determines the essence, the particular prevails over the general.

A computer program cannot form social bonds, cannot feel, does not have a psyche, so it is impossible to simulate its socialization. Due to the organization of this type of matter, neither the laws of living organisms nor the laws of social development apply to it. Therefore, it is inaccessible to operate with quality, essences, which means that goal-setting and thinking in general are impossible. She is not alive.

If we talk about the prospects for creating artificial intelligence, then it seems more realistic to implant human brain tissue into a highly developed animal, improve its sense organs through technology, artificially interfere with the body - release the vocal cords by upright posture for the emergence of articulate speech, and the like while improving training methods aside upbringing and education. But the question is: why mock an animal for the sake of some naked pseudo-scientific ambition?

People perfectly produce people, and we need to improve pedagogy, develop intellect on the basis of bringing social relations to the requirements of progress. People are wonderful at producing computer programs that automate the solution of applied problems. These are processes occurring at different levels in different spheres of productive forces.

The ideology of "artificial intelligence" is another bourgeois lie designed to confuse a one-sidedly educated public.

First , it breeds fears of a “machine uprising,” and intimidating the proletariat is one of the most effective ways to keep it in line.

Secondly , it provides another means of manipulating public consciousness. It makes it possible to deceive the proletariat with "impartial" analytics. Many do not understand two things. The first is that the way the fed “neural network” data is labeled, and what kind of data it is, depends on what it will produce at the output. The second is that the technology itself is expensive and under the control of the bourgeoisie. Yes, a simple “neural network” can be created even by a student on a laptop, but to create a “neural network” capable of solving complex problems, billions of dollars of investments in processor performance and data markup are needed.

Thirdly , it provides another (along with hunger, lack of money, consumer loans) tool to stimulate the workforce. “If you don’t work hard, I will replace you with AI.” Large corporations are already exploiting this topic with might and main.

So the statement of the technocrats that we are entering the age of AI should be understood first of all as another form of idealism is being formed to strengthen the power of capital over labor.

A. Redin
14/05/2023

https://prorivists.org/81_ai/

Google Translator

It helps to read "thinking" as 'consciousness', many animal 'think' to some degree. Maybe a google translator issue. Goddamn AI....

It ain't AI, it;s a bunch of cobbled together programs with a huge database. The hallmark of AI, in SF anyways, is nothing less than consciousness.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 11149
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: Ideology

Post by blindpig » Thu May 18, 2023 3:30 pm

Image

The great denial: Why they don’t want us to talk about class
By Chris Nineham (Posted May 12, 2023)

Originally published: Counterfire on May 7, 2023 (more by Counterfire) |

In the first of three extracts from his new book, Radical Chains, Chris Nineham asks why the establishment is so desperate to suppress the very idea of class.

Counter-power
It is not surprising that Marx’s concept of class is unpopular in the mainstream. Marx’s picture of a brutally divided society with organised robbery at its heart amounts to a devastating moral condemnation of capitalism. It also directly contradicts the various ways in which the establishment want us to understand the world we live in. Their preferred model of society is a giant market in which individuals interact freely and equally. In reality, of course, individuals are born into society with drastically different levels of wealth. Marx stressed however that it is the way production is organised that more than anything shapes society. ‘The arrangement of distribution’ he says in Capital, ‘is entirely dependent on the arrangement of production’. What people consume, even what people regard as needs, depends in the first instance on what is produced in any given society. The way the goods are distributed depends on the distribution of wealth, itself determined by one’s position in the productive process.

Politicians also like to tell us ‘we are all in it together.’ This illusion can only gain traction because the economy appears to operate independently of human will and control. The idea can’t survive contact with an understanding that the whole system is driven by a tiny minority forcing profit from the labour of the many. We are also told that capitalist investors are ‘wealth creators’. Looked at from the point of view of class, the capital that an investor brings to the table has been extracted – stolen – from past labour. The investor is simply recycling the spoils to make still more money.

Marxism also challenges the idea that capitalism will ‘lift up’ the poor over time. Capitalism has produced unimaginable wealth, but as Marx predicted, its drive to keep wages down means that for most of its existence the distribution of that wealth has become more and more unequal. Forty years of neoliberal capitalism has brought us to the extraordinary point at which just eight men are worth as much as half the world’s population. Marx’s analysis leads to the devastating conclusion that the poor are poor because the rich are rich. Generalised poverty and inequality are a necessary outcome of a system based on competition for profit.

The most radical aspect of all of Marx’s class analysis is however that it shows that in the process of conquering the world and achieving by far the highest levels of exploitation in history, capitalism has created its own nemesis, its own ‘grave digger’ in the working class. Marx believed workers had the potential to overthrow existing conditions for a number of reasons. The first was directly economic. The fact that workers are denied the material benefits of a more and more productive society gave them an immediate interest in resistance. The second was that the degradation experienced by most of humanity under capitalism was concentrated in the working class. The denial of human self-fulfilment, the ‘notorious crime of the whole of society’, was most acutely experienced in exploitation and its attendant alienation. Workers have through their experience the most acute consciousness of the immensely destructive and degrading capacities of capitalist accumulation.

Secondly, as well as having an interest in change, workers have the means to make it happen. Just as workers rely entirely on capitalists for their livelihood, capitalists are completely dependent on workers for their profits. Powerless as individuals, collectively, workers have immense potential power. As Marx put it, ‘of all the instruments of production, the greatest productive power is the revolutionary class itself’. By forcing huge numbers of workers together at the point of production, capitalism creates a counter-power. Struggles over pay and conditions have the capacity to generalise into a political conflict between different class organisations:

Large-scale industry concentrates in one place a crowd of people unknown to one another. Competition divides their interests. But the maintenance of wages, this common interest which they have against their boss, unites them in a common thought of resistance – combination… If the first aim of resistance was merely the maintenance of wages, combinations, at first isolated, constitute themselves into groups as the capitalists in their turn unite for the purpose of repression, and in the face of always united capital, the maintenance of the association becomes more necessary to them than that of wages…In this struggle – a veritable civil war – all the elements necessary for a coming battle unite and develop. Once it has reached this point, association takes on a political character.

The exclusion of workers from the fruits of production and from any stake in society leads to a final, crucial characteristic. Capitalism has created a class which has no interest in exploiting or oppressing any other group. All previous revolutions, including the bourgeois revolution, resulted in the replacement of one ruling class by another. The emerging capitalist class fought against the localism, the fixed bonds and the backwardness of the feudal system, but they did so to establish a new more dynamic regime of exploitation. Because the economic project of the bourgeoisie depended on the exploitation of a new class, the new rights it offered for the great mass of people, even at its most radical, was limited to the realm of politics. The French revolution that began in 1789 was the quintessential bourgeois revolution. For all its achievements, the equality announced in its central slogan of ‘liberty, fraternity and equality’ turned out to be at best formal and political rather than material or economic.

The nature of the subordination and exploitation of workers puts them in a much more radical situation. Not only is the working class unable to exploit any other group, but for working people, political freedom without social and economic liberation counts for little. Real liberation for workers can only come by dismantling the whole edifice of society. For the working class, the end of its exploitation and oppression can only mean the end of the whole system, the end of all oppression, and the end of class itself. As Marx wrote in The Communist Manifesto:

All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority. The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air.

This was the central insight of Marxism, one to which Marx returned again and again. Workers ‘formed a class which cannot emancipate itself without…emancipating all other spheres of society’ he wrote in 1844-45. The next year, he and Engels wrote that the proletariat cannot liberate itself ‘without destroying the conditions of its own life…without destroying all the inhuman conditions in life in contemporary society which exist in the proletariat in concentrated form’. The sheer comprehensiveness of its exploitation and oppression made the working class a subversive force like no other, ‘a class which is the dissolution of all classes’, a class in short, ‘with radical chains’.

https://mronline.org/2023/05/12/the-great-denial-2/

When I was young there were three class: rich, middle and poor. the working class had been erased from the public discourse. it was 'communist' to talk that way. Pretty much still is in the USA, that Cold War propaganda worked like a charm and is still working today after a 30 year snooze.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 11149
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: Ideology

Post by blindpig » Mon May 22, 2023 2:36 pm

Image

Why intersectionality is anti-Marxist: it acts like the different liberation struggles aren’t all class struggles

BY RAINER SHEA
MAY 5, 2023

There’s a distinction between the way intersectionality views the unique types of liberation struggles that the different societal groups wage, and the way that Marxism views them. Intersectionality views them as coming from innately different places, from origins that can be fully separated from each other. The key word is “fully,” because there are indeed different characteristics to the fight for racial justice, the fight for women’s rights, etc. What intersectionality aims to do is negate the characteristic that all of them have in common, and that Marxism does recognize they share. This is the characteristic of being class struggles.

When Marx wrote “The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles,” he was talking about the struggle of the first women who’d been put under a gender hierarchy during ancient times. He was talking about the struggle of the Hebrews under the Pharaoh. He was talking about the struggle of America’s slaves. To say that all of these weren’t class struggles would be absurd. The peoples caught in these oppressive systems were fighting against forms of class oppression. That they were subjugated and exploited due to being part of certain gender, national, or racial groups doesn’t take out the class character of their experience.

When proponents of intersectionality use the phrase “class reductionism” against those who take class struggle seriously, their accusation is that we’re trying to use class to discredit the need for rectifying the particular kinds of injustices that the different identity groups face. When they’re talking about faux-populist white supremacists like Tucker Carlson, this accusation is true. Yet what about when this rhetorical practice is applied in reverse? When instead of reactionaries like Carlson saying “don’t think about injustices against minorities, only think about class,” it’s liberals or radical liberals saying “don’t think about class, only think about the identity struggles.” The latter is far more common in our discourse than the former, because usually reactionaries lack Carlson’s awareness of how relevant class is. Overwhelmingly when class gets brought up in mainstream rhetoric, it’s an optional afterthought that follows statements of (pseudo) advocacy for racial, immigrant, women’s, or LGBT justice causes.

This is because these causes are the ones that liberals can best co-opt, and divert into reformist projects that reinforce the Democratic Party’s dominance over what’s considered “the left.” The way that the Democratic Party and its narrative agents carry out this co-optation is by acting like these causes are inherently separate from class. As if black people, especially black women, don’t have their labor exploited at some of the highest rates out of any demographic. As if immigrants aren’t restricted from becoming citizens in the millions because this allows them to be paid lower and with fewer labor restrictions. As if gay and trans people aren’t disproportionately impacted by poverty and mass incarceration, and aren’t being targeted in order to build a fascist resistance effort against the class struggle.

A major idea that supports this “anything but class” ideological element of the left, as Parenti called it, is intersectionality. Intersectionality at first appears to be a way to reconcile those ways in which I’ve described identity politics and class politics share key traits. But for it to truly be compatible with Marxism’s class-based perspective, it would have to be able to act as a framework for understanding that all of the identity struggles are themselves class struggles. That it’s ridiculous to place class struggle in a different category from black liberation, women’s liberation, gay and trans liberation, and so on.

What happens when a Marxist acts like intersectionality is reconcilable with Marxism? They come to accept the liberal arguments about how to interpret our conditions, how to view global affairs, and how to engage in practice as a communist. Because ideas have consequences, especially when they’re ideas that were created as a liberal substitute for the Marxist analytical framework.

“Intersectionality” is a quite new word in relative terms. It was created out of America’s critical legal studies discipline for interpreting racial inequities, and came into being in the late 1980s—the same time Marxism was being forced to retreat both around the globe and within the United States. The formulation of this new “you don’t have to bring up class if you don’t want to” system for analyzing social injustice, building upon the already established “New Left” with its aversion towards talking about class, enabled the attacks against Marxism that the traitors in our movement would carry out following the USSR’s downfall. When Frankfurt School students like Angela Davis renounced their previous pro-Soviet sentiments, and carried out an equivalent of Perestroika by taking the movement in a Democrat-compatible direction (see their Committees of Correspondence project), intersectionality was their narrative basis for doing this.

The way in which the Democratic Party’s narrative managers advance this project to co-opt communism, to turn “communism” into just another reformist project analogous to “democratic socialism,” is fascinating. When you’re aware of the context I just described, this part from a 2020 New York Times profile on Davis is able to be dissected extensively:

“Intersectionality” is a neologism introduced in 1989 by the Black law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, who teaches at U.C.L.A. and Columbia University. The concept invites us to see various forms of inequality as a prism. Its original organizing principle — that Black women are subject to discrimination based not just on race, class or sex but the interaction of all of them — has since been applied to other groups and animates much of today’s progressive political conversations and activity. Yet as Davis knows from her work in the ’70s, asking various advocacy groups to embrace this philosophy is easier to demand from a podium than to write into policy, where efforts have been stymied by self-interest and personal prejudices. But as we discuss her past, I detect no cynicism, no despair nor frustration — this despite decades of glacial progress and the current White House occupant’s vision of America as white nirvana. In America’s deepening income inequality, Davis sees a chance for us to re-examine capitalism, which she views as irredeemably flawed. Her optimism is particularly remarkable when you consider how long she’s believed that America could change. No, her generation did not get their revolution. And yet in so much of what they did accomplish — with civil rights, women’s rights, L.G.B.T.Q. rights, the environment and scores of other issues — they have radically shifted America’s expectations and norms.

