Theory and practice reconsidered: the role of ‘critical theory’

by Chris Cutrone Why read Georg Lukács today?[1] Especially when his most famous work, History and Class Consciousness, is so clearly an expression of its specific historical moment, the aborted world revolution of 1917–19 in which he participated, attempting to follow Vladimir Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg. Are there “philosophical” lessons to be learned or principles to be gleaned from Lukács’s work, or is there, rather, the danger, as the Communist Party of Great Britain’s Mike Macnair has put it, of “theoretical overkill,” stymieing of political possibilities, closing up the struggle for socialism in tiny authoritarian and politically sterile sects founded on “theoretical … Continue reading Theory and practice reconsidered: the role of ‘critical theory’

The relevance of Lenin today

by Chris Cutrone If the Bolshevik Revolution is — as some people have called it — the most significant political event of the 20th century, then Lenin must for good or ill be considered the century’s most significant political leader. Not only in the scholarly circles of the former Soviet Union, but even among many non-Communist scholars, he has been regarded as both the greatest revolutionary leader and revolutionary statesman in history, as well as the greatest revolutionary thinker since Marx. — Encyclopedia Britannica 2011 — year of revolution?  [1] Time magazine nominated “the protester,” from the Arab Spring to … Continue reading The relevance of Lenin today

Capitalism, anarchism and Black liberation

by Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin The Capitalist bourgeoisie creates inequality as a way to divide and rule over the entire working class, but it is deeper than that. White skin privilege is a form of domination by Capital over White labor as well as oppressed nationality labor, not just providing material incentives to “buy off” White workers and set them against Black and other oppressed workers. This explains the obedience by White labor to Capitalism and the State. The White working class does not see their better off condition as part of the system of exploitation. After centuries of political and social … Continue reading Capitalism, anarchism and Black liberation

Marxism, the 21st century and social transformation

by Bill Fletcher, Jr. A discussion of the future of socialism and social transformation must be grounded in two realities.  The first reality is the broader economic, environmental and state-legitimacy crises in which humanity finds itself.  In other words, the convergence of these three crises means that the necessity for a genuine Left capable of leading masses of people is more pressing than ever.  It means that while one cannot sit back and wait for the supposed “final” crisis of capitalism to open up doors to freedom — since capitalism is largely defined by its continual crises — it is … Continue reading Marxism, the 21st century and social transformation

Insurgent democracy

by John Schwarzmantel This article has three aims: in the first place it seeks to offer some reflection on the role of political theory, and its relationship to what could simplistically be called events in the real world. Should political theory in the broadest sense be concerned with analysing and interpreting these events, or is it an exercise of a different kind, primarily concerned with the analysis of texts and with developing a specialised language of inquiry into such texts, whether historical or contemporary, that offer generalised reflection on concepts like power and authority, freedom and justice, to name only … Continue reading Insurgent democracy

Re-thinking revolution: A social anarchist perspective

by Jeff Shantz Superseding archic society requires, in part, a refusal to participate in dominant social relations.  Anarchists call for a refusal to surrender people’s collective power to politicians or bosses.  Instead they seek to re-organize social institutions in such a way as to reclaim social and economic power and exercise it on their own behalves towards their own collective interests.They seek an alternative social infrastructure that is responsive to people’s needs because it is developed and controlled directly by them.This is a social framework in which decisions regarding social and economic relations are made by the people affected by … Continue reading Re-thinking revolution: A social anarchist perspective