Organization vs Spontaneity

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organizationby Gerye Proletari

(April 16, 2015)

Historically, the only progress made in the interests of masses has been through struggle of the masses. All the concessions ever gotten from the dominant classes have been the conclusion of an organized mass movement and often intense and violent struggle. Spontaneity and mobilizations, as expressions of the popular rage of the masses, can be a good opportunity for the development of relationships used for the construction of autonomous organizations. As revolutionary militants, our job is to construct a mass movement. Spontaneous upsurges come and go, but organizations last throughout different stages of historical development, are capable of introducing and developing theory, and providing an alternative. Also, an organization can struggle against opportunism, populism and co-optation which are much more prevalent and take root more easily in spontaneous mobilizations.

A revolutionary organization, armed with proletarian theory, can engage in mass line and political practice to constantly develop theory, raising the consciousness and levels of commitment of the militants in the organization, and the organizations they construct.

The bourgeoisie is the most brutal and best organized class in history. Given that, the only alternative can come from an autonomous, well organized mass movement under the leadership of the proletariat, with evolving theory validated and invalidated through political practice. Spontaneity is good for mobilizations, but mobilizations without organizations will either whimper away and fade out, or be taken over by the capitalist class.

 


Political Line: a guideline to practice

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by Gerye Proletari

(March 9, 2015)

 

A political line is what separates organizations (revolutionary and progressive) from a collection of activists. When organizations don’t have a proletarian political line, the dominant tendency is to become swept up in reformism. Pragmatism, populism, economism, activism, nationalism and unionism (at this stage in most countries, unions have become integrated capitalist organizations) are all prevalent in many organizations. Indicators of disconnection from a proletarian political line (which would be informed by and inform theory and political practice), many of these tendencies end up turning organizations reformist and opportunist. They are pushed by NGOs, unions, and other structures of capital which try to co-opt and integrate people and movements.

 

These organizations, which are the main organs of capital recuperation in the streets, DO have their own political lines. The activists who join and or work with them however usually are not part of the construction of the lines. Even organizations which are themselves autonomous from Capital, without a political line, end up objectively being foot soldiers of these other Capitalist organizations; typically, they end up pragmatists, working on whatever is the current “campaign” or “hot button issue” of the day.

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International Working Women’s Day: a day of class struggle

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by Gerye Proletari

(March 4, 2015)

The bourgeoisie constantly recuperates what belongs to the people. International Women’s Day emerged from class struggle, but various states and imperialist organizations want to turn it into a mere holiday. According to the UN:

 

“International Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.

 

Capitalism attempts to wash the historical context and class significance right out. But International Women’s Day is also (more appropriately) known around the world as International Working Women’s Day.

2015-03-04-global-unity-aA Brief Historical Perspective:

 

IWWD emerged from the proletarian struggle in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. On March 8, 1857, women workers from textile and garment factories organized a strike in New York City for better pay, better conditions and basic bourgeois-democratic rights (rights such as wage increases, gender quality, and any rights you would expect in a bourgeois-democracy which can be attained without fundamentally questioning capital). On March 8, 1908, women workers of the needle trades went on strike in honor of the 1857 strike—still struggling for basic rights and the ending of child labor and bettering their horrific working conditions. On November 22, 1909, Clara Limlich, a Ukrainian-born proletarian militant, led 20,000 garment workers on strike in New York City against their horrible conditions and terrible wages. On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, where women workers had been organizing, caught (or was set) on fire. The owners of the factory (which like most, was a sweatshop) locked the fire exit and got away with the murder of over 140 workers! In 1910, at the Second International, Clara Zetkin, a German born proletarian militant, suggested that March 8th be the day designated for the working women of the world.

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Populism at the level of the working class

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Proletarian Alternative

(January 2015)

Populism is a very important object of struggle in the ideological and theoretical development of the working class. The struggle against populism is and will be a very important component in the struggle of the working class for immediate demands and for the long-term objective of the class. It is indispensable that we have a clear-cut conception of populism and its nature.

What is populism?

