Browsing posts tagged: English
World Revolution for Beginners

Preface The three texts published here are transcripts of talks given in New York City in summer 2013. They focus on the German-Polish-Russian corridor in the years before, during and after the First World War. The boundaries in space and time are ultimately the Russian revolutions (March, November) of 1917 and the failed revolution in […]

Lenin and Luxemburg (World Revolution for Beginners, Part I

Loren: My name is Loren and what we’re going to deal with today is Lenin and Luxemburg. This is a huge topic. Both of these people are great revolutionaries and there are libraries of books written about them. So in two hours, I’m going to try to sort of summarize what I think is really […]

Stalin and Trotsky (World Revolution for Beginners Part II)

Loren: I photocopied a little map of Russia. Unfortunately it’s from a book in French but I think you can figure it out, all the names are pretty much the same. I know some people probably are not so familiar with the geography that we are talking about. So here you have some kind of […]

The German Revolution (World Revolution for Beginners Part III)

Loren: I put translations of the most important initials of organizations (SPD, KPD, etc.) up on the board. As I talk, I’m generally going to use the initials, just so everybody knows what they refer to. I don’t know if we’re going to really get to the Nazi seizure of power. If we do, it […]

On the Extreme Margins of the Centennial of the October Revolution

On the Extreme Margins of the Centennial of the October Revolution: The Legacy of 1917 We Can Affirm Loren Goldner The year 1917 is most closely associated with the Russian Revolution, but it is more important to locate  that revolution in the global tidal wave of  working-class struggle  from 1917 to 1921 (continued up to […]

US-China Relations in the Era of Trump

US-China Relations in the Era of Trump Loren Goldner (The following purports to be, not so much an article, but more an outline of major themes or theses presented at the June 24-25 2017 International Worker Activists conference in Seoul. ) 1. U.S. policymakers often discuss,as an analogy to the current situation of US- China […]

On the Current Situation in the U.S.

Loren Goldner Let’s begin with the purely electoral aspect of Trump’s victory in November. He lost the popular vote by 65 million to 62 million, but that didn’t matter because he won the archaic Electoral College by 304 to 227. The Electoral College was established in the late 18th century to ensure that small (mainly […]

Joshua Kurlantzick A Great Place to Have a War America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA

Book Review: Joshua Kurlantzick A Great Place to Have a War America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA New York, 2016 Loren Goldner by Loren Goldner Few people in America today know where the small (population 7 million) Asian country Laos is. Far fewer still knew in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, […]

David Bandurski Dragons in Diamond Village: Tales of Resistance in Urbanizing China

Book Review David Bandurski Dragons in Diamond Village: Tales of Resistance in Urbanizing China (Melvile House 2016) Loren Goldner In 2030, one billion Chinese will live in cities, two-thirds of the total population, or one of every eight people on the planet. At the time of the Chinese Revolution in 1949, 80% of the 400 […]

President Trump

(The following appeared as the editorial in Insurgent Notes No. 14, shortly after the November 2016 election of Donald Trump as president of the United States.) Donald Trump will be the next president. What was unthinkable has become all too real. We anticipated as much in the editorial in our last issue, which we […]

Review: Chris Rhomberg, The Broken Table: The Detroit Newspaper Strike and the State of American Labor

For an academic work, this is a quite good, fact-packed but flawed book about one militant strike in the U.S., the Detroit newspaper strike of 1995-2000, which took place during a generally bleak decade for class struggle.

Review: Nick Turse. Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam

This book portrays more vividly than most the take-no-prisoners barbarism of which the American capitalist class and its military are capable.

Media: Loren Goldner on the German Revolution

Part Three of an ongoing NYC lecture and discussion series with left communist intellectual Loren Goldner.

Media: Loren Goldner on Stalin and Trotsky

Part Two of an ongoing NYC lecture and discussion series by left communist intellectual Loren Goldner.

Media: Loren Goldner on Lenin and Luxemburg

Part One of an ongoing NYC lecture and discussion series by left communist intellectual Loren Goldner.

