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The Forge

Post by blindpig » Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:16 pm

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The Forge is a socialist newspaper in Knoxville, Tennessee providing socialist news and information for East Tennessee and the Southern US. Have a story idea or a tip? Email us at forgenewspaper@gmail.com.

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Here at The Forge, we love leftist Emma Caterine's down to earth explanations of how capitalism works. Check out her blog here.
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Hmmm, this outfit is creating some buzz among the 'ham/sic' types, which makes me wary. As does linking to PSL & WW, who, best I can tell have Trot tendencies. Nonetheless I'm gonna post a couple articles. Ruthless criticism welcomed.
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Re: The Forge

Post by blindpig » Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:30 pm

Socialism is the future: China leads the way on the environment
BY THEFORGENEWS POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 8, 2017

Image

By Ava Lipatti

Along with war and poverty, environmental degradation is one of the most pressing problems for humanity in the 21st century. Centuries of capitalist, colonial resource extraction and untethered industrialization have devastated the global South and brought untold destruction on the planet and its inhabitants. But while “world leaders” United States and Western Europe continue to drag their feet, China has emerged as the world leader in environmental justice.

This may come as a surprise, given the popular narrative about extreme pollution in China. To be clear, climate change and fossil fuels present major problems for China. Being the most populous country in the world, China does top the world in carbon emissions. However, this narrative is misleading for a couple of reasons. First, it distorts the facts: when carbon emissions are considered per capita, China beats 40-some countries, including the United States, Canada, India, and Russia. It’s also worth noting that a recent study found that smog may be up to 27 times more toxic in Europe than in China, because smog in Europe is caused primarily by industrial pollution, whereas in China, natural dust is a leading cause. Second, this narrative ignores what China is doing to fight climate change, deforestation, and other injustices against the environment.

China leads the way

In terms of clean energy use, China leads the world in a number of categories. In 2016, China surpassed the United States as the top producer of renewable energy, contributing around 40% of global growth, more than the entire OECD. Already the world leader in wind power usage (outperforming the entire European Union), China plans to double its wind energy capacities by 2020 through government subsidies. China’s wind farms produce more energy than all U.S. nuclear plants. Furthermore, over one third of all nuclear energy plants in construction in 2015 were in China. China also leads the world in solar power production, ranking first worldwide in PV power capacity. In 2016, the country installed more than 34 gigawatts of solar capacity, accounting for nearly half of the total worldwide added capacity, and more than double the U.S.’s contribution. The world’s largest solar farm, Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, is China’s project.

In June 2017, the Qinghai Province, with a population of over 5 million, successfully ran entirely on renewable energy for seven days. This is the first experiment of its kind, demonstrating that a sustainable future is possible.

Of course, there is still much room for improvement: around two thirds of China’s energy is supplied by coal, despite a 30% decrease in coal imports in 2015 and a massive decrease in coal consumption in 2016. However, the Communist Party has pledged commitment to improving the numbers by 2050, with some estimates even suggesting that 86% of China’s energy needs will be met with clean sources by then.

Increased reliance on renewable energy has also come with significant efforts to curtail the negative effects of fossil fuels and other pollutants. Beijing air quality has improved significantly due to Chinese state policy, including replacing coal plants with gas plants, increasing clean energy consumption, and removing 1 million ‘high polluting’ cars from the roads. Further, the Chinese government has pledged to cut pollution from power plants by 60% before the year 2020. According to a 2009 New York Times article, China is building cleaner coal-fired plants at a rate far outpacing the United States:

“Western countries continue to rely heavily on coal-fired power plants built decades ago with outdated, inefficient technology that burn a lot of coal and emit considerable amounts of carbon dioxide. China has begun requiring power companies to retire an older, more polluting power plant for each new one they build.”

In terms of job creation in the clean energy sector, China beats the United States. China offered a total of 3.6 million jobs in renewable energy in 2016, whereas the U.S. had only 777,000, trailing both absolutely and per capita. Prioritizing prosperity and social need over profits gives China the leg up in terms of both providing jobs for workers and creating a more sustainable overall society.

China’s sustainability efforts extend beyond clean energy investment. When it comes to deforestation, yet again China is a world leader. By 2020, China will cover nearly a quarter of its land in forest. China already leads the world in afforestation, boasting 69.3 million hectares of artificial forest. While Flint, Michigan has by now gone three years without clean water, China has just launched 8,000 water clean-up projects, an investment worth $100 billion USD. Only a centralized, planned economy under the control of a workers’ state can produce such astonishing initiatives.

Sustainability for the global South

China’s technological advances in clean energy and other areas will not only benefit China. Through the ambitious Belt and Road initiative, the CPC looks to expand mutually beneficial ties with global South countries through investing in much-needed infrastructure development.

Through infrastructure development such as high-speed railways in Kenya and Ethiopia, as well as other diverse investments, China is leading the way in developing the productive forces of many countries in Africa, as well as Asia and Latin America. Although these countries can only decisively break from the shackles of the global imperialist system through establishing socialism, bilateral ties with China significantly undercut the NATO/WTO stranglehold on the global South. Through mutual trade and infrastructural development, China is playing a major role in laying the basis for decolonization and economic independence for the entire global South.

In this context, Chinese technological advancement in clean energy and other sustainability projects will inevitably benefit the global South insofar as the Belt and Road initiative strengthens ties between China and the rest of the colonized world. For China and its trading partners, infrastructure and prosperity go hand-in-hand with sustainable development, paving the way for a brighter future.

Capitalism or socialism?

The reason that China has been able to take such massive initiatives is because of its socialist system: in China, the economy is rationally planned in order to meet the needs of the people, rather than for profit. Markets and private industry do exist in China, but they play a subordinate role to the state-owned commanding heights of the economy.

In the United States, the economy is dominated by an increasingly small number of corporate conglomerates in pursuit of profits. In this economic system, sustainability and climate justice are in contradiction to the profit-seeking oil industry. As long as the capitalist system exists, profits will be placed ahead of human needs, and state investment in sustainable development will be the exception rather than the rule.

In socialist China, environmental sustainability goes hand-in-hand with poverty eradication and economic growth. Even if an industry is not very profitable, a command economy allows the state to allocate funds for it anyway if said industry is necessary for the overall welfare of society. China is thus able to develop a more sustainable and hospitable society for all of its people.

