Christopher Caudwell

The Birth of Poetry (1937)

This is a book not only about poetry but also about the sources of poetry. Poetry is written in language and therefore it is a book about the sources of languages. Language is a social product, the instrument whereby men communicate and persuade each other; thus the study of… [read more]

Nia Frome

On Jargon (2016)

To the novice, any two dense texts (e.g. Heidegger vs. Hegel) are equally impenetrable. Same goes for most of the Marxist tradition, which has never shied from developing its own jargon. But this opacity to outsiders is a false equivalence; that is, it’s concealing a difference… [read more]

S. B.

Ways of Objectifying (2013)

When people complain about sexually objectified images of women in advertising and other media, a typical MRA troll move is to counter that men are also sexually objectified. Male models are sex objects too, says the troll: impossibly ripped and handsome studs, sexy and… [read more]

Humphrey McQueen

From Hegel to Lenin

How often do we hear: ‘Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it’? Known as ‘Thesis Eleven,’ Marx’s challenge comes at the end of a couple of pages of rough notes in preparation for a 65-page chapter on Ludwig… [read more]

Deng Xiaoping

The Pen is a Major Tool (1950)

The pen is a major tool for exercising leadership, so leading comrades should learn to write. Holding meetings is essential to leadership, but it is always a small number of people who can attend meetings; even when you make an important report, the audience will number no more… [read more]

Mao Zedong

On Contradiction (1937)

The law of contradiction in things, that is, the law of the unity of opposites, is the basic law of materialist dialectics. Lenin said, “Dialectics in the proper sense is the study of contradiction in the very essence of objects.” Lenin often called this law the essence… [read more]

Jorge Arreaza

Being Chavista

1. Being Chavista means valorizing and being guided by LOVE: love for one’s neighbor, for one’s country, for those who suffer, for the People. It means knowing how to listen to those who most need to be heard and learning, together, how to handle problems — with… [read more]

Joseph Heller

Clevinger (1961)

Clevinger knew so much because Clevinger was a genius with a pounding heart and blanching face. He was a gangling, gawky, feverish, famish-eyed brain. As a Harvard undergraduate he had won prizes in scholarship for just about everything, and the only reason he had not won prizes… [read more]

Mark Twain

The Two Terrors (1889)

There were two “Reigns of Terror,” if we would but remember it and consider it; the one wrought murder in hot passion, the other in heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other had lasted a thousand years; the one inflicted death upon ten thousand persons, the… [read more]

Qi Xin

Theory and the Gang of Four (1977)

This article is a further attempt to analyze the Gang of Four. After my first article entitled “The Rise and Fall of the Gang of Four” was published, I received many letters from readers questioning certain points made and asking about other aspects. In this article, I again use… [read more]

Deng Xiaoping

Marxism is a Science (1992)

I was here in Guangdong in 1984. At that time rural reform had been under way for several years, and we were just beginning to introduce urban reform and to establish special economic zones. Eight years have passed since then. This time, during my trip here, I have found that the… [read more]

Roderic Day

What is Dialectics?

It’s important to relate every new concept you learn to whatever you already know, making adjustments for the new knowledge as you go along. Perhaps this entails discarding a previous misconception, or perhaps it entails making an odd analogy that only really makes sense to you… [read more]

Roderic Day

Self-interested Anti-imperialism

Engels said in 1874, discussing Polish independence: “A people which oppresses another cannot emancipate itself.” This line, and other similar ones by Marx and Engels, are celebrated for their incipient proletarian internationalism. However, they are often subtly misinterpreted… [read more]

S. B.

The Banality of Genius (2013)

You can identify a Very Important Person because they get the proper VIP treatment: they come surrounded by an entourage of PR gurus, secretaries, agents, media handlers and bodyguards. Access to the VIP is limited and controlled, their public appearances are stage managed, their… [read more]

Roderic Day

“Potato Sack” History

If the goal is emancipation, there’s no alternative to relentless, impeccable, fact- and trajectory-focused historical education. We all need to become decent students and able teachers of history. The teaching of history as a “sack of potatoes” is a vulnerability in capitalism… [read more]

Nia Frome

Losurdo and Roberts

Domenico Losurdo and William Clare Roberts are not often mentioned in the same breath. While they are both central theoretical reference points for Red Sails, it must be admitted that they make for an odd couple. Losurdo is concerned primarily with criticizing Western… [read more]