  • Populism is a political, theoretical and ideological approach in which we look at the masses (or the oppressed, or the people) without looking at class. It is to talk about the masses or the oppressed without attempting to understand the differences among them, even if there is an attempt to lean on particular classes or fractions of classes.
  • In the moment of imperialism, in the US and internationally, there is a strong tendency to look at people or oppressed as an amalgam without, once again, making a class distinction. In reality, it is an approach of looking at the non-proletarian dominated classes as a political alternative, because they are more numerous, or even poorer than the working class, or may play a conjunctural and immediate contextual or historical cultural role. This approach is not innocent. It is rooted in the classes that practice populism.

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A few reflections on a brief history of New Direction Caucus in NYC Transit (1980’s – 2005)

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by Kiki Makandal

(January 23, 2015)

First, it’s important to note that I was not a NYC transit worker, nor was I a member of New Directions. These are mainly reflections of what I remember on observations and conversations I have had with different New Direction members over the years, coming from my interactions with them in the course of various labor solidarity actions in NYC while New Directions was in struggle and after it eventually dissolved. Please bear in mind that there may be some factual inaccuracies.

New Directions came about as a result of a confluence of factors:

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War

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by Ricardito Ramos

(August 13, 2014)

 

My great grandmother man, she lived through so many wars

Even the “great one”, where so many fought

To accumulate for rulers and makers of laws

What was it all for, she wasn’t entirely sure

But they profit from all of them, of that we can be sure

Imagine the names with which they were called

My great grandmother lived through the “great war”

Great because their pockets would inflate as they devastate

Wars are fought for Capital let’s set it straight

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The Problem with Programs

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by Jan Makandal

(February 2015)

The problem with programs is the fact that they are quickly self-exceeding, because their conception and implementation are governed and determined by class struggle. In the hands of dogmatists, they become a dangerous tool.

This is not to say that programs are not important. For us in our political current, we tend to construct programs from our political line. Since our political line is based on our understanding of the class struggle, it is contextual and conjunctural, even if it’s based on our general objective of defeating capitalism. Our programs, as well, are contextual and conjunctural. Our attempt to understand the objective reality is based on dialectical and historical materialism; our political line is also based on that understanding.

Needless to say, our political current understands clearly that during our process of realizing our objective of constructing an alternative to capitalism, we will be faced with the constant necessity of defining our political line, our “What is to be done?”

 


সাম্রাজ্যবাদের সংক্ষিপ্ত সংজ্ঞায়ন (A Brief Definition of Imperialism)

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English version: http://koleksyon-inip.org/a-brief-definition-of-imperialism/

Original translation: http://www.mongoldhoni.net/brief-defination-of-imperialism/

পুঁজিবাদের ঐতিহাসিক সম্প্রসারণ অপ্রতিরোধ্যভাবে (সমরূপে নয় যদিও) পুঁজির কেন্দ্রীভবনের দিকেই ধাবিত হচ্ছে। উৎপাদনের মাত্রা বৃদ্ধি, একচেটিয়া বাজার দখল ও প্রযুক্তির বিকাশ এই সস্প্রসারণকে করেছে আরও ত্বরান্বিত। পুঁজির কেন্দ্রীভবন তৈরি করেছে একচেটিয়া আধিপত্যের; যা তাদের শাসনকৃত অধীনস্থ সমাজ কাঠামোর অর্থনৈতিক ও রাজনৈতিক ব্যবস্থার উপর সমানুপাতে (নিয়ন্ত্রণ করে) ক্ষমতার প্রয়োগ ঘটাতে সাহায্য করছে।

