class struggle

10 things the left should see the back of right now - Isla Williams

Intersectional HQ

With the Tories in power the left is in full-on reconstruction mode. But while we do this it’s important to remember the lessons of the last five years. With this in mind, here are ten suggestions the things the left should see the back of right now.

So, the government got in…

The election results are in. The Tories can form a majority government to rule for the next five years. Now what?

Vanishing points in working class culture – Miguel Amorós

A brief discussion of the origins, decline, and fall of modern working class culture as a culture of resistance to capitalism, a process that led to our current condition of “perpetual present” “without time or memory”, concluding with some reflections on the possible reemergence of “communities of struggle” that will rediscover history, as the system can only “overcome its contradictions … by plunging into even greater ones”, thus unleashing new conflicts in a society that has become increasingly more unpredictable due to the proliferation of unhinged, “desperate identities” in search of a remedy for their “feeling of uprootedness”.

Wobbly driplines: strikes, stowaways & the SS Manuka

Built in 1903 and wrecked off New Zealand’s southern coast in 1929, the Manuka was a floating fragment of class society—and of class warfare. This article uses the Manuka to tell the wider story of syndicalism, transnationalism, anti-militarism, and the IWW in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Activism - Amadeo Bordiga

In this short article first published in 1952, Amadeo Bordiga addresses the question of “activism” as “an illness of the workers movement” that exaggerates the “possibilities of the subjective factors of the class struggle” and neglects theoretical preparation, which he claims is of paramount importance because of the need for consciousness to be “expressed in the class party, which is in the last analysis the determinant factor of the transformation of the bourgeois crisis into the revolutionary catastrophe of all of society”, claiming furthermore that, “in the party, consciousness precedes action, unlike what takes place among the masses and at the level of the individual.”

War and revolution - Amadeo Bordiga

In this 1950 article from the “Thread of Time” series Amadeo Bordiga examines the question of war and revolution in Marxist theory—characteristically emphasizing the epochal shift entailed by the Franco-Prussian War—and the role played by the ideological legacy of the French Revolution in the defeat of the Paris Commune and in the mobilization for and justification of participation in World Wars One and Two, which “were not revolutionary wars, but massacres of the slaves of Capital”.

Shanghai on strike: the politics of Chinese labor

cover of shanghai on strike

Classic book by Elizabeth Perry on working-class formation during the industrialization of Shanghai from 1839 to 1949, including insight into the strike wave and insurrections of 1926-1927.

Were we wrong? - Murray Bookchin

An essay in which Murray Bookchin argues against the dominant Marxist and anarchist view of capitalist development and revolutionary change. Published in Telos, Vol. 65, Fall, 1985, pp. 59-74.

A critique of Anselm Jappe's essay, "Who Is To Blame?" - Roland Simon (Excerpt)

In this 2009 article, Roland Simon of Théorie Communiste subjects Anselm Jappe and, more generally, the current known as “Value Critique”, to severe criticism, claiming that their emphasis on the “commodity” and “value” causes them to misunderstand the Marxist critique of capitalism and to harbor erroneous views about “a kind of value that is no longer value” because of an alleged decline of the proportion of labor in each commodity caused by increasing productivity, and that their “‘focus’ on value and the commodity causes us to ‘forget’ that value is capital” and that the goal of capitalism is not even just surplus-value but rather the reproduction of capitalist class relations.

Teaching old dogs new tricks: Counter-theses and theses - Amadeo Bordiga

In this 1952 article from the “On the Thread of Time” series, on the eve of a split in the Internationalist Communist Party, Amadeo Bordiga sets forth his refutations (“theses”) of the innovators who stray from the correct doctrine of Marxism with their “dangerous improvisations” (“counter-theses”) in the fields of history, economics and philosophy—modestly claiming that his arguments might be rendered more “clear and convincing” if one were to devote “seven years” of “study and activity”, “seven hours a week”, to the task—with an ample selection of provocative epigrammatic comments on such topics as World Wars Two and Three, communism, bureaucracy, totalitarianism, ideology, etc.