It’s in paragraphs like this that the perils of upholding intersectionality as a Marxist become apparent. Why would a publication that promotes imperialist psyops every day, and therefore shows itself to support the worst kinds of violence which come from our social system, at the same time regularly put out these motivational pieces in favor of social justice activism? Because within the ideological framework put forth both by the Times and by Davis, social justice activism can only take a form that’s incapable of threatening the capitalist state. When the Times uses the word “revolution” in an aspirational way, it’s not talking about an actual revolution. It’s talking about reforming the existing state to become a force for social progress, which itself isn’t realistic at this stage in capitalism’s decline.

It was realistic during the era of the Civil War, and the state actually did get reformed in this way for a time when Reconstruction brought astonishing racial equality gains. (Gains that were soon reversed, and still haven’t truly been restored.) What the reformists obscure is that ever since capitalism became fully developed into its monopoly stage, and the USA became a global imperialist power, it’s not been feasible to make the state into a revolutionary force of any kind. After the Civil Rights movement, the state simply switched to a new form of Jim Crow by implementing mass incarceration, because we can’t expect the imperial state to give up its systems of racial capitalism. It’s an ailing parasite that must increasingly feed off of its internal colonies, and off the labor of its ever-more exploited broader working class, as its overall profits decline and U.S. hegemony fades.

That’s the framework through which we must view our conditions: U.S. hegemony is the primary global contradiction, the biggest obstacle to revolution in the core, and therefore the most important thing for us to combat. When you don’t recognize this, you can be led to the anti-revolutionary conclusion that the Democratic Party wants you to embrace. This conclusion is that social justice—or what the framework of intersectionality defines as social justice—is so important, you should be willing to set back the anti-imperialist struggle if you’re told this is what’s necessary for advancing “intersectionality.” Which in contemporary left discourse is seen as synonymous with advancing human rights.

This is how the Democrat discourse managers dissuade leftists or Marxists from supporting Russia, or from supporting anti-imperialist projects in the U.S. that are independent from the Democratic Party (and therefore authentic in their principles). They tell us that if you defy the Democratic Party, or at least go too far in defying it, you’ll end up helping the reactionary right. Think of when the Democrats used Russiagate to make support for Russia associated with being pro-Republican. Think of when left sectarians recently attacked Rage Against the War Machine as white chauvinist. They’ll use whatever reasons they can find to discourage anti-imperialist practice. To be effective anti-imperialists, and therefore actors who can genuinely threaten the state, we have to reject the anti-Marxist analytical framework the Democrat discourse agents use.

https://newswiththeory.com/why-intersec ... struggles/
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 11149
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: Ideology

Post by blindpig » Thu May 25, 2023 2:35 pm

Western Marxism: The Unwholesome Temptation
The history of Marxism has a parallel history of counter-Marxism-- intellectual currents that posture as the true Marxism.


Even before Marxism came into being as a coherent ideology, Marx and Engels devoted an often-neglected section of their 1848 Communist Manifesto to debunking the existing contenders for true socialism.


As the workers’ movement painfully sought a system of beliefs to animate its response to capitalism, the ideas of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels gradually won over workers, peasants, and the oppressed. It was not an easy victory. Liberalism-- the dominant ideology of the capitalist class-- served workers and peasants in their fight against absolutist tyranny.


With capitalism and liberal institutions firmly established, anarchism-- the ideology of the disgruntled petty-bourgeois-- rivalled Marxism for the leadership of the workers’ movement. Contradictorily, embracing extreme individualism and utopian democracy distilled from capitalism, yet voicing a bitter hatred of capitalist institutions and economic arrangements, the anarchists failed to offer a viable escape from the crushing weight of capitalism.


Once Bolshevism seized power in 1917, the workers’ movement found an example of real-existing-socialism led by real-avowed-Marxists, a powerful beacon for the way forward in the struggle against capitalism. The victory of the Russian Revolution established Marxism as the most promising road for an exploited majority, with Leninism the only successful ideology for revolutionary change and socialism. To this day, Leninism has remained the only proven guide to socialism.


Immediately after the revolution, rival “Marxisms” sprang up.


The failure of subsequent European revolutions outside of Russia, especially Germany, sheared away numerous intellectuals, like Karl Korsch and György Lukács,who imagined a different, supposedly better, path to proletarian revolution. Buoyed by material support from benefactors, university appointments, and the many eager sponsors of class betrayal, critics and detractors of Leninism abounded.


Especially in the West-- North America and Europe-- where the working class was significant and growing dramatically, dissidence, class betrayal, and opportunism proved disruptive forces in the world Communist movement, forces that capitalist rulers were eager to support. Young people, inexperienced workers, aspiring intellectuals, and the déclassé, were especially vulnerable to the appeal of independence, purity, idealism, and liberal values. Money, career opportunities, and celebrity were readily available to those who were willing to sell these ideas.



Indeed, not every critic of Marxism-Leninism-- revolutionary Communism-- was or is insincere or without merit, but honesty demands recognition that no real advocate for overthrowing capitalism could achieve prominence, celebrity, or a mainstream soap box in the capitalist West. He or she could be a curiosity or a token for the sake of appearances-- a stooge.


Conversely, any intellectual or political figure who does achieve wide-spread prominence or influence cannot represent a serious, existential challenge to capitalism when the road to prominence and influence is patrolled by the guardians of capitalism.


Nonetheless, the workers’ movement has been plagued by divisive ideological trends or fads spawned by independent voices who, wittingly or not, are exploited by and render service to the capitalist class.


In the West, it is almost impossible to be a young radical and not be tempted by a veritable ideological marketplace of putative anti-capitalist or socialist theories, vying with one another for allegiance. Since the demise of unvarnished, real-existing socialism in the Soviet Union and the disorientation of many Communist and Workers’ parties, the competition of ideas has created even more confusion.


Clearly, the working-class movement, the revolutionary socialist movement, needs guidance to avoid distractions, bogus theories, and corrupted ideas. The march of political neophytes through the arcade of specious, fantastic ideas is a great tragedy, especially regarding those ideas posing as Marxist.


*****


Happily, a new generation of Marxist thinkers are challenging the allure of Marxist pretenders, more specifically, those associated with what has come to be called “Western Marxism.” A sympathetic Wikipedia article offers about as accurate a definition of the words as one might want: “The term denotes a loose collection of theorists who advanced an interpretation of Marxism distinct from both classical and Orthodox Marxism and the Marxism-Leninism of the Soviet Union.” It couldn’t be made clearer: Western Marxism is anything but the Marxism-Leninism that has buttressed worker-engaged revolutionary parties since the time of the Bolshevik revolution!


Marxist historian and journalist, Vijay Prashad, gave a seminar at the Marx Memorial Library on November 21, 2022, in which he excoriated the Western Marxism of the 1980s:


There was a sustained attack on Marxism in this period, led by New Left Books, now Verso Books, in London, which published Hegemony and Socialist Strategy by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe in 1985. The book mischievously utilised the work of Antonio Gramsci to make an attack at Marxism, to in fact champion something they called “post-Marxism.” Post-structuralism, post-Marxism, post-colonialism: this became the flavour of academic literature coming out of Western countries from the 1980s… Particularly after the collapse of the Soviet Union there was a great weakness in our ability to fight back against this denigration of Marxism in the name of post-Marxism… When they [Laclau and Mouffe] talk about “agency” and “the subject” and so on, they have basically walked away from the structuring impact of political economy and returned to a pre-Marxist time; they have in fact not gone beyond Marxism but back to a time before Marxism. (Viewing Decolonization through a Marxist Lens, published in Communist Review, Winter 2022/2023)


Prashad places the influential works of Hardt and Negri and Deleuze and Guattari in the same post-Marxist mix.


He regrets the multiculturalism turn because it ”basically took the guts out of the anticolonial, anti-racist critique, at the global level you had the arrival of ‘postcolonial’ thought, and also ‘decoloniality’-- in other words, let's look at power, let’s look at culture, but let’s not look at the political economy that structures everyday life and behavior and reproduces the colonial mentality; that has to be off the table… So, we entered into a kind of academic morass, where Marxism was not, in a sense, permitted to enter.”


Prashad might well have added the intrusion of rational-choice theory into Marxism in the 1980s, an uninvited analysis of Marxist theory through the lens of methodological individualism and liberal egalitarianism. One leading exponent of what came to be called “analytical Marxism” eviscerated the robust Marxist concept of exploitation by proving that if we have inequality as an initial condition, we will quite logically reproduce inequality-- a trivial derivation with little relevance to understanding the historically evolved concept of labor exploitation..


Prashad might have noted the continuing influence of postmodern relativism upon Marxist theory in the 1980s and beyond, a denigration of any claim that Marxism is the science of society. For the postmodernist, Marxism can only be, at best, one of several competing interpretations of society, coherent within Marxist circles, but forbidden from making any greater claim for universality. Moreover, the postmodernist denies that there can ever be any valid overarching theory of capitalism, any “metanarrative” that plots a socio-economic system’s trajectory. While its flaws can not be addressed here, the late Marxist historian Ellen Meiksins Wood exposed the academic trend with great clarity.


Another excellent, contemporary critique of Western Marxism can be found in the writings of Marxist author Gabriel Rockhill. Rockhill skillfully and thoroughly discredits the Frankfurt School of neo-Marxism, especially its most celebrated thinkers, Hockheimer, Habermas, Adorno, and Marcuse, exposing their fealty to various sponsors. Those who paid the bills enjoyed sympathetic ideas, an outcome often found with the practitioners of Western Marxism.


Rockhill also does a scathing exposé of today’s most prominent Marxist poseur, Slavoj Žižek. I was happy to heap praise on Rockhill’s deflation of Žižek’s unmatched ego in an earlier post. Both Rockhill’s unmasking of the Frankfurt School and his destruction of the Žižek cult are essential reading in contesting Western Marxism.


Most recently, philosopher Carlos L. Garrido ambitiously tackles Western Marxism in his book The Purity Fetish and the Crisis of Western Marxism (Midwestern Marx Publishing Press, 2023). Central to Garrido’s argument is the notion of a “purity fetish” that is at the core of the Western Marxists’ attack on Marxism-Leninism. This insightful and original thesis indeed captures a feature common to the leading lights of left-wing Western anti-Communism; from Frederich Ebert to Slavoj Žižek, “Marxists” have hypocritically insisted that revolutionaries be held to a higher standard of democratic governance, judicial perfection, non-violence, and policy perfection beyond anything experienced in bourgeois society or to be reasonably expected of a revolutionary society outside of sheer fantasy.


Western Marxists can conveniently overlook capitalism’s history of genocidal, undemocratic, and exploitative sins while excoriating the Fidelistas for settling accounts with a few hundred Batista torturers. They deplore the sweeping changes that Soviet and Chinese Communists implemented in agriculture to overcome the frequent famines that devastated their countries when the changes unfortunately coincided with severe famines, as though great change for the better could evade natural events and tragedy anywhere but in their imagination.


They turn a blind eye to the human costs imposed on humanity by ruling elites' resistance to great change, while denouncing revolutionaries for seeking that change and risking a better future. Western Marxism diminishes the great accomplishments of real existing socialism, while relentlessly denouncing the errors incurred in socialist construction. Garrido effectively underscores the necessary pains and errors in realizing a new world, in escaping the clutches of ruthless capitalism.


As Garrido notes:


This is the sort of ‘Marxism’ that imperialism appreciates, the type which CIA agent Thomas Braden called “the compatible left.” This is the ‘Marxism’ which functions as the vanguard of controlled counter-hegemony.


He eloquently summarizes:


Socialism for the Western Marxists is, in the words of Marx, a purely scholastic question. They are not interested in real struggle, in changing the world, but in continuously purifying an idea, one that is debated amongst other ivory-tower Marxists and which is used to measure against the real world. The label of ‘socialist’ or ‘Marxist’ is sustained merely as a counter-cultural and edgy identity which exists in the fringes of quotidian society. That is what Marxism is reduced to in the West-- a personal identity.


I might add that it is also a commonplace for Western Marxists to invest heavily in other-people’s-socialism. Rather than engaging their own working classes, Western Marxists fight surrogate struggles for socialism through the solidarity movement, picking and choosing the “purest” struggles and debating the merits of various socialisms vicariously.


Garrido elaborates on socialism-as-an-investment-in-identity:


In the context of the hyper-individualist West’s treatment of socialism as a personal identity, the worst thing that may happen for these ‘socialists’ is for socialism to be achieved. That would mean the total destruction of their counter-cultural fringe identity. Their utter estrangement from the working masses of the country may in part be read as an attempt to make socialist ideas fringe enough to never convince working people, and hence, never conquer political power.

