Marxism, Exploitation, and Oppression

Socialism 2017

August 15, 2017
With Jen Roesch

A frequent criticism of Marxists is that we are economic reductionists who fail to take seriously the dynamics of racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression. But revolutionary Marxism sees exploitation and oppression as linked, and fighting oppression as precondition for building class unity. As Lenin once wrote, a real socialist must be a “tribune of the people” capable of responding to all forms of tyranny and oppression. Since the 2016 primaries some liberals and leftists, however, have falsely counterposed economic populism to championing the rights of women and minorities—as evidenced for example by Bernie Sanders’ willingness to support anti-choice Democrats. A new generation of activists is making the connections between economic justice and justice for women, Blacks, and other oppressed people. Any movement that fails to link these issues, based on the argument that unity can be built by emphasizing “economic” questions and ignoring or setting aside issues of oppression, is stepping in the wrong direction.

| More