Review: “How British Industry Gave Up the Ghost” by Nicholas Comfort, and “Chavs” by Owen Jones

Putting these two books back-to-back, we arrive at a rather thorough picture of British working-class history since World War II, and particularly since the coming of Margaret Thatcher and the “neo-liberal” era in 1979.

Review: Cesar Chavez, the United Farm Workers, and the Question of Unions in Contemporary Capitalism

The movement had “two souls”, one increasingly focused on Chavez’s strategy of boycotts and outside political influence, the other growing from the rank-and-file militancy of the farm workers themselves.

Review: “The October Revolution in Prospect and Retrospect” by John Marot

This is one of the few books published since 1991 on the “Russian question” that will compel people long wedded to different characterizations of the post-1917 or post-1929 Soviet regime to think through their commitments.

Media: Panel on Anti-Anti-Imperialism

Discussion of various contemporary struggles with imperialism.

Anti-Capitalism or Anti-Imperialism? Interwar Authoritarian and Fascist Sources of A Reactionary Ideology: The Case of the Bolivian MNR

There is a largely forgotten history of reactionary populist and “anti-imperialist” movements in the underdeveloped world, that do not shrink from mobilizing the working class to achieve their goals.

Media: Loren Goldner, Oakland, September 2010

Writer and activist Loren Goldner contextualizes the current economic crisis and class struggles in a theory of capitalist development.

From Cairo to Madison, The Old Mole Comes Up For An Early Spring

The past four decades of class warfare in which only one side, the capitalist class, was fighting—have come to an end.

Brief Report from a Brief Visit to Madison

I managed to get to Madison, Wisconsin, for a mass demonstration in the ongoing mobilization against Governor Scott Walker’s assault on public employee unions.

The Demise of Andy Stern and the Question of Unions in Contemporary Capitalism

The rise and recent fall of Andy Stern illustrates, as if through a glass darkly, that in this epoch there is nothing positive for the class as a whole to be achieved through the unions.

The Historical Moment That Produced Us: Global Revolution or Recomposition of Capital?

Our task must be to articulate the full implications of that positive power which lies beyond the disorientation of today. We must show where that potential surfaces in micro-ways in the struggles of the present.

Media: Loren Goldner Interview about Ssangyong Motors Occupation

I spoke with Loren Goldner on Friday about the 77-day occupation of the Ssangyong automotive plant in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.

Global Leveraged Buyout or the “Longest Boom in Capitalist History”?: A Reply to Robert Fitch

Fitch’s “In Defense of Washington and Wall Street”, while making some good points about the unraveling of the world financial system, is seriously flawed.

“Socialism in One Country” Before Stalin, and the Origins of Reactionary “Anti-Imperialism”: The Case of Turkey, 1917-1925

We must re-examine a profoundly reactionary ideology by which any force, no matter how retrograde, that turns a gun against a Western power becomes “progressive” and worthy of “critical” or “military” support, or for the less subtle, simply “support”.

Ssangyong Motors Strike in South Korea Ends in Defeat and Heavy Repression

For the 976 workers who seized the small auto plant on May 22 and held it against repeated quasi-military assault, the settlement represented a near-total defeat.

General Perspectives on the Capitalist Development State and Class Struggle in East Asia

A historical elaboration of the context in which a socialist and later specifically Marxist left arose in Japan, China and Korea.

Great Game II: From Tallinn to Seoul and Tokyo, by Way of Kiev, the Declining American Superpower Lashes Out on the Borders of Russia and China

The US is playing the Great Game II, as a strategy to keep the Eurasian powers off balance, and to preserve the ever-growing mass of nomad dollars from deflation and displacement.

Social Reproduction for Beginners: Bringing the Real World Back In

Marx’s materialism was no mere epistemological stance, but was in fact, as Engels later called it, “the germ of a new world outlook.”

The Biggest ‘October Surprise’ Of All: A World Capitalist Crash

Comrades, history has offered us an opening which, if we fail, will not come again in our lifetimes.