The success of socialism would entail a loss of selfhood, a destruction of the socialist-within-capitalism identity. The socialism of the West is grounded on an identity which hates the existing order but hates even more the loss of identity which transcending it would entail.


Garrido’s objectives are not completed with his masterful dissection of Western Marxism. In addition, he devotes great attention to Western Marxism’s critique of the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC) in a section entitled China and the Purity Fetish of Western Marxism. Of course, he is correct to deplore Western Marxism’s unprincipled collaboration with bourgeois ideologues in attacking every policy or act of Peoples’ China since its revolution in 1949. As with the USSR, any honest, deeply considered estimation of the trajectory of the PRC must-- warts and all-- see it as a positive in humanity’s necessary transcendence of capitalism.


As anti-imperialists, we must defend the PRC’s right (and other countries’ rights) to choose its own course.


As Marxists, we must defend the Chinese Communist Party’s right to find its own road to socialism.


But Garrido goes further, by mounting an impassioned, but one-sided defense of Chinese socialism. As a militant advocate of the dialectical method, this is an odd departure. As esteemed Marxist R. Palme Dutt argued in the 1960s, the pregnant question for a dialectical materialist is Whither China? not: Does the PRC measure up to some pure Platonic form of socialism?


A more balanced view of the PRC road would reference the significance of the Communist Party’s overwhelmingly peasant class base in its foundation, its engagement with Chinese nationalism, and the strong voluntarist tendency in Mao Zedong Thought. It would consider the 1960s’ break with the World Communist movement and the rapprochement with the most reactionary elements in US ruling circles in the 1970s, capped by the shameful material support for US and South African surrogates in the liberation wars of Southern Africa. PRC was funding Jonas Savimbi and UNITA while Cuban internationalists were dying fighting them and their apartheid allies. Which suggests the question: Could Peoples’ China do more to help Cuba overcome the US blockade, as did the Soviet Union?


A fair account would address the PRC invasion of Vietnam in 1979 and Peoples’ China’s unwavering defense of the Khmer Rouge. Surely, all these factors play a role in assessing the PRC’s road to socialism.


These uncomfortable facts make it hard to agree with Garrido that the PRC has been “a beacon in the anti-imperialist struggle.”


Of course, today is another matter. My own view is that the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party is “riding the tiger” of a substantial capitalist sector, to use imagery reminiscent of high Maoism. How well they are riding it is in question, but they are indeed riding it. There are many promising developments, but also some that are worrisome.


In any case, the comrades who are critical or skeptical of the Chinese road should not be summarily swept into the dustbin with Western Marxism.


Garrido brings his purity fetish home when he discusses US socialist organizing. He casts a critical eye on the class character of most of the US left, rooting it in the petty-bourgeoisie and the influence of petty-bourgeois ideas. He locates the conveyor for these ideas in academia, the media, and NGOs. Additional material support for petty-bourgeois ideology comes from non-profit corporations and, of course, the Democratic Party.


The petty-bourgeois bias of the US left reinforces its hyper-critical attitude toward movements attempting to actually secure a socialist future. Wherever socialists or socialist-oriented militants tackle the enormous obstacles before them, many on the left will insist that they adhere to courteous liberal standards, an unrealistic demand guaranteeing failure. Garrido mocks the insistence on revolutionary purity: “...the problem is that those things in the real world called socialism were never actually socialism; socialism is really this beautiful idea that exists in a pure form in my head….”


The purity fetish of the middle strata extends to radicals who scorn workers as “backward” or “deplorable.” Garrido counters this purity obsession with a wonderful quote from Lenin: one “can (and must) begin to build socialism, not with abstract human material, or with human material especially prepared by us, but with the human material bequeathed to us by capitalism.”



Regarding the Trump vote and the working class, Garrido scolds the US left:


…they don’t see that what is implicit in that vote is a desire for something new, something which only the socialist movement, not Trump or any bourgeois party, could provide. Instead, they see in this chunk of the working class a bunch of racists bringing forth a ‘fascist’ threat which can only be defeated by giving up on the class struggle and tailing the Democrats. Silly as it may sound, this policy dominates the contemporary communist movement in the U.S.


While not all of the left is guilty of this failure, the charge is not far off the mark.


Finally, Garrido faults much of the US left for its blanket dismissal of progressive trends and achievements in US history. Many leftists debase heroic struggles in US history by painting a portrait of a relentless trajectory of reaction, racism, and imperialism. Garrido correctly sees this as an instantiation of a negative purity fetish-- denouncing every page of US history as fatally wanting and inauthentic: “...purity fetish Marxists add on to their futility in developing subjective conditions for revolution by completely disconnecting themselves from the traditions the American masses have come to accept.”


While this is true, it must be remembered that there is always the danger that US history would be celebrated so vigorously that the country’s legacy of cruelty and bloody massacre might be muted by patriotic zeal. During the Popular Front era, for example, Communist leader Earl Browder’s slogan that “Communism is twentieth century Americanism” invested too much social justice in Americanism and too little in Communism.


US history and tradition is contradictory and Marxists should always expose that contradiction-- a legacy of both great, historic social change and ugly inhumanity. The country’s origin shares a tragic settler-colonial past with countries like Australia and South Africa in its genocidal treatment of indigenous people. Those same settlers established or tolerated the brutal exploitation of Africans forced into chattel slavery. While we could lay the blame at the doorstep of the US ruling class, it is US history as well.


At the same time, the US revolution was the most radical for its time and every generation produced a consequential movement to correct the failings of the legacy or advance the horizon of social progress. An emancipating civil war, the expansion of suffrage, workers’ gains against corporations, social welfare and insurance, and a host of other milestones mark the peoples’ history.


While writing and reflecting on the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution (Echoes of the Marsellaise), Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm couldn’t help but be struck by the lesser global influence of the earlier US revolution upon nineteenth-century social change. He thought that reformers and revolutionaries of the time could recognize their point of departure “more readily in the Ancien Régime of France than in the free colonists and slave-holders of North America.” Undoubtedly, the stain of the genocide of indigenous peoples and brutal slavery influenced that disposition.


Indeed, Hobsbawn’s observation underscores the contradictory character of the US past. It is not a “purity fetish” that explains this judgment, but the cold, harsh facts of US history.


Nonetheless, it is appropriate for Garrido to remind us of the many revolutionaries-- Marx, Lenin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, William Z Foster, Herbert Aptheker, Fidel, and more-- who have both drawn inspiration and offered inspiration from the victories of the people as well as the fierce resistance to ruling-class oppression contained in US history. He effectively cites Communist leader Georgi Dimitrov who rejects the practice of national nihilism-- the denigration of all expressions of national pride and accomplishment. Within every national identity is an identity to be celebrated in its resistance to oppression and its dedication to a better way of life. Workers must draw national humility from the failures of the past, while drawing national pride from the victories over injustice. A left that attends to only one and not both will fail the working class.


*****


Western Marxism--Marxist scholasticism, disconnected from revolutionary practice-- distracts far-too-many well-meaning, hungry-for-change potential allies on the arduous road to socialism. It is heartening to find voices rising to challenge the sterile, obscurantism of this distraction, while defending and promoting the tradition of Marxism-Leninism and Communism. We should encourage and support Marxists like Prashad, Rockhill, and Garrido in conducting this struggle.


Greg Godels

zzsblogml@gmail.com

http://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/2023/05/wes ... ation.html
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 11149
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: Ideology

Post by blindpig » Fri May 26, 2023 3:02 pm

Image

The majority of U.S. workers are compatible with revolutionary struggle. Don’t trust the ultras who say otherwise.

BY RAINER SHEA
MAY 25, 2023

How should you judge a people and a society if you’re a Marxist? Not by essentializing them, like ultra-leftists do, but by viewing peoples and societies through a framework of historical development. If a society has had a bourgeois nature at one point in history, that doesn’t mean it still has that nature, or will always have it. And there’s an obvious fallacy in portraying a people as all being of the same class character. Even during the peak of U.S. hegemony, and during the early decades of capitalism on this continent, there were proletarians. And these proletarians were of all colors, as demonstrated by the history of black communists successfully building alliances even with working class whites who were nostalgic for their “southern heritage.” That we can recognize this shared material interest between the country’s workers of all colors doesn’t mean we need to hold on to U.S. patriotism, or act like the United States needs to remain in existence. It simply means that there are many more people in the imperial center who are compatible with revolution than the ultras want us to believe, and that these people have some major material incentives to unify.

The ultras depict a fictitious version of our conditions, a version where much more violence would be needed to attain revolution than would actually be the case. They act like the majority of the people wouldn’t be willing to tolerate a scenario where land jurisdiction gets returned to the tribes, a notion that the reactionaries who oppose rectifying the colonial contradiction ironically also seek to promote. They portray not just the white workers, but the workers even in the most proletarianized groups like the black community, as mostly or entirely labor aristocrats. This is not a materialist way to analyze a society. It’s a way to feel self-superior towards the vast majority of the people around you, and to have an excuse not to engage in class struggle within your own conditions.

Lenin defines labor aristocrats as a “stratum of bourgeoisified workers or ‘labor aristocracy,’ who have become completely petty-bourgeois in their mode of life, in the amount of their earnings, and in their point of view, serve as the main support of the Second International [the reformist socialists – CP] and, in our day, the principal social (not military) support of the bourgeoisie. They are the real agents of the bourgeoisie in the labor movement, the labor lieutenants of the capitalist class, the real carriers of reformism and chauvinism.” If the predominant types of workers in the core were labor aristocrats, why are over 60% of them living paycheck to paycheck? (With the inflation that Biden’s Ukraine proxy war has exacerbated, this has become true, even as the average American worker still makes $45k a year.) And why are only a minority of them solid voters for, or active in, the two dominant bourgeois parties? (Because we all know that part of the reason for the USA’s incredibly low electoral participation rates is that much of the country’s population lacks the class status for elections to be accessible to them, or to feel like elections can change things for them.) When most Americans neither earn enough to make them materially comfortable under capitalism by any reasonable definition; nor lack the points of view that would incentivize them to participate in bourgeois politics; then the labor aristocracy represents a minority of the population.

When the ultras assert or imply that most Americans are labor aristocrats, their arguments don’t rely on the notion that most Americans are prosperous at this stage of our neoliberal rise in inequality. That argument would be too easy to debunk. Instead they tend to appeal to a crude sense of moralism, where their audience is encouraged to feel self-righteous and contemptuous towards the American masses based on a visceral kind of resentment. The true basis for their assertion about Americans lacking revolutionary potential is that because the country’s workers benefit from imperialist extraction in certain ways, these workers have an incurable lack of solidarity with the globe’s workers. That because the people of the United States are and have been complicit in their government’s crimes, we may as well consider the American people synonymous with their government.

It’s easy to see how this kind of thinking is the opposite of helpful. When you discard an entire country’s working class because they have contradictions, you’re showing you don’t care about winning against the bourgeoisie. Only about being right, or at least “right” in your own mind. No revolution can win when those who are supposed to be leading it view virtually everyone within their conditions as enemies. The logical conclusion of this mentality in regards to the imperial center is ironically a highly chauvinistic one. It’s a mentality that encourages Marxists in the U.S. to refrain from engaging in class struggle, and expect revolution to be exported into the core from the neo-colonies. In other words, to refuse to fight against their own government’s imperialist acts, and foist all the responsibility for fighting this government onto the same peripheral peoples whose exploitation these ultra-left “Marxists” benefit from. They’re using the fact that they have contradictions as a rationale for inaction, for viewing their own participation in the liberation struggle as pointless. John Brown, the white resistor of American slavery, wouldn’t be proud of them.

Why are the USA’s workers capable of gaining solidarity with the globe’s workers? Because upon being exposed to revolutionary perspectives, it’s easy for them to come to recognize they have a shared interest with these workers in the transformation of what we now call the “United States” into a socialist society. Into a society that no longer robs the formerly colonized world.

If this weren’t true, and most Americans were cursed to reject revolutionary consciousness forever, why is there so much evidence so far that U.S. workers are open to gaining anti-imperialist consciousness upon seeing anti-imperialist arguments? Why has willingness to sacrifice American energy abundance and incomes to support the Ukraine war effort dropped among Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike throughout the last half year or so? Why has this widespread dissatisfaction with the ways militarism harms our living standards translated into the spontaneous emergence of an anti-NATO movement? The only thing preventing the further rise of this movement, and thereby the infusion of the country’s labor movement with an anti-imperialist synthesis, is the Democratic Party’s monopoly over organizing spaces.

This monopoly isn’t the fault of the people, it’s the fault of “the left” as we’ve come to know it. Revolutionary politics has been kept out of the mainstream for so many decades because those who are supposed to represent the class struggle have been cowardly, deciding again and again to compromise on anti-imperialism. As well as to default to the New Left’s liberal “critical theories” which minimize class. These are the theories that let ultras and radical liberals rationalize not viewing the participants in the anti-NATO movement as truly revolutionary, based on the Russiagate-informed idea that being pro-Russian is reactionary. When somebody is informed by these “radical” ideas that are designed to blunt the class struggle, they’ll even reject demonstrable evidence that the people are coming to revolutionary consciousness, vilifying the workers for coming to anti-imperialist ideas.