When we fight for socialism, we are fighting for a sustainable future for our entire planet. While socialist China leads the way, we must struggle for a better society to replace the global imperialist system and its profit-seeking destruction.

Ava Lipatti is a Marxist, anti-imperialist, feminist activist and writer.

https://theforgenews.org/2017/09/08/soc ... vironment/
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Re: The Forge

Post by blindpig » Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:38 pm

Cops, capitalism and the massacre of trans people
BY THEFORGENEWS POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 22, 2017
By Devin Cole


Warning: This article contains a graphic depiction of a shooting death of a transgender person.

In the continuous war on transgender people, another life has been senselessly taken, this time at the hands of a particularly violent arm of the capitalist state: the police. On Sept. 16 Scout Schultz, a bisexual, intersex, non-binary student and activist at Georgia Tech, as well as head of Tech’s Pride Alliance, was shot dead by campus police officer Tyler Beck.

This tragic event is being portrayed as “suicide by cop.” But it could have been prevented — Scout should still be here, and there should have been no tragic death of a transgender person suffering from a mental health crisis. In a haunting video released by a student who recorded the incident from their dorm room, Scout is seen approaching Officer Beck with what was later revealed to be a small multi-tool with no blade extended. Beck, who had received no training in crisis intervention — the program teaching cops how to deal with a mental health crisis — told Scout to drop the knife but they continued, telling Beck to shoot them. Beck, instead of attempting to disarm Scout, shot and killed them instead.

In 2017, twenty-one transgender people have been murdered, and Scout is not the first transgender person killed by police this year. On Aug. 22, Kiwi Herring, a Black transgender woman, was killed by St. Louis police after an altercation stemming from being harassed by a neighbor.

It is easy for reactionaries and “Devil’s advocates” to say “Well, if they didn’t want to die, they shouldn’t have attacked the police.” But it is more complicated that that.

We know that the police in the U.S. wage a perpetual war on transgender people. Since at least the 19th century, police have routinely arrested and abused transgender people on counts of cross-dressing, sodomy, solicitation, etc. This abuse continued into the 20th century, and resulted in queer and transgender revolts such as the Compton Cafeteria Riot in California and the pivotal Stonewall Riots in New York City.

The key role of transgender defiance in these uprisings has been swept under the rug by the ruling class as well as by the rising of a gay elite, connected in their pro-capitalist, pro-imperialist pandering to the ruling class. We know that cops’ perpetual assault on transgender people, like that of all cops who assault, rape, and murder working-class people, is why this killer cop, Tyler Beck, is being defended.

This incident digs deeper into the issue of how transgender people are not only abused and mistreated by those “sworn to protect,” but by a capitalist state that purposely neglects trans rights and trans people. Scout had survived a suicide attempt in 2015 and was attending counseling services. As of 2015, 41% of transgender people reported attempting suicide. (ustranssurvey.org)

It’s no coincidence that transgender people within the U.S. face higher amounts of poverty, discrimination, harassment, violence, and murder. All of this piled up together is enough to overwhelm anyone, and with the continued targeting of transgender people by the ruling-class powers in Washington, D.C., who are doing everything they can to crush the support network that trans people have built, it is understandable why mental health issues are surging in the trans community.

These issues are doubled for trans people of color, especially Black trans people who are at many different oppressive intersections and suffer from higher rates of mental health crises.

As long as capitalism exists, then racism exists, sexism exists, transphobia exists, and on and on. As long as capitalism exists, it will need to try to turn oppressed people against each other and continuously expand by any means. That includes expanding its violent, militarized police force that continues to assault and kill oppressed groups who resist and revolt against the exploitative force of capitalism.

Even if that resistance exists at the same time with feelings of despair and dismay with oneself, as it did for Scout Schultz, we acknowledge Scout, like all martyred trans people, as a hero, and a comrade. We go forward in our fight for liberation and socialism with them, and all other transgender people, in our words and actions.

Mesha Caldwell, Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, JoJo Striker, Keke Collier, Chyna Doll Dupree, Ciara McElveen, Jaquarrius Holland, Alphonza Watson, Chay Reed, Brenda Bostick, Sherrell Faulkner, Kenne McFadden, Kendra Marie Adams, Ava Le’Ray Barrin, Ebony Morgan, TeeTee Dangerfield, Gwynevere River Song, Kiwi Herring, Kashmere Nazier Redd, Derricka Banner, and Scout Schultz — Presente!

Note: This article is also being published by Workers World newspaper.

Devin Cole is a Southern transgender organizer, president of Strive, operations director of Florida Transgender Alliance and a Workers World Party candidate.

https://theforgenews.org/2017/09/22/cop ... ns-people/
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Re: The Forge

Post by blindpig » Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:45 pm

Analyzing Japanese Nationalism through the Urasenke Tea Ceremony
BY THEFORGENEWS POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 10, 2017
By Val Reynoso

Kristin Surak sociologically analyzes the Japanese tea ceremony, also known as chanoyu, and the power hierarchies involved in it in her book ‘Making Tea, Making Japan: Cultural Nationalism in Practice’.

The Urasenke tea ceremony is of deep significance to the Japanese and informed by the hereditary hierarchy of the Iemoto system. The historical rise and dominance of the Iemoto has secured the concentration of nationalism that is characteristic of the Japaneseness of the tea ceremony.

Ieomoto is a Japanese term that means “house-origin” but typically has the connotation “founder” of a designated school of art. Iemoto can also be used to describe a system of familial generations in traditional Japanese arts such as the tea ceremony. The Japanese Iemoto system consists of a hierarchical structure within the school itself in which the Iemoto is rendered as the supreme authority.

Surak’s sociological and ethnographic analyses of the Japanese tea ceremony deviate from non-analytical perspectives on it, seeing that these analyses tend to be informed by orientalism, racism and Western bias, whereas Surak successfully illustrated the significance of Japanese nationalism in the enactment of the tea ceremony.

The support organization of the Urasenke Chanoyu Center is the Urasenke Tea Ceremony Society which provides visitors with a better understanding of the chanoyu as well as participation in the Urasenke Tea Ceremony. The tea ceremony at the Urasenke Chanoyu Center demonstrates the power dynamics of the Iemoto and the deep significance that this ceremony carries for the Japanese who practice it.

