Socialism

What It Means to Be a Marxist

It’s unfortunate that there isn’t a better word for “Marxism.” Marx himself famously once said that he himself was “not a Marxist” if certain askew interpretations of his theories of historical materialism and capitalism were “Marxist.” Part of the problem is that the theories and processes that Marx helped create are too big to fall […]

Socialism

Primer Red (Part 6): Late Capitalism

For previous editions of Primer Red, on dialectical materialism, alienation, class, value, and praxis, see here. Capitalism developed in stages, and “late capitalism” is capitalism’s overtime—its extra innings. Find a troubling story about some boss’s creative way to take advantage of his workers, about some desperate family go-funding money to pay for basic human needs, […]

Socialism

The American Countryside Was Collectivized Within a Generation

The countryside was collectivized within a generation. The process was accompanied by immense spikes in violence, social dislocation and privation, and political chaos and backlash, but in the end, agricultural production was successfully collectivized. Nearly two-thirds of agricultural production was produced by just one percent of farmers. The result was plummeting costs of foodstuffs, a […]

Opinion

Resolutionary Socialism 2018

It’s easy, when we’re pressed up against each other, dealing with one crisis after another, scrambling to get done what needs to get done from one moment to the next, to sniff out differences in one another. In close quarters, the whiff of small difference can seem overwhelming. It’s important to take opportunities to think […]

Socialism

Primer Red (Part 5): Praxis

“Primer Red” is our political education series on some basics of radical thought and history. See Parts I (dialectics), II (alienation), III (class), and IV (value). Please share questions and suggestions for future discussions! Society doesn’t change because people’s attitudes improve. It changes because people change it “materially”—because people change the physical world and change […]

Socialism

Primer Red (Part 4): Value

Why does a tree catch fire so easily? Every tree holds in its cells the energy it has absorbed from the sun. We don’t think of trees as energetic, but in fact, to grow like they do, trees have to absorb and store an immense amount of energy. When touched by fire, that energy is […]

Socialism

Primer Red (Part 3): Class

“Primer Red” is our political education series on some basics of radical thought and history. See Part I, on dialectical materialism, here. Part II on Alienation is here. Please share questions, suggestions and submissions for future discussions! After the last year, I’m sure you’re all hankering for a discussion about class. Class is central to Marxism and […]

Socialism

Primer Red (Part 2): Alienation

“Primer Red” is our political education series on some basics of radical thought and history. See Part I, on dialectical materialism, here. Please share questions and suggestions for future discussions! We’ve all felt alienated, and plenty of songs about teen angst helped drive the point home. But alienation has a particular meaning for the radical—it’s a […]

Socialism

Primer Red (Part 1): Dialectical Materialism

This is the first in a series of primers on some basics of radical thought and history. Please share questions and suggestions for future discussions! Every Labor Day, radicals rightfully take pleasure in pointing out to cliche-merchant politicians and media the radical roots of the U.S. labor movement, sharing stories of the socialists, communists, and […]