The idea that the people are terminally incompatible with revolution is among these imperialism-compatible, pseudo-liberation theories. It can only gain perceived credibility among some because it presents itself as radical. With this illusion’s persuasive aspect being that such theory recognizes the realities of imperialism and settler-colonialism, and therefore is the most “radical” set of ideas.

To these ultras who reject doing the work for class struggle on the basis of its supposed futility in the core, serious Marxists can reply: you know that imperialism and settler-colonialism exist, so what? How does the mere awareness of these things qualify somebody to conclude that the people are fundamentally reactionary? Just because somebody has gone down the academic pipeline to be able to articulate these theories about structural inequality, or has absorbed the rhetoric from online thought leaders who’ve gone down this pipeline, doesn’t mean their perspective is worth taking seriously. If somebody is arguing against engaging in the class struggle, we shouldn’t as much as entertain them. We should struggle against their ideas where appropriate, and continue with our revolutionary work.

https://newswiththeory.com/the-majority ... otherwise/

'Red' added for emphasis. That cannot be said to often. And when that problem is effectively addressed we have taken the first step.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 11149
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: Ideology

Post by blindpig » Mon May 29, 2023 3:09 pm

Image

PSL’s Brian Becker promotes the flawed argument that reinforcing key liberal ideas is a worthwhile compromise

BY RAINER SHEA
MAY 29, 2023

The task of illustrating why Brian Becker and PSL’s practice isn’t right for the communist movement is different from the one of illustrating why Joe Sims and the CPUSA’s practice isn’t right for it. Unlike with the CPUSA, the ways that PSL reinforces the Democratic Party’s dominance aren’t obvious on the surface. Its leaders don’t call for voting for Biden, like CPUSA’s do. Their commentary doesn’t say that Russia is an imperialist power, and they don’t platform left neocons who say Russia is the “biggest threat to world peace.” These offenses of CPUSA are severe enough for the average Marxist today who’s serious to distrust it. So isn’t the case for the PSL’s offenses, yet that’s what makes these offenses actually more detrimental to the struggle. Because PSL is able to lead many genuine anti-imperialists in a direction that perpetuates the Democratic Party’s grip over organizing spaces, without their noticing that this is the effect of the practice being prescribed to them.

The first major indication that this is what the PSL’s practice has become appeared in 2020, when Becker announced a policy of critical support for Bernie Sanders in the primary and a refusal to run the party’s candidate in swing states if Sanders won the nomination. Becker’s reasoning was that even though he recognized Sanders held reactionary stances in certain important areas, supporting him represented a net gain for the socialist movement due to Sanders supposedly being an overall progressive force. As in a force that was hurting the DNC more than he was helping it. Becker concluded: “Tactics can never be absolute, designed for all situations or last forever. On the contrary, revolutionaries must combine a rock-hard adherence to core principles with tactical suppleness to advance the movement for socialism under varying conditions and on shifting terrain. For now, the Sanders campaign represents a dynamic insurgency promoting radical social changes in the face of increasingly stiff headwinds from a criminal ruling class that fears the loosening of its absolute grip over U.S. politics and the economy. We support the insurgency against the reactionaries.”

The problem with this calculus was that for years by that point, it had been evident Sanders was more of a help than a hindrance to the DNC. He had made a non-aggression pact with Clinton prior to running in 2016, he had tried to bring his base into the Democratic Party by endorsing Clinton, then he had furthered this project to leverage his platform in favor of reformism by promoting the new cold war with Russia. Becker either directly or implicitly recognized that Sanders had committed these offenses, yet he felt in spite of this that Sanders was worth supporting. Not because Sanders himself was a friend to revolutionary politics, but because his project supposedly represented something which brought revolution closer.

The flaw in Becker’s argument about Sanders weakening the DNC is clear when you see what Becker didn’t want to admit: that the effect the Sanders campaigns had is one where their leader brought many ideologically developing individuals into a reformist project, then reinforced the anti-Russian biases the media had previously begun instilling these individuals. The Sanders campaigns were a net negative for the revolutionary cause, because they overall reinforced the DNC’s grip. The only ways they weakened the DNC were when many Sanders supporters broke away from his cult of personality, and came to view him as a dishonorable enabler of corruption and imperialism. By calling for PSL members to come into pro-Sanders circles and recruit them into the party, Becker was rationalizing supporting Sanders by asserting that Marxists can bring Sanders supporters to Marxism via this strategy.

The problems with this plan, and with the parallel reformist actions the PSL has taken since then, were 1) that backing Sanders meant backing a project which had a net negative impact for the revolutionary cause, and 2) that the PSL’s reformist tendencies made it unable to bring whatever Sanders supporters it recruited into a genuinely revolutionary organization.

We know the latter is true because ever since the Ukraine proxy war began, and forced those on the left to show whether they stand for revolution or opportunism, Becker and the PSL have shown they stand for opportunism. PSL has revealed its true allegiance is to the liberals, not to the working class. PSL has denounced both NATO and Russia in its statement on the war, as well as displayed the Ukrainian and Palestinian flags together to convey the idea that Ukraine is a victim of Russian aggression and subjugation. These are undeniable signs that PSL has taken on an opportunistic practice. Not merely because they reinforce key pro-NATO narratives, but because they’re motivated by a desire to gain more support from liberals at the cost of not challenging fundamental liberal pro-imperialist beliefs. The org has done these things because as Becker effectively explained three years ago, the PSL views liberals as the most important demographic to appeal to. So much that PSL is willing to compromise on revolutionary principles if this means it can reach even one more liberal by doing so.

When Becker made his critical support statement, one of my fellow organizers criticized him by saying he was arguing off of one of the few things my friend thought Lenin was wrong about: the popular front. My friend felt at the time, though he doesn’t anymore, that Lenin was wrong to ally with social democrats. Even though my friend was right that Becker’s Sanders alliance project wasn’t a good thing, my friend has since admitted that his criticism of Lenin was ultra-leftist. The conclusion I’ve come to from this is that whereas Lenin was right, Becker was wrong. Because the problem with Becker’s practice isn’t that he utilizes the popular front, it’s that he seeks to create such a front with the wrong group. That group being the liberals.

In our time and place, a better group than the liberals to form a popular front with is instead the types of libertarians who’ve come to believe fighting U.S. hegemony is the most important priority. This is because whereas the liberals have shown they’ll only ever attack the communist organizations which support Russia’s anti-fascist war, the libertarians have shown they’ll ally with these most principled kinds of communists. And predictably, when such a front between the ideological groups that care the most about imperialism emerged this year in the form of the Rage Against the War Machine organizing coalition, the PSL’s reaction was to attack it. The organizers of the PSL’s March 18th ANSWER rally sought to discredit RAWM, based on Black Agenda Report’s radical liberal argument about how an anti-imperialist coalition shouldn’t be supported if it doesn’t meet some ill-defined diversity quota. Using these left gatekeeping rhetorical tactics, ANSWER tried to censure and isolate RAWM, revealing itself to represent a sectarian force within the antiwar and socialist movements.

It’s an unfortunate thing that aside from the unease about Becker’s critical support statement which Marxists like my friend articulated in private conversations, seemingly no one wrote any polemics decrying Becker’s decision. But with PSL’s attack against RAWM, many Marxists have decided that it’s crossed a boundary, and we’re now beginning to see more public statements exposing this org’s opportunist pattern of activities. The PSL has been making it ever clearer that it doesn’t intend to challenge the foundational beliefs of pro-imperialist liberals. And that even when it does things which would otherwise be positive, like anti-NATO rallies, it uses these things as platforms for sectarian attacks upon the groups that are principled on anti-imperialism.

Becker keeps promising that these compromises are worth it, then he and those who share his ideas prove that they’re ultimately going to help reinforce the DNC’s power. The only way to break the Democratic Party’s grip is by building an antiwar movement that’s organizationally and ideologically outside of its control, which RAWM is letting us do.

https://newswiththeory.com/psls-brian-b ... ompromise/

Huh, I had thought that PSL was cleaning up their act, apparently not. I had formed a negative opinion of them thru interaction with folks claiming to be members on Twitter, sometimes ya gotta go with your first impression...That they are supportive of the Sheepdog in Chief sez it all.

But Ranier has gotta step back from this Idea that libertarians can be brought to our way of thinking. An anti-US imperialism alliance with them is a one shot pony, their motivation strictly paleo-conservative. That's fine for that purpose, otherwise they are anathema to our cause.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 11149
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: Ideology

Post by blindpig » Tue May 30, 2023 2:49 pm

Ordinary opportunism
No. 5/81.V.2023

Introduction
As the imperialist contradictions intensify, the thinking part of the workers of mental and physical labor increasingly needs a scientific explanation of what is happening. The centuries-old practice of mutual genocide of different peoples has shown that "common sense" alone is not enough to understand and even more so stop the ongoing series of world and local wars. In order to penetrate into the essence of the epoch we are living through, it is necessary to arm ourselves with the revolutionary theory of Marxism, primarily with its methodology—diamatics. Thus, the problem of increasing the Marxist literacy of the working people is becoming more urgent every day.

As you know, in order for a theory to become a material force, it must take hold of the masses, that is, it must be understood in the proper amount, first of all by the advanced part, which will be able to organize itself into an intellectual center, that is, into a vanguard party that will lead everyone else along with it. The conditions for the formation of such an organization today are almost hothouse, the Internet and digital technologies, coupled with mass literacy, open access to the treasury of knowledge of Marxism to almost every working person.

But, despite the growing interest in Marxism in ever-larger sections of the population, we do not observe communist relationseven among people who call themselves Marxists. Leisure gatherings in circles, schoolchildren's attitude to self-education, the craze for YouTube-talking, actionism and economism. In general, imitation of violent activity - these are the characteristic features of the so-called "left movement". The reason for this is a social disease called "opportunism". As long as the leaders of communist-named organizations and their audiences are afflicted with this malady, they remain just a community of philistines, immersed in the production and consumption of political and near-political content, posing no serious threat to the ruling class. Opportunism is a dangerous ANTI-Marxism, so the fight against it is always a priority, but in modern Marxist literature it is given a criminally modest place.

In the political lexicon, the word "opportunism" means the activities of individuals and organizations aimed at an agreement with the bourgeoisie. On the formal side, this political term is incorrect to use in relation to the townsfolk. But the dialectical materialist does not confine himself to brief definitions that reflect either the surface of a phenomenon or one of its many aspects. In a broader, diamatic sense, opportunism is a form of social mimicry, the source of which is the natural property of living organisms to adapt to environmental conditions. Consequently, a conscious compromiser is an open opportunist , while an apolitical philistine or half-educated leftist is a potential opportunist, that is, a hidden one. opportunist . In the end, it is indifferent to history, whether consciously or out of his own ignorance, the opportunist acts in the interests of reaction.

You can read more about the nature of opportunism in the articles by V. A. Podguzov “ Ignorance and Opportunism ” and “ On Some Methodological Problems of Analyzing the Nature of OpportunismHere we restrict ourselves to two factors. The objective prerequisite for the existence of opportunism is the capitalist system of reproduction itself, churning out a person who is limited in every sense, sometimes fundamentally incapable of perceiving a scientific worldview. The subjective side is infantilism, laziness and stupidity, that is, philistinism in the minds of people. Instead of sitting down with a pen and pencil for Marxist literature, thoroughly studying the history of the Bolshevik Party and critically reworking their victorious experience, leftists prefer to watch videos on YouTube, convincing themselves that they are studying Marxism in this way.

Left YouTube, despite the potential of the site itself, today is a big problem for only politicized inhabitants, as it is a direct conductor of opportunism of varying degrees of reaction. As an example, I propose to consider the video of one of the leftist bloggers Oleg Tkach " Ordinary fascist ". This product is notable only for the fact that some particularly impressionable viewers, apparently unfamiliar with high-quality Marxist literature, gave the impression of "good theoretical work."

First of all, it must be said that this work is by no means theoretical, but at best propagandistic, and, as further analysis will show, it promotes frenzied opportunism and revisionism.

Proletariat
The video begins with a generally correct statement about the need to deepen the understanding of fascism in relation to our era. G. Dimitrov's classical definition, despite its scientific nature, is indeed *historically* limited.

The blogger opens his opus with a meaningful question:

“How and why do the workers, whose interest is the overthrow of capitalism, begin, on the contrary, to support its most reactionary manifestations?”

First, the building of communism is not among the intereststhe proletariat. Interest is a natural instinct that knows no measure, in other words, the most primitive form of motivation. In Marxist propaganda, the phrase "fundamental interests" is sometimes used, as if hinting that communism is closer to the proletarians than to the bourgeoisie. But this is just a propaganda device that appeals to the natural desire of a person to live better. In reality, the proletarian, based on the conditions of his existence, for the most part is aimed at a more profitable sale of his labor power, that is, he wants to work less and earn more. When the bourgeoisie of rich countries feeds the proletarians by robbing poor countries or intensifying the labor of migrants, the former satisfy their class interests. Many leftists mistakenly equate financial improvement with the building of communism, failing to realize that the former is onlya concomitant factor in the implementation of the objective requirements of progress, but not an end in itself. Interests alone are not enough to build a classless society; on such shaky ground it is easy to turn in the wrong direction. For the final victory, it is necessary to raise one's motivation to the level of conscious necessity , that is, a scientific understanding of the goals of one's own activity, which goes far beyond even the fundamental class interests.

