[Marxism] To the Author of "3 years later" (and none the wiser!)

RKOB aktiv at rkob.net
Fri Jan 26 21:19:09 MST 2018

I think this contribution summarizes in a nutshell the bankruptcy of 
petty-bourgeois French "secularist leftism". No wonder that they are 
isolated from the migrant masses in the banlieues and focus to their 

Such people are defending the disgusting and racist magazine "Charlie 
Hebdo", sympathize with the idea that "/French leftists (until the 
2010s) refused to let someone wearing a cross or a hijab speak at a 
meeting/", etc..

For those interested in the character of the racist magazine "Charlie 
Hebdo", I refer readers to a collection of articles here 

This article might be particular relevant: 

All this confusion of " religion" in France or the USA without 
differentiating the institutions of the ruling class like the Catholic 
Church or other Christian churches and the Muslims, who are an racist 
oppressed minority both in France and the USA - what does this have to 
do with a materialist method?!

Can anyone imagine the Bolsheviks not allowing a Muslim woman to speak 
at a meeting because she wears a hijab?! Yes, the Stalinists did so, but 
not the Bolsheviks in the time of Lenin and Trotsky!

Such leftists like this author are a shame and only discredit the whole 
idea of Marxism and Communism! As a communist and atheist revolutionary 
since 36 years (and not an American citizen, by the way) I can only say 
that any Marxist must make sure not to be associated with such 
social-imperialist nonsense!