The Korean Working Class: From Mass Strike to Casualization and Retreat, 1987-2008

The bureaucratic remnants of the radical democratic unions of the early 1990’s are today reviled corporative organizations of that working-class elite, and as many struggles take place between regular and casualized workers as against capital itself.

Media: Fictitious Capital and Today’s Global Crisis

A talk with Loren Goldner on the current capitalist crisis.

Interview: The Situation of Left Communism Today

A three-part interview in Seoul, South Korea, with militants of a small Korean Marxist group, SaNoShin, which is becoming increasingly influenced by left communist theory.

Media: KPFA’s “Guns and Butter”, 2007: Interview on “fictitious capital”

“Interview with independent writer and activist, Loren Goldner.

Fictitious Capital for Beginners: Imperialism, “Anti-Imperialism”, and the Continuing Relevance of Rosa Luxemburg

Far from being a remote “economic” concept, fictitious capital leads us straight to the central political questions of today, and above all those questions confronting the international left.

Left Communism and Trotskyism: A Roundtable

PDF available for download.

Max Eastman: One American Radical’s View of the “Bolshevization” of the American Revolutionary Movement and a Forgotten, and Unforgettable, Portrait of Trotsky

In spite of Eastman’s sharp turn to the right, he managed in the 1950’s and 1960’s to write two volumes of memoirs that still capture, without cynicism, the great hopes of his youth.

1973 Redux?: Continuity and Discontinuity in the Decline of Dollar-Centered World Accumulation

The world is still in the early phase of an inflationary blow-out centered on the indebted “U.S. consumer” as the “locomotive” of the world economy.

Clausewitz on the Pampas: An Argentine Snapshot as Latin America Moves Leftward

This article aims to bring the rich Argentine experience of strategy and tactics to an international audience, to hopefully stimulate further discussion of its strengths and weaknesses.

Fictitious Capital and the Transition Out of Capitalism

The following is a “thought experiment” which attempts to see fictitious capital in relation to the end of capitalism.

China in the Contemporary World Dynamic of Accumulation and Class Struggle: A Challenge for the Radical Left

China will emerge as a superpower or as “the” hegemon only through a bloody reshuffling of the capitalist deck, and not through the kind of “normal” development that achieved world hegemony for Britain after 1815.

Marx and Makhno Meet McDonalds

Over the last several years, a revolving network of militants in Paris, France, have developed a strategy and tactics for winning strikes by marginal, low-paid, outsourced and immigrant workers against international chains, in situations where the strikers are often ignored by unions to which they nominally belong, or are actually obstructed by them.

Review: Poder e Dinheiro, by Joao Bernardo

Joao Bernardo has to be one of the most prolific, and prodigious, radical theoreticians of the past 30 years, yet, because he writes in his native Portuguese and because very little of his work has been translated into English, he remains largely unknown in the world of Anglophone Marxism.

Review: Time, Labor and Social Domination, by Moishe Postone

Remaining in his lofty (but admittedly indispensable) realm of abstraction, seemingly oblivious to the concrete history of the “real movement that abolishes existing conditions” as the force which drives the evolution of its inverted form, capital, Postone only gets it half right

Marx, Hegel, Ricardo: The “Inverted World” In the Heart of the Critique of Political Economy

In the past forty years, it has become easier to draw a sharp line between Ricardo’s and Marx’s theory of value. and between Ricardo’s economics and Marx’s critique of political economy.

Review: “L’Histoire generale de ‘l’ultra-gauche'” by Christophe Bourseiller

Bourseiller’s book is the only one in existence, in any language, that attempts to treat the history of the ultra-left in its entirety.

Introduction to the Johnson-Forest Tendency and the Background to “Facing Reality”

What came to be known as the “Johnson-Forest tendency” of the Workers’ Party and the Socialist Workers’ Party in the U.S., was a tendency whose influence has rippled far beyond its original small forces within two American Trotskyist groups before, during and after World War II.

Notes on Another Defeat for Workers in the U.S: The Los Angeles Supermarket Strike of 2003-2004

Southern California supermarket workers voted 86% to end their five-month old strike, accepting a contract that amounts to a serious, if not total, victory for a determined employer offensive with national implications.