যখন পুঁজির নিয়ম অনুযায়ী অপরিহার্য বিকাশের পরিণতি স্বরূপ, প্রত্যাশিতভাবেই তার নিয়ন্ত্রিত এলাকায় (জনগোষ্ঠী বা সামাজিক কাঠামোতে) পুঞ্জীভূত উদ্বৃত্তমূল্য সর্বোচ্চ সীমায় পৌঁছে, তখন পুঁজি বাধ্য হয়েই নিজ বিকাশের স্বার্থে ঐ এলাকার গণ্ডি পেড়িয়ে অন্য এলাকার দিকে আগ্রাসী হয়। রাষ্ট্র/রাষ্ট্রসমূহকে ব্যবহার করে সে তার মূল ভিত্তি হিসেবে, অন্যান্য সামাজিক কাঠামোর ওপর রাজনৈতিক কূটকৌশল প্রয়োগ করে (যুদ্ধ, যে রাজনীতির চরমতম রূপ) – একে একে ওগুলোকে পুঁজির অধীনে নেয়ার জন্যে। পাশাপাশি প্রতিযোগিতা চলে, অন্যান্য পুঁজির ওপর দিয়ে ছড়িয়ে পড়ে কীভাবে বিশ্বকে বিভক্ত করা যায়, তা নিয়ে। (more…)


On Leadership: Vanguard or Vanguardism?

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by Gerye Proletari

(February 22, 2015)

In our political organizing it is important that the most advanced sections of the working class are organized and that they organize the rest or as many as they could. To be clear, there is a difference between leadership connected to the masses and a select group which imposes itself as the “vanguard”. We must differentiate between the two and understand that the advanced leadership connected to the masses with a base in the masses is the actual vanguard, this is not a bureaucratic relation. When a select group of people or organizations proclaim themselves to be the vanguard without an organic base sprouting from the masses or the classes they claim to lead, this is a bureaucratic imposition on the people.

 

If for example, there is a group of workers in a factory that has organized into committees or councils based on the interests of the workers, this is in fact the leadership of the worker’s struggle in that factory and they are a vanguard. It does not mean that their relationship to the rest of the workers is undemocratic, it is rather the fact that they took the initiative to organize based on their interests, that they are working towards organizing the rest of the workers that makes them to leadership or vanguard. If however in the same factory, a union for example, sends union organizers into the factory to tell the workers what to do, declaring itself the representative of the workers and stops autonomous worker organizations, this is a bureaucratic relationship. In the latter case, there is no actual organic base in the factory and if there is some support it is typically not democratic and based on the worker’s interests. It is typically not the workers of the factory that control these union locales or councils or committees but professional union organizers.

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Vanguardism

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by Jan Makandal

(February 21, 2015)

 

The self-proclamation of being a vanguard, by a few intellectuals totally disconnected from the popular masses, is vanguardism. Vanguardism is the dominant tendency of the petit bourgeois, based on elitism and a non-organic [bureaucratic] relation with the masses.

 

It is important that we collectively do a critical periodization of revolutionaries’ work directed toward the masses—both revolutionary autonomous practices as well as the alternatives of democratic struggle among the masses for the objective of radically detaching them from the hold of bourgeois ideology.

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The Disease

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ricarditoby Ricardito Ramos

(August 30, 2014)

Concentration to monopoly, privatization and the property, cops maneuver sloppily, enforcing rules of robbery, pacify the mass, the workings of a brutal class. Water poisoned till it’s worse than whats in the flask, but why? Don’t even ask, triggers squeezing in our direction, yet we stuck on shoes, the disease progresses from infection and we have no clue. Bandage approaches never hit the root, just top layer selection. Neosporin on the epidermis ignores the core, internal organs in critical. An illness so destructive, the body’s malfunction is the state of the conjunction, the merging of instability and a conjuncture from which we should rupture delays the response and credibility of the financiers and heads of industry. To accurately address the affliction with acuity we must address the contradictions with organization and scrutiny, struggle towards our formation and our unity……


Two Forms of Surplus Value

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By Jan Makandal

(November 2014)

Part of a series on Surplus Value

In many of his writings, Marx distinguishes between two typical forms of production of surplus value, according to which class struggle is unfolding:

  1. The production of an absolute surplus value.
  2. The production of a relative surplus value.

The production of the absolute surplus value corresponds to the productivity of social labor, to the value of the labor power. This designation is to show that the extraction of a surplus is the essence of capital accumulation. This surplus value is termed absolute, because it is the only productive form of accumulation of capital. So far, history has not produced any additional forms of productive surplus value. (more…)


A Contribution to the Ongoing Debate on Racism

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Jan Makandal

(January 7, 2015)

We need to understand police brutality and racism, from a proletarian perspective.

