One of the last Cold Warriors left standing finally bit the dust last night. If we’re lucky, Henry Kissinger will also be dead by year’s end. Good fucking riddance. Comrade Emanuel Santos put it splendidly: “Fidel Castro, Stalinist butcher and enemy of the workers, is dead. The working class won’t be happy until the last bureaucrat is hung with the intestines of the last capitalist.” [Fidel Castro, verdugo Estalinista y enemigo de los obreros, ha fallecido. La clase trabajadora no estará contenta hasta que el último burócrata cuelgue de las entrañas del último capitalista].
Another comrade, Ashmeet Teemsa, exclaimed that “the enemy of Cuban proletariat is dead, a man no more a friend of the working class than Thatcher,” adding: “Shame on the ‘anarchists’/’communists’ who eulogize or mourn!” He then quoted from the International Communist Current’s Basic Positions: “The stratified regimes which arose in the USSR, eastern Europe, China, Cuba etc and were called “socialist” or “communist” were just a particularly brutal form of the universal tendency towards state capitalism.”
There is no such thing as socialism in one country, and nationalism (whether American or Cuban, “right-wing” or “left-wing”) is nothing more than the consort of war, designed to facilitate the division of the world proletariat, to lead the working-class onto the battlefield, marching under “its own” national flag, and prepare the separated sections of the working class for reciprocal slaughter, all this in the name of “their” national interest, the interest of “their” nation’s bourgeoisie. The self-proclaimed Castroite “anti-imperialists” (i.e. anti-western imperialism) fail to understand that imperialism is simply the logic of world capitalism’s atomic components, nation-states — imperialism is capitalism’s metabolism in a world divided into nation-states. As competing zones of accumulation within this world-system, nation-states are led to clash with one another. Only the dissolution of nation-states, as politico-economic units, can put an end to this system, and hence bring about world proletarian revolution.
What we see in Cuba, Venezuela, etc., contrary to tankie/Chomskyite nonsense, is nothing progressive, no step forward for the working class. The displacement of the old bourgeoisie and their replacement by a new, “red” bourgeoisie and the replacement of privatized industries and free-market capitalism with nationalized industries and state-capitalism (and a flourishing black market) are irrelevant. The obvious features of capitalism, as described by Marx in Capital — the accumulation of value, commodities, the exploitation of workers, etc. — remain the same. Internationalists reject the choice between “capitalist” bosses, police and prisons and “socialist” bosses, police and prisons. Between “right-wing”/pro-American and “left-wing”/anti-American regimes or countries. This is all superficial, leftist (left of capital) nonsense. International relations are inherently fluid. Those who eulogize or propagandize on behalf of the “red” bourgeoisie help to foster and reinforce illusions about the “revolutionary” or “progressive” nature of various anti-proletarian, nationalist regimes and state-capitalism. We have reason neither to mourn nor celebrate.
My own thoughts add little to this, though one might also consult the excellent 1966 bulletin on “Cuba and Marxist Theory.” Leaving aside the egregious treatment of LGBT individuals in Cuba under Fidel, forced into labor camps from 1959 to 1979, a few words might be said.
From that chamber, and from that Vampire’s Castle, I fled aghast. The storm was still abroad in all its wrath as I found myself crossing the old causeway. Suddenly there shot along the path a wild light, and I turned to see whence a gleam so unusual could have issued; for the vast château and its shadows were alone behind me. The radiance was that of the full, setting, and blood-red moon which now shone vividly through that once barely-discernible fissure of which I have before spoken as extending from the roof of the building, in a zigzag direction, to the base. While I gazed, this fissure rapidly widened — there came a fierce breath of the whirlwind — the entire orb of the satellite burst at once upon my sight — my brain reeled as I saw the mighty walls rushing asunder — there was a long tumultuous shouting sound like the voice of a thousand waters — and the deep and dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the “House of Seymour.”
It’s hard not to entertain a certain amount of Schadenfreude watching the feeding-frenzy that took place on Facebook today. A swarm of piranha descended upon an unsuspecting individual, eating him alive. The victim: Verso posterboy and now ISN booster Richard Seymour, alias “Lenin” (from his blogging handle at Lenin’s Tomb). His devourers: virtually the entire ISN Steering Committee.
Richard Seymour speaks at the London School of Economics
Rebranding Richard Seymour
Everything had been going pretty smoothly in Seymour’s post-SWP career up to that point. No major obstacles appeared to stand in his way. By all accounts, he was reinventing himself at a remarkable rate, shedding his outdated Marxist allegiances in favor of the latest theories of Butler and Foucault.
Then out of nowhere, three separate comrades messaged me almost simultaneously to let me know there was a storm brewing on the horizon. “On Tim Nelson’s Facebook page,” one of them told me, “the whole of the ISN Steering Committee has turned on Richard Seymour, denouncing him as some sort of racist mansplaining pervert.”Continue reading →
Left Unity, making the world “safe” for the perpetuation of capitalist social relations without serious political opposition.
Policies like these seem to me the rhetorical equivalent of a panic room, a ridiculously oversecure place where small groups of people go to hide from the “evils” of society that lurk somewhere outside. As in a panic room, there are all sorts of procedures, protocols, and safeguards meant to ensure that the security perimeter is not breached.
Unfortunately, these problems originate in the world at large, and cannot be dealt with at the level of “rules of conduct” for bureaucratic enclaves supposedly resisting capitalism. This article by Paul Demarty on Left Unity’s recent “safe spaces” initiative originally appeared on the CPGB’s Weekly Worker website.
There was once an exchange on an internet discussion list run by the National Campaign against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC), a left student front associated with the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty.
During a particularly hot-headed intervention, a comrade made mention of the word “cunt” to describe an allegedly disreputable individual. Inevitably, a sea of complaints came forth. A feminist angrily denounced the allegedly sexist use of the word “cunt”; after all, a vagina is a beautiful thing, which should not be degraded by comparisons with an individual all were agreed was a bad egg.
Immediately, a trans woman took to her keyboard to decry the implicit association of womanhood with the possession of the full, double-X chromosome plumbing. Finally, the original poster argued that censoring the word “cunt” was oppressive to those from Scotland, where, apparently, it means something different (not that different, I suspect). Continue reading →