The Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People

What is Proletarian Feminism?

This is the first of a series of notes that will be relatively short, and by no means exhaustive, but are put forth as both a summation and intervention of the theoretical and practical context of gender liberation in general and proletarian feminist struggle in the particular, both within the context of the United States, and the global context – taking on the particularities of gender formation, as well the universal aspects of patriarchy.

Adavasi women with the Indian Maoists.

Adavasi women with the Indian Maoists.

Let us take opportunity in the annual remembrance on the International Working Women’s Day to raise a necessary definition in the ongoing development towards a Proletarian Feminist conception of gender liberation.

First, a necessary comment: while we do not mention trans women as separate subjects, when we say women in this article, we are including trans women as the issues we touch upon are common to all proletarian women, whether trans or cis, and while we recognize that cis women and trans women have differences, for example cis women and reproductive health choices, and trans women’s exclusion from women’s spaces or lack of access to hormones – we understand these differences as within the umbrella of women, as the subjects of oppression by patriarchy. We also recognize that the struggle against patriarchy is not solely a women’s issue, or a sexual or gender issue, and that gender is not a binary, nor is sex free of social and cultural construction. However, we will address this in subsequent notes and a series on Queer Maoism that has been almost two years in the making. Non-men, people who are neither women nor men, but still suffer patriarchal oppression, and thus for the purpose of this discussion are treated the same as women – both cis and trans – however, we want to keep the discussion centered on feminism as an expression of women’s politics whether cis or trans, not genderqueer struggle – which includes besides trans women and non-binary people, men, like trans men, whose experience of patriarchy is different from that of cis or trans women, and which has its own separate history from feminism, even if indeed proletarian feminism is queer struggle. This article has a narrower focus, but we feel these overlaps needed addressing for the sake of clarity and to make clear that we speak firmly for trans and genderqueer inclusion in feminism, and that trans women are women.

Proletarian feminism: more than just proletarian and feminist together

Proletarian feminism is the theoretical and practical development of the struggle against patriarchy from the perspective of the proletariat and revolutionary communist politics. Continue reading

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Classes and Class Struggle

Short Answer to a Question on Productive and Non-Productive Labor

Dock Workers
A comrade (A.M.) in an online forum asked:

Do transportation and retail labor add value to a commodity? If so, why?

My inclination is to say yes, but I can’t really explain why.

We need to understand that “productive” in terms of the abstracted model of Capital is not a moralistic or political proposition. It is a mathematical one. Productive labor is the one that according to the formulas in Capital, adds quantitatively to value. Retail is unproductive in these formulas because it doesn’t quantitatively add anything to the variables for value. It is beyond the scope of this short answer to go into a long discussion and exegesis of Capital (although the comments are open) but let’s try to briefly discuss assuming a reading of Capital.

The social relation to the commodity in retail work has no capacity to add value as understood in Capital. More so, it also speaks to the levels of alienation from production, something that is subjective and not easily expressed mathematically, but does affect the necessary description of value as a mathematical formula. Continue reading

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People's War

Thai Army tanks in formation during the 2006 coup. (Wikimedia Commons)

While researching news into the latest military coup in Thailand, we came upon this interesting statistical analysis from a bourgeois perspective on why Thailand has had so many coups. While the analysis predates this latest coup, it does apply in the general sense, and interestingly, it is not a Thailand-specific analysis, but one from the perspective of bourgeois universality, that is, the bourgeois view on the cause of military coups under conditions of global capitalism and bourgeois democracy.

The article is in the form of an interview with a statistician and he declares Thailand to be within the statistical model for coups on a number of things, notably poverty, and yet also being an outlier in terms of the sheer number of coups in its history.