The police force, in any social formation, is a part of the repressive institutions of the state apparatus for asserting the interest of the bourgeoisie. It is their job to repress us. They are objectively brutal when dealing with the popular masses. This brutality is an integrated part of class struggle. To argue that police brutality is simply a racist act is, for us, reformism. The police intervene to break strikes, infiltrate political organizations (like the Black Panthers, Weathermen and many others), and restrain marches not because of the dominant pigmentation of these groups, but because the police are there to keep the masses disorganized in order to allow the reproduction of capital. The police and all the other repressive institutions of bourgeois democracy are the guardian angels of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.

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Autonomous Popular Democratic Struggle

 

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Pr183boletarian Alternative

(November 2014)

In every historically determined social formation, there exist class divisions, class antagonism and class struggle. In numerous ways, the dominated and exploited classes always resist and struggle against their domination. To aid the pursuit of their fundamental objectives (for capitalists, the accumulation of capital), the dominant classes act in the political field to constantly reduce, disallow and remove any breathing room for the popular masses. Resistance to this, which is determined by class struggle, comprises the popular democratic struggle of the masses.

In every historically determined social formation, there also exist class divisions within the dominant classes. These divisions are not fundamental antagonisms, but simply reflect opposing interests, disagreements among thieves. These are usually resolved in regulated rituals within the highly structured institutions of the state, but on certain occasions they need to work out their differences on an expanded field of battle, in a more openly violent manner.

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A few brief and partial observations on the economic laws and the contradictions of capitalism

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Jan Makandal

December 2014

The proletarian theory of capitalism is the concentration of all revolutionary innovations, with contributions by many, and Marx at the center pole. It is in constant development. Even Marx recognized his work as unfinished. In Das Kapital, he did not completely elaborate on a series of capitalism’s economic laws, but presented them as presuppositions, theorems or consequences of the production of surplus value and of the reproduction of social capital.

For example, the law of value is generally stated as a law of exchange of goods to their value, which corresponds to the socially necessary quantity of labor time required for their production. This formulation is based on the principle that the objective determination of the value of goods is realized by the labor time necessary for their production.

This formulation is not entirely correct; it is inexact, and it is the same argued by bourgeois economists, who have all been (like Marx) unable to scientifically develop it. So attempts have been made to explain value using other principles. One of these was by putting the problem into the context of mercantile circulation and basing the argument (an empirical argument to say the least) on a consequence of the mercantile circulation: competition. This leads to the theory of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, from which some draw the erroneous conclusion that the demise of capitalism is inevitable.

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A Brief Discussion of the Origin of Surplus Value

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(October 2014)

Part of a series on Surplus Value

To understand how capital accumulation is accomplished, we must address the origin of surplus value.

Capital and value are not simply added sums, but rather exist at a social level. Thus surplus value is not a physical form in which an added sum is produced. Capital is interested solely in increasing its quantity of value; the objects of capital (goods, money) are irrelevant, mere means to an end. The movement of capital is essentially the constant growth of a monetary quantity, a developed form of circulation of money.

What capital pursues is that constant growth. For example, Apple periodically issues new versions of its iPhone. Though Apple may advertise its goal as making its customers happy through product improvement, its only actual interest and reason for existence is the constant accumulation of value.

Surplus value can’t be produced in mercantile circulation, including any specific operations of mercantilism. Nor can it be produced in any specific operations of finance capital. Even while these forms generalized by capitalism are essential to its functioning, they do not produce value. Rather, at the level of the social formation as a whole, mercantile and money circulation are both endemically governed by the rules of exchange between equivalent values, which are imposed on every individual act of exchange. In all exchanges in the spheres of circulation and finance, no new value is or can be created. Surplus value requires the creation of new value.

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On Value

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Kiki Makandal

(November 2014)

“… the emergence of a completed socialist society, with the withering away of classes, commodities, money and the state.” (Page 92)

What we mean by value and how is value determined by the social context

Value is determined by the context of appropriation.

