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This site was established by leftwingers who support the war in Iraq. We called it "Last Superpower" because we believe that US imperialism is weaker than it has ever been before and is no longer the almighty superpower it makes itself out to be. This is a place for people who want to discuss what it really means to be progressive and left-wing in the 21st century - and where we can go from here.
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!

We have replaced the Forum with a blog which we've named Strange Times.   You can see it here


The Forum still exists in archive form  (and is much easier to browse because each message opens far more quickly!) . However you cannot post to the archive. It is read-only. Click here to go to the archive.

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                   "The pseudo-left opposes modernity, development, globalization, technology and progress. It embraces obscurantism, relativism, romanticism and even nature worship. At May Day rallies, the pseudo-left whines about how things aren't what they used to be."


Click here for more info on our logo, "Lady Liberty".

On our MAIN FORUM (now archived ... see above) you will find discussion on such issues as

If you are bored with pseudo-left ideology and would like to join in discussions about building a genuine radical left, please come along and join in the discussion.

And if you think we are wrong,  prove it by arguing with us - as sharply and intelligently as possible. 

Click here for a description of our general stance

Our archive:  click on the yellow folders at the top left of this page to see our archived material.

Currently featured material:

 

Site sampler - a  selection of new and old material  (if you want more - read the archive and also our main forum).

Marxism

Engels and Marx - Historical Method - The great basic thought that the world is not to be comprehended as a complex of readymade things, but as a complex of processes, in which the things apparently stable no less than their mind images in our heads, the concepts, go through an uninterrupted change of coming into being and passing away, in which, in spite of all seeming accidentally and of all temporary retrogression, a progressive development asserts itself in the end — this great fundamental thought has, especially since the time of Hegel, so thoroughly permeated ordinary consciousness that in this generality it is now scarcely ever contradicted. But to acknowledge this fundamental thought in words and to apply it in reality in detail to each domain of investigation are two different things.
(Published: 2004-11-10 12:00 AM)
Engels on Hegel - all that is real is rational; and all that is rational is real. "Just as in France in the 18th century, so in Germany in the 19th, a philosophical revolution ushered in the political collapse. But how different the two looked! The French were in open combat against all official science, against the church and often also against the state; their writings were printed across the frontier, in Holland or England, while they themselves were often in jeopardy of imprisonment in the Bastille. On the other hand, the Germans were professors, state-appointed instructors of youth; their writings were recognized textbooks, and the termination system of the whole development — the Hegelian system — was even raised, as it were, to the rank of a royal Prussian philosophy of state! Was it possible that a revolution could hide behind these professors, behind their obscure, pedantic phrases, their ponderous, wearisome sentences? Were not precisely these people who were then regarded as the representatives of the revolution, the liberals, the bitterest opponents of this brain-confusing philosophy?"
(Published: 2003-06-14 11:00 PM)
Mao Zedong - On Contradiction - This essay on philosophy was written by Mao Zedong after his essay "On Practice" and with the same object of overcoming the serious error of dogmatist thinking to be found in the Party at the time. Originally delivered as lectures at the Anti-Japanese Military and Political College in Yenan, it was revised by the author on its inclusion in his Selected Works.
(Published: 2004-12-15 08:15 PM)
Stalin: Anarchism or Socialism - Classic exposition of the Marxist critique of anarchism.
(Published: 2006-01-14 07:50 PM)
The Communist Manifesto - A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies. Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries? Two things result from this fact: I. Communism is already acknowledged by all European powers to be itself a power. II. It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of Communism with a manifesto of the party itself. To this end, Communists of various nationalities have assembled in London and sketched the following manifesto, to be published in the English, French, German, Italian, Flemish and Danish languages.
(Published: 2006-08-06 07:39 AM)
The relation between materialism and idealism - ...the materialism of Marx and Engels was not mechanistic. In rejecting idealism and asserting that consciousness is determined by life rather than vice versa, they were certainly not suggesting that correct ideas were automatically (mechanically) generated inside our heads as some sort of knee-jerk response to ‘the conditions of life’. Although they sometimes talked of the human mind as a “mirror” of reality, it was always clear that human cognition must be seen as an active process of moving from the concrete to the abstract, rather than just a passive reflection of reality. Marx ‘s statement that “all science would be superfluous if the outward appearance and the essence of things directly coincided.” puts this in a nutshell And Engels’ extensive writings on natural science and dialectics leave us in no doubt that there was nothing crudely mechanical in the way he viewed the relation between the ideal and the material. However while materialist dialectics in no way demeans the human capacity for thought and understanding, it does reject the idealist premise that human thought (rationality, consciousness) must be the starting point for philosophy.
(Published: 2004-12-10 12:00 AM)
Things, Processes, Dialectics, Individuals - Engels describes how understanding processes is a higher form of knowledge than understanding things, and that the things “... go through an uninterrupted change of coming into being and passing away, in which, in spite of all seeming accidentally and of all temporary retrogression, a progressive development asserts itself in the end”. Much of the commentary about Iraq is from commentators who understand some things, more or less, but do not understand the whole process in the same way that we understand it. Hence there might even be agreement about most of the facts but the interpretation of the facts might vary depending on our understanding of historical process and how some things can turn into their opposites in certain conditions (dialectics).
(Published: 2004-01-21 12:00 AM)

