Marxism and Identity Politics

by Martin Suchanek

“We believe that the most profound and potentially radical politics come directly from our own identity.” (Combahee River Collective, 1977)

This sentence, coined by a group of radical Black feminists in the 1970s, represents a kind of credo for what is understood today as “identity politics”. In recent decades, a variety of social movements, ranging across the political spectrum from feminist to radical left, reformist, bourgeois-liberal and even right-wing populist have come to embrace the concept. Thus, as identity politics has become increasingly influential, its content has become more and more politically ambiguous. More

Nostalgia: Return of Social Democracy

by Marcus Otono

Probably the most effective “reform” on capitalism ever attempted resulted in the rise of social democracy. Social democratic policies enacted in the last century took the edge off of the sharp blade of exploitation of the working class by capitalism by addressing some of the economic inequalities that are inherent in a “winner take all” system. Using tools of progressive taxation, legal protections for worker’s organizations, and a more equal distribution of that taxation and the wealth created, more of the production engendered by the workers under capitalism was spread into wider and wider hands. It seemed to be the panacea that would allow capitalism to flourish without too much of a reaction from the exploited. More

A Crisis of Leadership

Over the last few years, we have seen the emergence of an increasingly militant and confident layer of working class activists prepared to shake things up in the trade union movement. Although mostly seen on a local level, this need for a change in outlook is also beginning to have national implications. More

From the Civil War to the Comintern – Fighting Racism in the USA

Originally published May 1995

The oppression suffered by black workers in the USA from the last quarter of the nineteenth century eliminated much of the gains of the early post Civil War period. The reformist labor leaders of the time helped entrench this racism within the trade unions. In the first of two articles, John McKee explains the roots of this apartheid within the labor movement and shows how a radical, if incomplete, break with this legacy formed part of the early years of US communism under the influence of Lenin’s Third International. More