Roderic Day Nia Frome unlisted


Red Sails is a website run by Roderic Day in collaboration with Nia Frome, Sobrina de Alguien, and several other comrades.

The first objective of Red Sails is to demystify and desacralize theory in general. Too often theory is made out to be something arcane and solemn — either hopelessly outdated or dogmatically beyond reproach. We hope others share our sense that even the oldest and most obscure pieces we choose to adapt feel fresh and pertinent. Sometimes hindsight allows us to criticize them in the preface or the footnotes, [1] but they all still pack serious lessons no matter where on the planet they’re being read.

The second objective is to develop a correct theoretical line in particular. At the moment this line is best defined in terms of the concrete stances we take in response to various ongoing debates in our shared context. In short: pro-Stalin (against historical nihilism, anarchism, etc.), pro-China (for their chosen road of Reform and Opening Up and against “Maoism” and Sinophobia), and pro-“identity politics” (for a broad understanding of class and against the idealization of “patriotic white workers” as the revolutionary subject, etc.). We consider the populist strategy of courting brittle and ineffective “united fronts” by leaving serious questions of principle unaddressed a mirage.

Interspersing our own works among the classics may appear presumptuous, [2] but we hope to encourage everyone to read and write theory, and to realize that there is no unbridgeable chasm: there is a lot of theoretical work pending that can and must be carried out by all of us. We want all of these works to be used in construction and built upon rather than revered.

The name Red Sails is a reference to the TV show Black Sails. It may seem strange to argue that Jon Steinberg and Robert Levine managed to get Michael Bay to produce the best piece of communist agitprop this century thus far — an extended allegory of the October Revolution where the knaves and slaves who found the Pirate Republic of Nassau face off against the British Empire — but it’s something we all agree upon. [3] The name is also implicitly a reference to Stalin’s famous line, “I know that after my death a pile of rubbish will be heaped on my grave, but the wind of history will sooner or later sweep it away without mercy,” and some time after starting the project we were pleased to discover that it coincides with the recurring motif of the red boat in the history of the Communist Party of China. [4]

  1. It’s been said that criticizing people in footnotes is very Marxist… 

  2. Red Sails has been described as “ Criterion Collection with Home Videos mixed in” and “woke ML-MZT.” 

  3. “Nobody will believe it’s possible until we show them. But when that day comes, you know what they’ll say? They’ll say that it was inevitable.” — Flint paraphrasing Rosa, Black Sails (2014), s01e04. 

  4. “From Shikumen in Shanghai to the South Lake in Jiaxing City, the small red boat (where the first CPC congress concluded) bore the great trust of the people and the hope of the nation. The boat has sailed through turbulent rivers and treacherous shoals, and has voyaged across violent tidal waves, becoming a great ship that navigates China’s stable and long-term development.” — Xi Jinping, 2021 New Year Address. [web]