What does the real Left think?

a Couldn't we live perfectly well without money? "I think that the problems with money are more or less self-solving. Marx explained this long ago, that the whole development of commodity production leads to the development of wage labour and capital, which leads to a deeper and deeper concentration of property in the hands of a few, and a larger and larger working class which has no stake in the present society and nothing to lose but their chains. That is the history of modern capitalist development, and it is the history of why Marx was so enthusiastic in his praise for the corrosive effect of money on the old communities."
(Published: 2005-01-21 08:23 PM)
Writing "Fanshen" : a talk by William Hinton - On April 3, 1999, a one-day conference, “Understanding China’s Revolution: a Celebration of William Hinton’s Lifework” was held at Columbia University to celebrate his eightieth birthday. At the conclusion of the conference, organized by China Study Group and cosponsored by Monthly Review and Columbia’s East Asian Institute, Hinton gave an impromptu talk on the background to the writing of Fanshen: A Documentary of Revolution in A Chinese Village.
(Published: 2005-07-14 08:33 AM)
Why the cultural revolution was defeated - a 1979 paper. Nobody can deny that the coup d'etat of October 6, 1976 has resulted in a fundamental change in direction for China, and the dispute was between two fundamentally opposed political lines - whichever side you happen to agree with. Yet it was originally presented as merely the overthrow of four individuals who were described as Kuomintang agents etc., and their defeat was presented as a great victory for Mao Tsetung Thought and the Cultural Revolution. Quite clearly the Cultural Revolution and Mao Tsetung Thought has been defeated in China and this has had enormous repercussions for Marxist-Leninists, or "Maoists" around the world
(Published: 2005-06-25 06:06 AM)
What's wrong with the Left? Peter Tatchell says "When human rights violations are perpetrated by people who happen to be non-white, much of the left runs a mile. They are fearful of being accused of racism and neo-colonialism. Does that help oppressed people? Of course not! Their oppressors rejoice. Mugabe must be thrilled that the international left has not campaigned to isolate him. He can point the finger and say, it is only the western colonialists who oppose them."
(Published: 2005-12-27 07:38 PM)
Unemployment and Revolution - 1981 analysis of why unemployment occurs under capitalism. Many references to the particular conditions in Australia at the time - unemployment had reached its highest level since WW2 and there had been much debate in the media about the need for everyone to "tighten their belts" etc.
(Published: 2006-08-06 09:19 PM)
The enemy is not America - Why is international public opinion not outraged at the treatment of women in Islamic fundamentalist societies? Why is it easier for millions of people around the world to see America as the great evil, rather than the countries in which governments ignore such horrific abuses of women?
(Published: 2004-05-03 05:18 AM)
The Soviet Bloc was Capitalist - One of the critical tasks in resurrecting revolutionary politics is to refute the generally accepted belief that the former Soviet Union and 'eastern bloc' were socialist. Both the 'left' and right espouse this view in order to discredit communism. It reveals a failure to understand what socialism is essentially about
(Published: 2005-11-22 07:02 AM)
The Left and the Gulf War - During the [1990-91] Gulf War the pseudo left gave one of the most spectacular displays of its ability to get things wrong. They thought they were on a winner. Here was a chance to relive the Vietnam antiwar movement. But of course that fell flat when the Americans creamed the Iraqis in a matter of weeks, with the minimum of US body bags.
(Published: 2005-11-22 06:53 AM)
The Bewildered Right - There are two possibilities - either Bush planned democratic revolution in the Middle East all along or he just made it up as he went along. We've been arguing all along that Bush and company had a very real need to deceive the right because Bush planned to do something that was genuine left in Iraq, overthrow fascism and support democracy
(Published: 2003-12-01 12:00 AM)
Red and Green don't Mix - Red and green don't mix because they are polar opposites. Reds want to create a better society on the basis of the conditions created by modern industrial capitalism while greens want to retreat from those conditions. For reds, modern industrial society is creating the conditions for a future communist society, with bourgeois relations of production being the obstacle to its achievement.
(Published: 2005-11-22 02:40 PM)
On the role of Mao Zedong - In 1995 a foreign reporter interviewed me about Mao. She sought me out as someone who had met the man in person and openly admired him over the years. She asked, "What about all the people he killed? What about all those famine deaths? And what about all the suffering and destruction of people in the Cultural Revolution?" With these questions she lined herself up with the current media line on Mao, the line of conventional wisdom, which is to present him as a monster—Mao, the monster. The Mao-the-monster thesis depends on two major charges. The first makes him responsible for all the euphoria and excesses of the Great Leap Forward and the organization of people’s communes, which, so the charges go, led to a collapse of production and finally to famine in China. (Isn’t it indeed strange that this famine was not discovered at the time but only extrapolated backward from censuses taken 20 years later, then spinning the figures to put the worst interpretation on very dubious records.) I do not mean to say that there were no mistakes in policy, no crop failures, and no starvation at all, but the hardships of those years are advertised as the greatest famine in human history, a conclusion that I do not accept. The second charge blames Mao for the extremes of violence and all the personal tragedies that occurred during the Cultural Revolution. Must Mao take the blame for all these phenomena?