The Japanese Ieomoto system is fundamental to the social orders and hierarchy within the realm of the tea ceremony and the Japaneseness that is embodied through the enactment of it. Japaneseness and its ties to the Urasenke tea ceremony and the culture of commemoration centered around it are indicative of theories of culture and ideology.

Culture is a system of meaning composed of values, beliefs, behaviors, practices, material goods, symbols and language. Ideology is a system of ideas that typically form the basis of socioeconomic and political theories. Moreover, tea is a significant object in the Urasenke tea ceremony; the Iemoto system within the tea world also serves as a connection between the nationalist charge of the tea ceremony and typical nationness expressed in tea practice—all of which has been sustained by broader aspects of society and Japaneseness.

Furthermore, the Japaneseness of chanoyu is demonstrated through the actions and interactions among tea practicioners and their guests; as stated by Surak in ‘Making Tea, Making Japan’, “Practicioners invoke Japaneseness both to elucidate the broader cultural significance of what they’re doing and to inculcate in others, as they themselves have come to embody the higher justifications that enabled tea to weather the difficult transition from the premodern to the modern era.”

Embodiment and enactment is vital to the Japanese tea ceremony and is the means through which nationalism is channeled through tea. The Iemoto system the tea ceremony is rooted in, is informed by familial inheritance through death. The title of Iemoto is typically hereditary although this is not always the case and in the Urasenke tea ceremony, the Iemoto carries the name Soshitsu–derived from the name of the founder of the Urasenke school of tea. With practice, the student can work their way up the hierarchy of the Iemoto although most will not obtain the title of the Iemoto.

Familial descendants of the Iemoto can build their way up to the top through engagement in the Japanese tea ceremony and enactment of Japaneseness, it is a process that is rooted in construction and growth of an ongoing lineage.

The Japanese tea ceremony is also in part a result of capitalism and imperialism and the nationalism enacted through it has felt the impact of these factors. Showa imperialism and the fall of the Tokugawa in Japan influenced further development of the tea ceremony, seeing that a strong body of adherents to contemporary tea school and explicit nationalist ideology incorporated into the ceremony were developed by the upstart Iemoto Tanaka Sensho; this served as a foundation for the tea ceremony’s decades-long assimilation into the symbology of Showa imperialism.

The tea ceremony was once again further shaped by the military occupation after the Pacific War. Additionally, the prewar organizations of the Iemoto already functioned on a growing, majority-woman constituency. Moreover, the Iemoto were currently capitalizing off of the post-imperialist shift from political to cultural motifs as legitimized expressions of Japanese nationalism.

The tea ceremony in the modernized sense has always been particularly nationalist and in the post-imperialist era of Japan, the tea ceremony was transformed into one incorporating imperialist elements from the Showa and more effeminate. Japaneseness is intimate and yet capitalizes off of imperialism. The sociopolitical shift in the importance of the chanoyu post-Tokugawa resulted in the legitimization of the tea ceremony and Iemoto resilience. Chanoyu is also intimate, it is the relationship between the tea practitioner and the students, each step of the ceremony an exchange between individuals or a student’s enactment of nationalism through drinking the matcha tea.

Val Reynoso is a Politics and Human Rights undergrad, journalist and Marxist-Leninist activist.

https://theforgenews.org/2017/09/10/ana ... -ceremony/

jfc
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Re: The Forge

Post by blindpig » Tue Dec 11, 2018 12:05 am

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Platform of United Communists of Lane County:

While United Communists of Lane County seeks to work at the local level to build a socialist base capable of taking on capitalism, we recognize that the problems we face extend far beyond the scale of local organizing. The issues of white supremacy, poverty, and oppression which impact the people of Lane County are systemic and a result of a national and international economic order. Given the scale of the issues we seek to address, our platform lays out the principles we uphold in terms of broader international socialist struggle. All of our local organizing is done with these principles in mind, and with the goal of achieving these demands.

1.Our first and primary demand is the abolition of capitalism. By this, we mean the collectivization of the means of production, in the hands of the workers. We also mean the abolition of the capitalist class who owns the productive property of the capitalist economy. We demand full power in the hands of the workers themselves. We hold that the working class is more than capable of managing itself, and that the capitalist class is an exploitative class who profits off the labor of the workers.

2.We demand reparations paid by the United States, not only for the horrific legacy of slavery, but the continued process of oppression and slavery enacted against black people within the United States through forced prison labor and lethal over policing. We demand reparations towards indigenous Americans for the theft of their land and the ongoing social marginalization within this settler society. We demand reparations paid towards every country of the global south who the US has attacked, either through staged coups, imperialist sanctions, or outright war. We hold both these points to be central to anti-imperialist organizing. Also central the anti-imperialist is support for decolonization as an ongoing and continuous.

3.We demand an end to the racist and oppressive police forces of the capitalist state. We believe that communities should develop processes of conflict resolution and the administration of justice with focus on restorative justice and mutual aid. We hold that the police do not solve crime, but that they enforce the capitalist and white supremacist conditions which push the poor and marginalized into desperate actions.

4.We demand an immediate end to the prison system of the capitalist state. We believe that the capitalist state uses prisons as a form of modern slavery to extract cheap or unpaid labor from people of color. We hold that slavery in the United States has not ended, but has shifted forms and now occurs within the walls of this empires so called “correctional” facilities. We believe that prison does not work to stop crime but leads to recidivism by ruining employment and social opportunities for former prisoners.

5.We demand full social support for all individuals regardless of ability. We hold true to the timeless demand “From each according to their ability, and to each according to their need.” We recognize that the capitalist system necessitates and profits from ableism. We believe that our societies have produced such a surplus of goods and commodities that there is absolutely no excuse for the ongoing neglect and social exclusion of disabled people. Those who cannot work should be provided for in every way, and all society ought to have an obligation to ensure their thriving. All who desire to work should be provided with an accessible environment that meets the specificity of their needs.

