A Note on Democratic Centralism

Commentators, both Marxist and anti-Marxist, often mischaracterize democratic centralism as a necessary evil, an expedient that contradicts the liberatory thrust of socialist struggle. James P. Cannon, the remarkably gifted pioneer of American Trotskyism, said of it: “Democratic-centralism has no special virtue per se. It is the specific principle of a combat party, united by a … More A Note on Democratic Centralism

Gender Cons

Politics makes for strange bedfellows. This insight is no less true when it comes to political matters of the bedroom. Issues of gender and sexuality have long been the focus of the Marxist left, and for equally as long the inspiration for some employing the label of “Marxist analysis” to produce arguments that are in … More Gender Cons

Hailing Red Armies

In 1978 the fortunes of the poorest and most oppressed of Afghanistan seemed to be looking up. In April the so-called “Saur Revolution” – essentially a military coup, with tacit support from the Kabul-based coalition of a nascent middle class, students, and government bureaucrats – toppled the regime of Mohammed Daoud Khan. Replacing him was Nur Muhammad Taraki, leader … More Hailing Red Armies

The “Revolution for Democracy” in Syria Revisited

As described in my previous posts on the issue, the Syrian conflict is highly complex and involves a Russian-and Iran-backed “secular” Assad regime, extremely brutal in nature, pitted against an overwhelmingly jihadist and reactionary armed uprising. Initial protests were mostly non-violent, but as with other protests in the so-called “Arab Spring,” they were contested space. They contained … More The “Revolution for Democracy” in Syria Revisited

Gender and Communism Through the Prism of Hollywood

It cannot be too strongly maintained that this is still not Social-Democracy, that the Social-Democrat’s ideal should not be the trade union secretary, but the tribune of the people, who is able to react to every manifestation of tyranny and oppression, no matter where it appears, no matter what stratum or class of the people … More Gender and Communism Through the Prism of Hollywood

On Programs and Politics: Movements and Movementism in the Syrian Civil War (DWS Series Part IV)

The previous installment of this series analyzed, criticized, and contextualized one of the more sophisticated attempts at constructing a theory of state capitalism. Part of the context was an impressionistic empiricism. Those in the “third camp” tradition tend to conflate the political or economic suppression of workers with an underlying system of class exploitation, just as they … More On Programs and Politics: Movements and Movementism in the Syrian Civil War (DWS Series Part IV)