Roderic Day

Understanding Lenin

I do not wish to get into useless fights about what Lenin “truly meant” or what he “would have wanted.” It’s not a discussion I can settle, and not even a discussion I care to settle. Instead, I want to explain what I take from his work. To this end, I will “cite” two… [read more]

W. E. B. Du Bois

On Stalin (1953)

Joseph Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature. He was simple, calm and courageous. He seldom lost his poise; pondered his problems slowly, made his decisions clearly and firmly; never yielded to ostentation nor coyly refrained from holding… [read more]

Roderic Day

On Crypto

In 2013, in the wake of the boom of the canonical “BitCoin,” using some of the same technological principles but tapping into contemporary internet-meme culture, “DogeCoin” was born. Despite its origins as a joke, on 5 May 2021 it reached a market capitalization of… [read more]

Roderic Day

“Brainwashing”

What can we make of the tendency of Westerners to flippantly regurgitate the accusation of “brainwashing” against another country and its people, but then display indignation when that same allegation is made about their own? [read more]

Roderic Day

Stalinists and Feminazis

Before I discovered Marxism, I discovered feminism. And before I discovered feminism, I used to be a chauvinistic liberal. As I grow older I sometimes like to look back and examine how this particular trajectory — of arriving at Marxism from a standard petty-bourgeois background… [read more]

Lori Watson

The Woman Question (2016)

The dispute between some self-identified feminists and trans persons, trans women especially, and trans-supporting feminists has erupted into a full-scale ideological war. Once at the level of conflict, officially undeclared, we have moved into the territory of “you are either… [read more]

Claudia Jones

Claudia Jones Speaks (1953)

Your Honour, there are a few things I wish to say. For if what I say here serves even one whit to further dedicate growing millions of Americans to fight for peace and to repel the fascist drive on free speech and thought in our country, I shall consider my rising to speak… [read more]

Nia Frome

Two Cthulhus

At the beginning of every essay, a writer has to decide how familiar their intended audience is with the terms they’ll be using. The focus of this essay, H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, occupies a strange position in that it’s both niche and mainstream (e.g. spellcheck… [read more]

Roderic Day

The Virtual Factory

Factories were designed by capitalists as exploitative panopticon enclosures. Nevertheless, they socialized workers, and became sites of organization and struggle. Yasha Levine’s superb research into surveillance technology should not lead to numbing cynicism about the potential… [read more]

Karl Marx

Third Manuscript (1844)

The subjective essence of private property, private property as activity for itself, as subject, as person, is labor. It, therefore, goes without saying that only that political economy which recognized labor as its principle (Adam Smith), and which therefore no longer regarded… [read more]

Roderic Day

Everyday Subkulak

A while back a friend was illustrating the many ways in which Slavoj Zizek fell short as a Marxist theorist (I had retained some sympathies from when I first discovered him as a liberal) with a pretty bad bit of writing on Mao Zedong. To Zizek’s credit, as usual, it’s at least… [read more]

Roderic Day

On Chomsky

Far too much has already been said and written about Noam Chomsky, and some of it has the counter-productive effect of further enhancing his myth. This is because his fans often read his being attacked from “both the right and the left” as inherent proof of his brilliance. The… [read more]

Sam Kriss

What is “neoliberalism”? (2017)

Neoliberalism is not particularly hard to define. It’s not only an ideology or a set of principles; it’s a system of practices, and an era, the one we’re living in now. What it means, over and above everything, is untrammeled ruling-class power, an end to the… [read more]

Roderic Day

On Orwell

The only people who misunderstand George Orwell’s 1984 are those that go around trying to imagine it has a leftist message. It is mistaken to imagine that children in the English-speaking world get his work drilled into them like a mantra because, somehow… [read more]

Roderic Day

Cults & Miracles (2018)

HackerNews is a discussion forum hosted by YCombinator, Silicon Valley’s premier “startup accelerator” investment fund. It has a longstanding and reflexive hostility to any ideas critical of the tech-worker turf, so I was surprised when a write-up of how to escape “toxicity in… [read more]

Bob Page

The American’s Job

“Free market capitalism” is in terminal decline, to be replaced in this century or early in the next with state capitalism and other presently undeveloped form of socialist hybrid states. The decline is structural, political, but also social and cultural. By the end of February… [read more]

Roderic Day

Why Marxism?

I want to try to answer directly a set of questions that I keep encountering now that I publicly defend communist theory and history, legitimate questions that I have grappled with myself. I hope this particular synthesis of existing ideas sheds some light and understanding on… [read more]