Modern imperialism and the working class

“In a way, this is a revival of the so-called ‘dependency theory’, where it is argued the rich imperialist powers are rich only because of the poor oppressed nations and economies. To this is added the argument that the working class of the North are better off only because of the super-exploitation of the South and so are no longer a progressive force in the struggle to end capitalism.

Well, I argued against that view. First, Marx’s theory shows that there will be a tendency to equalise the rate of profit between capitals (even under monopoly capital) – indeed this is how the higher rates of exploitation in the South end up in the profit rates of the North. But this process does not touch the sides of the wages of the workers of the North – it is a redistribution of surplus value between capitalists (and capitalist states).

And empirically, this is also true. The organiser of the workshop, Simon Mohun, published a paper a few years ago that showed only 1% of working people in the US got income from capital (profit, interest and rents) as their main source of income. The rest of Americans had to work to make a living. Sure, their higher wages and their social benefits may indirectly come from the super-profits of the multi-national companies they work for – but that is the result of the class struggle over the share of value going to wages, not directly as a result of imperialist exploitation.

Imperialism has two Achilles heels. The first is the tendency of the rate of profit to fall as capitalism accumulates. Indeed, imperialism is a major counteracting factor to that most important contradiction of capitalist accumulation. The second is the proletariat – the gravediggers of capitalism – who are still growing in size across the world. John Smith showed that global proletariat has never been larger in the history of capitalism. In that sense, Marx’s prophecy in the Communist Manifesto 160 years ago is confirmed. Sure, the majority of the proletariat is now in the South and not the North. But, in my view, that does not mean the workers of the North will play no role in ending capitalism. On the contrary, they are the key to ending imperialism in its centre.”

Michael Roberts Blog

The IIPPE workshop in London on modern imperialism, organised this week by Simon Mohun, Emeritus professor of political economy at QMC London University, was highly appropriate for two reasons.

First, it brought together those scholars with the latest works on modern imperialism.  Both John Smith’s new book and that of Tony Norfield have been reviewed on my blog.  Smith’s book has won the prize from the Monthly Review and Tony’s has been included on the short list for the Isaac Deutscher prize for the best Marxist book of the year, previously won by many eminent leftists and Marxists.  And Lucia Pradella had a book  Globalization and the Critique of Political Economy: New Insights from Marx’s Writings, Routledge, 2014 that was also shortlisted for Isaac Deutscher in 2015.

The other reason, of course, was Brexit.  The decision of the British people to vote in a referendum to leave the…

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So You Think You Can Take Over the Democratic Party?

Instead of spending the next 10, 20, 30, or 60 years trying to take over a party that has demonstrated its rank hostility to leftists and their vision for a new world, why not begin the process of building a party organization from the ground up? A party organization that works alongside movements for change rather than coopting them. A party organization that recognizes that fundamental humanity of people both domestic and abroad. Why place such a revolutionary vision of society and economy within the tight constraints of two-party politics? Because if the Bernie campaign has taught the American Left anything, it is that Democratic partisans and their allies in the media will work hand-in-hand to snuff out any challenge that could threaten the dominance of neoliberalism within the party.We can do better.

We should do better. And if we trust in the collective efforts of those committed to political, social, and economic liberation, we will do better.

Source: So You Think You Can Take Over the Democratic Party?

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Reminder: Mainstream media is concentrated and owned by 6 companies in a country where the top 20% control 95% of the economy. These 6 companies control 90% of the news that is pumped out and are usually intertwined with law enforcement, counter-intelligence agencies, and corporate interests through and through. We have no reason to trust the misinformation they have consistently pumped out since Kent State on student activism and shouldn’t have much sympathy with their cries of being silenced by activists, such as the ones in ‪#‎Mizzou‬, choosing to rightfully to disengage with their disinformation. Stand in solidarity with Mizzou, push the voices of the unheard, and dismantle white supremacy by any means necessary.‪#‎ConcernedStudent1950‬ ‪#‎InSolidarityWithMizzou‬

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Same Argument, Different Decade

A 17 year old African American civil rights activist is attacked by police dogs during a demonstration in Birmingham, Ala., May 3, 1963. (AP Photo/Bill Hudson)

A 17 year old African American civil rights activist is attacked by police dogs during a demonstration in Birmingham, Ala., May 3, 1963. (AP Photo/Bill Hudson)

“Then, as would be expected, the District of Columbia unit of the NAACP urged removal of the mural because the slave picture reflects on race and color of Negroes, thus encouraging anti-Negro sentiment. At first blush, this business of commercial, literary, and musical censorship seems only the foolish petulance of a hyper-sensitive and inferiority-complexioned racial group which is chagrined over its own characteristic color. On second look, the practice begins to take on a more ominous outlook, something in the nature of the distortions so terrifyingly portrayed in George Orwell’s book Nineteen Eighty-Four.” – William D. Workman, Case for the South (1960)

The ruling class lacks creativity to such an extreme extent that it’s ideology unknowingly plagiarizes itself, over and over and over again. This absurd auto-book review Roger Kimball did opportunistically validating his own book while dismissing any of the campus movements across the country as some cultural Marxist conspiracy is at best entertaining, at worst a re-shit of arguments much more literate bigots them himself have made. The fact this man thinks college exists in a vacuum away from the white supremacist terrorists, the mortality rate that has become the new normal on campus with weekly shootings, and asserting that the police don’t murder civilians at a higher rate than our pillaging armies mortality rate is beyond me. The idea that demanding equality, justice, and student participation in the college spheres is somehow fascist is just as sound as stating up is down, left is right, and the sensitive right wingers are the real victims here.

FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 17:  Police fire tear gas at demonstrators protesting the shooting of Michael Brown after they refused to honor the midnight curfew on August 17, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. The curfew was imposed on Saturday in an attempt to reign in the violence that has erupted nearly every night in the suburban St. Louis town since the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer on August 9.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

FERGUSON, MO – AUGUST 17: Police fire tear gas at demonstrators protesting the shooting of Michael Brown after they refused to honor the midnight curfew on August 17, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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The Main Enemy Is At Home! (Leaflet, May 1915) – Karl Liebknecht

Incredibly important historical pamphlet by Karl Liebknecht to the German people during the beginnings of WWI. This sentiment that Liebknecht tapped into, in solidarity with Lenin and the Bolsheviks political line that the main enemy was at home, became popular to the point where Russian and German soldiers ended the war for themselves creating Soldiers, Workers, and political councils in opposition to generals orders to slaughter the international working class. This appears to be applicable more than ever, especially in the United States.

Armed Spartacist troops.

Armed Spartacist troops.

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Your Wars, Our Dead (Vos Guerres, Nos Morts)


The opportunism of the U.S. political class is so shamelessly lacking self-awareness that they let a war criminal like Clinton speak on terror. As CBS bangs the war drum with shifting the Democratic debate on how much more we will make the international working class suffer, whether from racist Islmaphobic militarism or blatant concessions to the barbarism of capitalism, we continue to see the consolidation of a line of argument: stay in your lane, take lead in valuing only Western lives, and don’t question the Western empire that has terrorized those both abroad and at home with militarism, surveillance, and a police apparatus larger than other countries militaries. Their wars, but our dead, yet they continue to posture that they speak for us, that their ignorant and politically motivated stereotypes our our’s, and that no cost is too great for nationalism, yet when it comes to the ruling class to pay for it.

I understand the solidarity with the victims of all terror attacks by ISIS, from France, Rojava, Damascus, Yarmouk, Beirut, and as far as Libya, yet we should not let this solidarity with victims blind the historical context of where this backlash is coming from. Do not be fooled: ISIS does not come from religiously oriented organizational practices that outdate capitalism, but the far-right, and the political mirror of the neo-conservative and neoliberal barbarism that has been unleashed into the Middle East in the modern era, and has been present with every counter intelligence operation since Operation Ajax overthrew Mohammad Mosaddegh.

The answer to these issues of poverty, war, and oppression is not capitalist wars and ideals of closing borders to “protect” our interests, but to understand that the real enemy is at home. The enemy is not the working people or immigrants, but the antithesis, the political opportunists of the ruling class opportunizing on workers misery to fuel their hate fueled crusade to only benefit the only thing these people are interested in: profit.

As Democrats and the psuedo-Socialist Sanders debate whether undocumented immigrants or “Islamic Jihadists” will bring about the downfall of America, the real downfall is already happening, between two parties that are present on different sides of the same capitalist coin. These parties have allowed horror after horror to be paid for by working people, and not the sons and daughters of the rich, internationally having to deal with each intervention, coup, and airstrike destroying their communities. As police officers murder more civilians in the U.S. than have been killed in combat of our illegal wars, we continue to see pandering by both the American and international media towards the comfortable narrative of attacking those we perceive as simplistically barbarians. We must not allow this pandering, and seek a emancipatory alternative, one that doesn’t involve the suffering of working people, but the freedom of oppressed communities and ultimately the working class.

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The Leviathan’s Shadow: ‘Accelerationism’, ‘The Dark Enlightenment’, and Late Capitalisms NRx’s Rise


“The life of a man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” (Hobbes; Chpt. XVIII, Ln. 30)

“The thing that is common to all these people, whether it is Pétain mournfully preaching ‘the discipline of defeat’, or Sorel denouncing liberalism, or Berdyaev shaking his head over the Russian Revolution, or ‘Beachcomber’ delivering side-kicks at Beveridge in the Express, or Huxley advocating non-resistance behind the guns of the American Fleet, is their refusal to believe that human society can be fundamentally improved. Man is non-perfectible, merely political changes can effect nothing, progress is an illusion. The connexion between this belief and political reaction is, of course, obvious. Other-worldliness is the best alibi a rich man can have. ‘Men cannot be made better by act of Parliament; therefore I may as well go on drawing my dividends.’ No one puts it quite so coarsely as that, but the thought of all these people is along those lines: even of those who, like Michael Roberts and Hulme himself, admit that a little, just a little, improvement in earthly society may be thinkable.” – George Orwell, December 4, 1943

The Shadow is Cast: #Accelerationism, the ‘Dark Enlightenment’ , and the Legacy of TINA