Secondly, Oleg, like most left-wing bloggers, still has not understood the difference between two opposing concepts - the proletariat and the working class. This is clear from his passage:

"We are now in such a historical period when there is no real proletariat, that is, such a proletariat, which is formed as a result of the class struggle."

It turns out that either there is no class struggle now, since it does not form the proletariat, or it exists, but it forms not a real, but an imaginary proletariat. It's hard to say which of the above is more comical. At the same time, it is enough to carefully read the " Manifesto of the Communist Party ", where it is written in black and white:

"The immediate goal of the communists is the same as that of all other proletarian parties: the formation of the proletariat into a class, the overthrow of the rule of the bourgeoisie, the conquest of political power by the proletariat."

Already from this it becomes clear that the gravedigger of capitalism, that is, the working class , or, what is the same, the political organization of the proletarians, is formed only in the presence of a real communist party. And the proletarian as a seller of labor power, capable at best of economic resistance, that is, begging or begging for handouts from the owner, existed before and exists perfectly without the communists.

The fact is that the scientific worldview did not sleep in the minds of the majority of the proletarians, therefore it is criminally stupid to expect revolutionism from them, even under the yoke of exploitation. A class in itself and a class for itself are different classes, although they are made up of the same mass of people. Lack of understanding of this difference leads the left to workers' love, it seems to them that since the proletariat is revolutionary, it means that it is revolutionary in nature, it must be pitied more and praised more often, and then it will show its class anger to the bourgeoisie. However, this does not happen, despite all the efforts of the left. Moreover, the Great Patriotic War showed that the proletarians of one nation, without prejudice, exterminated the proletarians of another nation, even when it embarked on the path of communism, created a stronghold of the world revolution and an internationalist state.

“The main sign of the working class is not that it consists of workers ... but that it FIGHTS, being on the basis of a communist worldview.”

Consequently, communists must convey to the exploited masses the bitter and unpleasant truth that the organized class of exploiters has been fooling the ignorant plebs for thousands of years in millions of sophisticated ways, as a result of which the proletarians of all countries are easily, and sometimes even gladly, fascistized.

But being honest with your audience is clearly not in the interests of the opportunists, so the blogger speculates:

“Why then cannot communist propaganda win over the masses, especially since it tells them the absolute truth?” Oleg asks.

It can be said that the helplessness of leftist propaganda is due to the fact that the consciousness of modern Marxists is polluted with opportunistic rubbish like Oleg Tkach's commercials or the low-grade literature of the late Soviet professors. But the blogger has a logical trick in store for this objection:

“The point is that it is not the agitators who make history, but the masses of the people. And one should not think that they are made up of fools who do what the leader of opinions tells them, just as the populists thought.

Watch your hands. First speech is definitelytalks about the role of propaganda in the fascistization of the masses, but with a deft movement of his hand, the opportunist Oleg transfers the topic to the role of the individual in history. But what is the meaning of such distortion? The Marxist critique of the "heroes and the crowd" theory is not at all that the individual cannot influence the course of history, as many vulgarizers of Marxism think. The bottom line is that the populists, like any idealists, believed that matter was generated by an idea, which means that the development of society as a special form of matter is subject to the subjective imagination of a person. It turns out that the individual literally creates or invents the laws of social development. Marxism proceeds from the opposite: laws exist objectively and do not depend on whether a person knows about their existence or not, but human activity depends on the degree of awareness of these laws. The one who understands the law correctly brought his practice in line with their requirements, he is a great personality. In cases where a person has not understood the laws of motion of matter, his practice will be subject to the will of chance, interests, passions, etc. That is, we are talking about understandingthe category of scientific law and not about the influence of propaganda on the minds of the masses. Therefore, the blogger is simply lying, claiming:

“If today the masses take to the streets, following the calls of bloggers, then this is only because they are ready for this and have already matured without any bloggers. And the blogger himself in this case is a representative of the masses, and not an opinion leader.”

Marx and Engels turned Hegel's dialectic upside down, while modern opportunists are diligently doing the opposite. In their view, it turns out that it is not propaganda as a key factor in the superstructure that forms public consciousness, but, on the contrary, public consciousness is simply reflected in propaganda. The question is, why then did the United States allocate millions of dollars from its budget for years on anti-communist, fascist propaganda in Ukraine? If you listen to Oleg Tkach, it turns out that the Ukrainians were already ready to kill the communists before and without any paid bloggers and other propagandists. What then sets the masses in motion? By the middle of the video, the blogger clarifies his idea, as if answering this question:

Opposite views live side by side both in one person and in the public consciousness, within which they carry out their struggle. Therefore, opposites change places very easily, as soon as the conditions change, new factors appear. This is how a fascist becomes a communist, and a communist becomes a fascist.”

And again Oleg demonstrates the wonders of consistency. At first, he convinces the audience that the masses of the people are not at all fools, but after fifteen minutes, not embarrassed to contradict himself, he claims that the same masses will famously change their shoes, one has only to change conditions. Either he takes his audience for idiots, or he himself is a hopeless fool, since he does not notice the elementary formal-logical contradictions in his reasoning. But that's not the point. In essence, such an interpretation is a mechanistic approach, when consciousness is viewed as a passive reflection of reality. Of course, the conditions strongly influence the consciousness of the individual and largely determine it. But where do conditions come from? They are created by the same individuals, and consciously. Therefore, the matter is not so much in the conditions, but in the degree of their awareness.. Oleg is not the first to stumble over the diamatics of the relationship between the objective and the subjective in society. The leftists learned a well-known Marxist axiom by heart, but they did not understand how to apply it. Social being determines consciousness when the participation of scientific knowledge in it is minimal.

In principle, this could be the end of the “career” of a Marxist, but the stubborn blogger continues to surprise the viewer with new revelations:

“Let us note that under Stalin the elements of the working masses, gravitating toward forms of tribal equalization, were curbed by reason and theory. Not by Stalin, as some red conservatives imagine, but by the mind of the masses themselves.

As they say, the further the opportunist goes into the forest of social psychology, the more firewood. Here we are talking about the natural desire of people for justice, which they most often understand as equalization, which can be directed both in a progressive and reactionary direction. In essence, we have before us the old Khvostist position: they say that the masses do not need a theory, or a party, or a leader, they already know everything themselves. In class societies, the social consciousness of the masses is not capable of rising to the universal form of the scientific worldview. If there were no ignorance, there would be no capitalism. Accordingly, the scientific worldview must take hold of the masses, and not initially in the form of persuasion, but as a necessary degree of organization around the idea of ​​progress, communism. Something similar is said in the blogger's quote from Lifshitz, from which, however,

“The progressive line can win only by sublimating equalization to the height of revolutionary energy, armed with reason, theory, and the light of LENIN (!) ideas.”

That is, without the mind, ideas and theory of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, in other words, without leaders, no communism is possible. It is easier to imagine such an absurdity as if Stalin personally and single-handedly directed the will of the masses to build communism than if they did it themselves. Of course, there is * a measure * within which the leaders are able to influence the masses, and a measure of the activity and consciousness of the masses themselves, however, it is impossible to overestimate the personal contribution of the leaders to curbing the proletarian element, to eradicating ignorance and planting a scientific worldview is impossible, unless, of course, to remain on soil of the Marxist worldview.

But ... back to fascism.

Fascism and socialism
It is no secret that there are no serious theoretical works on the problems of fascism in the left information field. However, the blogger still managed to find the “original” theory of the Trotskyist V. Pikhorovich in the cloaca of opportunist literature, which Oleg relays in his video. In short, the essence of this "theory" is the identification of fascism with socialism:

"Fascism is also socialism, but not proletarian, revolutionary, internationalist, but bourgeois, reactionary, national, patriotic."

Since after such statements many questions should arise, especially among the population of the former USSR, which, according to the “theorist” Pikhorovich, lived almost one step away from fascism, the blogger explains his passage:

“Socialism is a transitional period from an economic social formation to the true history of mankind. This is a battlefield on which the contradiction between labor and capital, already torn to the point of antagonism, collides.

Involuntarily, the words of the classic come to mind:

"The earth was shaking - like our breasts,

Mixed together in a bunch of horses, people.

As you can see, this ideological sabotage is realized through ordinary sophism, that is, the substitution of concepts. Pihorovich, through the mouth of his satellite, simply twists the meaning of the word socialism, and an ordinary worker or novice Marxist takes such a revision at face value. It sounds scientifically, in a Marxist way, so it is true. However, this concept leaves more questions than answers. What does the term “transitional period” actually mean? It follows from the above quotation that the "transition" begins at the moment when the contradiction between labor and capital "is torn to the point of antagonism." But the antagonistic nature of this contradiction is immanent to the capitalist mode of production itself, that is, following the logic of Tkach-Pikhorovich, socialism must be equal in content to capitalism. Or maybe, did they mean the period of rejection of capitalism? But only the first phase of communism can be considered such a period, and then it turns out that fascism does not exist without communism, which, of course, is also not true. Even more confusing is the thesis of the blogger:

"The socialist idea can take not only revolutionary, but also extremely reactionary forms."

From this, two conclusions can be drawn. First: fascism is the product of an idea, apparently the idea of ​​social equality, but a perverted one. Second, Marxism is the product of the same idea, just thought differently. It's that simple. The science of building a conflict-free society of happy people and the ideology of cannibalism are in ESSENCE one and the same. Does such eclecticism resemble a coherent scientific theory? In fact, all this verbal balancing act only leads away from understanding the real essence of fascism. Here is what V. A. Podguzov writes about the materialistic approach to the study of the essence:

“To comprehend the essence of fascism, as well as the essence of any other phenomenon in general, it is necessary to identify the cause, i.e. opposites, “theses” and “antitheses”, the struggle and unity of which makes the PHENOMENON EXISTING in all the diversity of its general and particular aspects.

And further:

“Consequently, in the 20th century, the massive ignorance of the citizens of market countries, on the one hand, and the dominance of monopolists in society, on the other hand, were precisely that system of subjective and objective opposites, the unity and struggle of which gave rise and again gives rise to fascism.”

That is, in fascism, in fact, there is nothing special, different from the usual exploitative practice. If it is explained very simply: when the former, softer and more covert methods of motivating cannon fodder to go to slaughter for the sake of the interests of the imperialists no longer work, fascism appears - the policy and ideology of extreme cannibalism, when the population of one country is ready to exterminate the population of another country. And under what screen - democratic or "totalitarian" - the question is not important. The opportunism of all left "researchers" of fascism lies in the fact that they consider it **separately** from capitalism, as if fascism is not a direct consequence of the competition of monopolists, but an ideological accident. But it was capitalism that got the least in the video. Neither private property, nor monopoly competition, nor mass ignorance,

“We rarely hear from Marxists that fascism is also socialism.”

Identifying fascism with socialism, the opportunists focus on private, secondary, non-essential aspects of the phenomenon. Of course, the concept of fascism is not limited to the definition I have given , I just want to show thinking readers in which direction, in the study of fascism, it is necessary for a materialist-dialectic to think in order not to turn into the swamp of opportunism.

It should be added here that socialism is really not a socio-economic formation, which was written about in Breakthrough long before Oleg Tkach began to learn “Marxism” from the Trotskyists from the Engels group. Socialism is an unscientific term that the classics were forced to use to describe the society of the first phase of communism. Forced because the level of theoretical training of the revolutionaries of their era was not high enough, many categorical and conceptual remnants remained in the minds of many party members. Therefore, the breakthroughs have long abandoned the use of this speculative term in favor of the scientific concept of "the first phase of communism." So that, in particular, there are no absurd analogies between communism and fascism, Islamism, Bismarckianism, Fabianism and other Scandinavianism.

Theory of knowledge
In theoretical terms, every opportunism begins with a revision of the philosophical core of Marxism. And although this video is not strictly philosophical, in order to introduce opportunism into the minds of his viewers, Oleg could not do without philosophical speculation. As you know, the highest form of reflection is thinking in concepts, that is, theoretical thinking. The blogger revises this provision as follows:

"...Communists forget Marx's position that feelings are also theoreticians."

Personally, I have not seen such a statement in the works of Marx and would be very grateful for a link to the source, but Oleg Tkach cares more about his viewers reading the opportunist theory of the Trotskyist Pikhorovich. But suppose such a statement actually exists. How should it be understood?