Pause In The Crisis or Beginning of a New Boom?

The fundamental problem for U.S. capitalism is to globally circulate the mass of fictitious capital that has built up over 45 years of subsidized dollar hegemony, making possible that capital’s valorization by extracting an adequate amount of surplus value.

A Hollowed-Out Keynesian Warfare State: American Democracy Today and Historically

A fundamental dynamic in American history involves the triad of race, imperial expansion, and class.

Interview: Recent Class Struggles in the USA

What I would like to do here today, is to present two parts of an analysis of class struggle in the United States. The first part will be more historical and the second part will be about the developments of the last twenty years or so.

Other Comrades’ Comments on the Aufheben Debate

The discussion between Loren Goldner and Aufheben is, in essence, about the role of fictitious capital in the crisis of capitalism but they disagree already about what fictitious capital actually is.

Review: Labirintos do Fascismo, by Joao Bernardo

The Portuguese Marxist and prolific writer Joao Bernardo remains virtually unknown in the Anglophone world, a situation hopefully to be remedied soon by an English translation of his three-volume masterpiece on the Middle Ages, Poder e Dinheiro.

Review: Joe Hill, by Franklin Rosemont

In these days of war without end in the Middle East, and Kerry vs. Bush, and visible “politics” in the U.S. seemingly reduced to a right-wing party and a far-right party, the book gives me a high that makes me wants to run out the door and organize.

Production or Reproduction?: Against a Reductionist Reading of Capital In The Left Milieu, and Elsewhere

There will be expanded social reproduction in communism, focused once again on the “production for production’s sake”, not in the Ricardian sense of capitalist productivism but in the communist sense of creativity.

Fictitious Capital, Real Retrogression

It is hardly a secret that the contemporary world is one of tremendous dislocation in which every advance of capital seems to entail, and require, a major retrogression of the human.

Production or Reproduction?: Against A Reductionist Reading of Capital

The following is a reply to the Aufheben Critique of Remaking of the American Working Class.

Facing Reality 45 Years Later: Critical Dialogue with James/Lee/Chaulieu

What I find most interesting in Facing Realityis not so much the answers it offers as the questions it asks. Those questions revolve around the role of the revolutionary Marxist party today.

Preface to Swedish Edition of “Communism is the Material Human Community”

Since 1988, interest in the work of Amadeo Bordiga has only increased[1], and seems on its way to eclipsing (hopefully with happier results) the earlier 1960s/1970s fascination with Antonio Gramsci.

Review: “Poder e Dinheiro” by Joao Bernardo

Joao Bernardo has to be one of the most prolific, and prodigious, radical theoreticians of the past 30 years, yet, because he writes in his native Portuguese and because very little of his work has been translated into English, he remains largely unknown in the world of Anglophone Marxism.

Review: “Dreamer of the Day” by Kevin Coogan

Coogan’s excellent book, starting from an obscure American fascist figure who has little currency in the far-right of his own country, takes us into the whole world of the international fascist revival since 1945.

Seattle: The First US Riot Against “Globalization”?

Despite all the elements of “uneven”, parochial or simply reactionary consciousness it may have contained, one has to characterize Seattle as a breakthrough.

“A Thousand Triumphant Ubus” by Alain Tizon and François Lonchampt

The following is a translation of Chapter One of Alain Tizon and François Longchampt’s Votre Révolution nest pas la mienne.

“Total Capital” Rigor and International Liquidity: A Reply to Robert Brenner

Without any distinction between productive and unproductive labor, and without a serious look at the social reproduction of labor power, and without an awareness of how the vast inflow of foreign capital into the U.S. stock market skews figures for “American” firms, what can figures on “profits” mean?

Presentation / Critique of Eamonn Fingleton’s “In Praise of Hard Industries”

Our experience over the past three decades in the U.S. has been conditioned and distorted by de-industrialization and the supposed triumph of the “post-industrial” “New Paradigm” economy associated with the computer, the Internet, e-commerce and so forth.

