Marxism and oppression
The tribune of the oppressed

Socialism 2014

June 26, 2014

Marxism is a theory of the liberation of the working class. That does not mean that Marxists consider issues of oppression to be “secondary.” On the contrary, real class unity cannot be built without fighting racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression. Moreover, it is only from the vantage point of the most oppressed class in society that the most thorough challenge to these forms of oppression can be waged. Therefore Marxism puts the struggle against various forms of oppression front and center. As Lenin writes in his book What is to Be Done, “Working-class consciousness cannot be genuine political consciousness unless the workers are trained to respond to all cases of tyranny, oppression, violence, and abuse, no matter what class is affected.” Capitalism depends on different forms of oppression in order to buttress its exploitive social relations. Hence there can be no working-class liberation without combatting all forms of oppression, and there can be no end to all forms of oppression without putting an end to capitalism.

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