Cognition begins with sensations, but then the information received through the senses is processed in the brain into representations, concepts, judgments, in general, into ideas. The method of linking information received from the outside world, that is, logic, determines the quality of thinking. The more developed the logical apparatus, the more adequate thinking is to the outside world, that is, scientifically. Feelings have nothing to do with it, they can only color thinking. Sensations are the conditions for cognition, a necessary form of connection between the subject and the object. But to call sensations "theoreticians" is simply criminal, since this leads us into empiricism and Machism.

From this one should conclude that the proletarians and undereducated Marxists need to qualitatively raise the level of their theoretical thinking. But consistency has never been a hallmark of opportunists, so the blogger draws the exact opposite conclusion:

“It is the sensual attitude to reality that will ultimately determine the thinking of a person.”

It should be noted here that Oleg uses the term "sensuality" in a narrow psychological sense, as an emotional process that reflects a person's attitude to any object or phenomenon. But this does not change the essence of the matter. Moreover, since higher feelings are social in nature, they are necessarily thought-mediated. Can feelings in this case determine the thinking of a person? Emotions and feelings can suppress the mind to a certain extent, if we keep in mind that they themselves are caused by some thoughts. To assert that sensory cognition is decisive in a person is at least incorrect from a psychological point of view and criminally dangerous from a methodological one. Subordinating logic to feelings, the layman runs the risk of falling into error, to which the blogger rightly remarks:

"Some of our former comrades deduce new Marxist theories from a sense of fear."

Therefore, when we are talking about the comprehension of laws , we always talk about such thinking, which is free from any kind of fear and speculation, thinking that does not depend on interests, passions, likes and dislikes, that is, about dialectical thinking . Otherwise, there are no guarantees not to make a mistake. But the blogger stubbornly continues to contradict himself:

"Dialectical materialism, not brought to a sensual relationship to reality, leads even the most talented agitators to any kind of anti-Marxism."

Nowhere in the video does it explicitly say that you need to abandon abstract thinking. But the leading role in cognition is unequivocally given to the "sensual relation" as a guarantee against delusions. How it works is not reported, but you can understand exactly what misconceptions it warns against:

“Just try to tell the audience of some leftist blogger about humanity. She will tear you apart like a Hegelian bazaar grandmother.

It turns out that the capitalist system rests on the lack of humanity in people, that is, on a sense of hostility. That's what the revision was for. To justify the good old bourgeois pacifism. As far as one can judge, Oleg is on the popular position among the leftists on the SVO “both are worse”, which is an iteration of it. Prorivist has published quite a few materials on the SVO, including those with Marxist criticism of the left opportunists, so I will not separately analyze the fallacy of their views. Our position can be found in the article “ On the armed conflict in Ukraine". Here I want to show the internal inconsistency of the blogger's "theory" of humanity. The foundation of bourgeois pacifism is abstract humanism. This is a kind of humanism that does not know the specific conditions and circumstances, it proceeds from once and for all established dogmas, immovable attitudes of a predominantly moral character. For example, if war and murder are, by definition, immoral and inhumane, then any war and any murder are unacceptable. What to do with traitors, pests, fascists and other enemy agents is not reported, but the logic is generally clear. Sensual attitude to reality, and no fraud.

However, politics is not a walk along Nevsky Prospekt, but a form of class struggle where there is no room for sentimentality. The task of the communists is precisely to shift attention from the external form, in this case the emotional attitude, to the political essence of the process. Violence is the objective reality of capitalism; without it, capitalism not only cannot exist, but cannot be destroyed . Opportunists know that in politics sometimes one has to make decisions that are not at all popular, but since they lack the intelligence to gain authority, they pretend to be kind and good, playing on the feelings of politically illiterate ordinary people. Here is what the dialectical materialist Friedrich Engels wrote about the feigned moralizing of the opportunists:

“One more word about the “general fraternal union of peoples” and the drawing of “borders that will be established by the sovereign will of the peoples themselves on the basis of their national characteristics.” The United States and Mexico are two republics; in both the people are sovereign. How did it happen that between these two republics, which, according to moral theory, should have been "fraternal" and "federated", a war broke out over Texas, that the "sovereign will" of the American people, relying on the courage of American volunteers, pushed aside, on "geographical, commercial, and strategic grounds," a few hundred miles to the south, natural boundaries? And will Bakunin reproach the Americans for the “war of conquest”, which, although it deals a strong blow to his theory based on “justice and humanity”, was nevertheless waged exclusively in the interests of civilization? And what's the trouble if rich California is wrested from the hands of lazy Mexicans who have not been able to do anything with it? And what is wrong if the energetic Yankees, by rapidly mining the gold deposits there, increase the means of circulation, in a short time concentrate a dense population and extensive trade in the most suitable places on the Pacific coast, create large cities, open a steamship service, build a railroad from New York to San Francisco, for the first time really open the Pacific Ocean to civilization and for the third time in history give a new direction to world trade? Of course, the "independence" of a certain number of Californian and Texan Spaniards may suffer in this case; "justice" and other moral principles may be violated here and there;

Perhaps, after the words “lazy Mexicans,” Engels should be accused of chauvinism, and after the last statement, even of social chauvinism, as is now the case. But the point is that it is not dialectical materialism that needs to be "brought" to a sensuous relationship to reality, but, on the contrary, sensibility must be raised to the level of dialectical materialism.

Agitation and propaganda
Having laid the theoretical foundation of opportunism, the blogger began to educate his audience on how the communists should act correctly.

“The real struggle against fascism is the struggle for the mind and culture of the masses,” Oleg unexpectedly sums up.

Let's not guess why it was necessary to challenge the same thesis at the very beginning of the video. The whole point is not even that the mountain gave birth to a mouse, but how exactly the opportunists propose to conduct propaganda:

“If the conspiracy channel “Teach Good” or the statesman Dmitry Puchkov lead people to become interested in social problems and start opening books, then these channels of agitation are more communist and more useful to communism than those who rightly noticed theoretical errors behind them, but while they do not have any echo among the masses.

All this is clear that beams do something useful, but, firstly, the main thing from them is not benefit, but harm, and secondly, the presence of beams is caused by the objective demands of the masses. Oleg, on the other hand, suggests that the communists sink to the level of ordinary charlatans and populists only on the grounds that the latter attract more audience through duping. But more doesn't mean better. In general, relying on the masses is the clearest demonstration of the fact that the left reads Marxist literature diagonally. They memorized the dialectical law of "the transition of quantitative changes into qualitative ones", which, of course, is good, but still not enough. In fact, it is an obvious fact that of the paired categories of quantity-quality, it is QUALITY that is the leading and determining, and is not understood by the left. The bitter experience of the collapse of the USSR should have suggested that the number of carriers of party cards does not yet guarantee the victory of communism and even the retention of power. But opportunists, being formalists, not dialecticians, are unable to distinguish the external side of a phenomenon from its essence, so for them a Marxist is someone who simply prefers leftist political content to ordinary entertainment content. It seems to them that if the number of such spectators exceeds a certain limit, then the party will automatically appear and be unlocked, as in a computer game. Such a scenario, of course, is not ruled out, but such an organization will be communist only in name, that is, again, purely formally. It is not the mass character that makes a party communist, but the quality of its personnel. The leftists today have one single task - to raise their worldview to the level of a communist, that is, a SCIENTIST-revolutionary. It is the limited worldview that is the reason for the fussiness of the opportunists, their irrepressible desire to "do something" here and now. Thus, without a strictly developed strategy, the opportunist Oleg replaces the revolutionary struggle with blind, thoughtless practice. Just listen to this nonsense:

“Wearing the masses out of the pit of philistinism is a much more revolutionary thing than the most constructive criticism of theoretical errors. After all, the first is a necessary step on the path to revolution, and the second, at best (!), is the next step.

Bernstein's thesis involuntarily comes to mind: "Movement is everything, the ultimate goal is nothing." The form is different, but the essence is the same. Isn't the blogger aware that Marx's main work is called "CRITIQUE OF POLITICAL ECONOMY", and that Marxism itself was formed on the basis of the critical processing of the entire valuable theoretical heritage of human culture? With such illogical tricks, opportunism emasculates the main thing from Marxism—science. It is not surprising that the opportunists are guided precisely by the inhabitants, because it is much easier to attract them than to oppose the theorists. And they understand criticism itself in a vulgar way, as simple disagreement, that is, criticism, which is why criticism of a theory for them is something optional, “at best” secondary.

"But what's wrong with fighting the philistine?" - Collectors of likes and subscriptions may object. Nothing, you need to fight the philistine. But it is necessary to act wisely, because even here there are subtleties.

Firstly, novice Marxists are in too much of a hurry to write themselves out of the ranks of the philistines just on the grounds that they are "carried away" by politics. What distinguishes a communist from a layman is not hobbies and not even a list of literature read, but the quality of the worldview and the level of development of conscience. To be called a communist one must actually become a materialist-dialectic. Only in this case, propaganda, that is, the presentation of theory and theoretical positions, will be scientific, which means it will find a response corresponding to its content. However, this does not mean that if diamatics has not yet been fully mastered, one cannot try to open the eyes of others to reality. On the contrary, new knowledge must be tested in practice, but this must be done skillfully. A novice Marxist can disseminate the elementary truths of Marxism through agitation, that is, truncated propaganda, but preferably under the supervision of theoretically literate comrades. The leftists for the most part do not distinguish between these concepts, which is why their information field is more like a garbage dump.

Secondly, agitation and propaganda, in its content, form and direction, must correspond to the objective requirements of the class struggle at any particular moment in time. The Left does not see point-blank that modern conditions have changed relative to the last century. The world bourgeoisie, unlike our Marxists, learned from the lessons of October and is acting much more cunningly today than one hundred and fifty years ago. Today, thanks to the increased productivity of labor, the exploiters maintain a relatively tolerable standard of living for hired slaves, and illogical thinking is implanted not so much by hypocritical religious preaching as by the so-called "scientific picture of the world", that is, ., thereby keeping a finger on the pulse of the protest movement, maintaining its dominance, almost without resorting to the police. Therefore, the former methods of influence in the form of denouncing the authorities and even capitalism no longer have the propaganda power that they had in the era of the Bolsheviks.

Thirdly, and most importantly, mass agitation and propaganda make sense only in the presence of a real communist party. Today there is no such organization, and the problem of party building is not seriously considered anywhere outside of the Proryv magazine and the Proryvist newspaper. That is, the leftists do not have the slightest idea how to build a party, while the opportunists, lagging behind the labor movement, are implanting the primitivist principle of building from below, supposedly the party is being created at the grassroots level by the proletarian masses. I have already shown above where these ridiculous notions come from. A detailed criticism of this approach can be found on the pages of the magazine and newspaper, and I strongly recommend that readers study literally ALL materials on this topic, and not selectively, as unscrupulous critics do. Here I will limit myself to one remark: The Party of Communists is an organization of professional revolutionaries, universal scientists capable of promptly solving any tasks in the widest range of problems. Such frames do not fall from the sky, they are forged in a long and painful process of self-education and self-education.

The ontogeny of communists requires, firstly, people of a certain quality, and secondly, conditions for the realization of their potential. Since “class hatred” today is blunted by bourgeois handouts in the form of consumer loans, relatively affordable food and clothing, some kind of social program, communists should focus not on the most hungry, angry or deprived, but on the most CONSCIOUS, those who have time and the opportunity to engage in forced self-education, for those who are ready and want to get rid of ideological illusions, who are not afraid to climb the philosophical Olympus of Marxist science, in general, for those of whom the backbone of the party of scientific centralism will consist .

Communists must outmaneuver the class enemy first of all INTELLECTUALLY, that is, by the quality of their cadres. However, we do not see today, especially in the left swamp, theorists of the level of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, or their best collaborators, even in piece copies. All these leaders of the “left movement” are ordinary narrowly professional chvans, economists, philosophers, historians, sociologists, at best popularizers, but in fact vulgarizers of Marxism. Bolvanov like Oleg Tkach with such an understanding of Marxism should not be allowed to go to the state plan, even to ordinary performing work, on a cannon shot. Because…

“There is every reason to assert that a person who has joined the Communist Party, but does not exert all his will to comprehend Marxism-Leninism, is not just criminally simple-minded, not only extremely cynical, but also objectively hostile to the communist movement. He is the opportunist ."

V. Mironov
30/05/2023

https://prorivists.org/81_antitkac/

Google Translator
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 11149
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: Ideology

Post by blindpig » Fri Jun 02, 2023 2:58 pm

Image

Liberalism’s survival strategy: degrow the economy, expand militarism, police the discourse

BY RAINER SHEA
MAY 31, 2023

Late-stage capitalism is about selling scams to the people. Scams designed to keep a declining system going by convincing the people that the structural violence within these measures for keeping profits up is worthwhile. An example of this kind of social engineering is the narrative that Washington and European elites used to justify their placing Greece into debt bondage, as a supposed solution to the country’s reaching an economic apocalypse from its capitalist crises. Yanis Varofakis, one of the few involved in Greece’s handling of the situation who tried to stop the austerity plan, wrote a call for resistance that reminds me of what the resistors to Biden’s proxy war are saying. He called for those with integrity to bring: “Truth to power. Truth to our partners. Truth to the citizens of Europe. Truth regarding the sorry state of our banks. Truth about our ‘surpluses’. Truth about non-existent investment.”

