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More Straw-Person Anti-Maoist Stupidity

In a recent post I complained about the intentional misconceptions some petty bourgeois academic leftists promote when it comes to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.  So it was hilarious to accidentally encounter, after a fundraiser on Friday, a Frankfurt School hipster marxist blog that promotes the same idiot and intentionally ignorant garbage regarding Maoism in general, and the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada (PCR-RCP) in particular, with a confidence spawned from reading too much Adorno and not much critical history of actually existing communist movements.  The main point of my aforementioned post was that without investigation of what Marxism-Leninism-Maoism actually means, then there should be no right to speak.

The anti-Maoist post on the hilariously entitled "Frankfurt Fist" blog (do Frankfurt School politics ever lead to the confrontation that the word "fist" implies or do they mean the exact opposite?) is paradigmatic of analysis without any concrete investigation.  Considering that it sounds as if it was written by a privileged student hipster marxist (who likes calling everyone else bourgeois students), the only reason I am going to spend any time dealing with its claims is because I feel that it is important to counter misconceptions spread about a group like the PCR-RCP that is doing extremely vital work in the Canadian context.  And now that the state clearly feels that the PCR-RCP, unlike this random blogger, is a threat and has initiated a wave of repression against them, it is utterly insulting to encounter these sorts of snide dismissals.  As I have always argued: at least get your facts right––I'm tired of straw-person analyses.

What makes Frankfurt Fist's (FF) confused polemic difficult to deal with systematically is that it is so utterly confused, it is filled with so many wild assertions by an undergraduate or MA student who has spent most of his time reading Adorno, that it is difficult to know where to begin.  I suppose I could go through the article following the Minima Moralia style paragraph numbering, but many of these paragraphs are rendered meaningless if the arguments in previous paragraphs are dismissed.

So let's begin with the article's claims about the PCR-RCP's composition from which other bold assertions flow.  Frankfurt Fist (FF) claims that the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada is a student group alienated from the masses it claims to represent.  This is nonsense, and anyone who has had any contact with the PCR-RCP in Quebec would immediately know this is garbage.  They do have a student front, but they also have a workers mass organization, among other fronts, and they do most of their work in proletarian neighbourhoods.  In fact, from what I've been able to tell, university students represent a very small minority of the party; moreover, the student fronts of the PCR-RCP are concerned primarily with highschool students, not university students.  So the hilarious point FF makes about how "establishing a sense of class consciousness among alienated upper-class students is like synthesizing wet flame" is a red herring: the party agreed with this point ahead of time, which is why it encouraged the Revolutionary Student Movement in Toronto to focus on highschools instead of the university campus.  In any case, the point about the organization being a student group is an utter falsehood, but from this falsehood the author is able to build successive claims that seem reasonable, but only if you grant the false premise.  Otherwise they have nothing to do the PCR-RCP.  Maybe they have to do with the Proletarian Revolutionary Action Committee (which emerged from a conference called by the PCR-RCP), but even then the author is clearly confused.

From here let's deal with some of the more asinine assertions about FF's straw-person Maoism.  "Maoists claim that Stalinist Russia was a model of functional socialism."  Not really: the CPC under Mao argued that Stalin's Russia was still socialist (in contrast to Kruschev's Russia), but far from functional.  The argument was in fact the opposite: that the Soviet Union under Stalin's policies was dysfunctional, that Stalin's metaphysical approach to communist theory and his inability to handle contradictions, was a serious problem.  This is the point in the "Great Debate", the exchange of polemics between the Soviet Union and the CPC, and is pretty much the understanding of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist theory.  It's why Stalin's name isn't between Lenin and Mao.

