[Marxism] New article responding to 'class-first' marxists

Omar Hassan sherrife at gmail.com
Sat Jul 28 22:47:49 MDT 2018

One of my favourite articles in the latest edition of the Marxist Left
Review <http://marxistleftreview.org/> is this piece by Sarah Ganham. It is
an engaged and engaging critique of a set of economistic responses to the
failure of identity politics that are growing among sections of the broad

"Overall the net effect of neoliberalism has been to accelerate the
oppression of the working class and women and racial minorities. Far from
social emancipation coming at the expense of workers’ rights, we’ve been
pushed back on all fronts. The co-option of members of oppressed groups
into the ranks of the middle and upper classes in no way diminishes this
fact. Those who have risen in this way have themselves experienced a
lessening of oppression, but their numbers are finite and, like every other
neoliberal venture, their gains do not trickle down.


...it is essential that the left understands oppression, relates to those
affected by it and actively strengthens movements against it. These
movements are necessary not only to challenge specific forms of oppression,
but also to rebuild a united and powerful working class movement. To this
end it is imperative to confront, rather than accept, racist and sexist
attitudes within the working class. But also, we need to understand that
this is not just a moral task. Rather it is an imperative that stems from a
theoretical and political approach that recognises the integration of
oppression and class within the totality of capitalism. A working class
perspective that prioritises mass action and builds in the direction of
politically engaged forms of class struggle is crucial in order for these
movements to win. Socialists have always played a role in orienting
movements against oppression in this way.

There is another reason this integrated approach is important. It informs
but is also necessary to build a movement capable of overthrowing the
entire capitalist system. For the working class to fulfil its potential of
liberating itself and humanity from the horrors of capitalist society, it
must become the “universal” class, capable of “represent[ing] its interest
as the common interest of all the members of society”.[45] Both the
struggle for and the establishment of socialism can only be based on the
most radical form of democracy and equality. This means articulating the
demands of all the oppressed, in order to lead them in a united struggle
against the common enemy. Such an articulation can only stem from a
development of consciousness within the working class of the ways in which
the structures of specific forms of oppression are linked to the structures
of their own oppression and exploitation. With this understanding, it’s
clear that the interests of the oppressed are indivisible from those of the
working class as a whole."


The edition also includes serious work on the crisis of neoliberalism
a political economy of the situation in Gaza
right now, trump's strategy for the US empire
Engels on the rise of women's oppression
and more.

More information about the Marxism mailing list