Nia Frome

How is it to be done?

There are, broadly speaking, two ways to go about defining socialism. One is more rationalist, exegetical — it begins with Marx’s description of capitalism and negates whatever it takes to be its core components. The other way is more empirical, historical — it takes Really… [read more]

Nia Frome

Long, Queer Revolution (2018)

Is it possible for a single mind to fully fathom the transition from capitalism to communism? I can, without too much trouble, imagine a group of about twenty people doing something like communism, but if the size of the group grows much beyond that, I’m at a loss. What’s more… [read more]

Roderic Day

Nihilistic Resignation

There is much talk these days about World War 3. This anxiety is a very well-justified reaction to loud saber-rattling. However, fear runs the risk of becoming nihilistic resignation. The uncritical adoption of an incorrect theory of social behaviour, even in protest… [read more]

Roderic Day

Diodes

There’s a very common cliche in rhetorical political argumentation that goes something like this: “I am concerned about the quality (or style, or approach) of your argument. Not for my own personal sake — no, I’m actually very ambivalent (on your side, even!). I’m raising my… [read more]

Alice C. Malone

Concessions

Capitalism sucks for workers. It’s common to see the obvious failures of our current system as new horrors, and to conclude that we need to return to some time when things were better. Maybe the “better time” is vague — just a general hand-waving and an exhortation to make things… [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]

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]

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 like to get into useless fights about “what Lenin truly meant” or “what Lenin 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 refer to… [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]

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]

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]