(Published: 2005-07-14 08:33 AM)
May Day - it's the festival of the distressed - For more than two decades, the genuine Left has been swamped by a pseudo-Left whose hostility to capitalism is reactionary rather than progressive. The pseudo-Left opposes modernity, development, globalisation, technology and progress. It embraces obscurantism, relativism, romanticism and even nature worship. At May Day rallies, the pseudo-Left whines about how things aren't what they used to be. The real Left has been marginalised, debating neither the neo-cons nor the pseudo-Left, simply because there has been no audience for that debate. Incoherent nonsense from complete imbeciles is published as "Left" comment in newspapers just so right-wing commentators can pretend they have something intelligent to say. In fact "Left" is used as a euphemism for "pessimistic", "unimaginative" and just plain "dull".
(Published: 2003-04-30 11:00 PM)
Kafa! Zero tolerance for racist thugs! "Most of us are here because we are INTOLERANT of violent thugs on either side and want to do something to stop them. Racists on both sides want surfies and lebs to fight each other. That's no way to enjoy the beach" - Proposed leaflet for distribution at Melbourne anti-racism rally on Sunday December 18.
(Published: 2005-12-17 05:36 PM)
Hegel and the Pseudo-Left - Three postings discussing Hegel's 1886 statement "All that is real is rational; and all that is rational is real", in relation to current pseudo-left ideology.
(Published: 2005-06-14 11:00 PM)
Gerecht (US Right-winger): anti-American democracy is fine - "The fall of Saddam Hussein has already accelerated convulsive democratic debates in Arab lands and in their more combative and open expatriate media. The region's dictators and kings may have a difficult time stuffing this discontent and dissent back into the tried-and-true shibboleths—principally anti-Zionism and anti-Americanism—that have consumed the intellectual energy of so many, and offered the autocrats a safety valve for popular dissatisfaction with the regimes in place. Arab left-wing intellectuals seem today less domesticated than they were just a few years back, when they eagerly turned most of their venom toward Israel and Ariel Sharon. Muslim fundamentalists, especially in Egypt, still the lodestone among Arab nations, seem much less likely to play along, and are increasingly backing the popular push for more open political systems."
(Published: 2006-03-03 10:24 PM)
Draining the Swamps: Correspondence with Chomsky. In September 2002, Chomsky wrote an article entitled Drain The Swamps And There Will Be No More Mosquitoes. Subsequently the article Mayday - It's the Festival of the Distressed was published, which argued that the US is indeed following a policy of draining the swamps. This view waspresented to Chomsky who refused to give it any serious consderation.
(Published: 2004-12-09 06:56 AM)
Discussion of Postrel's book: "The Future and its Enemies" - Postrel divides the world into dynamists and stasists - dynamists support evolution and the processes of variation, feedback and adaptation - stasists supports stability. "Do we search for stasis - a regulated engineered world? Or do we embrace dynamism - a world of constant creation, discovery and competition?"
(Published: 2004-12-12 06:00 AM)
Barry York: Not in your name, indeed - It is too late for the so-called Left in Australia to stand anywhere but condemned for its failure to support the successful war to liberate Iraq. It stood on the side of reaction, and the history books must place its leaders alongside the British pacifists of the '30s who, as George Orwell pointed out, gave comfort and objective support to Hitler. The pseudo-Left proved not just that it can be wrong but that in the name of anti-Americanism it can support fascism.
(Published: 2005-10-14 11:00 PM)
Arab liberals debate - Lebanese Pierre Akel hosts the popular Web site Middle East Transparent, which receives 50,000-60,000 hits a day. While the Paris-based site is trilingual (Arabic, English, French), its particular value is that it has become a forum for Arab liberals who would otherwise have no outlet for their writings.
(Published: 2006-02-09 05:06 PM)
Analysing the pseudo-left - The fact that any sort of genuine left (however defined) is currently absent is what makes it possible for people with fundamentally reactionary politics to be mistaken for "leftists" merely by using a thin veneer of "left language". But that absence is not the cause of the reactionary politics nor is the pseudo-left the reason for the absence of a genuine left. I'm delighted to see Harry again using the term "pseudo-left" as widespread adoption of that term will help clarify a lot of things. But it simply doesn't make sense to hope that the likes of Monbiot finally realizing that they are not opposed to capitalism could be a step towards the emergence of a left that isn't pseudo.
(Published: 2006-08-06 08:31 PM)
1993 review of "Imperialism, pioneer of Capitalism" - Bill Warren's book, Imperialism, Pioneer of Capitalism, performs a useful service by refuting much of the mythology that the left has embraced in the name of 'anti- imperialism'.
(Published: 2005-11-22 06:06 AM)
Fascism and the Left - "A major theme in left wing propaganda is opposition to fascism. Quite often relatively moderate opponents of the left are described as "fascists". Yet scratch a "Communist" and one quite often finds a fascist underneath...The degeneration of Communist Parties in power is a separate problem calling for a separate analysis. But what about the degeneration of parties holding no power?"
(Published: 2006-01-04 05:20 AM)