6.We demand the abolition of patriarchy and the full liberation of women. We demand that women receive compensation for domestic labor which capitalism has long left unpaid. We demand full autonomy for women over their bodies and emphasize reproductive justice to ensure that all women have access to healthcare which empowers them to exercise bodily autonomy.

7.We demand the breaking of heteronormativity and homophobia as well as dismantling the gender/sexual/and romantic norms that negatively impact to LGBTQA+ community. We demand the full recognition of trans women as women, and rebuke the divisive reactionaries masking as feminists who seek to alienate our trans sisters.

https://www.unitedcommunistsoflanecounty.com/platform/

Hey, The Forge linked & endorsed this. I'm just the messenger...
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Re: The Forge

Post by blindpig » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:52 pm

ANTI-EUROCENTRISM & THE CRITIQUE OF SETTLER COLONIALISM
DECEMBER 16, 2018 ENA͞EMAEHKIW KESĪQNAEH
Earlier this year there was a small-scale three-way split within the U.S.-based Marxist-Leninist/communist organization known as the Workers World Party (WWP). This split, which occurred in stages, was the result of apparent conflict between what at first seemed to be the core organizational leadership of the WWP and the membership of the Huntington, West Virginia branch of the Party. The dispute arose due to the Huntington branch’s critical approach to the West Virginia teachers’ strike. The leadership of the WWP took the stance of uncompromising support for the strikers; while the position of the Huntington branch members, who were actually present in West Virginia, had been to raise anti-colonial and anti-imperialist slogans in an attempt to critique this unquestioned and uncritical support from the rest of the Party.

This caught the ire of the rest of the Party. From the reports of comrades at the heart of the conflict, I have been told that much of this came to a ruptural head following the prominent placement on the Huntington branch’s Facebook (since deleted) page of the slogan “White teachers owe reparations.” Along with the raising of this demand for white people, including white workers, and in this particular instance white teachers, to pay reparations for the chattel enslavement of African people, images were also shared on the branch page of old Pan Africanist Congress of Azania agit-prop featuring their classic and beloved slogan “one settler; one bullet.”

Eventually this rupture within the WWP resulted in the majority of the Huntington branch resigning and moving on to form the Organization for the Liberation of Oppressed Peoples (LOOP), “a solidarity organization dedicated to the advance of anti-colonial and anti-imperialist politics” (2018). Curiously the Detroit, Michigan branch of the WWP has also split, forming a nascent organization calling itself the Communist Workers League (CWL) (2018). Curious because, as an outside observer located in Ontario, Canada, the Detroit branch was central in leading the charge against the comrades of the Huntington branch. It would seem that that the now CWL believed that the central WWP leadership was neither swift enough nor harsh enough in condemning the line of the comrades in West Virginia.

However, unsurprisingly, the remaining leadership of the WWP did indeed move to distance itself from the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist line of the former Huntington members. This was best summed up in longtime WWP leader Larry Holmes’s article Can We Meet the Challenges Facing the Working Class Including Identity Politics? (2018), which deployed the old Marxist bogeyman of “Identity Politics” as a blunt instrument against the former Huntington comrades. Interestingly however, the Party also made available on their website an article/talk by a member of United American Indians of New England entitled Indigenous Women, the Land and the Struggle Against Settler Colonialism (2018). The reason I, again as a third-party observer to to this intra-party struggle, found the sharing of this particular piece by the WWP to be so interesting is because the line presented in the article is contrary not only to that put forth by Holmes in the above referenced article, as well as the former Detroit members-come-Communist Workers League, but also to the general line of the WWP concerning its understanding of settler colonialism and the Indigenous struggle for decolonization. So much so that I would happily unite with an organization who’s line reflected the ideas in this document, though sadly that is not the case currently.

The meat of this writing though is in particular directly inspired by the article White Guilt and Third Worldism: An Infantile Disorder (2018), and takes it as a leaping off point for further discussion on these issues. The article was penned by a then member of the WWP Detroit branch, a comrade Mond, which was aimed at the politics of the Huntington branch, and which made several round through social media. While I absolutely believe the earnestness of this comrade, and do not doubt their commitment to building a revolutionary movement towards radical social change, the article is full of all manner of misconceptions and misunderstandings, and what I want to do here is to respond to a handful of them. I encourage readers to checkout Mond’s article if they have not already before proceeding.

Decoloniality & Marxism-with-Qualifiers

Before really diving into what I want to say, I want to be clear on something, as I believe it is something that comrades often misunderstand about me and my own politics: while I have in the past, labelled my politics and theoretical orientation as Third Worldist, or some other variant thereof, that is not really the case anymore. This is in large part because as I have come to understand it, what some people choose to label as so-called Third Worldism is more correctly understood as the proper application of anti-Eurocentric perspectives to the study of political economy, and consequently the taking seriously of the fact of parasitism and its impact on the formation and orientation of the working class within the imperialist core of the modern/colonialist/capitalist world-system.

Thus rather than thinking of Third Worldism as some kind of distinct label, I box its various understandings into my broader decolonial perspective on the modern/colonial/capitalist world-system. As such, rather than refer to Third Worldism I prefer to talk instead of anti-Eurocentric political economy. Indeed this is something that I believe converges with the analysis put forth by Robert Biel in his excellent, if not quite broad or deep enough, text Eurocentrism and the Communist Movement (2015), a work that is never, in my experience, labelled Third Worldist.

Today I would identify my political outlook as a kind of Marxism-with-Qualifiers (a term I have borrowed from a Lakota decolonial communist and comrade Hinskéhanska [2018]) rather than with one of the many layer cake approaches to Marxism which generally entail a religious fidelity to a chosen lineage of Marxist Ascended Masters. Thus, to be clear, I am not anti-Marxist, a label which has been applied to me by detractors at various times, born out of disagreement with what I say. I have always valued, and will continue to value, the theoretical, ideological, methodological and practical/organizational lessons that I have been taught from Marxism. My affinity to Marxism, which is still strongly present, is simply very critical and decolonized, or in the process of becoming such.