The author also thinks that the concept of revisionism is a ruthless term that Marxism needs to maintain itself.  Of course, he doesn't explain what he means by this, nor does he seem to have any idea what revisionism means.  In an earlier blog post where FF attacks the PRAC's film fundraising night, Rosa Luxemburg is blithely cited as an authority against the activities of the PRAC (again based on a possibly hypocritical misconception about the group's composition and focus), and yet Luxemburg had no problem being ruthless when it came to the use of the concept of revisionism.  In fact, one of Luxemburg's great contributions to revolutionary theory is the ideological struggle she waged against Bernstein's revisionism.  By the way, FF, read your history: revisionism is a serious deal; it's the reason why the SDP in Germany capitulated to fascism and Luxemburg was executed.  Then again, considering that the point FF makes about revisionism seems utterly random, it's hard to know if it means anything significant.

Then there is FF's sixth numbered paragraph claiming that Maoism is all about the Three Worlds Theory.  Another red herring: the three worlds theory, pushed by Lin Biao and not Mao, is actually part of what is known as Maoism-Third Worldism, not the Marxism-Leninism-Maoism of the PCR-RCP, or of many other Maoist organizations around the world.  Tiny groups like the Leading Light Communist Organization are Maoist Third Worldist, not the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada. [Caveat: commentator "yarp" below has corrected this mistake, and provided a link, demonstrating that even Maoist Third Worldist groups like the LLCO don't accept the Three Worlds Theory – apologies for the haste of this post and the failure to fact-check.  And though there is probably still some tiny Third Worldist group out there that pushes this line, the fact that the LLCO rejects this position further proves how antiquated FF's analysis is.]   If the PCR-RCP was this type of Maoism then it wouldn't bother organizing in Canada but, rather, would wait for the miracle of the global peripheries.

But FF also goes on to say, after mis-ascribing the three worlds theory to maoism, that globalization has reduced the world to an ideological singularity.  This is just privileged eurocentric nonsense written by someone who has never studied political economy and is still fascinated with Negri and Hart's theory in Empire.  The ideology of the culture industry that FF might understand (since it is talked about in the Frankfurt School) is not the same ideology that is dominant in the global peripheries.  There is not a sameness of ideology across the globe, though there is definitely a hegemony of capitalist ideology.  Still semi-feudal and semi-colonial formations linger.  The majority of the critical left, and not just Maoists FF, did away with this Empire nonsense after the anti-globalization movement at the beginning of the 21st Century collapsed and the offensive against Afghanistan began.  Do any cursory study on imperialism, figure out the global contradiction between centres and peripheries, and you'll realize that the deterritorialization concepts you seem to be supporting lack any connection to reality.

Then there is the dismissal of the claim that revolutionary theory is a science without any understanding of what Marx, Engels, Lenin, Luxemburg, Mao, and other theorists meant when they used the term science.  Of course we know that communism is not a science in the sense that physics and math are sciences, there is something that this understanding of revolutionary theory shares with physics and science: that is the logic that there is a dialectic between the universal and particular, that there can be universal developments in revolutionary theory that are applicable in particular contexts, and that like any scientific paradigm there are world historical movements that force new understandings.  Political economist Samir Amin often uses the term "living science" in order to explain why revolutionary theory needs to be open to the future, just like a science, but that it follows the theoretical pattern of rupture-continuity.  Since I have explained this at numerous points in this blog, I will not bore my usual readership by repeating it here.  In any case, just saying that it is not a science is not an argument but an assertion.  Nor is it an assertion that applies only to Maoism: other species of marxism make the same claims, so how is this specifically an attack on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism?

At numerous points FF attacks the Maoist concept of the mass line without, again, having any understanding of the concept.  A "mutilated direct democracy"––how so?  What is wrong with the idea of working with people where they're at, trying to give unity to these demands, but also using these demands to hold ourselves to account?  I have been involved in non-Maoist organizations that have tried to apply similar ideas, albeit in non-structured ways, and this was always considered grass-roots and liberating.  The mass-line's main point, to paraphraise Mao, "is that the people and the people alone make history while we [meaning the communist party] are often foolish."  The idea that the party should be held to account by the people, that the people should even bombard the headquarters of what ever party claims to lead them (something I'll discuss in a later point), is something FF does not appear to understand.

