Is Marxism Relevant? Some Uses and Misuses – Part 2: Revolutionary Vision

– by David Gilbert, political prisoner –
Many of the examples of Marxist-Leninist formations make it tempting to echo Marx in saying, “I’m not a Marxist.” I’m not if Marxism is understood as a pat dogma, as small sects vying to claim leadership of the movement and carrying out political debates by citing opposing quotes from old texts, and especially when it’s used as a “revolutionary” rationale for continuing white and male domination. At the same time, I would encourage today’s activists not to lose a treasure trove in both method and many specifics of analysis by dismissing Marxism out of hand.

Is Marxism Relevant? Some Uses and Misuses – by David Gilbert, political prisoner

A blanket dismissal of Marxism runs the risk of losing some important building blocks for analyzing the nature and vulnerabilities of capitalism. In addition, my experience during more than 50 years in the struggle has shown that those who were able to sustain activism over the long and difficult haul often had some foundation in theory and in a sense of history.

What follows is not an argument for or against Marxism as the defining framework, and it certainly isn’t an attempt to provide an overall or in-depth explanation. Instead I want to talk about a few broad concepts which I found very useful and still seem very relevant today. Often these ideas are markedly different from the more visible versions put forward by various predominantly white and male Marxists.