We must do the equivalent in response to the policies the U.S. government is enacting to try to maintain the liberal order. Even though Varoufakis couldn’t prevent Greece’s being sold out, his endeavor provides an example for us. Victories for the liberation struggle are built on previous attempts that failed, but still represented progressive events; the 1917 revolution wouldn’t have felt as doable without the Paris commune. Amid the dark conditions that the ruling class is cultivating, we must struggle for working class victory. At the moment, the most meaningful act within this struggle is to advance the information war. Which entails exposing both imperialism’s psyops, and the hypocrisies of liberalism within the imperial center.

This can be done by providing the people with answers to the question that they’ve increasingly been wanting answered: why are their economic circumstances undergoing another vast series of shocks only fifteen years after 2008? The government can’t provide them with answers, all it can do is continue promoting the lies behind its wars while making more false promises. The truth is that the factors which produced our present economic crisis, and gave the government an excuse for further austerity with this week’s debt ceiling resolution, are all things that our government is responsible for. Including and especially the factor of the Ukraine war. The two parties and their corporate puppeteers engineered the conditions that led to a new war in Europe. They cultivated a Federal Reserve which has been carrying out a scheme by banking executives to drive down living standards so that employers can gain more leverage. They designed an economy that’s extremely financialized, concentrated, unstable, and set up to prioritize militarism over social spending.

Now that they’ve exploited the latest crisis this system has brought to make the austerity paradigm even worse, they’re trying to sustain this cycle of disasters which get followed by additional attacks upon the working class. The way they aim to sustain it is by selling the next steps in their war against the proletariat as something progressive. By convincing us that a severely shrunken economy, and a diversion of even more resources towards militarism, are things leftists should support.

The argument they’re using to convey this idea is something we’ve already been seeing for a long time. The Democratic Party’s narrative managers assert that to save the planet, we need degrowth, and that the new cold war against Russia and China is part of what’s required for reaching this goal. We’ve seen this with John Kerry’s assertion that expanding the military buildups against Russia and China is something the USA needs to do in response to the climate crisis. We’ve seen this with the implications from imperialism’s propagandists that Russia and China share the most culpability in delaying climate progress, even though China is almost a decade ahead of its Paris accord pledges while the U.S. military is the largest institutional polluter.

The argument these ideas come from is that the USA, being the leader of the liberal order and therefore supposedly the only one capable of bringing the globe to a positive climate outcome, is therefore justified in doing whatever necessary for countering the world powers which threaten its global authority. Because the liberals present their model of governance as the sole one capable of preventing environmental catastrophe—as well as further disease horrors, after how relevant public health has become in the last decade—they conclude that fighting the new cold war is simply a cost of saving civilization. Austerity is also supposedly necessary for this, since within the degrowth ideology, the people rather than the system are seen as the thing to blame for global warming.

And this argument has persuasive power among leftists, insofar as the representatives of what we today call the “left” are so opportunistic that they’re willing to in essence go along with the narratives of the imperialists. To narratively assist the liberals with these policies, one doesn’t have to outright support austerity, or Ukraine aid, or AFRICOM, or Washington’s effort to occupy the southwest Pacific so China can be countered. They only need to act more concerned about left sectarianism, or tailing the Democratic Party, or promoting radical liberal theories, or the other self-interested things the imperialism-compatible left does, than about fighting the system. The globe’s primary contradiction is U.S. hegemony, the primary contradiction in the imperial center is class, and the primary contradiction in our discourse spaces is radical liberalism. Because radical liberalism is what motivates those who are supposed to represent the revolutionary struggle to prioritize ideas which don’t fundamentally threaten the ruling class.

The system is not endangered when leftists repeat the same critical theories that the New York Times regularly features. What it is threatened by are the ideas that challenge imperialism’s psyops, and that expose the Democratic Party and its narrative managers for their complicity in imperialist violence.

The efforts to liberate the LGBT community, Black people, Native people, and other minoritized groups have the potential to take on a revolutionary character, and often have throughout U.S. history. What the radlibs leave out is that in an environment where these efforts got co-opted a long time ago, they can only be revolutionary when one advances them in a way which simultaneously promotes the class and anti-imperialist struggle. The way to do this is by rejecting the radlib idea that the people in the imperial center are fundamentally reactionary, which leads a developing radical towards elitism and detachment from the people.

As soon as you start thinking the interests of the U.S. working class fundamentally differ depending on their skin color, view the American people as synonymous with their government, and emphasize what divides the workers more than what unites them, you’ve been duped into aiding the Democratic Party. The Democrats and their policies depend on there being a “left” and a “communist movement” that aren’t interested in winning, that care more about gaining influence within the insular “New Left” spheres which the three-letter agencies have cultivated.

The New Left was created to replace the genuine communist movement, which got wiped out first with McCarthyism and then with the destruction of the Panthers. With the Ukraine war, which has driven most of the country into poverty and thereby exposed the radlib lie about Americans mainly being labor aristocrats, we have an unprecedented opportunity to rebuild that movement. The way to do this is by rejecting sectarianism, dogmatism, and left opportunism, then building a working class movement that exists beyond the insular left circles. There’s an extremely powerful idea we can use to advance this goal: that our government has sold out the working class to fight a war which Washington is truly the one to blame for. If we bring this idea to the workers, and fight the psyops the liberals use to argue Russia is the aggressor, we’ll bring tens of millions to communism. The imperialism-compatible left isn’t doing this, because it doesn’t want to win. To bring truth to power and truth to the people, we must reject the advice of these servants of the Democratic Party.

https://newswiththeory.com/liberalisms- ... discourse/

Italics for emphasis. It's the old 'divide and conquer' game, artfully designed to aggravate divisions in the working class and distract people from class analysis.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 11149
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: Ideology

Post by blindpig » Mon Jun 05, 2023 2:50 pm

Colorado teachers denounced capitalism
June 5, 7:25 am

Image

Colorado teachers denounced capitalism

The Colorado Teachers Association passed a resolution condemning capitalism, writes The Washington Times columnist Don Feder. According to him, in this way the teachers declared war on America, since the US cannot survive without the free market as its foundation.

“The Colorado Teachers Association has passed a resolution condemning capitalism, and I am overjoyed about it,” Don Feder, a columnist for The Washington Times, ironically.

Public education is a socialist institution, and American taxpayers have to fund it. Families are forced to supply students, that is, clients. And the product itself is created by bureaucrats and trade unions.
And that is the reality that conservatives have to face.

“The abolition of public schools should be at the top of our list of priorities,” the author believes.

This resolution argues that capitalism exploits children, perpetuates so-called patriarchy, and is inherently racist and anti-LGBT. In addition, it is responsible for climate change.

“They forgot about colds and psoriasis outbreaks,” Feder says ironically.

This resolution reflects the thinking of the ideologists who run the public schools. That is why they are indifferent to grades in reading, math and science, but they are fascinated by critical racial theory, indoctrination on the topic of ecology and the “gender unicorn” program, which claims that gender identity is fluid depending on how people themselves perceive.

The slogan of public school teachers, according to Feder, should be: "We cannot educate, but we can brainwash."

The next US Republican presidential candidate should offer alternatives to public schools as an important part of his election campaign, the author is convinced.

“By denouncing capitalism, the Colorado Teachers Association has declared war on America, which cannot survive without the free market as its foundation. The Conservatives must counterattack,” summarizes The Washington Times columnist Don Feder.


https://russian.rt.com/inotv/2023-06-05 ... -uchitelya - zinc

It is rather amusing how the ruling elites in the USA are trying to replace Marxism with opportunistic ideological crutches for the internal political struggle against the right. It is noteworthy that the criticism of capitalism goes on minor issues like gender and ecology, but does not raise the key topics of private ownership of the means of production, US imperialism and militarism, the dominance of large corporations, many of which quite successfully sponsor “social justice warriors”. So in reality, nothing threatens capitalism as an economic formation in the United States now - the newly adopted increase in public debt with a decrease in social spending and an increase in war spending are just very symptomatic, strictly according to Marx and Lenin.

Well, the fact that capitalism is shit, and without Colorado teachers is clear.

https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/8404043.html

Google Translator

We may not consider "gender and ecology" to be minor issues, yet they are subordinate and encompassed by class. And speaking of 'ecology', it is entirely subordinate to a political structure owned and operated by the capitalist class, as the recent Mountain Valley Pipeline tragedy demonstrates.

The Washington Times is of course a piece of shit rag.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

User avatar
blindpig
Posts: 11149
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle Island
Contact:

Re: Ideology

Post by blindpig » Tue Jun 06, 2023 2:38 pm

WESTERN MARXISM: THE UNWHOLESOME TEMPTATION
Posted by Greg Godels | Jun 5, 2023

Image

The history of Marxism has a parallel history of counter-Marxism– intellectual currents that posture as the true Marxism.

Even before Marxism came into being as a coherent ideology, Marx and Engels devoted an often-neglected section of their 1848 Communist Manifesto to debunking the existing contenders for true socialism.

As the workers’ movement painfully sought a system of beliefs to animate its response to capitalism, the ideas of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels gradually won over workers, peasants, and the oppressed. It was not an easy victory. Liberalism– the dominant ideology of the capitalist class– served workers and peasants in their fight against absolutist tyranny.

With capitalism and liberal institutions firmly established, anarchism –the ideology of the disgruntled petty-bourgeois — rivaled Marxism for the leadership of the workers’ movement. Contradictorily, embracing extreme individualism and utopian democracy distilled from capitalism, yet voicing a bitter hatred of capitalist institutions and economic arrangements, the anarchists failed to offer a viable escape from the crushing weight of capitalism.

Once Bolshevism seized power in 1917, the workers’ movement found an example of real-existing-socialism led by real-avowed-Marxists, a powerful beacon for the way forward in the struggle against capitalism. The victory of the Russian Revolution established Marxism as the most promising road for an exploited majority, with Leninism the only successful ideology for revolutionary change and socialism. To this day, Leninism has remained the only proven guide to socialism.

Immediately after the revolution, rival “Marxisms” sprang up.

The failure of subsequent European revolutions outside of Russia, especially Germany, sheared away numerous intellectuals, like Karl Korsch and György Lukács,who imagined a different, supposedly better, path to proletarian revolution. Buoyed by material support from benefactors, university appointments, and the many eager sponsors of class betrayal, critics and detractors of Leninism abounded.

Especially in the West — North America and Europe– where the working class was significant and growing dramatically, dissidence, class betrayal, and opportunism proved disruptive forces in the world Communist movement, forces that capitalist rulers were eager to support. Young people, inexperienced workers, aspiring intellectuals, and the déclassé, were especially vulnerable to the appeal of independence, purity, idealism, and liberal values. Money, career opportunities, and celebrity were readily available to those who were willing to sell these ideas.

Indeed, not every critic of Marxism-Leninism — revolutionary Communism — was or is insincere or without merit, but honesty demands recognition that no real advocate for overthrowing capitalism could achieve prominence, celebrity, or a mainstream soap box in the capitalist West. He or she could be a curiosity or a token for the sake of appearances — a stooge.

Conversely, any intellectual or political figure who does achieve wide-spread prominence or influence cannot represent a serious, existential challenge to capitalism when the road to prominence and influence is patrolled by the guardians of capitalism.

Nonetheless, the workers’ movement has been plagued by divisive ideological trends or fads spawned by independent voices who, wittingly or not, are exploited by and render service to the capitalist class.

In the West, it is almost impossible to be a young radical and not be tempted by a veritable ideological marketplace of putative anti-capitalist or socialist theories, vying with one another for allegiance. Since the demise of unvarnished, real-existing socialism in the Soviet Union and the disorientation of many Communist and Workers’ parties, the competition of ideas has created even more confusion.

Clearly, the working-class movement, the revolutionary socialist movement, needs guidance to avoid distractions, bogus theories, and corrupted ideas. The march of political neophytes through the arcade of specious, fantastic ideas is a great tragedy, especially regarding those ideas posing as Marxist.

*****

Happily, a new generation of Marxist thinkers are challenging the allure of Marxist pretenders, more specifically, those associated with what has come to be called “Western Marxism.” A sympathetic Wikipedia article offers about as accurate a definition of the words as one might want: “The term denotes a loose collection of theorists who advanced an interpretation of Marxism distinct from both classical and Orthodox Marxism and the Marxism-Leninism of the Soviet Union.” It couldn’t be made clearer: Western Marxism is anything but the Marxism-Leninism that has buttressed worker-engaged revolutionary parties since the time of the Bolshevik revolution!

