ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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‘Unchaining’ Marxism

Palestine as the Weak Link of Capital

Just as all key questions of world poli­tics and global justice led one to the Viet­nam War two generations ago, and where you stood on Vietnam was indicative of where you stood on the interna­tional class struggle, today, there is one such question that carries the same political charge—the question of Palestine.

It is clear that Marxists obsess about chainsthey talk of losing our chains (Marx), of weak links in chains (Lenin), and of course breaking chains, in Luxemburgs beautiful phrasing, Where the chains of capitalism are forged, there they must be broken.

The chain metaphor operates as a political counterpart to the Marxist method of abstractions. Abstraction deriving from the Latin, abstrahere, literally means to pull from. The idea being that reality as it appears before us is too messy to understand, so it has to be parcelled out and then the more manageable parts analysed. The idea of the chain operates in a similar manner for political action: capitalism produces a thicket of political issues always undergirded by the violence of the oppressor and the pain of the dispossessed. In such a maze of myriad oppressions, it is impossible for revolutionaries to choose which project demands their attention. The chain, meanwhile, reveals two things: (i) that capitalism is a global totality, and each link is connected to the other in and through deeply etched social and economic relations; and (ii) that some of the links in this chain may be weak. It is the revolutionarys task to first recognise those weak links, the manageable categories as it were, and then to grasp them because through them one can grasp the whole chain and, indeed, shatter it.

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Published On : 9th Mar, 2024

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