In this article we see the limits of bourgeois thinking and perspective, and why the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist analysis of semifeudalism and semicolonialism is of much values to understand Thailand and its history of coups, and how the principle of universality of Protracted People’s War is reinforced by this example. Continue reading

Short Note on the Coup in Thailand: Universality of Protracted People’s War

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Guest, Study

Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is Our Shining Path for World Revolution

The following is a brief exposition of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and is part of a larger theoretical work outlining Marxist-Leninist-Maoist philosophy in the United States. It was compiled by Maosoleum Guest Writer Neftali, the author of “Notes on Mass Line, Communist Organization, and Revolution”, On Marxist Philosophy. and The Materialist Conception of History. Views here are thus those of Neftali, and do not necessarily represent the entire views of the writers of Maosoleum. If you would like to have a dialogue with the author on this piece please address Neftali in the comments below. NOTE: The section “Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is Our Shining Path for World Revolution” skips over two entire sections on Capital and the proletariat which the author still has in rough form.
-Stradacero

 

Marxism-Leninism-Maoism [MLM] is the banner of world revolution today, it is our guiding light which has synthesized past proletarian revolutionary experience in relation to guiding proletarian universal science of historical materialism. It is the most correct universal and scientific approach to making revolution. The banner of MLM marks three significant points of rupture and continuity in the practice of proletarian revolution in its scientific mode, they correspondingly adopt the name of significant figures which represent through merit of both theoretical elaboration and political work were able to capture essential features of the class struggle at their moments and raised the universal features to light for us. It takes upon itself in sequential order of history Marx, Lenin, and Mao. Each phase which took upon it new universal significance also took upon itself both a continuity and a rupture, hence Marxism transformed to Marxism-Leninism which correspondingly transformed to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. They are at this stage in the course of development of revolutionary science and in relationship to the whole course of development and experience of proletarian revolution inseparable and packed as the meaningful name which is in essence the political line of world revolution.


ON MARXISM

"Marx and Engels are able to produce the most thoroughgoing radical critique of bourgeois political economy still in our possession and, moreover, give to the whole of the working class movement the ammunition to sink the bourgeois ideology that mystifies economy."

“Marx and Engels are able to produce the most thoroughgoing radical critique of bourgeois political economy still in our possession and, moreover, give to the whole of the working class movement the ammunition to sink the bourgeois ideology that mystifies economy.”


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Guest, Study

On Marxist Philosophy

The following is an excerpt from a draft document in progress compiled by Neftali, the author of “Notes on Mass Line, Communist Organization, and Revolution” here on Maosoleum. Views here are thus those of Neftali, and do not necessarily represent the views of Maosoleum. Please address Neftali in the comments.

Philosophy in action

Philosophy in action

 

by Neftali, Guest post

Marxists regard man’s activity in production as the most fundamental practical activity, the determinant of all his other activities. Man’s knowledge depends mainly on his activity in material production, through which he comes gradually to understand the phenomena, the properties and the laws of nature, and the relations between himself and nature; and through his activity in production he also gradually comes to understand, in varying degrees, certain relations that exist between man and man. None of this knowledge can be acquired apart from activity in production…Man’s social practice is not confined to activity in production, but takes many other forms–class struggle, political life, scientific and artistic pursuits; in short, as a social being, man participates in all spheres of the practical life of society. Thus man, in varying degrees, comes to know the different relations between man and man, not only through his material life but also through his political and cultural life (both of which are intimately bound up with material life). Of these other types of social practice, class struggle in particular, in all its various forms, exerts a profound influence on the development of man’s knowledge. In class society everyone lives as a member of a particular class, and every kind of thinking, without exception, is stamped with the brand of a class.”

Mao Zedong; On Practice

“The foundation is class struggle. The study of philosophy can only come afterwards. Whose philosophy? Bourgeois philosophy, or proletarian philosophy? Proletarian philosophy is Marxist philosophy. There is also proletarian economics, which has transformed classical economics. Those who engage in philosophy believe that philosophy comes first. The oppressors oppress the oppressed, while the oppressed need to fight back and seek a way out before they start looking for philosophy. It is only when people took this as their starting-point that there was Marxism-Leninism, and that they discovered philosophy”

