- Blocking Progress
Howard Ryan maintains that consensus is wrong in principle and in practice: "The problem is not so much that individuals are being irresponsible or somehow abusing the consensus process. The problem lies in giving individuals that kind of power in the first place. Consensus turns majority rule into minority rule. That's not democracy."
- Critique of Nonviolent Politics
Ryan accepts that sometimes nonviolence can be effective, but says that sometimes it is not: "a principled insistence on nonviolence can in some circumstances be dangerous to progressive social movements." He says that nonviolence theory "is troubled by moral dogma and mechanical logic."
- How the Unions Killed the Working Class Movement
An analysis of how the vertical integration of unions disempowers workers and forces them to use captilist systems such as courts instead of relying on friendship and solidarity.
- Let's Stop Kidding Ourselves About the NDP
Canadian socialists are terribly reluctant to give up their illusions about the NDP.
- Listen, Marxist!
Murray Bookchin takes on the 'Marxist-Leninists' who are destroying the New Left.
- Marx Myths & Legends
A critical reading of the work of Karl Marx now requires us to lay to one side the myths and legends which have obscured his ideas over the past one hundred and twenty years- distortions and misinterpretations to which perhaps no thinker has been more prone. In one sense, this is not difficult, because there is enough of his writing preserved, albeit in translation, for any of us to read Marx in his own words. Most however have been unwilling or unable to do this. The fifty volumes of the Marx-Engels Collected Works are forbidding, and when beginning as one almost inevitably does, with the received wisdom surrounding Marxs name, there is much to discourage a reader from seriously taking on the task of understanding Marx. The aim of this project is thus to begin to challenge some of those myths in order to clear the way for a fresh reading of Marx that will hopefully be less prone to the distortions, misunderstandings and blatant falsehoods that have so far surrounded Marx. We believe that what Marx had to say remains of considerable relevance to an understanding of problems we face today, but that a reading of Marx now must maintain a critical caution which does not merely reproduce received ideas- positive or negative- about Marxs work.
- One Vote for Democracy
Makes the case that the democratic model is better than the consensus model for activist group decision-making.
- The Problem of Nationality and Autonomy
Rosa Luxemburg on the national question, federalism, autonomy, and the right of nations to self-determination.
- Radical Digressions
Ulli Diemer's website/blog featuring comment from a radical left-libertarian Marxist perspective.
- The Rain On Our Parade
O rancid sector of the far left, please stop your grousing! Compared to you, Eeyore sounds like a Teletubby. If I gave you a pony, you would not only be furious that not everyone has a pony, but you would pick on the pony for not being radical enough until it wept big, sad, hot pony tears. Because what we're talking about here is not an analysis, a strategy, or a cosmology, but an attitude, and one that is poisoning us. Not just me, but you, us, and our possibilities.
- Reimagining Society
An online collection of visions, proposals and strategies for social transformation.
- Social Reform or Revolution
Rosa Luxemburg's attack on reformism.
- Thinking About Self-Determination
Does that familiar canon of the left, 'the right to self-determination', actually mean anything, or is it an empty slogan whose main utility is that it relieves us of the trouble of thinking critically?
- The Two Souls of Socialism
It was Marx who finally brought the two ideas of socialism and democracy together, because he developed a theory which made the synthesis possible for the first time. The heart of the theory is this proposition: that there is a social majority which has the interest and motivation to change the system, and that the aim of socialism can be the education and mobilization of this mass-majority. This is the exploited class, the working class, from which comes the eventual motive-force of revolution. Hence, a socialism-from-below is possible, on the basis of a theory that sees the revolutionary potentialities in the broad masses, even if they seem backward at a given time and place. Marxism came into being in self-conscious struggle against the advocates of the Educational Dictatorship, the Savior-Dictators, the revolutionary elitists, the communist authoritarians, as well as the philanthropic dogooders and bourgeois liberals.
- The Tyranny of Structurelessness
Contrary to what we would like to believe, there is no such thing as a "structureless" group. Any group of people of whatever nature that comes together for any length of time for any purpose will inevitably structure itself in some fashion. The structure may be flexible; it may vary over time; it may evenly or unevenly distribute tasks, power and resources over the members of the group. But it will be formed regardless of the abilities, personalities, or intentions of the people involved.
- What Will It Take To Win?
