On Equality: Them and Us

inequalityThe average person has no shortage of misconceptions about Marxism and Socialism. There are, of course, the obvious ones: the conflation of Marxism and Stalinism, and of socialism and the capitalist welfare state. But perhaps just as widespread is another claim. Pro-capitalist education has propagandized the idea that Marxists are concerned only with an abstract notion of “equality,” and that this is an ideal from which we attempt to create a “utopia.” Many liberal intellectuals are quick to “defend” the Marxists with the claim that “communism is a good idea on paper—but it just can't work in practice.” What wonderful “friends” these are, who think we are small children!

Book Review: "Terrorism and War" by Howard Zinn

zinnBarack Obama has declared his intention to return to open intervention in the Middle East, but the antiwar movement remains too paralyzed to make sense of the situation. It may seem odd to be reviewing a book that is now past its twelfth birthday, but the content of this book is incredibly relevant to today’s world, and a proper understanding of its virtues and failings may prove useful in light of recent events. Author Howard Zinn was widely respected as a revolutionary scholar and friend of the oppressed. This reputation is well deserved, but Zinn was never a Marxist, and his analysis of war and terrorism is based more on bourgeois morality than on a real understanding of the class struggle.

The Dynamic History of US Political Parties

writing the declaration of independence 1776Given its tumultuous rise to world prominence over a period of less than two centuries, it is no surprise that the history of political parties in the United States is equally effervescent. There has been a continuous and contradictory process of rise and fall, development, decay, and renewal of economic possibilities and interests, which is also expressed in politics. Today’s dominant parties have not always had their current grip on political power, and there have not always been just two major parties. At various times, third, and even fourth viable parties have emerged, sometimes succeeding in supplanting the parties of the day, sometimes appearing as just a blip in US history. What does the United States' history of political parties tell us about the potential future political developments?