However, my decolonization of Marxism—a process which began with a movement towards an anti-Eurocentric political economy, inspired by study and analysis of world-systems analysis, dependency theory and many other theorists and movement—deepened the more I have delved into contemporary understandings of coloniality, settler colonialism, racial capitalism and the critique of the onto-epistemological project of Euro-modernity and the Enlightenment. These critiques, which emerge from a position of a radical Indigenous decolonial and critical theory, as well as the Black radical tradition, queer theory, subaltern theory, settler colonial studies and other lines of critique and inquiry, has pushed my decolonization of Marxism towards other fronts than simply the question of political economy, which is often both the end and the beginning of anti-Eurocentrism for many Marxists, along with the related question of support for national liberation and the understanding of where the centre of the global revolutionary store is located.

Consequently, and again country to the appellations some would input on me my approach to these subjects, I am not, and indeed find myself in opposition to, the staunchly Eurocentric understandings prevalent to postmodernism. I agree deeply with the assessment of postmodernism by decolonial theorists, which is that it is a Eurocentric critique of European modernity. However, and this perhaps the source of some confusion, I do read those theorists often most associated with so-called “postmodernism” and am not afraid to learn critically from them.

Further, my connection to Marxism is maintained by the fact that the growth of theorization around the questions of coloniality/decoloniality emerged from critical engagements with Marxism-derived theories like those of world-systems analysis and dependency theory in so-called Latin America. Many of the principal proponents of modern decolonial theory have taken Marx very seriously (Dussel 2001). The same is of course true, and consequently influences my relationship to Marxism, of many postcolonial and subaltern studies theorists, the work on Black Marxism (1983) and the anthropology of Marxism by Cedric Robinson (1999) and the modern Indigenous critical theory of Glen Coulthard (2014). Modern settler colonial theory also contains within it many influences from Marxism. All these are ideas and works that have been essential to me remaining a Marxist, of some sort, while also deepening my critique of the Eurocentricities within the mainstream of the Marxist cannon and tradition.

All of that is a long way to set up that, in terms of my perspective on the political economy of the world-system, I think it is without question that parasitism and unequal exchange is maintained by the capitalist core upon the nations of the periphery. As a direct consequence of this, the historical development of the world-system has seen the emergence of a massive labour aristocracy in the core nations, amongst primarily white/settler workers. These workers, driven by their positionality within the coordinates of the world-economy, have developed petty bourgeois aspirations and a have historically aligned themselves with the white and imperialist ruling classes of the core nations and settler colonies against the movements for decolonization and revolutionary abolition by the colonized and racialized multitudes who make of the majority of this world.

Indeed, some argument can be made that this has always been the case; that it didn’t emerge when capitalism transitioned, in the Leninist understanding of the historical development of the world-system, into the modern phase of imperialism. Indeed, while the strength of the labour aristocracy has perhaps been at its most historically strongest during this era, especially in the post-World War II period, I do believe that I strong argument can be, and has been already, made that capitalism was born parasitic. As such there was never not a time in the history of the modern/colonial world that white workers were not on a pedestal of genocide, slavery and colonial brigandage.

Ultimately though is in this regard that I remain committed to a genuine anti-Eurocentric understanding of global political economy and the question of imperialist parasitism, even as I may no longer label my politics primarily with that term. It is also why I find myself in the odd position of feeling a need to defend it these understandings against distortions and misrepresentations by other comrades.

Sakaiism and the Distortions of Euro-Marxism

Inevitably the main point of departure in any anti-critique of this kind tends to be pointing out that quite often orthodox Marxist criticisms of anti-Eurocentric political economy come from a political space and practice of understanding neither the questions raised by those attempting to apply a line of anti-Eurocentrism to contemporary political economy, nor the broader theoretical issues raised by the so-called Third Worldist tendency. I think any attempt at a polemical critique aimed at this tendency, or with any tendency for that matter, must to come from a place of having taken seriously and thus seriously having read Third Worldist literature and practice. Any attempted polemic or critique which does not come such a position is itself difficult to take seriously as a matter of theory and politics.

An important point to make clear here then is that when I speak of the literature produced by so-called Third Worldists I am not just referring to the work of J. Sakai (2014) and those who were and are a part of the particular tendency that was inspired by his seminal work, such as Butch Lee (2017) and the pair of E. Tani and Kae Sera (1985). Quite often when individuals and organizations from the nominal socialist/communist movement of North America argue against, or attempt to argue against, what may be termed Third Worldism they limit the scope of their efforts to what might be termed Sakaiism. This is not novel. Indeed the writings of J. Sakai, Lee, Tani and Sera have long been something of a monster lurking under the bed for the mainstream settler and settler-aligned Marxist movement. Because of this many tired, uninspired and ultimately outright incorrect attempts have been made to critique the historical analysis put forward by these authors, with particular attention paid to Sakai himself. One has to look no further than the sorry state of Tyler McCreary’s review in the pages of the Canadian anti-authoritarian journal Upping the Anti (2006) or Canadian Trotskyist Sebastian Lamb’s deeply flawed and misrepresentative analysis in J Sakai’s Settlers and Anti-Racist Working-Class Politics (2003).

While the particular political trend of Sakaiism has indeed been important to the development of a sort of anti-Eurocentric theory and practice in Occupied Turtle Island, it is neither the beginning nor the end of the development of such. Indeed it is in many ways insufficient for a full understanding of contemporary anti-Eurocentric political economy. Additionally, and this is perhaps the subject of another essay entirely, it is deeply insufficient as a critique of the actual logic and structures of settler colonialism. Neither Sakai nor Lee nor others actually theorize settler colonialism, which of course undermines much of the reasoning behind the otherwise positive and correct counter-current to “Read Settlers.” I agree that people should be reading Sakai and the rest of that tendency, but because they give us an excellent critical labour history of the white/settler/master working class on Occupied Turtle Island, rather than a meaningful elucidation of either settler colonialism or of global political economy.

The majority of contemporary anti-Eurocentric political economy finds its antecedents directly in the struggles of colonized peoples for independence and liberation from and before and during the period of the Bolshevik Revolution and the Chinese and anti-colonial revolutions that followed the end of the Second World War. While the works and names of these strugglers and thinkers are too much to list here, they are recounted and discussed in work such as Biel’s (2015). Beyond them however, modern contributions to what I understand today as anti-Eurocentric political economy have been made within the works of people like Zak Cope (2015), Torkil Lauesen (2018), John Smith (2016) and M.G.E. Kelly (2015) and much of dependency theory and world-systems analysis[ii]. My point here is that to single out so-called Third Worldism as if it is only the line that emanates from the work of J. Sakai and a handful of others who have come since, is to be disingenuous because in doing so one is woefully under-representing the analysis that one is arguing against.

