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]

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]

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]

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 Marxism for… [read more]

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 short works… [read more]

The category of “Really Existing Socialism” is usually invoked, both by proponents and detractors, in conversations about discrepancies between revolutionary theory and revolutionary practice. The general idea is that revolutionary statesmen — say, Stalin — fell short in some… [read more]

1. Aristocratic Marxism defines itself in opposition to moralism. Feelings associated with powerlessness (for Spinoza, the sad affects; for Nietzsche, slave morality or ressentiment) are held to be an obstacle to the self-emancipation of the working class, which needs to kick its… [read more]

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]

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]

What’s the difference between a fistfight and an argument? Both exist on a spectrum between dirty and clean. Both have to do with ego, or principle, or some weird mix of the two. Fistfights may end in injury or death for the combatants, so it seems like people should take them… [read more]

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]

On July 26, 2020 I sat down for two hours and laid out on Twitter why I was skeptical of accusations that China was committing a genocide against the Uyghur people in its western province of Xinjiang. I spoke out, despite lacking professional credentials, because I was frustrated… [read more]

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 takes no… [read more]

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]

There’s a common trope in media where it’s revealed, most often near the end of the story (but sometimes right off the bat), that trying too hard to do good makes you evil. Game of Thrones, HBO’s Watchmen, The Hunger Games, and many other shows, movies, and games all have endings… [read more]

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]

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]

When I was a kid I also believed ‘communists should ditch that label, for PR reasons.’ Now I think we make more headway owning it than dishonestly disavowing it. Not least because someone will almost always bring up Stalin no matter what we call ourselves. [read more]

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, genuine socialists… [read more]

Whenever there is a political incident in Latin America, instead of informing and clarifying, many “experts” set out to insist over and over that the situation is too complex to be understood in terms of archaic left-right dichotomies. [read more]

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]

In the last few months two men have asked me to read their unpublished manuscripts and give them my opinion, because they value my opinion. Indirectly and with great euphemism they gave me to understand that they were worried about the presence of problematic ideological elements… [read more]

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]