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Burning Down the American Plantation

An Interview with the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement

Colin Jenkins

The political situation in the United States, and the world at large, is really dire and after many years of organizing, discussion, and reflection we came to the conclusion that we should lay out the foundational text for organizing that could lend some direction to the revolutionary movement in the country. If we look at the political and social problems in the US today, we can immediately see there is a gap between the activities of revolutionary organizations and the fortitude, seriousness, and capacity that must be developed to contend with the current situation. There are huge sweeping political problems in the US, which could be resolved through reformist measures. The centralization of political power in two rather similar parties, the remarkable concentration of wealth into a few dozen people's hands (making this one of the most unequal countries in the world), and military industrial complex, which ties it all together, are some of the more acute political problems. One could imagine how there could be a structural change to deal with these - permitting other political parties, redistributing wealth, or ending the bloated military industry. However, the most consistent and unresolvable feature of American life has been the dehumanization and destruction of black..

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Marx's Capital for the 21st Century

Susan Williams

The mid-1800s, when Marx developed his economic theories, was a period with many similarities to ours. People were outraged at injustice, destitution, state violence, the lack of civil rights, and heavy taxation due to governmental debt, conditions caused at that time by the rise of industrial capitalism and the oppressive remnants of feudalism. In 1848, a revolutionary wave surged across Europe. But the outcome was a series of defeats that left workers and radicals beaten down and believing the capitalist rulers were invincible. Striving to understand why the revolts were crushed and what victory would require, Marx began the economic studies that would occupy the rest of his life. Before Marx, socialist thought was dominated by utopianism. This was the dream of an ideal society which only had to be imagined "to conquer all the world by virtue of its own power," as Marx's collaborator Frederick Engels wrote. In contrast, Marx and Engels took a scientific approach. Rather than springing from ungrounded wishes and hopes, Marxism analyzes what actually exists in the social and material world. In his introduction to the first volume of his seminal work, Marx says, "It is the ultimate aim of this work to lay bare the economic law of motion of modern society, i.e., capitalist, bourgeois society." He was embarking on the ultimate "know thy enemy" campaign.

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Fred Perry, Proud Boys, and the Semiotics of Fashion

Anya Simonian

Social scientists took note of these subcultures and worked to explain their meaning in relation to a changing post-war Britain. The seminal work on subculture studies to which all later studies pay homage, or attempt to refute, is Resistance Through Rituals: Youth Subcultures in Post-War Britain, edited by Stuart Hall and Tony Jefferson. Published in 1976, Resistance Through Rituals, as well as the Birmingham Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) from which the work emerged, understood youth subculture in Marxian terms as a manifestation of social, political, and economic change. The historical context for the CCCS interpretation was the post-war period of the 1950s that saw the rise of commercial television, age specific schools, and extended education that brought youth together for longer, more isolated periods of time. Adding to these challenges were the recent violence of war and more fatherless children as a result of war deaths. These factors contributed to the making of an isolated, and later unique subculture of resistance. Drawing from Italian Marxist theorist Antionio Gramsci, a driving foundational assumption of Resistance Through Rituals is that one or more dominant groups in society hold "cultural capital" and subordinate groups or classes find ways to express or challenge their subordinate experience in their own culture. This dominant culture, according to the CCCS, exists solely within the framework of capitalism, whereas the struggle for "cultural capital" becomes a struggle between those with capital versus those who labor. The dominant culture acts as a hegemon and attempts to define..

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Race, Solidarity, and the American Working Class

Edward Carson

The search for solidarity has escaped white, black, and brown working class people, in part, due to white people's historical reluctance to embrace shared experiences that cross racial boundaries. Because of recent political news, mass rallies by Black Lives Matter, and the growing concerns about the economic gap, I aim to resurrect past and present conversations about the "working class." As we know, it is not monolithic. In order to confront working class issues, society must mend the color line through class, which is complex, as the American race question is the real problem. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor's, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, expresses the unchanged dimensions of the American color line and class-consciousness among the working class: "Solidarity is standing in unity with people even when you have not personally experienced their particular oppression. The reality is that as long as capitalism exists, material and ideological pressures push white workers to be racist and all workers to hold each other in general suspicion. But there are moments of struggle when the mutual interests of workers are laid bare, and when the suspicion is finally turned in the other direction - at the plutocrats who live well while the rest of us suffer." Black lives do matter, but many accept arguments that society operates under the guise of color blindness, a falsity that permits modern day atrocities to black and brown Americans. This argument stands in the way of interracial workers forging unity. Black Lives Matter further elicits a reaction to the present-day injustices that were not wholly resolved via 1960's de jure legislation.

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