It is very important to note that ‘equality’ docs not refer to anything objective. It is not a question of an equality of status, of income, of function, and even less of the supposedly egalitarian dynamics of contracts or reforms. Equality is subjective. It is equality with respect to public consciousness for Saint-Just or with respect to political mass movement for Mao Tse-tung. Such equality is in no way a social programme. Moreover, it has nothing to do with the social. It is a political maxim, a prescription. Political equality is not what we want or plan, it is what we declare under fire of the event, here and now, as what is, and not as what should be. In the same way, for philosophy, ‘justice’ cannot be a State programme: ‘justice’ is the qualification of an egalitarian political orientation in act.
- Alain Badiou, Infinite Thought: Truth and the Return to Philosophy (via foucault-the-haters)
Karl Marx is accused of being outdated by the champions of a capitalism rapidly reverting to Victorian levels of inequality.
- Terry Eagleton (via redplebeian)
A radical social revolution is tied to certain historical conditions of economic development; these are its prerequisites. It is therefore only possible where, with capitalist production, the industrial proletariat occupies at least a significant position among the mass of the people. And so in order to have any chance whatever of victory, it must at least be able to do as much immediately for the peasants, mutatis mutandis, as the French bourgeoisie did in its revolution for the then existing French peasants. A fine idea, that the rule of labour includes the suppression of all rural labor!
…Now since all hitherto existing economic forms, developed or undeveloped, include the servitude of the worker he believes that in all of them a radical revolution equally possible. But even more! [Mr. Bakunin] wants the European social revolution, founded on the economic basis of capitalist production, to take place at the level of the Russian or Slav agricultural and pastoral people. Will, not economic conditions, is the foundation of his social revolution…
- Karl Marx, “On Bakunin’s Statism and Anarchy”; from Karl Marx Selected Writings (ed. by David McLellan), p. 606-607 (via weil-weil)
Communism is the positive abolition of private property, of human self-alienation, and thus the real appropriation of human nature through and for man. It is, therefore, the return of man himself as a social, i.e., really human being, a complete and conscious return which assimilates all the wealth of previous development… It is the definitive resolution of the antagonism between man and nature, and between man and man. It is the true solution of the conflict between existence and essence, between objectification and self-affirmation, between freedom and necessity, between individual and species. It is the solution of the riddle of history and knows itself to be this solution.
The workers strike the capitalist enterprise’s command over society at its root, shattering the rhythm to which the boss would like to make all wage labor dance.
- Antonio Negri, Workers’ Party Against Work (via foucault-the-haters)
[M]odern democracies have been around for long enough for neo-liberal capitalists to learn how to subvert them. They have mastered the techniques of infiltrating the instruments of democracy — the ‘independent’ judiciary, the ‘free’ press, the parliament — and molding them to their purpose. The project of corporate globalization has cracked the code. Free elections, a free press, and an independent judiciary mean little when the free market has reduced them to commodities on sale to the highest bidder.
- Arundhati Roy, An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire (via khilaaf)

(Source: lehaaz)

Many of “Western Civilization’s” alleged achievements—for instance, the conquest of political liberties—were not handed down to us, as if through a legal transaction, by qualified representatives of the “Western Spirit.” Far from it, most of “the West’s” celebrated gains, particularly at the level of political rights, were worked and fought for by many who were not considered “Westerners.” Indeed, many of our political rights were wrenched into existence against the resistance of the most typical “Westerners.” The “Western Civilization” “legacy” metaphor also hides the role European and non-European workers (both were considered outside the pale of “civilization”) have played in building the wealth and culture of Europe and America. Typically, credit for technological development is laid at the doorstep of Greek Rationalism or is presented as the logical unfolding of a Promethean inner “Western” predisposition; rarely is it asked “Who built the factories?”
- Silvia Federici, Enduring Western Civilization: The Construction of the Concept of Western Civilization and its “Others” (via goneril-and-regan)
The Left today, in all its orientations and traditions, is caught into a theoretical and political cul de sac: apart from the repetition of old formulas and citations of various authors, as well as in the (re)invention and elevation of trivial figures into the guiding names of our struggle, the Left cannot provide a new vision for humanity. The Left is disoriented, the burden of the failure of the Communist experiments of the previous century and its (mostly) catastrophic outcomes weigh too heavily on our shoulders. In addition, the rise of right-wing forces and religious ‘fundamentalism’ is equally worrisome. The right wing or populist political parties, across Europe and elsewhere, are ruthlessly appropriating the discourse which traditionally belongs to the left and distorting it according to their own political agenda. The working class is, in this distorted perspective, divided into working people of particular countries, always potentially threatened by immigrants, low wages in neighbouring countries, global market competition, etc., instead of being a united class of people exploited by global capital, i.e. holding the “proletarian position”. The same goes for the religious ‘fundamentalists’ with their insistence on theocracy, who propose a return to the invented tradition, or even worse: the theological-religious struggle, instead of accentuating the emancipatory potential of religions, is becoming a struggle for dress and dietary codes. Against this, we should recall Mao Zedongs dictum: “Marxism comprises many principles, but in the final analysis they can all be brought back to a single sentence: it is right to rebel against the reactionaries.”.
- Henrik Jøker Bjerre & Agon Hamza, Editorial Note - Crisis & Critique: Democracy and Revolution Issue 1 (via foucault-the-haters)
When, during the eighteenth century, the ‘rising class’, the bourgeoisie, developed a humanist ideology of equality, freedom, and reason, it gave its own demands the form of universality, since it hoped thereby to enroll at its side, by their education to this end, the very men it would liberate only for their exploitation. This is the Rousseauan myth of the origins of inequality: the rich holding forth to the poor in ‘the most deliberate discourse’ ever conceived, so as to persuade them to live their slavery as their freedom. In reality, the bourgeoisie has to believe in its own myth before it can convince others, and not only so as to convince others, since what it lives in its ideology is the very relation between it and its real conditions of existence which allows it simultaneously to act on itself (provide itself with a legal and ethical consciousness, and the legal and ethical conditions of economic liberalism) and on others (those it exploits and is going to exploit in the future: the ‘free labourers’) so as to take up, occupy, and maintain its historical role as a ruling class. Thus, in a very exact sense, the bourgeoisie lives in the ideology of freedom the relation between it and its conditions of existence: that is, its real relation (the law of a liberal capitalist economy) but invested in an imaginary relation (all men are free, including the free labourers). Its ideology consists of this play on the word freedom, which betrays the bourgeois wish to mystify those (‘free men’!) it exploits, blackmailing them with freedom so as to keep them in harness, as much as the bourgeoisie’s need to live its own class rule as the freedom of those it is exploiting. Just as a people that exploits another cannot be free, so a class that uses an ideology is its captive too. So when we speak of the class function of an ideology it must be understood that the ruling ideology is indeed the ideology of the ruling class and that the former serves the latter not only in its rule over the exploited class, but in its own constitution of itself as the ruling class, by making it accept the lived relation between itself and the world as real and justified.
- Louis Althusser, Marxism and Humanism, p.201-202 (via lovevoltaireusapart)
We’re taught at such an early age to be against the communists, yet most of us don’t have the faintest idea what communism is. Only a fool lets somebody else tell him who his enemy is.

Assata Shakur (born July 16, 1947)

Thanks to Jordan Farrar

(via fuckyeahmarxismleninism)

A collection of Leftist quotations, sayings, and aphorisms.

Compiled by Euan and Brandon