Some of our forum topics

Aggression, fascism, strategy and logic - discussion from previous LS site. Why, and when, should we support the US overthrow of fascist regimes?
(Published: 2003-05-10 11:00 PM)
All that is solid melts into air! "Modern bourgeois society, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and exchange, is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the underworld that he has called up by his spells." - The Communist Manifesto
(Published: 2006-08-05 02:16 AM)
Building Democracy in Iraq - There is a lot of good, interesting analysis going on here. Site members are really tring to stretch themselves far beyond 'gotcha!' debating points, to work out what to do now in Iraq.
(Published: 2006-08-05 05:47 AM)
Chomsky: drowning not waving...The US ruling-elite forgot how to install puppets, is the stunning conclusion we are asked to draw from an interview by znet with Noam Chomsky given on 27/12/05. patrickm discusses the interview - their differences are that Chomsky believes the USA just wanted to install puppets in Iraq, while patrickm thinks that they are real 'bourgeios democrats'. That is to say, the politicians of Iraq are as free as the politicians of the USA, Australia, or any other western liberal-capitalist society.
(Published: 2006-08-05 06:25 AM)
Current Events (or events that were current at the time of writing) - a collection of links to our best posts on the topic
(Published: 2006-08-06 08:35 AM)
Debate with Clive Bradley - This is a long debate about the Iraq war between Clive Bradley, from the British Trotskyist group "Alliance for Worker's Liberty", and members of Last Superpower
(Published: 2003-12-03 12:00 AM)
Dialectics - it's important to study dialectics itself (Mao, Hegel etc.) because this creates an awareness or sensitivity to possibilities of things turning into their opposite that we otherwise might not even notice - it has the potential to make our thinking more fluid and flexible.
(Published: 2006-08-04 10:50 PM)
Draining the Swamps - in 2002 Noam Chomsky said we need to 'drain the swamps' of the Middle East (that is, overthrow the fascist tyrants of the MidEast) to make sure we breed no more terrorist "mosquitoes". We agree, and we say that is just what Bush is doing.
(Published: 2006-08-05 02:32 AM)
Forward with Revolution - a collection of links to our best posts on the topic
(Published: 2006-08-06 08:52 AM)
Grand Strategy - a collection of links to our best posts on the topic
(Published: 2006-08-06 08:40 AM)
Hamas and Egypt - Far more significant than Hamas' temporary ascendancy is the explosive effect for the region as a whole. If Hamas can be elected in occupied Palestine and Fateh can become a loyal opposition aiming to win back power in later elections, why can't the Muslim Brotherhood be elected in Egypt and the most important Arab state become a democracy too? Every regime in the region will be shaken to its foundations. And not just shaken.
(Published: 2006-08-04 11:18 PM)
History - A collection of links to our best posts on the topic
(Published: 2006-08-06 08:30 AM)
Iraq, the Mideast, and South Asia - a collection of links to our best posts on the topic.
(Published: 2006-08-05 06:22 AM)
Israel's POWs - What's Israel's game plan in its war with Hezbollah? Talking and acting tough but actually preparing Israeli opinion for withdrawal from the West Bank?
(Published: 2006-08-04 10:58 PM)
Last Superpower Site Direction - a collection of links to our best posts on the topic
(Published: 2006-08-06 08:48 AM)
Liberating Technology - a collection of links to our best posts on the topic
(Published: 2006-08-06 08:44 AM)
Materialism and Atheism - a collection of links to our best posts on the topic
