You are browsing the archive for 2018 February 01.

Avatar of admin

by admin

Class Theory and Cultural Marxism

February 1, 2018 in Economics

By Chris Calton


By: Chris Calton

When Karl Marx put forth his theory of history, one of the primary characteristics of the mechanical historical actors was their “class consciousness.” In Marxist doctrine, the whole of humanity in a capitalist society can be divided cleanly into two classes: the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The proletariat was the exploited working class, and their class consciousness would eventually cause them to revolt against the capital-owning bourgeoisie, whose own class consciousness compelled them to exploit the proletariat by “stealing” the product of their labor.

Fallacies abound in Marxist theory, of course, but one of the commonly pointed-out fallacies of the class theory is that the so-called “working class” is impossible to cleanly define. After all, white-collar workers that comprise modern-day middle-class employees seem to have characteristics of both classes, as described by Marx. But this critique, though valid, misses the bigger point of Marxian theory and how it played out in the real world during the twentieth century.

While critics point out the impossibility of clearly defining the two classes, they overlook the very simple method of defining and distinguishing between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie that Vladimir Lenin recognized. Because Marx’s theory deterministically dictated that each class would display its respective “consciousness” – as opposed to simply asserting that they should or might — this absolutist assertion gives a very clear, if circular, means of determining which citizens fall into which class. Thus, Lenin decided simply, and in accordance with Marxist doctrine, that any Russian citizen who agreed with his revolutionary ideals, regardless of station, was a member of the proletariat, and anybody who opposed his revolution was, by default, an enemy bourgeoisie (with all the violent implications included).

This is circular reasoning, of course, but it is consistent with doctrinaire Marxism because if Marx’s class theory is dogmatically interpreted, such logical circularity is valid. This point is worth underscoring because of the swarms of modern defenders of Marx who deny that Lenin was a “true” Marxist.

Regardless, this was the interpretation of Marx’s theories that Lenin adopted and applied prior to the October revolution in 1917, and it had tyrannical implications for how the Soviet Union would be born. As the eminent Soviet historian Martin Malia points out in his great work The Soviet Tragedy:

There existed basically only two classes with two worldviews in society [according to Marxism-Leninism], the proletariat and the bourgeoisie; if any political actor, …read more


Avatar of admin

by admin

Chevron Accused of $2 Million Witness Bribery Plot in Ecuador Pollution Case

February 1, 2018 in Blogs

By Reynard Loki, AlterNet

Justice Department urged to launch criminal probe after tribes submit evidence of Chevron's fabrication of witness testimony.

Indigenous and farmer communities living in Ecuador's rainforest have sent the U.S. Department of Justice what they say is evidence of Chevron's fabrication of witness testimony and fraud during a RICO case in which U.S. federal judge Lewis A. Kaplan ruled in favor of the oil giant. In his decision, Kaplan, who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, said multiple court rulings in Ecuador ordering Chevron to pay $9.5 billion in damages were the product of “egregious fraud.” In 2016, Kaplan's ruling was affirmed by an appellate court.

But, according to the Ecuadorians and their longtime human rights lawyer Steven Donziger, Kaplan's RICO ruling relied on fabricated testimony of judicial bribery delivered by a witness bribed by Chevron. They are demanding that the DOJ launch a criminal probe into Chevron and the company's law firm in New York.  

“The only fraud in the RICO case is Chevron’s fraud,” Donziger told AlterNet.

“As the lawyer for the affected communities, we have presented credible evidence that suggests Chevron presented false testimony to a U.S. federal court to undermine the Ecuador judgment against the company,” said Patricio Salazar, a lawyer in Ecuador representing the affected communities. “This is a strong test of the capacity of U.S. prosecutorial authorities to address claims against a powerful U.S. company that was found to have caused grievous harm to vulnerable indigenous groups in the rainforest.”

In the letter, the Ecuadorian communities urge the DOJ to investigate “facts suggesting a conspiracy by the Chevron Corporation and certain of its counsel and executives to engage in witness bribery, perjury, and obstruction of justice to defraud a United States federal court and the Department of Homeland Security.” The move is the latest salvo in nearly quarter-century legal battle between Ecuadorians trying to protect their ancestral lands and traditional way of life, and one of the world's largest fossil fuel companies, which they say owes them billions for the …read more


Avatar of admin

by admin

Sexism Is a Problem in the Polyamorous Community, Too

February 1, 2018 in Blogs

By Carey Purcell, AlterNet

Click here for reuse options!

Some polyamorous men claim they want equality, yet their rules for women say otherwise.

The morning after a date, Hannah* woke up with what she described as “all the feelings.” She and Greg* had met the night before for scotch and cigars. She had dressed up in an “uber-feminine” outfit, even painting her nails to match her purse. The night had been fun and sexy. But even though she was excited about how well she and Greg clicked, she was uncertain about what would happen, because Greg already had a primary partner—his wife. While Hannah had been in polyamorous relationships before, she had never dated someone with a primary partner.

A self-proclaimed “relationship anarchist,” Hannah was worried that being with someone who already had a primary partner would leave her feeling lonely or unimportant. That had been a problem in her previous relationships, even monogamous ones, and she wondered if it could be avoided when more than one person was involved. But more than a year later, Hannah and Greg are still happily together. They are constantly in contact, often by text, and are devoted to addressing any insecurities the other has. She has met and likes his wife, and the two sometimes talk independently of Greg. Both partners agree the keys to their successful relationship are communication and respect.

While Hannah and Greg’s relationship is deliberately egalitarian, some polyamorous relationships do not fit that description. Instead of being feminist, they are sexist, and even sometimes regressive and misogynist.

“The difficult thing about alternative lifestyles in general is that they tend to be easy places for shady characters to hide,” Diana* said. An advocate of what she calls “compassionate communication,” Diana has been in a polyamorous relationship for four years and has happily embraced …read more