Thomas Hobbes, writing the Leviathan in opposition to the English Revolution, sought out to counter what had ultimately become the final push for the transition of the socio-economic order of feudalism to ultimately the new mode of production; capitalism. In the Leviathan, Hobbes constructs an opposition to the nominally democratic narrative of the rising bourgeoisie to a rhetoric that changes itself to the shifting material conditions, coming out as one of the most fervent counter-revolutionaries, or reactionaries, of capitalist ideological history. Following suit to the tradition of reactionary activity in opposition to growing emancipatory movements, today we as well see a slowly growing neo – reactionary movement on what is beginning to appear as more or less as a reaction to the cusp of neoliberal collapse or instability. Whether neoliberalism will collapse or not, is not the question, but “when will another world appear?”, is what the emancipatory movements of the Arab Spring, the Squares Movement, OWS,  BDS, anti-austerity leftism, and Black Lives Matter pose for the sake of the oppressed’s survival. However, this neo-reactionary movement (NRx/ Dark Enlightenment) premises itself from the fomenting far-right movements of the past, from the intellectualism of eugenics to the social determinism of technological advancement will render humans useless through “accelerating” the self destruction of capitalism. This neoreacitonary movement, although pooling misfits from milieu’s of internet forums with a social-Darwinist bend, is becoming something more than just an intellectual interest of the future Goebbels reenactors or the next posturing nietzschean bickering on the internet of the futility of modern dating, but a spiteful collection of capitalist apologists bringing humanity to it’s knees before the ultimate Übermensch to strong-arm the forces of the market and retain the heirarchical character of this sociopathic system, even if this strongman is not man, but machine.

A collection of ideological arguments borrowed from the Marxist left, the Dark Enlightenment’s main thinker comes from across the pond with Continental philosopher and writer, Nick Land. Land, embodying the “common sense logic” of the apocalyptic implications of Capitalism’s “eternal” growth and concessions to Marx’s correct analysis of capitalisms self destructive tendency, presents an argument that opposes all forms of egalitarianism and universalism. Taking a direct opposition to the tradition of the enlightenment, we see Land through sci-fi narratives and cyber-punk motifs, create a manifesto of his own against the fostering egalitarian trends in the late 90’s and early 2000’s in the Dark Enlightenment. This movement, being cherished by bitter libertarians and white supremacists, is seen as the basic logic of the Darwinian apologism of capitalism that “only the fit survive” where AI eventually will devour humanity and that hierarchies constructed of bitcoin economies will prevail.


It is not surprising that the far-right of today would be drawn to Land’s open ended stance against egalitarianism and universal values. This is the basic logic that underlies capitalism, that although democratic values are espoused, they are rarely guaranteed by the ruling classes internationally that rule over capitalisms anarchic growth. Yet, like a conductor loosing control of a train crash, we see that the way white supremacists, neoreactionaries, fascists, and conservatives have in common, is that this is humanities final frontier, and whatever happens afterword is only a concern to what rights are guaranteed for my preferred ethnic or religious identity, or at least class position in tact. This absurdism, accepting the insufficient logic of capitalism as inevitable, pushes for capitalisms collapse and eventual anarchic reign of Murry Rothbard’s “libertarian” dream of investors and capitalists individually ruling over society with the capitalist market still in tact.

Land’s view is:

“For the hardcore neo-reactionaries, democracy is not merely doomed, it is doom itself. Fleeing it approaches an ultimate imperative… Predisposed, in any case, to perceive the politically awakened masses as a howling irrational mob, [neoreaction] conceives the dynamics of democratization as fundamentally degenerative: systematically consolidating and exacerbating private vices, resentments, and deficiencies until they reach the level of collective criminality and comprehensive social corruption. – The Dark Enlightenment; Part 1. Neo-reactionaries head for the Exit

Peter MacDougald, covering Land in his excellent piece, the Darkness before the Right, shows the pervasive attitude of numbness that Land’s politics relies upon in both forum and circles of the far-right. MacDougald describing their view of capitalism as a

“Brand of authoritarian capitalism [that] has a certain fascist sheen, but in truth it’s closer to a rigidly formalized capitalist technocracy. There’s no mass mobilization, totalitarian social reorganization, or cult of violence here; governing will be done by the governors, and popular sovereignty replaced by the market Mandate of Heaven. There is a strange sort of disillusioned cultural conservatism here as well, albeit one absolutely stripped of moralism. In fact, what’s genuinely creepy about it is the near-sociopathic lack of emotional attachment; it’s a sort of pure incentive-based functionalism, as if from the perspective of a computer or alien. If a person doesn’t produce quantifiable value, they are, objectively, not valuable. Everything else is sentimentality.” 

Nick Land, author of The Dark Enlightenment

Nick Land, author of The Dark Enlightenment

This feeling of a inactive existence with sentimental or emotional attachment has become a common motif amongst those that critique emancipatory politics to those who seek out individualistic terror activities such as mass shootings or racial intimidation. Acting as if the rational scientist at heart, todays neo-reactionaries bring back a similar mythos that has been present since capitalism’s athena like birth from the head of feudalism: the constant anxiety for superiority.

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