The State and Strategies for Socialism

Zones of Liberation: 2nd Session

On developing and defending areas of opposition and building a broad and lasting anti-capitalist socialist movement

A panel with Paul Christopher Gray, Rafael Khachaturian and Stephen Maher

Moderated by Caroline Sykora

At this late and moribund stage of capitalist development nothing is sacred to profit-making as the capitalists deforest the Amazon and exploit the deepest marine life of the Marianas Trench. Meanwhile, the working classes the world over are engaged of necessity in an array of movements in opposition to these life-destroying practices. Nonetheless, workers deliver through their labors—which they must sell in order to survive, losing control over the use of their labor power in this act of selling—the means by which capital is digitally speeding us towards a metabolic endgame. Each decade going forward will lead to the demise of ever more species from the microbial to fully sentient beings like ourselves, all the result of the insatiable proliferation of the capitalists pursuit for ever-greater profit and continuous expanding accumulation of their money capital even if to do so requires the end of life on this planet as we know it.

In response to this, The Marxist Education Project is continuing the Zones of Liberation series this November 9th. The Socialist Project of Canada has been publishing a series on Socialist Strategy and the State over the past year. All of the published pieces are essential for those active in the anti-capitalist movement to be reading and discussing. Stephen Maher and Rafael Khachaturian’s essay Socialist Strategy and the Democratic Capitalist State examines the the state in its liberal-democratic form, arguing that we should move beyond both vanguardist and social democratic models toward a view of the state as a contradictory site of class and social struggles.  Paul Christoher Gray’s article on Socialist Project is taken from his recently published From the Streets to the State: Changing the World by Taking Power, where he takes on the limitations of dual power and extra-parliamentarism and the flaws inherent in the electoralist approaches and where there can be some reconciliation of the best aspects of these tendencies.

Paul Christopher Gray is a professor in Brock University’s Department of Labor Studies in St. Catharines, Ontario. The link to Paul’s work is here: https://socialistproject.ca/2019/06/transforming-capitalist-power-from-streets-to-state/

Rafael Khachaturian is a Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania and faculty at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research.

Stephen Maher is a social critic, PhD candidate at York University in Toronto and Socialist Register Assistant Editor.

The link to Rafael and Stephen’s work is here: https://socialistproject.ca/2019/05/socialist-strategy-and-capitalist-democratic-state/

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Germany 1918-1924: False Hope or Missed Chance?

Presented by the Revolutions Study Group
A 13-week study

The reading focuses on the struggle to build a united and disciplined revolutionary party in the Germany after the defeats of the Spartacist and then the radical union uprisings in 1919. By 1921, it was clear that the Bolshevik revolution had not sparked successful socialist revolutions in the rest of Europe. The communists of Germany now struggled to reconnect with the German working class and rebuild a revolutionary movement in the Weimar Republic, a society that was, on the one hand, striving to return to normalcy and, on the other hand, slipped easily and often into economic and political chaos. They fought, but they lost. In the process, the working class was divided and demoralized, the capitalist class went looking for a savior, and the foundations of Nazism were laid.

In it’s beginnings, the revolution in Germany appears very similar to the events in Russia the year before. Why was the outcome so different? We will try to answer many questions in the course of this reading group, but that is the essential question in this continuing study.

Primary reading: Pierre Broue, The German Revolution. Other readings include selected original documents and selections from Haffner, Failure of a Revolution, and Angress, The Stillborn Revolution. Copies of the Broue book are available at a discount to reader participants in this study.

The Revolutions Study Group (originally at the Brecht Forum) has been meeting since 2009. Individual participants have come and gone, however the group has held together, studying in depth a wide range of history including the French Revolution, the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917, the Mau-Mau Revolt in Kenya, the Haitian Revolution, the European Revolutions of 1848, the May movement in France of 1968 and the Hot Autumn of Italy the following year, the Spanish Civil War, the Mexican Revolution, the Socialist (2nd) International, and Russian Social Democracy prior to World War I.

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