The Failure of "Lesser Evilism"

2014election2Editorial for Socialist Appeal 85 - Private ownership of the means of production has hit a dead end on a world scale. The system is dying on its feet, and this inevitably has profound political and social consequences in the country par excellence of capitalism. Francis Fukuyama, who, upon the fall of the USSR, famously declared “the end of history,” now says that America “suffers from the problem of political decay in a more acute form than other democratic political systems.” In plain English: capitalism and its institutions are in big trouble.

The Logic of Imperialism

sa84featuredEditorial from Socialist Appeal 84 - The 2003 invasion of Iraq was a disastrous and criminal adventure. Hundreds of thousands were killed or dislocated and millions continue to suffer the worst imaginable miseries and deprivations. Far from introducing “democracy,” the entire region was destabilized and plunged into an orgy of mayhem, sectarian killings, and poverty. It is a humiliating condemnation of imperialism that, due to its actions, a group once denigrated by Obama as the “junior varsity team” of terrorist outfits is now giving the planet’s mightiest military force a run for its money.

The Youth and the Socialist Future

sa83featuredEditorial for Socialist Appeal 83 - Today’s youth, the so-called millennials, face a bleak future under capitalism. They carry the highest student debt in history and have entered “adulthood” at a time when housing prices have skyrocketed and the labor market has imploded. More than half of recent graduates are unemployed or underemployed, often in low-wage jobs having nothing to do with their degrees. Nonetheless, they must make monthly payments on an average of $20,000 in student loans.

The Decline of US Imperialism

sa82coverfeaturedIn the decades after World War II, US imperialism ruled the roost over much of the planet. After the collapse of Stalinism and the USSR, we were told that we had entered a new era—the “Pax Americana”—in which freedom, peace, and plenty would prevail for the whole of humanity. The reality has been very different. The collapse of the Eastern Bloc was merely a prelude to the greatest impasse in the history of capitalism: an epoch of crisis, wars, revolutions, counterrevolutions, austerity, and instability. Faced with this organic crisis of their system, the only way for the ruling class to reestablish economic equilibrium is by disrupting the social and political equilibrium. They have no idea how to proceed except through cuts, austerity, and repression—all while reaping profits on a previously unimaginable scale.

Food and the Socialist Revolution

sa81coverfeaturedEditorial for Socialist Appeal 81 - Americans’ dysfunctional relationship with food is regularly lamented or mocked in the media and in academia. What is never explained is the root cause of this dysfunction. Marxism explains that conditions determine consciousness. Your physical and social environment heavily influences the choices you make by limiting the very choices that are available to you. For most Americans, decisions about food are based on budget, time, availability, marketing, and the societal norms of their peers and community. These social and cultural norms are as conditioned by material conditions and possibilities as individual choices are. If cheap, convenient food—scientifically engineered to appeal to our biological cravings for fat, salt, and carbs—are all that most people have access to, know about, and can afford, guess what they’re going to “choose”? But the dysfunction goes far beyond that.