In December 2019, one of the most prominent organizations popularizing anti-imperialist Marxist politics in the First World, the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement (RAIM), disbanded. While our ideas on politics and practice were different in various ways, substantial similarities in our analyses of contemporary imperialism led LOOP and RAIM to work together on a few projects and broadly support each other’s work.
A complete collection of RAIM’s published works would likely run into the thousands of pages. This little book is not intended to express the breadth of RAIM’s political line, nor is it intended to trace the development of that line. This pamphlet is also not a “best of” RAIM. There is much worth reading by RAIM that we do not include here. Instead, our goal in putting these essays together is to put in one place a selection of essays that LOOP believes have significant and ongoing usefulness in our educational and organizing work. And as always, we hope that others find them useful as well. This second edition expands the first by an additional ten essays, quadrupling the length of the original pamphlet.
“What is the Proletariat?” returns to Marx in order to offer a succinct explanation of who the gravediggers of capitalism really are in the current epoch of imperialism – the super-exploited working class of the Global South Both this essay and “Problems with First Worldism” criticize how most who (falsely) call themselves Marxists in the First World while abandoning political economy and replacing the proletariat with the labor aristocracy, misidentifying and misrepresenting exploiters as the exploited.
“Pretending to be Reactionary” deals with a common problem: We come across many people while organizing who call themselves socialists who think making reactionary comments or sharing reactionary memes is “funny” – but these expressions should also be read as declarations of a class stand. How we act in the world matters, and this perspective is especially important given rampant misogyny, not only individual but also organizational, one finds across the spectrum of the activist left.
The next five essays are the most targeted, taking up specific problems that remain widespread within “left” movements in the Global North. While plenty of so-called “socialists” in the United States will talk about hating the pigs employed by their local city governments, they tail after and support the pigs employed by their federal government. “Legionnaires” takes aim at this tendency. “The Socialism Amerika Needs Now” takes on social democracy and the capitulation toward such most First Worldist faux-socialists embrace as their unspoken programme. The following essay underlines how this opportunism can even extend to such heights of opportunism as supposed “anti-fascist” alliances with the Democratic Party – a point proven prescient by the Revolutionary Communist Party’s recent endorsement of the Joe Biden campaign in August 2020. “Socialism in One Settler Colony” and “The Verizon Strike” describe how “left unity” and support for First World “labor” are based on the exploitation of oppressed nations within and without imperialist borders. Moreover, these essays point toward the true nature of the “socialism” that First Worldists and their settler colonial unions want – an apartheid parasitism, a national socialism based on the dispossession and plunder of Native nations alongside the working class and peasantry in the Third World. “First Worldism and Revisionism” capitalizes these essays by extending and synthesizing their insights (as well as that of other articles and struggles!) into a broader theoretical analysis.
The final six essays are all new to this edition and take up two sets of important and interrelated questions: (1) the materialist analysis of class society and (2) what strategic and tactical considerations flow from such an analysis. These articles are included in the main to foster debate and discussion around these burning questions. Their reading can only be of benefit when so many not only ignore these questions, but even actively seek to obscure and obfuscate them.