Furthermore, FF thinks that maoists use the term "masses" because we think people are animals in need of salvation––how does that conclusion does not follow from the word "masses"?  We use that concept because we understand that society is composed of multiple classes, not just "the proletariat" and "the bourgeoisie" (though these are the prime contradictory classes), and we also place ourselves within these masses.  If the word is a problem, another can be chosen, but a quibble over terminology and then a forced interpretation is another terrible argument.  Apparently maoists exist to force-feed the badly named "masses" socialism, or so FF claims, because apparently talking about socialism and holding social investigations with people in their neighbourhoods is an act of force-feeding, or herding them towards socialism.  That's a category mistake, FF: talking to people about communism is not force-feeding, nor do the most revolutionary-inclined people amongst "the masses" need to be led like animals towards socialism.  The mass-line is about agency from below, and any cursory read on the concept would reveal that.

And then there is the typical straw-person of the theory of Protracted Peoples War.  Even worse is the fact that FF confuses it, in paragraph 10, with the theory of insurrection.  Actually, the theory of PPW is considered the alternative to the theory of urban insurrection, insurrection being only one possible tactic in a larger chain of strategy.  So the author misdefines PPW as the following: "an urban insurrection against the most apolitical proletariat, identified as the enemy or the system, and acting to further the cause of statist repression and negating their cause while decimating whatever miniscule faith anyone had in their mission."  This is all very confused because it also seems as if FF is also confusing PPW with Gueverism (or focoism), the tactic that was disasterously applied by groups like the Red Army Faction in Germany, the Japanese Red Army, etc., and that is definitely not PPW.  In fact, adherents of Protracted Peoples War were criticizing those groups engaged in armed propaganda in the 1960s and 1970s for a similar reason to the one FF uses to dismiss Peoples War.  That is, PPW is about slowly building up a Peoples Army at multiple levels where the proletariat is actually politicized (but not just in factories), and where a larger strategy of encircling the state, rather than just going on mad bombing campaigns or hoping for the miracle of a general strike, slowly and thoroughly.  Mao always argued that the Peoples Army had to be the people and could not become alienated from the people––so yet again, FF has made up his own imaginary Maoism just so he can trash it… straw-person argument strikes again!

Next comes the usual denunciations of the Cultural Revolution, but again from an utter misunderstanding of the theory of the Cultural Revolution.  FF seems to think the theory of Cultural Revolution is about cultural reform and, falling back on a simplistic understanding of the Frankfurt School's concept of the culture industry, he seems to think that culture (but never explains what he means by culture) asserts its autonomy and that the theory of Cultural Revolution is about trying to change this culture from above.  Actually, the point of the Cultural Revolution is simply that class struggle continues under socialism but that the bourgeoisie and their ideas end up in the communist party itself.  The point of the GPCR was to unleash the masses on the party (to bombard the headquarters so to speak), not to impose reforms: hence the large-scale chaos of the Cultural Revolution in China.  Maoists now understand that Mao was correctly able to pose the problem with this theory of the Cultural Revolution, but was actually unable to solve this problem with the GPCR, though it went further than previous revolutions.  So the point now is to figure out how to solve the problem that Mao understood: how do we prevent the capitalist roaders from restoring capitalism as they did in the Soviet Union and China?  That is the key insight of actually existing Marxism-Leninism-Maoism now, not some idiot doctrine of reforms from above.  We also think it's important to note that large populations of workers and peasants in China are demanding a return to the Cultural Revolution because, contrary to FF's beliefs, it actually meant something real and liberating for them.

Of course, FF is under the impression that Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is a rigid ideology.  Well it's not a completely loose ideology that accepts an anything goes liberal movementism, that is true enough… But it has always been about social investigation and trying to develop an understanding from a social context's concrete circumstances, and the most successful Maoist attempts around the world have often resisted dogmatism in their attempt to creatively apply the key universal insights of MLM theory.  Not that FF has any concrete understanding of the context of Canada, let alone a concrete understanding of the global contradictions or the theory he is straw-personing.  Rigidly applying the Frankfurt School as an alternative isn't very creative, nor is the nascent liberalism behind FF's criticisms.

