Marxism, Exploitation, and Oppression

Socialism 2018

July 05, 2018

Oppression or economic inequality. Social justice or economic reform. Trump's tenure in the White House has thrown into sharp relief the scale of social and economic crises in US society. It has also engendered a sense of urgency in ordinary people to figure out the root causes of widespread immiseration, social violence, and despair, and to try and plot a way forward. The 2018 midterm elections are certain to constrain this debate as one between left populism a la Bernie Sanders, and the identity politic platitudes of the rest of the Democratic party. But there is yet another framework that originates from the genuine Marxist tradition: exploitation and oppression are part of a totality that ensures both capitalist production and the reproduction and maintenance of the capitalist system itself. The destruction of either exploitation or oppression depends on both the independent struggle of the oppressed and the united struggle of the working class to dismantle capitalism as a whole.

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