When appropriation is collective, value refers to collective social priorities and is resolved through collective prerogatives to influence social decisions (by the collective) dealing with integrated social activities that combine activities necessary for the production of necessary goods and services (necessary for social reproduction and welfare) with activities that engender cultural flourishing at its highest potential (“épanouissement”). Values refer to the process of collectively determining social production and distribution of goods and services according to need and ability to reflect the most harmonious, equitable and socially nurturing intents. As such, there are no commodities that have to be individually possessed or acquired or produced, but rather there are social needs that have to be addressed and collective social resources allocated to meet those needs in activities that no longer alienate labor from other social practices but that integrate the production of socially necessary goods and services within socially nurturing cultural practices. There is no longer a distinction between work and leisure; there is no longer a distinction between labor and culture, people can fish leisurely, people can farm leisurely… The concept of value refers not to “worth” but to relative social importance. It is completely different from “value” in the context of individual appropriation. There is no need to compare the relative “worth” of objects or services. There is only a need to collectively determine their production and allocation in the interest of the common good.

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A Synopsis of Accumulation

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(November 2014)

Part of a series on surplus value

2015-05-04-so-hungry-woThe movement of capital produces surplus value with the sole purpose of turning itself into more capital, to reproduce itself on an ever-widening scale.

The simple reproduction of capital, for example through circulation, creates no new value, but instead adds to the existing value. This resulting fictitious value is consumed by the capitalist bloc in an unproductive manner. Individual capitalists consider it the ideal form of reproduction, because it provides quick and easy profits without the hassle of building and maintaining infrastructure or dealing with a workforce. But for the capitalist class as a whole, unproductive reproduction is very problematic.

The true objective of capitalist production is its own accumulation. This is both an end and a means—only through concentration can capital increase its productivity—both by increasing the productivity of labor (relative surplus value) for the production of absolute surplus value (on which all forms of capital expansion and accumulation depends).

To our sensory perception, it seems that in each cycle of production capital and labor come from two distinct poles. The capitalist and the wage earner, both owners of merchandise, appear to conduct an exchange between equivalent values: wages for labor power. In reality, it is not an equivalent exchange. When we consider the transformation of surplus value into capital, and the reproduction of capital in cycles of production, then it becomes apparent that new capital is constituted from previously accumulated surplus value. Capital is surplus that has already been extorted, stolen to be used for the further extortion of another new surplus. This is what accumulation is all about.

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A Historical Materialist Definition of Capital

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(December 2014)

Capital is a cyclical process unrolling at the level of the whole society. The principal moment is that of production. It is in that process that the transformation of nature and the production of surplus value are simultaneously carried out; it is where labor is performed under the conditions that allow it to furnish surplus labor.

Capital is not the juridical designation of the privately owned means of production itself. Private property, institutionalized legally, is indeed indispensable for the functioning of capital, and will take different historical forms relating to a range of capitalisms from individual to monopoly to state.

These juridical forms are seemingly distinct from wage labor. But they are required for the functioning of capitalist social relations of production. These relations are the real process of the appropriation of labor, accomplished by controlling the means of production in which the capitalist cycle is unceasingly reproducing. As a social relation, capitalist private property is historically bound to wage labor; one can’t exist without the other.

Capital is a system of social relations of production, which exists solely to recover surplus labor.

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A Brief Definition of Proletarian Revolution

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By Jan Makandal

October 12, 2014

 We can define revolution in a few simple words: the conquest of political power, the conquest of democracy, the repressive violation of all rights of property, and the violent destruction of the bourgeois mode of production. All these concepts confirm the state apparatus as the means and, by the same token, the first objective of the revolution. The destruction of the capitalist state apparatus to disorganize the capitalist class is a necessity manifested by the fundamental contradiction between capital and labor.

This is the political aspect of revolution, its principal task. A complete concept encompasses the qualitative transformation of a social formation from one mode of production to another, the overturning of the entire ensemble of social relations comprising all fields of that social formation: economic, political and ideological. In this text, we will focus on the political field. The political field is principal because the conquest of political power is the indispensable prerequisite for and gateway to total social transformation.