International Liquidity and Class Struggle: A First Approximation

I am writing this in late October 1998 in what seems to be a pause in the latest phase of the world financial crisis.

Revolutionary “Termites” in Faridabad: A Proletarian Current In India Confronts Third Worldist Statism

Kamunist Kranti stands out as one of the few, if not the only ultra-left current with a genuine, years-long working-class presence, not merely in the Third World, but in the world, period.

Race and the Enlightenment, Pt. II: The Anglo-French Enlightenment and Beyond

The Western invention of the idea of race in the 17th century, at the beginning of the Enlightenment, was not merely a degradation of the peoples of color to whom it was applied. Such a degradation had to be preceded, and accompanied, by a comparable degradation of the view of man within Western culture itself.

The Anti-Colonial Movement in Vietnam

Ngo Van’s book is unique, as his life has been unique; his book is the first full account of the anti-colonial movement in Vietnam from 1920 to 1945, by someone who lived much of that period as a Trotskyist militant.

150 Years After the Communist Manifesto

Communism is neither a doctrine sprung from the head of a world reformer, nor a political organization; it is, as Marx said in the Manifesto, “the real movement unfolding before our eyes”.

Race and the Enlightenment Part I: From Anti-Semitism to White Supremacy, 1492-1676

It is not often recognized that, prior to the 17th and 18th centuries, the period which Western history calls the Enlightenment, the concept of race did not exist.

Class Struggle in the Unemployment Capital of Europe: Lower Andalucia, 1995-96

Although these struggles have specific regional characteristics, they actually fit a national and, above all, international pattern.

The Online World Is Also On Fire: How the Sixties Marginalized Literature in American Culture (and Why Literature Mainly Deserved It)

The Online World Is Also On Fire: How the Sixties Marginalized Literature in American Culture (and Why Literature Mainly Deserved It) Loren Goldner The real “sixties”, of course, (at least for white middle-class American youth) started in approximately 1964 with the Berkeley student revolt and, following hard on that, with the appearance of the hippie […]

The Renaissance and Rationality: The Status of the Enlightenment Today

However unpalatable it may be to do so in the contemporary climate, where the Enlightenment project is everywhere under attack by Nietzscheans, “cultural studies” ideologues, Christian, Jewish and Muslim fundamentalists, Foucaultians, Afrocentrists and (most) ecologists, it is necessary to discuss the limits of the Enlightenment in order to defend it, and to go beyond it.

The Nazis and Deconstruction: Jean-Pierre Faye’s Demolition of Derrida

Sections of French and, more recently, American academic discourse in the “human sciences” have been dominated for decades by a terminology originating not in Heidegger but first of all in the writings of Nazis.

Interview: Class Struggle Beyond Unionism: Boston-Area Public Workers’ Ferment, 1981–82

I sat down my friend Scott McGuire in front of a tape recorder, and got him to tell me (again) the story of his involvement in the Boston public employees’ attempt to react to layoffs and cuts.

Marxism and the Critique of Scientific Ideology

We know all too well a world in which the linear application of micro-rationality is quite compatible with macro-barbarism.

Communism is the Material Human Community: Amadeo Bordiga Today

Bordiga was the last Western revolutionary who told off Stalin to his face as the gravedigger of the revolution, and lived to tell the tale. He is one of the most original, brilliant and utterly neglected Marxists of the century.

Multi-Culturalism or World Culture?: On a “Left”-Wing Response to Contemporary Social Breakdown

A critique of the Eurocentric conservatives and of the multiculturalists from the vantage point of an emerging WORLD culture.

Post-Modernism Meets the IMF: The Case of Poland

The Polish workers’ movement opened an irreparable breach in Stalinist totalitarian rule, not in the name of Marx or Luxemburg, but with the blessings of the Pope, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund and the Friedmanite school of economics.

Review: Loft Living, by Sharon Zukin

Zukin may have written the first book connecting post-modernism to de-industrialization and economic austerity.