Marxist historian and journalist, Vijay Prashad, gave a seminar at the Marx Memorial Library on November 21, 2022, in which he excoriated the Western Marxism of the 1980s:

There was a sustained attack on Marxism in this period, led by New Left Books, now Verso Books, in London, which published Hegemony and Socialist Strategy by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe in 1985. The book mischievously utilised the work of Antonio Gramsci to make an attack at Marxism, to in fact champion something they called “post-Marxism.” Post-structuralism, post-Marxism, post-colonialism: this became the flavour of academic literature coming out of Western countries from the 1980s… Particularly after the collapse of the Soviet Union there was a great weakness in our ability to fight back against this denigration of Marxism in the name of post-Marxism… When they [Laclau and Mouffe] talk about “agency” and “the subject” and so on, they have basically walked away from the structuring impact of political economy and returned to a pre-Marxist time; they have in fact not gone beyond Marxism but back to a time before Marxism. (Viewing Decolonization through a Marxist Lens, published in Communist Review, Winter 2022/2023)

Prashad places the influential works of Hardt and Negri and Deleuze and Guattari in the same post-Marxist mix.

He regrets the multiculturalism turn because it ”basically took the guts out of the anticolonial, anti-racist critique, at the global level you had the arrival of ‘postcolonial’ thought, and also ‘decoloniality’ – in other words, let’s look at power, let’s look at culture, but let’s not look at the political economy that structures everyday life and behavior and reproduces the colonial mentality; that has to be off the table… So, we entered into a kind of academic morass, where Marxism was not, in a sense, permitted to enter.”

Prashad might well have added the intrusion of rational-choice theory into Marxism in the 1980s, an uninvited analysis of Marxist theory through the lens of methodological individualism and liberal egalitarianism. One leading exponent of what came to be called “analytical Marxism” eviscerated the robust Marxist concept of exploitation by proving that if we have inequality as an initial condition, we will quite logically reproduce inequality — a trivial derivation with little relevance to understanding the historically evolved concept of labor exploitation..

Prashad might have noted the continuing influence of postmodern relativism upon Marxist theory in the 1980s and beyond, a denigration of any claim that Marxism is the science of society. For the postmodernist, Marxism can only be, at best, one of several competing interpretations of society, coherent within Marxist circles, but forbidden from making any greater claim for universality. Moreover, the postmodernist denies that there can ever be any valid overarching theory of capitalism, any “metanarrative” that plots a socio-economic system’s trajectory. While its flaws can not be addressed here, the late Marxist historian Ellen Meiksins Wood exposed the academic trend with great clarity.

Another excellent, contemporary critique of Western Marxism can be found in the writings of Marxist author Gabriel Rockhill. Rockhill skillfully and thoroughly discredits the Frankfurt School of neo-Marxism, especially its most celebrated thinkers, Horkheimer, Habermas, Adorno, and Marcuse, exposing their fealty to various sponsors. Those who paid the bills enjoyed sympathetic ideas, an outcome often found with the practitioners of Western Marxism.

Rockhill also does a scathing exposé of today’s most prominent Marxist poseur, Slavoj Žižek. I was happy to heap praise on Rockhill’s deflation of Žižek’s unmatched ego in an earlier post. Both Rockhill’s unmasking of the Frankfurt School and his destruction of the Žižek cult are essential reading in contesting Western Marxism.

Most recently, philosopher Carlos L. Garrido ambitiously tackles Western Marxism in his book The Purity Fetish and the Crisis of Western Marxism (Midwestern Marx Publishing Press, 2023). Central to Garrido’s argument is the notion of a “purity fetish” that is at the core of the Western Marxists’ attack on Marxism-Leninism. This insightful and original thesis indeed captures a feature common to the leading lights of left-wing Western anti-Communism; from Frederich Ebert to Slavoj Žižek, “Marxists” have hypocritically insisted that revolutionaries be held to a higher standard of democratic governance, judicial perfection, non-violence, and policy perfection beyond anything experienced in bourgeois society or to be reasonably expected of a revolutionary society outside of sheer fantasy.

Western Marxists can conveniently overlook capitalism’s history of genocidal, undemocratic, and exploitative sins while excoriating the Fidelistas for settling accounts with a few hundred Batista torturers. They deplore the sweeping changes that Soviet and Chinese Communists implemented in agriculture to overcome the frequent famines that devastated their countries when the changes unfortunately coincided with severe famines, as though great change for the better could evade natural events and tragedy anywhere but in their imagination.

They turn a blind eye to the human costs imposed on humanity by ruling elites’ resistance to great change, while denouncing revolutionaries for seeking that change and risking a better future. Western Marxism diminishes the great accomplishments of real existing socialism, while relentlessly denouncing the errors incurred in socialist construction. Garrido effectively underscores the necessary pains and errors in realizing a new world, in escaping the clutches of ruthless capitalism.

As Garrido notes:

This is the sort of ‘Marxism’ that imperialism appreciates, the type which CIA agent Thomas Braden called “the compatible left.” This is the ‘Marxism’ which functions as the vanguard of controlled counter-hegemony.

He eloquently summarizes:

Socialism for the Western Marxists is, in the words of Marx, a purely scholastic question. They are not interested in real struggle, in changing the world, but in continuously purifying an idea, one that is debated amongst other ivory-tower Marxists and which is used to measure against the real world. The label of ‘socialist’ or ‘Marxist’ is sustained merely as a counter-cultural and edgy identity which exists in the fringes of quotidian society. That is what Marxism is reduced to in the West– a personal identity.

I might add that it is also a commonplace for Western Marxists to invest heavily in other-people’s-socialism. Rather than engaging their own working classes, Western Marxists fight surrogate struggles for socialism through the solidarity movement, picking and choosing the “purest” struggles and debating the merits of various socialisms vicariously.

Garrido elaborates on socialism-as-an-investment-in-identity:

In the context of the hyper-individualist West’s treatment of socialism as a personal identity, the worst thing that may happen for these ‘socialists’ is for socialism to be achieved. That would mean the total destruction of their counter-cultural fringe identity. Their utter estrangement from the working masses of the country may in part be read as an attempt to make socialist ideas fringe enough to never convince working people, and hence, never conquer political power.

The success of socialism would entail a loss of selfhood, a destruction of the socialist-within-capitalism identity. The socialism of the West is grounded on an identity which hates the existing order but hates even more the loss of identity which transcending it would entail.


Garrido’s objectives are not completed with his masterful dissection of Western Marxism. In addition, he devotes great attention to Western Marxism’s critique of the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC) in a section entitled China and the Purity Fetish of Western Marxism. Of course, he is correct to deplore Western Marxism’s unprincipled collaboration with bourgeois ideologues in attacking every policy or act of Peoples’ China since its revolution in 1949. As with the USSR, any honest, deeply considered estimation of the trajectory of the PRC must– warts and all– see it as a positive in humanity’s necessary transcendence of capitalism.

As anti-imperialists, we must defend the PRC’s right (and other countries’ rights) to choose its own course.

As Marxists, we must defend the Chinese Communist Party’s right to find its own road to socialism.

But Garrido goes further, by mounting an impassioned, but one-sided defense of Chinese socialism. As a militant advocate of the dialectical method, this is an odd departure. As esteemed Marxist R. Palme Dutt argued in the 1960s, the pregnant question for a dialectical materialist is Whither China? not: Does the PRC measure up to some pure Platonic form of socialism?

A more balanced view of the PRC road would reference the significance of the Communist Party’s overwhelmingly peasant class base in its foundation, its engagement with Chinese nationalism, and the strong voluntarist tendency in Mao Zedong Thought. It would consider the 1960s’ break with the world Communist movement and the rapprochement with the most reactionary elements in US ruling circles in the 1970s, capped by the shameful material support for US and South African surrogates in the liberation wars of Southern Africa. PRC was funding Jonas Savimbi and UNITA while Cuban internationalists were dying fighting them and their apartheid allies. Which suggests the question: Could Peoples’ China do more to help Cuba overcome the US blockade, as did the Soviet Union?

A fair account would address the PRC invasion of Vietnam in 1979 and Peoples’ China’s unwavering defense of the Khmer Rouge. Surely, all these factors play a role in assessing the PRC’s road to socialism.

These uncomfortable facts make it hard to agree with Garrido that the PRC has been “a beacon in the anti-imperialist struggle.”

Of course, today is another matter. My own view is that the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party is “riding the tiger” of a substantial capitalist sector, to use imagery reminiscent of high Maoism. How well they are riding it is in question, but they are indeed riding it. There are many promising developments, but also some that are worrisome.

In any case, the comrades who are critical or skeptical of the Chinese road should not be summarily swept into the dustbin with Western Marxism.

Garrido brings his purity fetish home when he discusses US socialist organizing. He casts a critical eye on the class character of most of the US left, rooting it in the petty-bourgeoisie and the influence of petty-bourgeois ideas. He locates the conveyor for these ideas in academia, the media, and NGOs. Additional material support for petty-bourgeois ideology comes from non-profit corporations and, of course, the Democratic Party.

The petty-bourgeois bias of the US left reinforces its hyper-critical attitude toward movements attempting to actually secure a socialist future. Wherever socialists or socialist-oriented militants tackle the enormous obstacles before them, many on the left will insist that they adhere to courteous liberal standards, an unrealistic demand guaranteeing failure. Garrido mocks the insistence on revolutionary purity: “…the problem is that those things in the real world called socialism were never actually socialism; socialism is really this beautiful idea that exists in a pure form in my head….”

The purity fetish of the middle strata extends to radicals who scorn workers as “backward” or “deplorable.” Garrido counters this purity obsession with a wonderful quote from Lenin: one “can (and must) begin to build socialism, not with abstract human material, or with human material especially prepared by us, but with the human material bequeathed to us by capitalism.”

Regarding the Trump vote and the working class, Garrido scolds the US left:

…they don’t see that what is implicit in that vote is a desire for something new, something which only the socialist movement, not Trump or any bourgeois party, could provide. Instead, they see in this chunk of the working class a bunch of racists bringing forth a ‘fascist’ threat which can only be defeated by giving up on the class struggle and tailing the Democrats. Silly as it may sound, this policy dominates the contemporary communist movement in the U.S.

While not all of the left is guilty of this failure, the charge is not far off the mark.

Finally, Garrido faults much of the US left for its blanket dismissal of progressive trends and achievements in US history. Many leftists debase heroic struggles in US history by painting a portrait of a relentless trajectory of reaction, racism, and imperialism. Garrido correctly sees this as an instantiation of a negative purity fetish — denouncing every page of US history as fatally wanting and inauthentic: “…purity fetish Marxists add on to their futility in developing subjective conditions for revolution by completely disconnecting themselves from the traditions the American masses have come to accept.”

While this is true, it must be remembered that there is always the danger that US history would be celebrated so vigorously that the country’s legacy of cruelty and bloody massacre might be muted by patriotic zeal. During the Popular Front era, for example, Communist leader Earl Browder’s slogan that “Communism is twentieth century Americanism” invested too much social justice in Americanism and too little in Communism.

US history and tradition is contradictory and Marxists should always expose that contradiction– a legacy of both great, historic social change and ugly inhumanity. The country’s origin shares a tragic settler-colonial past with countries like Australia and South Africa in its genocidal treatment of indigenous people. Those same settlers established or tolerated the brutal exploitation of Africans forced into chattel slavery. While we could lay the blame at the doorstep of the US ruling class, it is US history as well.

At the same time, the US revolution was the most radical for its time and every generation produced a consequential movement to correct the failings of the legacy or advance the horizon of social progress. An emancipating civil war, the expansion of suffrage, workers’ gains against corporations, social welfare and insurance, and a host of other milestones mark the peoples’ history.

While writing and reflecting on the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution (Echoes of the Marsellaise), Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm couldn’t help but be struck by the lesser global influence of the earlier US revolution upon nineteenth-century social change. He thought that reformers and revolutionaries of the time could recognize their point of departure “more readily in the Ancien Régime of France than in the free colonists and slave-holders of North America.” Undoubtedly, the stain of the genocide of indigenous peoples and brutal slavery influenced that disposition.

Indeed, Hobsbawm’s observation underscores the contradictory character of the US past. It is not a “purity fetish” that explains this judgment, but the cold, harsh facts of US history.

Nonetheless, it is appropriate for Garrido to remind us of the many revolutionaries — Marx, Lenin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, William Z. Foster, Herbert Aptheker, Fidel, and more — who have both drawn inspiration and offered inspiration from the victories of the people as well as the fierce resistance to ruling-class oppression contained in US history. He effectively cites Communist leader Georgi Dimitrov who rejects the practice of national nihilism — the denigration of all expressions of national pride and accomplishment. Within every national identity is an identity to be celebrated in its resistance to oppression and its dedication to a better way of life. Workers must draw national humility from the failures of the past, while drawing national pride from the victories over injustice. A left that attends to only one and not both will fail the working class.

*****

Western Marxism — Marxist scholasticism, disconnected from revolutionary practice — distracts far-too-many well-meaning, hungry-for-change potential allies on the arduous road to socialism. It is heartening to find voices rising to challenge the sterile, obscurantism of this distraction, while defending and promoting the tradition of Marxism-Leninism and Communism. We should encourage and support Marxists like Prashad, Rockhill, and Garrido in conducting this struggle.

https://mltoday.com/western-marxism-the ... emptation/
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

Post Reply