In point fourteen, FF has a throwaway sentence about agrarian socialism for an industrial capitalist environment.  The most famous straw-person of Maoism: it's only about peasants and the agrarian countryside!  The PCR-RCP hasn't once argued for an agrarian socialist revolution, or sought to align itself with an imaginary Canadian peasantry, and I already mocked this utterly ignorant misunderstanding of maoism in my post about proper investigation, cited at the beginning of this polemic.  How many more false theoretical concepts must be applied to an organization that has gone to great lengths to perform a concrete analysis of a concrete situation?  Answer: not many that are worth addressing, considering the ravings about New Democracy and the vanguard are even less coherent than FF's entire jumble of fallacies and poorly investigated assertions.

Only the author's insulting comment about how the PCR-RCP will never be popular, and will never be included in the left that "we" might rebuild.  Well where is this left that is supposedly being rebuilt, and how will it be rebuilt?  The point of the PCR-RCP's analysis has always been that the left in Canada needs to be rebuilt and unified and, surprise surprise, it's been actively pursuing this rebuilding in Quebec for years.  It also takes the "we" seriously because when it uses the term "we" it doesn't mean a few academic champagne marxists obsessed with the Frankfurt School but people who the in-crowd and privileged left are refusing to address in a revolutionary manner.  Furthermore, as the current wave of repression levelled at the PCR-RCP proves, the organization is clearly doing something more relevant than an oh-so-clever blogger with his straw-person arguments.  Nor has the PCR-RCP, or any of its allies, refused to work with other left and progressive organizations in accumulating anti-capitalist forces: it is a member of CLAC, after all, and has refused to engage in poaching or asinine turf wars in organizational spaces.  It is unclear what "we" FF represents, or why FF even imagines that s/he has the right to speak on behalf of this "we": I have spent long years of my life involved in Toronto activism, in various sectors and avenues, and I do not imagine that I could speak of myself as the "we" that will rebuild the left––I cannot imagine some arrogant undergraduate feeling that s/he has the right to make the same claim to collective identity.

Moreover, behind all of these terrible arguments, FF demonstrates a Nietzschean libertarianism cloaked in new left lingo.  The fear of Maoism seems driven by a fear of the people (the people s/he claims maoism disdains), and mediated by a sublimated notion of Mill's harm principle.  Pragmatism, individualism, scorn for the collectivism that will suppress bourgeois individuality.  Is it any wonder that, emerging from this position, the author cannot help but straw-person a politics s/he refuses to understand?

Still inspired by Adorno's Minima Moralia, FF concludes his ramblings with the following statement: "immanent critique cannot be applied when there is no surface to penetrate.  If penetrated, all that's revealed is how deep their nothingness goes."  It is all too easy to point out that patriarchal rape language behind FF's use of penetration; it is easier to point out that if s/he truly understood immanent critique s/he would realize that the nothingness s/he ascribes to maoism is correct in that the critique had said nothing substantial and demonstrates an utter lack of knowledge of its object of critique.  Where FF speaks of its imaginary maoism, FF speaks of nothing that actually exists in the Maoist movement.


  1. Epic rebuttal is epic. The author of that post is so hugely misguided about maoism that I almost thought they were trolling.

  2. It almost seemed like a satire of itself: here's another thing I have absolutely no knowledge about but that someone randomly might have told me once...

  3. both of you made a small error relating to the MTWist platform’s-too-bad-word-processors-don’t-have-a-factcheck they haven't ever 'towed' the 'outline' of three worlds theory.

    this guy is a real piece of work though, right down to the cold-war era GPCR slander and the weird references to new democracy (which it seems he knows literally nothing about). he reminds me of the platypus people.