Maoism contra Third Worldism

Moving on from the question of Sakaiism, a particularly curious aspect of this critique of anti-Eurocentric political economy–though one not made explicit in comrade Mond’s article but which I have seen made several times in the recent period on social media by certain Marxist-Leninist types (WWP members in particular, but also others)–seems to be an incredibly strained attempt to imagine some specific link between this kind of understanding of the world-system and the political tendency of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. This is a rhetorical leap, and it is one that simply makes no sense, even as a crude attempt at intra-Marxist polemics, because it is demonstrably untrue. Like the critique of Third Worldism as only Sakaiism, the attempt to forge a strong link between it and Marxism-Leninism-Maoism further distorts the attempt at critique.

Therefore it must be said: Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and the anti-Eurocentric understanding of political economy have never been collapsible into one-another. In fact outside of the small (and always was small) Maoist Internationalist and Maoist (Third Worldist) tendencies, Maoists in the imperialist nations have almost always, at a bare minimum, been inclined towards Eurocentrism, with a particular tendency for Orientalism. This Orientalism often emerges from both the fetishization of the Chinese Revolution and Chinese revolutionaries, but also in the common rejoinder to the critique of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Eurocentrism that can be summed up in the parody retort “how can we be Eurocentric, Chairman Mao was Chinese!” Sometimes today this is shifted to more recent figures and movements, such the fetishization of the former Shining Path of Peru or the Communist Party of the Philippines and the consequent shifting of the retort to “how can we be Eurocentric, Presidente Gonzalo is a Latin American? or “Joma Sison is Filipino?”

Obviously though Marxist-Leninists are themselves often quite guilty of this fetishizing, borderline parodic practice as well. Quite often when modern North American Marxist-Leninists are confronted with the fact of their own Eurocentrism they are quick to parade pictures of Black and Brown revolutionaries from around the world such as Fred Hampton, Thomas Sankara, Kim Il Sung, Ho Chi Minh, Che Guevara and many others as if the fact of these former revolutionary leaders and martyrs non-whiteness itself disarms the critique of Eurocentrism.

These questionably parodical practices aside, today the Eurocentrism of the North American Marxist-Leninist-Maoist tendency is visible in the politics and work of the current Parti communiste révolutionnaire–Revolutionary Communist Party in Canada (both the branches who stood with the Central Committee in their recent split, as well as the “Continuators” rooted in Montreal). Within the United States we can likewise see this amongst the Montreal “Continuators” erstwhile allies in the decentralized “Red Guard” and allied organizations that have sprung into existence either just before or in the wake of the collapse of the attempts to launch a post-RCP-USA “New Communist Party.” Whether their Maoism does or does not include a crude Orientalism, these organizations, or elements within them, have at times exhibited a clear settler chauvanism, intentional or not. This could recently be seen most starkly in the Twitter and broader social media struggle that erupted between supporters and members of the PCR-RCP in Ottawa, and eventually other parts of Canada, and Indigenous land defenders and warriors in that city who had critiqued the politics and practices of the Party.

Most crudely these white/settler/master chauvinist politics on the part of the PCR-RCP could be seen in their too-little-too-late official statement on the conflict, Ottawa Reoccupation and State Repression – Against Snitch-Jacketing! (2018). While the document is guilty of not really dealing with the issues raised by members of the Indigenous sovereignty movement in that city, it drips with Euro-chauvanism when, in its first paragraph, it crudely dismisses them as merely “skeptical activists who hold hostile views towards communism” and who were only out “to slander PCR-RCP and MER-RSM (note: the Party’s extensive student arm).”

What has been clear though more than a decade of involvement is that the majority representation of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism in Occupied Turtle island is far from anti-Eurocentric. Indeed recent upsurges of debate again on social media (far too many to link to here) between Marxist-Leninist-Maoists, in particular U.S. and Europe-based individuals and tendencies, has shown that the tendency towards Eurocentrism and deference towards the white/settler/master is still a strong element within that particular socialist/communist tendency. Though Biel himself (2015) attempts to contort an argument in the closing pages of his book that would see Marxism-Leninism-Maoism positioned as the most genuinely anti-Eurocentric Marxist current, if we are to consider the majority representations of it in North America to be actually anti-Eurocentric, it is not any conception of anti-Eurocentrism that would, or should, be recognized as such.

Returning to my original point, this attempt to collapse these political trends within Marxism into each other would appear to indicate a lack of actually being familiar with what one is attempting to be polemical against. You can demonstrate the non-anti-Eurocentric politics of the majority of the avowed Marxist-Leninist-Maoist movement in Turtle Island movement by both analysis of the explicit programmatic lines laid down by the overwhelming majority of North American factions, as well as their actual praxis.

Going from what I said near the beginning of this I would also like to reemphasize the point that the vast majority of those fighters and theorists who have contributed the most to the anti-Eurocentric understanding of political economy have decidedly not emerged from within what one might understand as “Maoism.” Yes there have been, and continues to be, a small minority of Maoists who also claim this kind of understanding as essential and correct, but there have also been Marxist-Leninists[iii] and even Trotskyists who have contributed to the development of the broad anti-Eurocentric current within Marxist theory, such as the heterodox South African theorist and anti-apartheid fighter Hosea Jaffe (1985). There have also been many who have contributed to the “cannon” who have decidedly rejected the Marxist label in toto, such as the late comrades James Yaki Sayles (2010) and Kuwasi Balagoon (2018). Indeed I owe much of my own political development to these latter thinkers, which is why for me it is entirely possible to maintain an anti-Eurocentric outlook on global political economy without holding loyalty to the many Eurocentricities that have plagued the bulk of the Marxist project since its inception.

