Political Theory

A  follow on from Trotskyism: A Rough Guide

Now we look at how Ultra Leftism (much broader than just Trotskyist groups) misunderstands Imperialism.
Right opportunism: short term gains in place of long term aims & principles. 
Left opportunism: preserve abstract priciples rather than make short term compromises. Class struggle is more complex than their dogmatic strain allows.

Lenin: Imperialism is the highest stage of Capitalism. What is the relationship between Capitalism and Revolution? e.g. What are the characteristics of bourgeois revolutions?.... Advances but with limitations.

Economic aspect of Imperialism: export of Capital (this is different than merely trading internationally goods). Capitalist need to seek investment away from saturated internal market.   Creates comprador bourgeoisie between foreign companies and raw markets - they have a stake in Imperialism, against national bourgeoisie. They would make deals with the pre-Capitalist feudal classes, in fact incorporate them into Colonial structure (especially British Empire in India etc).

This development left Revolutionaries oppressed by Imperialism - no democracy, no autonomy, dominated by backward feudal relations especially outside city. Similar tasks as faced by bourgeoisie initially. Allied workers and peasants could throw off this yoke. Possible class alliances with national bourgeoisie - "impure" to Ultra Left.

Lenin's Political aspect. Imperialism, by generating huge profits, can buy off sections of working class - could be won to support pro-Imperialist policies - creation of "labour aristocracy". "civilisation" of "savages" - Lenin called Social Chauvinism - xenophobic & racist.

Part 1

Orwell's anti-communist work strangely similar to earlier female author's ideas for anti-Fascist parable 

The 1941 drawings by Gertrude Elias from her story board for a cartoon film mooted to the Ministry of Information.  Orwell briefly worked there and they knew each other. Bottom left, the 1952 version of Orwell's Animal Farm, the idea for which Elias accuses him of plagiarising from her but inverting Nazi pigs into Soviet ones.

Orwell’s intellectual life as a socialist seemingly began with a special interest in theories on language and class and this seems to be rather significant. For there is more than a hint of middle-class guilt in Orwell; note, for example, his observation that working people “sweat their guts out [so] that superior persons can remain superior”.

Perhaps it is relevant that he conflated his own `anti-scientific-ism’ with the famous English (maybe the `Celts’ are immune from this!?) disregard for theory and saw a tenuous link there with the masses.

Yet he also deprecated the anti-intellectualism of the working class, the “life of the sense and suspicious of all forms of abstraction”. Even so, his own thought processes about capitalism appeared to have been entirely arrived at through intuition, without recourse to intensive study of facts.  

It is telling that Orwell began his acquaintance with the common man by reaching out for the `underclass’. Though some of his early work featured working people, there was little of substance on their lives. His sketches of the working class appear thin and insubstantial.

I’ve often thought that this particularly applies to his portrayal of women. Indeed, there is a case to answer that there is far too much misogyny, in tone at least, in Orwell’s creative writing, even if he publicly and often attacked those who do not support the emancipation of women. But then this is a man who, in private life, was intrigued by the paranormal but did not advertise the fact and few of his socialist admirers are aware of this.  

This video could make you a Communist!

Indepth presentation and discussion on the development of Marxism in the 21st Century, and how to be an effective Communist campaigner in your work place and community. 

Class struggle is the motive for change.

Communists need to be where working people are organised - in Trade Unions in the workplaces, in Tennents Associations, in Community groups, even if they are very rudimentary, even if they need to be built up. They have to be built on real experience.

Learn from the experience of struggle of the working class - you need to be part of that.

Reformism is not about making reforms or supporting reforms, but the belief that reforms are enough to change the formation of society.

Reforms are not enough to break free from Capitalism, and reforms can be easily taken back by the Capitalist state when perceiving that the class forces are strongly in their favour - just look at the NHS and welfare state in Britain for evidence! A talk by the late great Marxian Hans Heinz Holz, organised by the Communist Party of Britain.

Hans Heinz Holz was a respected and influential German Marxist philosopher and Leninist theorist.

He was professor of philosophy at the University of Marburg (from 1971 to 1979) and from 1979 to 1993 at the University of Groningen.

This video is from the Communist University organised by the Communist Party of Britain.