Marxism / Leninism • Reform / Revolution • Role of a Vanguard Party

Abhinav Sinha, India (Mazdoor Bigul- “Workers Bugle”)
Immanuel Ness, Journal of Labor and Society
Jackie Di Salvo, Baruch College

Our panelists assert that the failure of the socialist movement in the US is rooted in a binary
between the opportunism of right wing reformism and ultra-leftist utopianism. As the storm
clouds of fascism grow more ominous, and right wing reformists and their social democratic allies
join forces with the Democratic Party sectarian ultra-leftists also offer no concrete vision for the
future—leading to a dead end for any practical social transformation. Anarchists and syndicalists
may document the militancy and spontaneity of the working class, but have no sense of building
class power to counter the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Today, as most political efforts are
moribund, disciplined and principled anti-capitalist socialist organization is more urgent than at
any time in the US since the 1930s. How do we develop a political organization capable of
avoiding the same traps of the past? Are communist parties inevitably social democratic and
bureaucratic? Can existing parties in the US be saved? In this panel, Marxist organizations come
together to learn from the experience in India and elsewhere. This public event is both a
workshop and a frank and sober discussion about the road ahead.

No one is turned away for inability to pay

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István Mészáros’ The Challenge & Burden of Historical Time

10 Sessions:Wednesdays, February 17 – April 20

21st Century Socialism Study Group

Capital cannot tolerate any limitations to its own mode of social metabolic reproduction. Accordingly, considerations of time are totally inadmissable to it if they call for restraining its uncontrollable imperative for capital expansion. There can be no exemption from that imperative. Not even when the devastating consequences are already glaringly obvious both in the field of production and on the terrain of the ecology. The only modality of time in which capital can be interested is exploitable labor time.
—István Mészáros, from the Introduction to The Challenge and Burden of Historical Time

Over ten weeks, we will read through this important book by Iztvan Mézáros.

From a recent interview with Mézáros
Eleonora de Lucena: What are your expectations about socialism or communism in the future?
Will it happen? Is it simply an unattainable goal? How about the risk of barbarism?
István Mészáros: I wrote in a book [The 21st Century: socialism or barbarism] published also in Brazil that if I had to modify today Rosa Luxemburg’s famous words about “socialism or barbarism” I would have to add: “Barbarism if we are lucky.” Because the extermination of humanity is the unfolding menace. For as long as we fail to solve our grave problems, which extend over all dimensions of our existence and relationship to nature, that danger will remain on our horizon.

The 21st Century Socialism Study Group will begin this term and continue with a range of works that pose essential questions for developing a critique of the capitalist world order and prospects for building a movement towards socialism in our time, now 150 years since Karl Marx published Volume I of Capital and one century since the first socialist revolution took place in Russia near the end of the capitalist bloodbath of World War I.

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