The following article is translated from the journal Lutte des Classe (#136, May-June 2011), published by Lutte Ouvrière in France; see http://www.lutte-ouvriere.org/. The piece first appeared on this blog back in 2011; we’ve changed the title to 144th instead of 140th, but left it the same in the original text.
140 years ago, Paris Workers Create the first Concrete Form of Workers’ Power
“The petty-bourgeois Social Democrat has once more been filled with wholesome terror at the words, Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Well and good, gentlemen, do you want to know what this dictatorship looks like? Look at the Paris Commune. That was the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.” (Friedrich Engels)
“The direct antithesis to the Empire was the Commune”– so wrote Karl Marx in his 1871 pamphlet, The Civil War in France. In this text, Marx not only paid tribute to the Communards, who had “stormed heaven,” he…
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Tens of thousands of workers went on strike across the North of Ireland on March 13 in protest against cuts in jobs and services implemented by the devolved administration in Stormont. The local administration is imposing the austerity agenda dictated by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition in London. The strike was particularly successful because transport workers, including on the buses and trains, took part as well as those in the civil service, health and education.
Observance of the strike was good and pickets and rallies had respectable turnouts. Workers have suffered a long period of declining living standards and are clearly willing to declare their opposition. It would be a mistake however to exaggerate the stage we are at in the development of this struggle. A glance at the numbers voting for strike action in a couple of the biggest unions involved shows the distance yet to go to build a…
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The home of 18th-century German enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant, located in what is now the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, is in ruins and has become a hot spot for drinking and debauchery among local youths, news site Novy Kaliningrad reported.
Someone recently spray-painted a Russian phrase translatable as “Kant is an idiot” on the red-brick building’s facade. The apparent insult is accompanied by a drawing of a flower and a heart, apparently from the same can of spray paint.
Regional authorities announced last year that they were seeking a caretaker for the home, which has been declared a cultural landmark. Alas, the home’s condition remains dismal.
Russians have been known to take…
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“Zarathustra has changed, Zarathustra has become a child, Zarathustra is an awakened one; what do you now want among the sleepers?”
– Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche, trans. Walter Kaufmann
Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, emerging from the mountains apparently intent on bamboozling philosophers for decades, laid for a series of proclamations that were equal part observation and prediction. Perhaps the most infamous of these is the Übermensch (often translated as Super Man). Set up to be the ultimate goal for humanity, the Übermensch is a being that has transcended the master/slave dialectic and antiquated Platonist idealism into a figure that can embrace a reality devoid of metaphor. This is a well discussed ideology, [contentiously] utilized by the Nazis to justify their master race.
The figure of the Übermensch does not often appear explicitly in literature. Perhaps the very nature of a man who has transcended what Nietzsche would describe as our…
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“We are, essentially, a party of revolutionary action, not merely of revolutionary education prepared for many years to come” — this was the reply usually given by the Bolsheviki to the Mensheviki, who were demanding more “democratic” organization. “Our foe, Capitalism, and its chief instrument in its struggle against us — the governmental machine — are powerful just because of their centralism. If we intend to defeat this enemy of ours, if we desire to bring our struggle to a successful revolutionary seizure of the state power, we should be equally centralized, democratically centralized, and equally united by a common will, which is being changed through democratic discipline and unity of action. The difference is only in the character of that centralism. While capitalist centralism is autocratic, the centralism of the suppression of the will of the majority on a ‘united minority,’ our organization centralism should be the…
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Assuming Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016, much of her popular support will be based on her image as an advocate of women’s rights. During her 2008 candidacy, the National Organization of Women (NOW) endorsed Clinton based on her “long history of support for women’s empowerment.” A group of 250 academics and activists calling themselves “Feminists for Clinton” praised her “powerful, inspiring advocacy of the human rights of women” and her “enormous contributions” as a policymaker. Since then, NOW and other mainstream women’s organizations have been eagerly anticipating her 2016 candidacy. Clinton and supporters have recently stepped up efforts to portray her as a champion of both women’s and LGBT rights.
Such depictions have little basis in Clinton’s past performance. While she has indeed spoken about gender and sexual rights with considerable frequency, and while she may…
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