  4. Thanks for the correction: yeah I guess the MTWist ideology has moved on from the three worlds theory in general, though some members will cite it now and then. My response was hasty. There are still some people out there who site the three worlds theory, though, but guess it's not LLCO. I'll add a caveat in square brackets and italics.

    Yeah, someone else pointed out that he might be a Playtpus member, but the last time I encountered some Platypus folks they weren't so enamoured with Adorno...

  5. Three Worlds Theory was actually pushed by Deng. Three Worlds Theory is also not the same as third-worldism. Lin Piao was into Global People's War, and Mao was into some other foreign policy.

    This is some very picky shit, though -- who cares? The polemic rocks.

  6. Well at least it's picky shit from someone who knows the nitty-gritty!

  7. What I really find appalling is the awful mixed metaphor at the end: "Immanent critique cannot be applied when there is no surface to penetrate. If penetrated, all that's revealed is how deep their [sic] nothingness goes." The stupidity of this "thesis," with its awkward, vague referent could stand in for the stupidity of the whole. It's such a completely meaningless assertion that I don't know where to begin, so perhaps I should just begin with the first two words:

    1. "Immanent critique" usually means, at the very least, a critique of a given theory or position _from within_, which means that you start from within the logic of the structure being analyzed rather than attempting to penetrate its surface. If you have penetrated the surface of a theory, whatever else you're doing, it's not immanent critique.

    2. Performing an immanent critique also involves the revelation of contradictions _internal to the theory you are criticizing_, which entails, at the most elementary level, understanding what propositions and arguments are central to the theory. Using some washed-up notion of Empire to criticize Three Worlds Theory betrays, as you say, a basic misunderstanding of what Maoism is.

    3. Most confusingly stupid of all is the notion that there is in fact "no surface to penetrate," but _if_ there were such a surface, then there would be nothing beneath it. What does that mean? Well, it means exactly nothing. It means that both logic and metaphor has broken down at this point. If we were to take this proposition seriously, "Maoism" and everything that is not Maoism constitute one undifferentiated mass with no boundary (i.e. "no surface") between them, or that "Maoism" is identical with everything else which is identical to nothingness. This is adolescent nihilism wrapped up in the language of the Frankfurt School.

    What could be more "one-dimensional" than this kind of thinking?

  8. Apparently, Jude, Maoism is more "one-dimensional." It just is, because it is Maoism…

    Yeah, I was trying to briefly point out how strange that statement was at the end which is why I tried to joke about how there might be a critique immanent to the very set of anti-Maoist theses that the author put forward. I actually was thinking that it was confused nihilism cloaked in Frankfurt School language, but then other posts on that blog seem to demonstrate more of a liberalism or left libertarianism...

  9. Hey yarp, looks like it has a lot of articles to dig into and I wouldn't have discovered it without these comments. Even an article on Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup!


    I recently got a bunch of Frankfurt School-related books. It's an area of Marxist-derived theory of which I have been mostly ignorant, and Platypus and the "anti-Germans" have been a big part of making me suspicious of it (maybe healthily, but also unhealthily in an anti-intellectual sense where somehow all those phrases will somehow end in pissing on the left that exists, particularly its anti-imperialist section), but I will get around to reading some of it. (My favourite takedown from someone apparently with some knowledge of the Frankfurt School)

    This isn't to say "the Left" doesn't need a lot of criticism, but I am glad PCR-RCP works in CLAC, for example.

    Also, I'm really glad you linked directly in this post to the post being criticized. I realize there's a desire to avoid shitstorms or extra linkage, but the post before this one had a lot of feeling of "Who is being criticized here?"

    I need to get my criticisms of the PCR-RCP and PRAC in order, since I am a more timid polemicist in writing, and I think open criticism/self-criticism is vital, especially when I have a lot of differences with them, but I haven't looked into them enough and I really wrote this comment to thank yarp for but didn't just want to dump that.