Am 27.01.2018 um 04:14 schrieb Dan via Marxism:
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> Hi,
> I am a French/Irish Council Communist, and I last sent a message to 
> this list three years ago, in January 2015, after the Charlie Hebdo 
> Massacre. I was angry then.
> Americans had never heard of Charlie Hebdo. French people had known 
> about this satirical paper for 40 years. It had always been very, very 
> left of centre, since the 1970s in fact, but for the purposes of 
> post-modern minority politics has been falsely described as "racist". 
> Cabu, the cartoonist, had drawn countless cartoons against the French 
> war in Algeria in the 1960s, Bernard had presented Marxist theory in 
> an implacable and yet accessible way to the public, Charb had been an 
> unfailing help in the unions' struggle against the anti-unionist 
> policies of the 1990s and 2000s. They were shot dead at their office 
> in January 2015. And yet, they had criticized Mohamad and been shot 
> dead for this, and to add insult to injury, the American left had spat 
> on their graves and labelled them, without any knowledge of who they 
> were, "racists" and "islamophobic bigots". I had been a regular reader 
> of Charlie HEbdo from the 1990s onwards, despite my pious parents' 
> disapproval (Charlie Hebdo was very anti-religious and especially 
> anti-Catholic: I remember specifically the Charlie Hebdo issue showing 
> a female Pope in the 1990s). To put it in a nutshell, I was so 
> disgusted that I resolved not to talk to American leftists until three 
> full years had passed, so sure was I, that religious intolerance would 
> soon prove to be such a big issue that simply pandering to it would be 
> seen as silly.
> Well, three years have passed. ISIS appeared and disappeared. The 
> American working class, and the French working class, have continued 
> to be hit. The wolves are at the door. In both countries, union 
> membership has decreased to less than 10% and the result has been that 
> the ruling class has been able to rule the roost.
> As for what American leftists have contributed, all I can see is the 
> global spread of minority politics.
> In Notre-Dame-Des-Landes, young activists assure me that they are 
> "vegan" ("nous sommes vegan"). This new word "vegan" comes directly 
> from the American,  ignoring the older French term for someone who 
> eschews ALL animal products "végétalien" as opposed to "vég;etarien" 
> (vegetarian). In PAris, there are meetings of "black men" in one room, 
> "black women" in another room, "racialized men" ("hommes racilialisés" 
> an incredible-sounding new word) in a third room, "racialized women" 
> in a fourth room,"white women" in a fourth, etc..   All things 
> American are exported as commodities, and American leftist fads, from 
> hippies to post-modernism are such commodities. Don't get me wrong, I 
> approve of US anti-authoritarianism, but it tends to become grossly 
> distorted when tediously reproduced abroad. (“le capitalisme est 
> l”oeuvre de l’homme blanc hétérosexuel orthopsy chque qui cherche à 
> dominer la nature qui lui est étrangère par la régulation, etc., etc.”)
> Whereas the working class is simply comprised of all those who make 
> the world go round and add surplus value to the pockets of the 
> entrepreneurs ( a growing, and growing and growing share) , all 
> Americans leftists have been able to contribute is a muddled critique 
> of "europeo-centric enlightenment and gender roles". Not a dent in the 
> money flow of the ruling class, contrary to what unions were able to 
> win in the 1940s-1970s period in France and the US.
> This post-modernism is, paradoxically, the result of the American 
> absorption in the 1970s-1990s of French philosophy (Foucault, Deleuze, 
> Derrida, Lyotard). And why is it paradoxical? Because the French 
> theoreticians were deeply influenced by Marx, going back to 
> Hegelian/Young MArx (critique of work and alienation) dialectics to 
> undermine the ossified hold of the CP on French leftist politics. But 
> Americans, as usual, got the idea that "all meta-narratives are 
> suspect", which brought in the good ol’ American idea of "e pluribus 
> unum"
> Specifically what was DELIBERATELY lost was the idea of CLASS. Which 
> was to be expected, given that in the 1960s and 1970s, when said 
> French theorists were active, it seemed as though the working class 
> had been wholly integrated into “the system”. Only by refusing to 
> conform was there any hope of “seeing difference become irreducible” 
> (Derrida).
> That was in the 1970s. I  stand by Marx and the dialectical method. 
> Which means I am a revolutionary unionist. And my standpoint has been 
> vindicated by events. If unions represent a small minority of the 
> workforce, capital will run the show. That’s all there is to it. Small 
> unions = big capital. Simple.
>  Political posturing and appealing to voters for "reform, women's 
> rights(today read: gay rights) and prison reform" (the old USTP 
> platform) will get the kind of government that does these things... 
> and cannot stop corporate bosses from ruling the roost. Greece's 
> Syrizia tried.  In the UK, Corbyn will never be able to 
> "re-nationalize" the Post Office, etc. Political parties CAN NOT, on 
> their own, be they nationalist, communist,populist or fascist, change 
> the rules of the game and really let the working class take matters 
> into their own hands. Only a concerted movement of the working class 
> can do that, and that means a grassroots, "one big union" approach. 
> Why? Because in a union, union bosses are still accountable to the 
> rank and file. There is so-called "direct democracy/ mandate", which 
> is not the case in "representative democracy".
> I don't expect Leninists to understand, they think of the party as the 
> vanguard, not the union. That is a tragic mistake. And yet, it must be 
> acknowledged that in the 20th century, the fear of the CP and the USSR 
> was instrumental in giving the working class leverage over 
> governments. In the late 1940s, four million Americans went on a 
> one-month strike that earned them the 40 hour-week and the same thing 
> happened in the UK and France.
> The brave editors of Charlie Hebdo braved years of widespread 
> disapproval. In the 70s they dared criticize General De gaulle ("Bal 
> Tragique à Colombay" edition censored). I the 2010s they sensed the 
> danger from fundamentalist Islam and of course that raised hackles 
> among the enemies of freedom.
> All I can hope for in my defense is that the events of the last three 
> years (rise and demises of ISIS) have shown that I was not completely 
> crazy when I railed and ranted against political Islam. Or maybe not. 
> Maybe another three years?
> I am reminded that the division between what Americans call secularism 
> and what the French call secularism is an old one. It goes back to 
> Thomas Paine.  Once an American revolutionary, he was soon dismissed 
> as a "positivist", a "deist", an "enlightenment fanatic". Why? Because 
> he supported the French revolution which sent shudders of fear down 
> the spine of the American middle-class when they heard of the 
> radicalism of the poor "sans-culottes" who wanted "the rich to cough 
> up their wealth".
> American revolutionaries started off as religious secularists 
> (JEfferson) but very, very quickly saw that, once you had got rid of 
> the British monarchy and had an upper-class government, "religion is 
> the glue that holds American society together"(Pierce). From the early 
> 1800s onwards, Thomas Paine rapidly became anathema and French 
> secularism has ALWAYS been singled out, for the last 200 years,by 
> Americans as "too anti-religious". You known, "In the US, all 
> religions coexist freely,etc.", the free community of brothers and 
> sisters that go to church in the same community became the "glue" of 
> American society, so much so, that all Americans who pledge "One 
> nation under God", whatever that God(Jewish,Catholic, Islamic) may be 
> is a good American. As long as he believes in God, he is part of the 
> national community. American revolutionaries embraced Thomas Paine in 
> the 1770s, but then rejected him rafter independence because he was 
> "too French" (Jefferson), and have continued this middle-class 
> tradition that "religion is a social glue" up to the present. So that, 
> contrary to what is common in Europe, working class  concerns often 
> have to be couched in religious language. It is not surprising that 
> Martin Luther King was a protestant minister.
> French leftists do not understand why American working class community 
> leaders hold organizing meetings in churches, and American leftists do 
> not understand why French leftists (until the 2010s) refused to let 
> someone wearing a cross or a hijab speak at a meeting. Well, of 
> course, now American conceptions have won out globally, which is 
> normal given that Americans control the global pulse of capitalism and 
> that the American leftist agenda agrees with the capitalist one.
> Religion has almost become a sign of anti-capitalist rebelliousness, 
> as though we were in the 19th century, when romantics were lamenting 
> the spiritual toll of the industrial age. And what American right-wing 
> thinkers in the 1970-1980s had long been hoping for has at long last 
> come to pass. Thanks to a vigorous American example (America being the 
> undisputed cultural model), believing in a "higher power" is NO LONGER 
> a sign of superstitious servility (that is "regressive positivist 
> thinking") but a sign of "community empowerment". In the 1970s, 
> American sociologists sighed when they saw that “88% of Americans 
> believe in God” and the discussion was on “why America is less secular 
> than Europe”. Now, using misunderstood postmodernism (“meta-narratives 
> are suspect”) ,  American sociologists can affirm”Euro-secularism has 
> to be explained, not American religiosity. The link between economic 
> development, progress and secularism is FALSE. Look at America, look 
> at Turkey, look at India: a modern, highly developed society can exist 
> together with religion. “”The European model is too deterministic.” A 
> perfect way to ignore Marx’s clear-sighted discussion of historical 
> materialism.
> I am of the opinion that this is really of little consequence as 
> capital is faced with a crisis that it can not climb out of, that 
> capitalism is failing worldwide, and that it can only postpone the 
> inevitable reckoning by keeping wages as low as possible and forcing 
> increasing costs on the working class. Its best allies, as in the 
> 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries will be religion, but religion 
> has, as we all know, been compromised by scientific scrutiny. See 
> everything that has been written since the 18th century, from Hegel to 
> Freud, from Marx to Nietzsche,
> Unless of course, we are resolved to think that man cannot change 
> anything in the world that surrounds him.
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