Proletarian political revolution encompasses democracy and dictatorship, two phenomena that exist both in contradictory unity and in identity. In the hands of the proletariat, power achieves the conquest of democracy for the masses and dictatorship over the bourgeoisie. (more…)


Hearts and Minds: Forging Ourselves into Revolutionary Militants

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264bStephanie McMillan

(9/8/14; edited 9/13/14)

Escalating by the day, the ecological and economic devastation being inflicted on the world by capitalism is shocking and horrifying—even more so when we face our incapacity to respond effectively.

The revolutionary movements of decades past have completely disintegrated. In that process we’ve witnessed the bankrupt political line of the petit bourgeoisie, and with the working class as yet unable to take up its historical mission of destroying its fundamental antagonist, the field has been left wide open for global capitalism to invade every corner of our lives. Capital has tangled us in an economic, political and ideological web, determined to prevent us from rising up collectively against it.

Expanding inexorably, breaking all boundaries and devouring the natural world, capital zombie-walks ever deeper into crisis and conflict. With every conquest it grows more unstable. Its political legitimacy is unraveling along with the degradation of its economic health. Populations no longer able to survive under its domination rise up spontaneously, and struggle to cohere into organized movements. This is capital’s greatest danger, and it employs ever more ruthless repressive measures to prevent collective mass resistance.

It wages ideological warfare designed to pacify us, to make us believe in its invincibility and our own corresponding powerlessness. As we are increasingly unable and unwilling to tolerate the current situation, we search for a way out. To preserve their system of exploitation, the stewards of capital do everything possible to isolate us and divert us into political dead ends.

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What is Proletarian Theory?

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by Proletarian Alternative

(September 1, 2014)

 

Proletarian theory [dialectical and historical materialism] is the most advanced theory of the working class. It is in constant development, never a done deal or set of formulas that could be fit onto objective reality. Even Marx and Engels went through a set of rectifications and deepening of proletarian theory, especially after the Paris Commune. They transitioned from being social democrats [non-proletarian revolutionaries] to being proletarian revolutionaries.

 

Thus we encounter some level of eclecticism in Marx; for example he spoke of profit both as an added sum, and as a societal form of organization in which the center pole is surplus value. Surplus value is the source and origin of all types of capital and of capital accumulation [except early mercantile capitalism to a certain extent].

 

At this time we identify Marxism as proletarian theory. Marxism-Leninism was a necessary political demarcation from other theories claiming to be the theory of the working class. We do believe this demarcation has reached a point of maturity. It is time for the working class to reclaim our theory.

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Our Position on Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism

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Jan Makandal

7/22/14

There is a fundamental non-correspondence between imperialism and anti-imperialism. They are not simply direct opposites. The struggle against imperialism (the advanced form of accumulation of capital), is not to be conflated with anti-imperialism (the struggle against the domination of one social formation by another).

Imperialism is an advanced stage of the development of capital. Capital is a form of organization of a social formation, and imperialism is a conjuncture, a period. Anti-imperialism is not an alternative form of societal organization, but rather a political struggle to transform a specific political relation (a relation that while not economic, does have an economic effect). (more…)


The Bureaucratic Bourgeoisie: An Overview

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By Proletarian Alternative

(July 15, 2014)

Schematically, we can say the bureaucratic bourgeoisie (BB) are bourgeois like any other member of the bourgeoisie. They are also part of the larger power bloc, an alliance of all the classes and fractions of classes that hold political power, which ensures their capacity to dominate other classes politically on a daily basis. The power bloc uses its apparatuses (social structures and mechanisms) to dominate other classes. It is itself politically organized, while it works assiduously to disorganize the masses in all the classes it dominates.