  10. Thanks for the comment. I think the Frankfurt School is really worth reading, even though I think they have serious blindspots - but so do a lot of left theorists. I do think it's interesting that the RAF found the Frankfurt School's theories of one-dimensionality and the culture industry important even in the midst of guerrilla warfare, though Adorno was probably not very happy with that. Still: there's a lot of good stuff in the Frankfurt School... unfortunately there are also a lot of academic marxists enamoured with the Frankfurt School in a strange way that prevents them from being anything but disaffected academic marxists.

    My previous post was actually not criticizing someone specifically, it was more a result of a conversation about that tendency amongst the left that I had with a comrade the night before: a lot of past experiences were in my mind when I wrote it...

    Reading your link now!

  11. You know, sorry to go on (and this may sound kind of snide), but if this "Frankfurt Fist" fellow was actually up on his Adorno, presumably he would have been more interested in Robert Hullot-Kentor's talk which was going on at the exact same time as the film he reviews with such stupidity. I think he knows about as much about the Frankfurt School as he does about Maoism.

    And here we have his profound reading of the film: on one level "the film was graced with footage (sparse) so beautiful it was awesome in the original sense." Yeah man, it was totally awesome--in the original sense--which presumably means "awe inspiring" or "sublime," that is, _the opposite of the beautiful_. So he begins by invoking the tone of dude-talk and then tries to make it sound like classical aesthetics, but at same time conflates two basic categories of aesthetics all in one phrase. Stylish.

    Then there's this: "I could detect four levels of alienation: B and I from them, all of us from the film, The Japanese from the Palestinians, and Maoism from today." Sorry, "alienation"? So you were "alienated from" the Maoists? Don't you just mean you "didn't like" the Maoists? Perhaps it would be more accurate to say "there were four levels of B. and I not liking things." At least get basic Marxist terminology right. Christ, what an embarrassment...

  12. And "Frankfurt Fist"? I mean, what the hell? Is he trying to make fun of Adorno, et. al.? I know, I know--"it's ironic." But doesn't the irony here cut the wrong way? Isn't this a punch in Adorno's face?

  13. Just a quick comment about Nathaniel's link: it has very little to do with Platypus. Platypus's newspaper, the Platypus Review, is an open-submission newspaper intended as a this case we published an (in my view, crappy) article representing an Anti-German analysis. But it's not representative of what Platypus actually has to say about Israel-Palestine, something Nathaniel could have made might be a "takedown" of ISF, but not Platypus.

  14. A lot of Toronto-based Platypus folk go to/are friendly with PRAC folk so I would very much doubt its them.

    And I echo Jude's particular honing in on "confused nihilism" - though I have some differences with the Frankfurt School myself (mostly around their influencing of the "retreat from class" and valorization of students and youth)..

    I have a feeling I know who it is, and if so, I really pity them....

  15. Jude: the beautiful part about your most recent comment(s) is that I could hear your voice when I read them. I was also thinking about the Hullot-Kentor talk that was happening at the same time when I found myself confronting an Adornoist.

    Ryan H: thanks for the clarification. I hadn't read the link when I responded to Nathaniel, and though it's a great link I am aware that the Platypus Review is an open forum. Although, as I'm sure you are aware, the Anti-Germans are known by the rest of the German left to be racists to pretty much every immigrant population and are seen as imperialist rightists, so I understand the very angry response to a marxist journal printing a reactionary article. But, as you said, it was crappy, but it's also crappy to assume that Platypus is an "anti-German left" organization.

    Jordachev: I also have differences from the Frankfurt School, and I'm sure Jude also has some differences with some Frankfurt School thinkers, but I also think they're clearly important marxist thinkers. I also think the "retreat from class" position, that leads to a valorization of students and youth, is one reading of the Frankfurt School that, I would suggest, is actually the wrong reading. Unfortunately, it's the reading that is probably pushed the most in academic marxist circles (wonder why?). As I noted above in my response to Nathaniel, the RAF had a different reading of the Frankfurt School and, whatever we might think of the RAF's strategy/tactics (obviously a failure) they were definitely not against a retreat from the concept of class struggle––I think it's important to note that they saw a lot of Frankfurt School analyses as significant for understanding class in the centres of capitalism.

