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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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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