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Dear Comrades

Dear Comrades

Part workers’ center and part domestic violence resource center, the Mujeres Unidas y Activas space in East Oakland is demonstrating what it means to build a Latina immigrant women’s’ organization • It’s clear to those of us pay­ing atten­tion that gen­tri­fi­ca­tion is hit­ting the Bay Area par­tic­u­larly hard • The idea of pro­vid­ing imme­di­ate ser­vices to those locked up in jails and pris­ons is some­times seen as a com­pelling and essen­tial way to reach peo­ple inside • As a Guatemalan third-world left fem­i­nist with Marx­ist ten­den­cies, I orga­nize know­ing the enemy • Sin Bar­ras is a prison abo­li­tion group based in Santa Cruz, Cal­i­for­nia.

Theses on the Transformation of Democracy and on the Extra-Parliamentary Opposition

Theses on the Transformation of Democracy and on the Extra-Parliamentary Opposition

These theses serve as a supplement to my book Transformation of Democracy and a correction to some misquotations made at the remarkable delegates conference of the SDS. I am generally of the opinion that rather than interpret texts, revolutionaries should change relations. As measured by the state’s actual power relations and by the actual relations of domination in society, the familiar expression for the modern bourgeois state – “parliamentary democracy” – represents a paradox.

The Ends of the State

The Ends of the State

It is in no way self-apparent that thinking more about the state, even if one promises to do it differently, is the sensible remedy for the problem of social movements that hurl themselves repeatedly against the colonnades of the National Assembly. If we are to confront practical problems in the struggle to remake the world, we should like to see the situation right side up. For us, the problem is not how to seize state power but how not to be seized by it – how we might elude being hailed by the question of power rather than that of social reproduction, and in turn, elude being forced to fight on terrain that is unfavorable.

Lessons for Building a Democratic Workers’ State

Lessons for Building a Democratic Workers’ State

We asked several contributors to write on the theme of the state and revolutionary strategy, for a roundtable discussion revolving around the following prompt: “In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the socialist movement spilled a great deal of ink debating the question of state power. Lenin’s work was perhaps the most influential, but it also provoked a wide… Read more →

The New Deal and the New Order of Capitalist Institutions (1972)

The New Deal and the New Order of Capitalist Institutions (1972)

To speak of the New Deal as a huge qualitative leap in the development of capitalist institutions – a leap that, precisely because it functions at a crucial point in the plot of capitalist society at a global level, has itself a special historical importance – seems to be a statement by now generally taken to be wholly correct. The matter was already settled in the mind of its greatest protagonist and in the ideology created around him that enthusiastically founded the “myth” of the New Deal’s “revolution”; and, if every myth must have a real justification, this one lay in the effective dismantling of the system in the rapid course of a decade. No less significant, at this level, is the bitter opposition from various positions that the New Deal came to provoke; these were attitudes that then, and not accidentally, flowed back against it in a wide underlying consensus.

The State Against the State

The State Against the State

As the last vestiges of the welfare state all but disappear in the UK, we are faced with the paradoxical situation of those most opposed to “the state” (either as anarchists or as revolutionaries committed to its “withering away”) being forced to defend elements of it against those who are in the process of privatizing it into oblivion. Of course “the state” is not simply a vanishing safety net or a real but ignored set of obligations, but also prisons, police, courts, and multiple other forms of coercion, punishment, control, and violence. Can we defend the “good state” against this other one without falling into political contradiction or practical confusion? Can we separate out the state and capitalist production?

Hans-Jürgen Krahl: From Critical to Revolutionary Theory

Hans-Jürgen Krahl: From Critical to Revolutionary Theory

Hans-Jürgen Krahl died in a car crash in 1970, at the age of twenty-seven. By that time he had weathered the rise and decline of the Socialist German Student Union (Sozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund, or SDS), among whose ranks he was, arguably, both the most sophisticated theorist and, after Rudi Dutschke, the most incendiary orator. The SDS had been founded shortly after World War II as the youth wing of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) of Germany. As the latter moved towards the center, however, the SDS radicalized, eventually leading to expulsion from its parent organization in 1961. It would soon become the most important student group in Germany, even as its official policy shifted further towards revolutionary Marxism.

From Subaltern to State: Toward a Left Critique of the Pink Tide

From Subaltern to State: Toward a Left Critique of the Pink Tide

As people throughout Latin America react to the unsparing neoliberal policies that swept the region in the 1980s and 90s, Venezuela has become the hinge of a much broader leftward turn. This shift has impelled massive political transformations in Venezuela and Bolivia, stirred more moderate resonances in the Southern Cone, and in the cases of Paraguay and Honduras, aroused reactionary coups. As one of the few left political projects of its scale in the post-Soviet era, this Latin American marea rosada, or pink tide, is a material testing ground for the transition from capitalism to something else – leaving open for now the question of whether this something else is communism – and it demands substantive discussion on the Left.

Lineaments of the Logistical State

Lineaments of the Logistical State

Lineament. noun. GEOLOGY. A linear feature on the earth’s surface, such as a fault. “State space subordinates both chaos and difference to its implacable logistics.” – Henri Lefebvre, “Space and the State” (1978) Logistical revolts Sometimes, we have to look in unlikely places for news that can nourish a radical political imagination.1 World Cargo News, for instance: According to The Strike… Read more →