One of the apparatuses the power bloc uses is the state apparatus—comprised of the police, military and other armed forces, plus the government (all branches) at all levels (federal, state, local) and the judicial system—to organize repression, to impose bourgeois democratism. In addition, the power bloc uses other apparatuses such as political parties, collaborationist unions, churches, schools, nonprofits, and all forms of media to keep the masses disorganized and under their domination. (more…)


Notes on the Bureaucratic Bourgeoisie

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by Jan Makandal

Mao mentioned the concept of bureaucracy in capitalism in many instances, but he never really gave it a definition; making Mao’s observation correct but still limited to an empirical level. He did his part, with all his limitations (including opportunism and populism). It should be a task of all revolutionary militants to deepen Mao’s contributions, while at the same time continue in the struggle against populism and opportunism. (more…)


Notes on Class Analysis

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by Jan Makandal

“The proletariat, the modern working class, developed – a class of laborers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labor increases capital. These laborers, who must sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.”
(Communist Manifesto, Marx & Engels)

The question of classes is one area of historical materialism that has not been developed. This has created confusion, and sometimes very erroneous political lines, in particular populism. Mao made some very important contributions to the concept of classes, but these were very limited due to his own populism and opportunism.
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Notes on Surplus Value and Labor Power

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by Jan Makandal

Much debate on the left is based on an eclectic usage of concepts such as capital, labor power and surplus value. This eclectic usage allows a totally descriptive approach, leading to a very simplistic analysis that is unable to consolidate further in the elaboration of previous revolutionary militants, in particular Marx. This approach is incapable with deepening these concepts. Instead it causes a reverse effect of reducing these concepts to simple questions of accounting and numbers, and even worse, reducing these theories/concepts (for example the theory of surplus value and all its forms such as exploitation) to a simple theory of profit. This is exactly what Marx fought against from Ricardo, a bourgeois theorist—the tendency to constantly define surplus value and the process of capitalization of surplus value as a simple form of making a profit.
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Jan Makandal: Audio Interview

Jan Makandal interviewed on Resistance Radio (prn.fm) by Derrick Jensen. Topics: what is a revolution, contemporary classes under capitalism, class struggle, what revolutionary militants need to be doing now.

Listen below or at the Progressive Radio Network.

TRANSCRIPT:

Jan Makandal interviewed by Derrick Jensen (05/11/14)

Minutes 1-10

[Birds singing]

DJ: Hi, I’m Derrick Jensen, this is Resistance radio on the Progressive Radio Network. My guest today is Jan Makandal. He’s a long-time revolutionary proletarian militant. He organised with the workers’ committee of Rockland County in the 1970s in upstate New York, as well as with a group of Haitian revolutionaries building a mass movement based among workers and peasants during the fall of Duvalier, plus other organisations within the US and Haiti. So thank you so much for being on the program today, Jan.

JM: Oh, thank you, Derrick, for giving me the opportunity to speak to your listeners and to you as well.

DJ: Thank you. OK, so for my first question—I like to dive right in. You know, you talk about the need for revolution but frankly, you know, we hear of revolution all the time: we hear it in, in commercials for cars, you know, “revolutionary car, this is a revolution,” we hear it in advertisements for cereal, we hear it in among, you know, mainstream organizations. For crying out loud, politicians talk about the need for revolution, so, and then, you know, recycling your paper is revolutionary, we hear. Um, so what do you mean by revolution? (more…)


What is Dogmatism?

theoryTagS

 

 

mn130429fbProletarian Alternative

(February 2014)

Dogmatism is a manifestation of theoretical and/or ideological deficiencies, such as idealism (metaphysics), sectarianism, elitism or followership. It’s a significant obstacle to working class emancipation, which we must identify and comprehend in order to combat it. There are several variants and expressions, including:

A) The practice of conflating our concepts with reality (for example, arguing that the concept of democracy is the power of the people, and really existed in ancient Greece even though that was a slave society).
B) The attempt to make a concept become reality (for the dogmatist, God exists not as a concept but as reality).
C) The belief that a concept can create reality (utopian schemes).
D) The attempt to fit a concept into a reality (for example, the idea that we can shape our social relations to fit concepts like direct democracy or horizontalism, which have never existed historically except as concepts).
E) The belief in dogma: “unchangeable, immutable truths” that are to be taken for granted, unquestioningly, and that are not founded in reality. (Like quoting from some historically acclaimed figure to prove one’s point in a debate, as if that quote itself is enough to “prove” one’s point of view, as if historical conditions have not changed…)
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