Settler Colonialism & the Question of “Socialist Justice”

However, setting aside the question of what exactly constitutes Third Worldism, what I really want to draw readers attention to and what I think should be most troubling for genuine anti-colonial and decolonial forces here in so-called “North America” is the handling of the question of settler colonialism that one finds in these kinds of anti-Third Worldist polemics and theoretical formulations. Simply put, bundled within the explicit rejection of the perspective on modern global political economy put forth by so-called Third Worldists–by Marxists/communists like the WWP–is also the implicit, though sometimes also explicit, rejection of the critique of settler colonialism as an ongoing process and the call for the total decolonization of Turtle Island.

This is in part because those socialists/communists who have held firm to the genuine anti-Eurocentric understanding of political economy (of one stripe or another) have in the past often been some of the only socialist/communist tendencies to consistently call for the total dismantling of what Adam Barker (2012) refers to as the northern bloc of settler colonialism, and the return of the land, all of it, and not just symbolically, to Indigenous nations (Tuck & Yang 2010). Those Marxist-Leninists (and Maoists, and Trotskyists etc) who reject what is essentially the anti-Eurocentric perspective within political economy are more often than not the same purported leftists who instinctively move away from the call for Indigenous land rematriation, and this is outwardly reflected in their programmes, slogans and praxis.

However it goes further than a knee-jerk opposition to programmatics into the roots of the theoretical perspective of WWP-type Marxist-Leninists. These self-labelled revolutionaries would, and quite often do when confronted directly in debate, argue that it would be an absolute injustice to the white/settler/master worker to make a call for the return of land. Drawing on the thought of Africana existentialist and Philosopher Lewis R. Gordon (2018) and the Chickisaw scholar Jodi A. Byrd (2015), I would argue that this is because in essence, their’s is a theory and philosophy that requires as one of its fundamental premises the always-already genocide and dispossession of Indigenous nations and the emptying out of Turtle Island. They require this fundamentally as the ground on which to build their new socialist/communist society. They radically (in the sense of getting to the root) cannot enact their vision of “revolutionary” socialist change without prefigurative anti-Indigenous violence.

This is why, hand-in-hand with their rejection of anti-Eurocentric political economy, they reject the critique of settler colonialism as, as put by the late Patrick Wolfe “a structure, not an event” (2006). They may talk about settler colonialism but implicit within their theoretical treatment of the subject is the understanding that settler colonialism is only (one might even say merely) an onto-historical event that can and must be understood only as history and legacy. Indeed this kind of thinking about “the history of settler-colonialism and its legacy of racism” is explicitly made quite often, including twice within comrade Mond’s article.

This kind of perspective, which sees settler colonialism only as historical event, fails to grasp the material fact that settler colonialism is an ongoing structuring process. Indeed it is not only one of the central foundations, along with, and profoundly intertwined with, ongoing anti-black racism and the global colonization and enslavement of African people, of North American capitalism but of the entire modern/colonial/capitalist world-system—a process that drives towards the elimination of Indigenous people and the continued dispossession of our lands.

This is the essence of what Marx was to call primitive accumulation:

The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalised the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief momenta of primitive accumulation (1977, 915).

Marx perhaps even more deeply saw this link when he noted that:

Whilst the cotton industry introduced child-slavery in England, it gave in the United States a stimulus to the transformation of the earlier, more or less patriarchal slavery, into a system of commercial exploitation. In fact, the veiled slavery of the wage workers in Europe needed, for its pedestal, slavery pure and simple in the new world (1977, 925).

While “Marx so insistently repressed throughout the rest of the text” (Johnson 2004, 300) this dialectical and materialist understanding it is essential to any meaningful understanding of the situation we face. Freed of its temporal constraints ala Glen Coulthard (2014), it is this understanding that allows us to say that settler colonialism, genocide and enslavement are not merely a set of facts of history who’s residual legacy is racism. This is what anti-Eurocentrists mean when they speak of the pedestal upon which the entire world of the white/settler worker stands.

The difference between understanding settler colonialism as ongoing, living, breathing eliminative anti-Indigenous violence continuously enacted by the settler colonial nation-state[iv] on Indigenous lands, nations and bodies versus it merely being a question of histories and legacies has profound impact on how one understands the current juncture and the growing calls for decolonization, decoloniality and revolutionary abolitionism on the part of Indigenous, African and other colonized peoples.

Again drawing links from Gordon (2018), I argue that further, the rejection of settler colonial critique, anti-Eurocentric political economy, as well as the many critiques that have been levied by many from within the Black radical tradition, by many Marxist-Leninists and Marxist-Leninist-Maoists is hard, if not impossible, to separate from the idea that it would be an injustice imposed upon the white/settler/master worker to return Indigenous land, abolish the oppression and exploitation of African people worldwide and to smash global imperialist parasitism.

This is because at the uninterrogated heart of their worldview is the idea that it is fundamentally just for that worker at the heart of the modern/colonial/capitalist world-system to have not only what they already do, but to struggle to have more. Indeed the essential injustice of the capitalist system is precisely that they do not have more due to the exploitation of their labour in the generation of value in the capital circuit of the world-economy. Thus, because of the ineluctable link between what that worker has, as well as their potential to accumulate more, and the processes of ongoing Indigenous genocide and dispossession, ongoing anti-black racism and the colonization and enslavement of African people, and the ongoing parasitism of the imperialist nations on the colonized world it is an injustice to call for those structures to be overturned in the most revolutionary fashion possible through radical decolonial and abolitionist struggle.

This is white power chauvinism in the raw. Further, it is important to recognize that it does not matter if the person making the argument is white or Red, Black or Brown. This is why the critique of what many of us refer to as the “white left” holds no matter the supposed multinational formation of most of the mainstream Marxist/communist movement in Occupied Turtle Island.

Towards a Conclusion

Finally I want to close off this commentary by addressing the claim that the beast-in-closet that Third Worldism seems to be, and by extension settler colonial critique, leads to a politics of nihilism and do-nothingism. Connected to this is the claim that it is only white petty/bourgeois academic types who uphold and advance so-called Third Worldism. While I myself am perhaps one those wilely academic types, I can say this because I can point to both past and present revolutionary organizations and movements who’s histories prove these charges to be demonstrably false misrepresentations.

