Animal liberation and Marxism

Published in Weekly Worker 994

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‘Animal liberation’ has traditionally been a non-issue for the Marxist left. To those of us dedicated to human liberation, animal rights activism appears a curious and sentimental displacement of solidarity onto beings incapable of understanding or of returning it – at best, a symptom of our alienation from fellow humans.

At times, a fixation with animal suffering seems to shade into various degrees of misanthropy. Who has not been repelled by activists willing to jeopardise the lives of lab workers by sending letter bombs to pharmaceutical companies? And who in their right mind does not run a mile upon hearing the words, ‘I prefer animals to humans’? Continue reading

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Anti-sectarianism, Polish style

Published in Weekly Worker 963

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As some of our British comrades in Left Unity contemplate sinking to unheard-of levels of blandness in the hope of attracting the tired, poor and huddled masses, such considerations do not seem to cross the minds of the Polish Władza Rad group. “We are communists,” proclaims the ‘About’ section of its internet portal proudly

Continue reading

A good beginning

Reader’s letter to the Weekly Worker, May 02 2013

Claire Lacombe

I read with interest Anne McShane’s and Ben Lewis’s accounts of Alexandra Kollontai and August Bebel, and their relationship to feminism. It is remarkable how many different understandings of the term have been making the rounds in the pages of the Weekly Worker recently, and I am confident that we are now moving beyond merely mirroring the left’s lower-case feminism – often a pastiche of post-Stalinist ideologemes, coupled with an aggressive voluntarism – towards a better informed evaluation of the various currents. Continue reading

Austromarxism and terrorism

1910 Friedrich Adler
In ‘Why Marxists oppose individual terrorism‘ (1911), Trotsky contrasted individual terrorism with industrial action: “The anarchist prophets of the ‘propaganda of the deed’ can argue all they want about the elevating and stimulating influence of terrorist acts on the mass… it belittles the role of the masses… A strike, even of modest size, has social consequences: strengthening of the workers’ self-confidence, growth of the trade union, and not infrequently even an improvement in productive technology.”
According to Hans Hautmann’s book on the Austrian workers’ council movement, Geschichte der Rätebewegung in Österreich 1918-24, however, this is what happened in Austria five years later: Continue reading

Kernel of truth

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Jack Conrad regrets in the CPGB podcast on ‘SWP rebellion and feminism’ that he has “not heard of any feminist movement raising radical demands for working class women”. If that is true, how thorough was his research? There exist socialist and Marxists feminisms, to name but two schools which speak of class almost incessantly. Even the post-Marxist cultural studies variety cannot do without taking into account ‘class’ – or whatever it thinks constitutes class – as a key analytic component. Continue reading

Laurie Penny meets the ‘old left’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A report from the Laurie Penny vs. AWL debate on 27th Jan 2011 in central London

If you have come to see a bloodbath, you’re in the wrong place”, announced Alliance for Workers Liberty member Ed Maltby. No worries Ed, I didn’t expect that. After all, various far left groups have been virtually falling over themselves to appease the influential young journalist Laurie Penny, who in a notorious article likened Socialist Worker sellers to cockroaches. -Read more>