Mao Zedong; Talks on Questions on Philosophy

We begin with these excerpts from Mao to begin with an initial discussion on the relationship between theory and practice, particularly theory in relationship to the social practice of class struggle. Mao’s essential points can be understood as:

  1. Knowledge is fundamentally rooted in production, the development of production, and its corresponding social activity.
  2. Knowledge is composed in such a way that it depends upon production and its social relationships, as mere abstraction it takes the form of the metaphysical and illusory absolute. Knowledge has a historicity and therefore can’t be abstracted from the struggle for production (within class societies, class struggle) – in fact such abstraction is in the end metaphysics..
  3. Philosophy in particular has a class character. A proletarian philosophy is derived from the experiences of class struggle, whereas bourgeois philosophy (or the philosophy of the ruling class) makes philosophy into metaphysics.

Philosophy “has no history.” Philosophy is merely a lagging ideological component which follows the break of science, it is the battlefield of class ideas for hegemony in relationship to the sciences. Such a battlefield was marked with repetition and recurrence of certain ideological trends. Philosophy at its best, dialectical materialism (the philosophy of our class), can only provide an understanding of the conditions of a truth procedure. Continue reading

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People's War

Notes on the Universality of Protracted People’s War: Neither Assad nor NATO

I wanted my first post after an unexpected hiatus to be about the several drafts in store (On Queer Maoism, on Identity Politics, on Eclecticism and Dogmatism, on the BRICs/MISTs mass upsurges, etc), but as Helmuth von Moltke the Elder once quipped, no plan survives contact with the enemy. So here we go.

Much has been debated in the last few years around Syria’s civil war in the wider left, the socialist, and communist movements, including the various Marxist currents. Recently, however, there has been an upsurge of commentary and line struggle because of the recent declaration of open military support for the “Free Syria Army” (FSA) on the part of NATO and the USA. In particular, this has led to informal line struggles in my own circles both online and offline. Thus, a matter that is important but not urgent, has become one of urgency, specially because I identify certain confusions among Maoist forces, in particular an eclectic and sometimes opportunist tailing of revisionist and nationalist forces both in Syrian and out of Syria, but also an abandonment of the struggle to establish the central principle of Maoist Scientific Socialist struggle: the universality of Protracted People’s War.

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Methods of Thinking and Methods of Work, Repost

Three Points on Dialectics

Interesting post from the Red Banner MLM blog – in particular, the observation of dialectics as historically accessible from non-European cultures and societies is a point not often made – and which contradicts definitively both the views that hold dialectics as “Eurocentric” and the Eurocentric views that speak of dialectics as uniquely European. Glad to see the emergence of more Maoist blogs willing to tackle this in North America.

Red Banner(M-L-M)

Dialectics must be approached as a difficult and yet both simple subject in covering. As Engels said in the Dialectics of Nature it is process that “any child can understand”,  but because of the dominant forces existence in today it is not something that people can grasp in dealing with the difficult nature of Marxist tomes. In a conversation with one of the writers of Maosoleum he described dialectics as a “lifelong struggle” that  “even Engels sometimes got it wrong, Marx less so. Dietzgen is the gold standard”. With this in mind what is dialectics and what makes it so hard?

The idea of dialectics spans at least 3,000 years to Taoism in China. But it is not limited to just China. The Ancient Greeks, Aztecs, Lakota and the Dogon people all had an understanding of dialectics as well. This form of philosophy became discarded for the most part…

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The Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People

On Truth and Opinions

In studying a problem, we must shun subjectivity, one-sidedness and superficiality.” -Mao Zedong, On Contradiction

There is an image doing the internet rounds addressing the issue of  “truth” and “opinion”:
opinions

This image is a reflection of a perspective that many take regarding opinions, and that does have so social value. Yet it also opens up other questions in the realm of politics, science, political science, and the correct handling of contradictions among the people.

Depending who sees this image, often the reaction is full agreement, or full disagreement – with little nuance. This is almost to be expected: people who believe their opinions to be the truth, will most likely disagree with the cartoon and vice versa.
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