(Published: 2006-08-06 08:56 AM)
Middle East settlement - The Orwellian process in which "Oceania is at war with Eurasia, Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia" seems almost complete. What looks like war mongering against Iran and exceptionally bellicose propaganda for brave little Israel with ludicrous claims that it is defending itself from extinction at the hands of murderous terrorists and denying that the root cause is the Israeli occupation and disposession of the Palestinians ends up making withdrawal from the West Bank and establishment of a Palestinian state look like a minor tactial adjustment to help isolate Iran.
(Published: 2006-08-05 01:47 AM)
Multiculturalism - At one time to support multiculturalism was to be politically correct. What do "multiculturalism", "liberalism" and"cultural relativism" mean exactly and where do they fit in an analysis of progress?
(Published: 2006-08-05 01:41 AM)
Policy on Iran - This thread starts with a link to a Christopher Hitchens article, which asks what the Left should do about the priestly regime in Iraq. After a brief reply with some links, a very strange cat indeed is thrown amongst the pigeons. The reply says that "most of the material appearing on current US and Iranian strategic intentions is disinformation". Suspicion is that Shi'ite Iran and the USA are in an unspoken alliance, since Sunni militants like Bin Laden and the Wahabi fundamentalists in Saudi Arabia are their common enemy.
(Published: 2006-08-05 05:55 AM)
Super Imperialism - This thread starts off by asking, "What is the ruling class like at the moment"? A ruling class dominated by multi-national corporations is different to one dominated by 'national' or 'local' corporations. There are bitter struggles going on right now inside the ruling class about which sort of business should have the upper hand. There have been all sorts of changes in the world since the fall of the Soviet Union. Once again, the ruling class fights inside itself to decide, for instance, if they should just prop up friendly dictators like Sadaam or the House of Saud, or if they should try and overthrow them. We need to be able to think clearly about this so that we can start asking 'when does revolution become possible?'.
(Published: 2006-08-05 05:40 AM)
Third Anniversary of Iraq War - Byork (No, not the megafamous one) starts the thread by referring to a 'defeatist' article in 'The Age' (Melbourne's 'liberal' broadsheet, roughly similar in outlook to the Guardian in the UK, or National Public Radio in the USA), on March 14th, 2006. Was Bush's infamous 'mission accomplished' mistake avoidable? Was it even a mistake?
(Published: 2006-08-05 06:02 AM)
We need Marx because he understood some things and said some things better than anyone else has since. It's important to read the original because people who call themselves marxists have always been in violent disagreement with what it means. If you don't read the original then you have no chance of working it out for yourself.
(Published: 2006-08-06 08:09 AM)
What is Progress, and what is the connection between technology and progress? Is there a genetic lottery,and if so how should we respond to it? How do these questions relate to being left-wing or right-wing?
(Published: 2006-08-04 11:04 PM)
What is the pseudo-left? The pseudo-Left opposes modernity, development, globalisation, technology and progress. It embraces obscurantism, relativism, romanticism and even nature worship. At May Day rallies, the pseudo-Left whines about how things aren't what they used to be.
(Published: 2006-08-04 10:32 PM)
Created by keza
Last modified 2008-06-19 06:25 AM
 

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