  16. Ryan H: "Neither the endless “peace process” nor Katyusha rockets shot by Islamic fundamentalists at working-class Israeli towns point towards an emancipatory politics." if this is "representative of what Platypus has to say about Israel-Palestine" then it's still pretty outrageous.

  17. Not to hijack this thread (JMP feel free to tell us to take it somewhere else) but: why is that outrageous?

  18. Not to speak for yarp, but I would guess that he takes issue with the valorization implied by naming colonial settlements "working class towns"... but that's just a guess.

    In any case, I would say that this argument probably belongs in another context rather than on this thread, though for interests of political interaction, I'll let yarp explain and then you explain, and then maybe you can take it elsewhere.

  19. JMP:

    It was a quick post after reading yours somewhat late. My feelings on the Frankfurt School, by no means based on an exhaustive reading, are mixed. I really like a lot of Adorno, but haven't read enough - and I like Benjamin, while of course he's not strictly speaking a Frankfurt Schooler. Frankfurt School Political Economist Hendryk Grossman is perhaps the granddaddy of crisis theory. My point is less about the Frankfurt School as a whole - as they were heterogenous - than it is applied more narrowly to my own (Wood-inspired) reading of Marcuse. With that said, I do recognize that others have been politically motivated by his work and that my reading has not been systematic - though I think we can all recognize that Marcuse'swork is predicated upon a sort of Galbraithian/Sweezyian assumption of abundance capitalism permeating advanced capitalist economies.

  20. Can we all recognize that Marcuse's work is predicated on that? I don't think it's that simple... then again, I'm not a Marcuse scholar so I wouldn't be prepared to argue otherwise. We do have a mutual friend, however, whose work rejects this interpretation of Marcuse. Or maybe it's more accurate to say that Marcuse's work becomes stronger if it's rearticulated through other political economies. In any case, that's another topic for another time.

  21. That's probably the case - I am very interested in more about how this friend combines Marcuse with Amin.

  22. This post is so not who this guy is. FF is working class as shit, self-educated, and just happens to be into some weird theory. He's not a hipster at all. Actual proletarians sometimes have weird theories, unlike theoretical proletarians who are always right.

  23. Regardless of whether or not he is "working class" or "self-educated" his original post was arrogant and wrong... But good point between the actual and theoretical.

  24. But I should also add, the assumption about his class position was generated by his own assumptions - couched in the theory the most privileged "marxist" students tend to embrace as their sole theory (i.e. the frankfurt school) - about the class position of: a) the PCR-RCP (which is a working class party that sometimes goes so far as to argue that even if you're a university student you're not a proletarian); b) the PRAC/RSM student members, some of whom also come from poor backgrounds.

    Furthermore, everything he said in his maoist article smacked of first year university student arrogance. If he has a working class background he definitely is acting like he has the empowerment and privilege to speak with authority about things he doesn't know. His entire "analysis" of maoism was just utterly wrong (hence the response), his arrogant platitudes about the "we" who are going to rebuild the left sounded, as usual, like a privileged white male student.

    Just saying someone is "as working class as shit" doesn't necessarily make it so, especially since I don't know this person (just like he didn't know the students he called "bourgeois") except through the consciousness he expresses in what he wrote––a consciousness that smacked of a certain level of privilege. Maybe that privilege is his maleness and whiteness; maybe it's because he comes from a sector of the working class that is *not* the proletariat but the Canadian labour aristocracy [unionized workers who often are more privileged, in the centres of imperialism, than immigrant shop-owners]; maybe, as you say, he's just into some random weird theories. Whatever the case, he sounded precisely like the kind of first year student I encounter on a regular basis who is not working class and so I treated him in kind.


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