Variants of an anti-Eurocentric line have been taken up by several sectors within the New Afrikan Independence and Pan-Africanist Movements, including perhaps most importantly here in Occupied Turtle Island by the Black Liberation Army. Comrades and forebears who were either directly involved with the BLA, who whose political lineage directly links back to it, such as the late James Yaki Sayles (2010), Kuwasi Balagoon (2018) and Sanyika Shakur (2013) have made many critical insights to the development of a genuine anti-Eurocentic ethic and politic on this continent. However, this is a history and a present that is often scrubbed clean by many within the socialist/communist movement, as well as anarchist forces, who loyal ultimately to the Eurocentric line. One only has to witness the way that many of these nominally revolutionary individuals and organizations rush to the defence of the modern day Maroon and Black liberation heroine Assata Shakur, as they righteously should, but who could also not distance themselves more completely from her actual politics. Shakur demonstrates the stark difference in line when she says:

I have one message for you and your comrade. Do not be naive about the mind of the white person. It has been taught since birth to believe in its superiority and to believe that the Afrikan child must labour and toil so wealth and power can drop into their hands like rain from heaven.

The European is not your friend. The liberal European might be pretend to be your friend and might even contrive to denigrate themselves in front of you to show they belong among Afrikans.

When the powerful turn their guns you, that person will leave you behind.

Throughout history, the person of colour has had his back whipped by the white man. Our Afrikan hearts have been penetrated by white bullets.

Our souls have been sliced by their spears. In Sharpeville, your brothers were mowed down by the white man, the same white man who holds you in captivity now in his game of educational mind colonisation (2015).

She also puts it bluntly in her biography, which has for sometime been essential reading for genuine anti-colonial, decolonial and abolitionist forces on Turtle Island. She says:

Once you study and really get a good understanding of the way the system in the United States works, then you see, without a doubt, that the civil rights movement never had a chance of succeeding. White people, whether they are from the North or from the South, whether it was in 1960 or 1980, benefit from the oppression of Black people (2014).

Likewise, variants of what could be considered Third Worldism, though not by that name, is often the default position of people within the Indigenous Liberation Movement. Our day-to-day confrontation with living settler colonial violence leads many of us to recognize that it is materially unrealistic to rely upon the settler masses for alliance, and we know that it is undeniably true that everything that the settler has is because they have stolen it from us and all other colonized peoples. Indigenous people are also often credulous to the idea that a socialism/communism that does directly address the questions of the return of land and the end of genocide would mean the liberation of our Nations. The Osage theologian George Tinker sums up this position well, as well as drawing attention to other defincies in the Marxist approach to settler colonialism in North America (points which also link up with those Coulthard [2014]), when he says:

Indigenous peoples are struggling with existence in ways that are not and probably cannot addressed by class analysis at all. Our oppression and the resulting poverty are not primarily due to any class status. Rather, they are rooted in the economic need of the colonizer to quiet our claims to the land and to mute our moral judgement on the United States’ long history of violence and conquest in north America … [in a socialist United States] our land will still not be ours, but would enter into the collective possession of a much larger colonizer proletariat who are also foreign to our land and who must be considered invaders (2008, 23-24)

In the end it is the Marxist-Leninist organizations, like the Workers World Party, who fail at producing a correct theorization of the current situation in Occupied Turtle Island. It is their perspective that has never been able to explain why it is that in North America in particular the Marxist movement has been met overwhelmingly with one hundred-fifty years of failure to organize the supposed proletarian settler masses for communist revolution. They have also been consistently unable to attract the loyalty of those of us from whom this continent was first stolen. Why? Why don’t Natives for the most care for Marxism-Leninism, Maoism and the many other variants on the same set of central themes? We know why, and I think it is high-time that we began to take seriously (as many others already have) those perspectives that might be able to begin offering us a more accurate understanding of this world, and this allowing us to think and dream through, beneath and beyond it.

Endnotes

Against the neo-colonialist African National Congress, the Pan-Africanist Congress of Azania maintained a strongly anti-settler colonial line during the anti-apartheid struggle in Occupied Azania (so-called “South Africa”) alongside organizations like the Azanian People’s Organisation. Today, while both the PAC and AZAPO continue to be active, they have been joined by organizations like Black First Land First in raising criticism of the neo-colonial, pro-capitalist policies of the ANC and the continual demand for the return of stolen Indigenous Azanian land, without compensation, including criticism of the current nature of the attempts by the ANC and the Economic Freedom Fighters (the EFF itself being a recent split from the ANC-Youth League) to nominally push for such an agenda. You can find these criticisms on the pages of the BLF.

[ii] While the work of Emmanuel is the body that most explicitly carries overtones of what is now deemed to be “Third Worldism,” any careful reading of dependency theory and world-systems Analysis lends itself quite easily to Third Worldist conclusions if one considers seriously the question of parasitism. This is the case even if the authors themselves do not necessarily take that theoretical next step, often due to political commitments which this shift may disrupt (such as, for example, in the large body of work of Samir Amin).

[iii] Indeed, and quite humorously (at least to myself), the line of Global Class War that has long been central to the theoretical and practical outlook of the Workers World Party (as formulated by its chief founder Sam Marcy), much like most of dependency theory and world-systems analysis, can lend itself quite easily to a so-called “Third Worldist” perspective of some form. Perhaps this is what lead the Huntington, West Virginia branch to eventually take up such a line.

[iv] But also not only the settler colonial state. To focus on settler colonialism as only a governmental project of the state, and thus to dismiss the active role of the settler population—what J. Sakai, Sanyika Shakur and others refer to as the settler “garrison” —leads to all manner of mistheorization. The individual settler had, and still has it must be emphasized, a wide degree of agency in forwarding the settler colonial project. As Patrick Wolfe noted:

Its [the settler colonial project’s] primary dynamic arose permissively in the absence of official regulation. This highly productive absence should caution us against viewing settler colonialism as a narrowly governmental project. Rather … settler invasion typically combines a shifting balance of official and unofficial strategies, initially to seize Native territory and subsequently to consolidate its expropriation. Rather than something separate from or running counter to the colonial state, the irregular activities of the frontier rabble constitute its principal means of expansion (2016, 40-41).

This active role of the settler masses in genocidal colonial violence and the maintenance of the dispossession of Indigenous nations of their lands deeply complicates the possibility for Indigenous-Settler solidarities, even beyond the question of the settler working class’s global positionality as a labour aristocracy.

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