Our current strategy engages people in an arena - history and events in Palestine/Israel - far from their direct experience. We are the experts on a topic they know little about. We ask people to learn from us about something far away, and to take some local action (like voting for divestment) to express their agreement with us about it. There is a limit to how many people will be interested in doing this. A revolutionary strategy, in contrast, engages people in the arena which they know a lot about, and into which they have tremendous insights from direct personal experience.
- Anarchism vs. Marxism: A few notes on an old theme
Anarchist critiques of Marxism typically reveal a lack of knowledge of what Karl Marx actually wrote, resulting in sterile denunciations of a straw-man opponent.
- The "Anarcho-Liberal"
The diversity of the global justice movement is undeniable, but to the extent its prominent intellectual voices represented broader trends, we can see the crystallization of a new type of radical that would come to prominence on the Left. The reconfiguration of the Left at the end of the twentieth century created a void. The anarcho-liberal filled it.
- Bakunin vs. Marx
The anarchist-Marxist split started with Bakunin, who systematically misrepresented Marx's positions.
- Dances with Guilt: Looking at Men Looking at Violence
Why are some men violent?
- A Discussion Concerning Nonviolence
The principle of nonviolence has terrible effects on people: it disarms them morally and politically by encouraging them to become "passive resisters," beseeching some more humane elite forces to come to their aid. It undermines the view of people which I consider to be the most needful both morally and politically to create a democratic movement - that is, for people to see and rely on themselves collectively as the conscious agents of change and the creators of a new society. However much we and other people desire a peaceful transformation of society, at some point there will come a contest of power. To win this contest, we will have to win a substantial part of the military forces to our side, or at least get them to be neutral. To succeed in this we need to build a movement that is so broad and deep that the great majority of people become mobilized as an unstoppable force.
- Green Municipalism
A green municipalist analysis offers valuable perspectives but can become a straightjacket if it is seen as 'the' answer.
- Ideas and Action
Archive of some articles published in Ideas and Action, a radical paper published by the Workers Solidarity Alliance from 1981 to 1997.
- Insurgent Notes
A journal of communist theory and practice.
The Marxism list is a worldwide moderated forum for activists and scholars in the Marxist tradition who favor a non-sectarian and non-dogmatic approach. It puts a premium on independent thought and rigorous but civil debate.
Skeptical analysis of conspiracy theories about September 11, 2001.
- The OIC does not speak for Muslims
Tarek Fatah says that "To suggest that any criticism of Islamism, the political ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian Ayatollahs, is anti-Islamic is a bogus and fraudulent position. I would contend that my religion Islam demands that I stand up to these bullies and take away from their right to put padlocks on poetry and chastity belts on independent thinking."
- The problem of autonomism
Direct action is crucial to win but it needs to be orientated to building a mass movement, through strikes, civil disobedience and occupation.
- Right and Wrong Responses to Palestinian Suicide Bombers
The Israeli government hypocritically seizes upon every suicide bombing to justify the far greater Israeli state terror against Palestinians. To side with Israel in this hypocrisy is as morally bankrupt as it would have been to side with slave owners or the genocidal U.S. cavalry or the apartheid South African government because of objections to terrorism.
- Toward a New Beginning - On Another Road
To Marx, any organization was a sect if it set up any special set of view (including Marx's views) as its organizational boundary; if it made this special set of views the determinant of its organizational form.
Neither Marx nor Engels ever formed or wanted to form a Marxist group of any kind - that is, a membership group based on an exclusively Marxist program. All of their organizational activity was pointed along a different road.
- What is Anti-Semitism?
Inflating the meaning of 'antisemitism' to include anything politically damaging to Israel is a double-edged sword. It may be handy for smiting your enemies, but the problem is that definitional inflation, like any inflation, cheapens the currency. The more things get to count as antisemitic, the less awful antisemitism is going to sound.
- What is Libertarian Socialism?
Revolution is a collective process of self-liberation: people and societies are transformed through their struggles for freedom and for a better world.
- Why We Can Change the World
Many good people support the "diversity" concept, because they see it as a way of building unity and respect for each other across cultural divides. But diversity is about "celebrating and respecting our differences." Despite many people's best intentions, it's not really about finding what we have in common, but about focusing on differences as if these supposed differences are what define us as human beings. Diversity as a framework, as a way of thinking about each other, will always stand in the way of the goal that most of us share, of multi-racial, multi-ethnic unity. Diversity in fact is no different from the basic capitalist view that society consists of various groups competing for their own interests. Such a view does not present any threat to capitalism or to inequality but reinforces it.
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