The Universality of Marx

The question of the status of universality, whether attacked by its opponents as “white male”, or “Eurocentric”, or a “master discourse”, is today at the center of the current ideological debate

American Primitive in Red, Black and White: Race and Class in the U.S.

In 1848 and 1968, when working- class upsurges exploded in Europe under the slogans of “socialism” and “communism”, American working-class containment in the Democratic Party was exploded by the race question. This is the key to the Americanization of Marxism.

Review: An Injury to All, by Kim Moody

Review: A Critique of Kim Moody’s An Injury to All by Loren Goldner (The following originally appeared as a book review in ‘z’ magazine, 1989) Kim Moody has written an important book, which should, and will, be read and discussed by anyone interested in the past, present and future of the modern American working class. […]

From National Bolshevism to Ecologism

There are few important currents in the history of the 20th century which are not influenced by an ideological oscillation between Marxian revolution and the ‘”conservative revolution” as it was conceived at the end of the nineteenth century.

Review: Trotsky, by Pierre Broue

An imposing biography of the “organizer of victory” of the October Revolution.

Review: The Aesthetic State, Josef Chytry

Twenty years ago, the problematic at the core of Josef Chytry’s The Aesthetic State occupied center stage.

Review: French Modern, by Paul Rabinow

At its most basic level, a history and analysis of the battle between two concepts of modern urbanism, which Rabinow characterizes as “tech no-cosmopolitanism” and “middling modernism.”

Short History of the World Working-Class Movement from Lassalle to Neo-Liberalism: The Distorting Hegemony of the Unproductive Middle Classes

A kind of “thought experiment”, attempting to trace the career and impact of the “man of negation.”

Review: Génération, by Hamon and Rotman

At the approach of the 20th anniversary of the longest wildcat general strike in history, the press, publishers, and the media in France have geared up for the ultimate in “la mode retro.”

Review: Restructuring the World Economy by Joyce Kolko

Kolko’s book is not so much “economics” as contemporary economic history, an attempt to explain the new realities that have emerged out of the present crisis.

Fictitious Capital and Crisis Theory: An Introduction

PDF available for download.

The Fusion of Anabaptist, Indian and African as the American Radical Tradition

The agrarian question is the key to the understanding of the rise and fall of the continental European socialist tradition, and that the failure of that tradition to make a serious impact in America is a reflection of the fact that American agriculture–with the important exception of the South prior to 1865–was always capitalist.

Review: Mutter Erde, Magie und Politik, by Gugenberger and Schweidlenka

There is a disconcerting link between certain currents of ecological politics in Germany, the “New Age” ideologies these currents espouse, and their explicit or implicit connection to the politics of the extreme right.

Review: Nietzsche, by Peter Bergmann

An effort to show the very real historical and political conjuncture in which Nietzsche became Nietzsche, a context all but forgotten and dismissed as trivial in most of the contemporary discussion.

Review: The Principle of Hope, by Ernst Bloch

The translation of Ernst Bloch’s major work Principle of Hope into English constitutes an event in its own right in the consolidation of a serious Marxist current in the English speaking world.

Review: Modernism as the Vanguard of a Consumer Aesthetic: Two Views

Part of a growing body of serious social histories of culture that address the issues raised by theory in the only terrain where they can be settled: the social, economic, political, and cultural totalities that throw them up in the first place.

On the Non-Formation of a Working-Class Political Party in the United States, 1900-1945

In the U.S., in contrast to all other major capitalist countries, capitalism made the transition to the intensive phase of accumulation without requiring the participation of a working-class political party in the state.

History and Realization of the Material Imagination

Aims to question the currently existing lines between “culture” and “nature,” and to posit a possible unitary theory encompassing both.

Their Methodology and Ours

2002 Note: The following was the self-introduction of the sole issue of the journal Strategy, which appeared, and disappeared, in the spring of 1977, with little fanfare. Though I would write it rather differently today, I think its basic point–the difference between a Marxist conjunctural perspective and the typical left-wing politics of populist resentment–remains entirely valid. […]