Armed With a Pen

Views from a worker and student

Author: Tyler Burns (Page 1 of 2)

The State of Neoliberalism in Argentina

With the economic war in Venezuela, the crisis in Argentina has been all but ignored in the West. For the Argentinian people, however, austerity, deregulation, inflation, US interference, the erosion of civil rights, and the government’s increasingly tyrannical treatment of dissenters have not gone unnoticed. As Buenos Aries becomes more and more a battleground, indigenous, feminist, and workers’ movements have risen up to challenge the Mauricio Macri administration as it struggles to keep the economy afloat while shoving right-wing, neoliberal reforms down the people’s throat.

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It’s Time to Ditch the Leninist Aesthetic

Nothing screams “communism” more than Cyrillic letters and a strong Russian jaw. At least, that’s what comes to mind when one imagines the communist brand. Socialist realism, the iconic style of Soviet propaganda, is an enduring staple of the communist aesthetic and has and continues to inspire countless artists. But the thing about art is: it has its time. For socialist realism and the Leninist aesthetic, that time is not 2018.

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Fortunate Son: The Life and Legacy of John McCain

Today, John Sidney McCain III has died. The Republican Senator from Arizona held office for thirty one years before succumbing to glioblastoma, a rare and extremely aggressive form of brain cancer. He leaves behind a legacy of bloodshed, bigotry, and ruination which overshadows any sympathy he may have otherwise received.

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Liberalism, Race, and the Rise of Trump

Most in the US attribute Trump’s 2016 election to one of two reasons: economic anxiety or racism. Either analysis however is incomplete. It would seem that conservatives and liberals alike, both so entrenched in their own right-wing worldviews, retreat into the comfortable shade of ideology before any meaningful conclusion can be arrived at. Thinkers on all sides of the mainstream political spectrum have touched upon the truth of the matter but, having reached the absolute limits of their ideology, immediately pull back, writhing in agony like a man having touched a sore wound.

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Right-Wing Opposition Threatens Venezuela’s Democracy and Sovereignty

Yesterday, an attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s life rocked Caracas. At a parade celebrating the 81st anniversary of the Bolivarian National Guard, several drones packed with explosives descended upon the horrified crowd before detonating early and missing their target. According to Telesur, seven military officials were injured but, thankfully, no deaths have been reported. This latest act of terrorism, the most elaborate yet, once again confirms the obvious: the right-wing opposition and their foreign puppeteers are an existential threat to Venezuela’s democracy and sovereignty.

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The Outmoding of the Slave

History has shown that slavery is an extremely profitable venture until it isn’t. New technological developments are a double edged sword for slave masters, as the increased productivity machines allow for is offset by their slaves own lack of education and inability to effectively utilize new technology, and growing slave populations make keeping your labor force from killing you more and more a daunting and costly task. At a certain point, slavery becomes too unwieldy and retards development. This existential fear was ever present for slavers in America during the entirety of their existence. We see this in their bloody and desperate fight to have kept slavery alive. By 1865, commercial slavery in the US was only abolished because it was ready to be surpassed by industrial production employing proletarians.

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Mao on Maoism: The Dialectical Case for Mao Zedong Thought

Maoism has been around, at least in name, since the mid-1940s. Numerous attempts were made to elevate Mao Zedong Thought to the level of an “-ism,” much to Mao’s displeasure. In 1948, in a correspondence with Wu Yuzhang, then president of North China University, he refused to allow his name to be listed alongside Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin, writing, “there is no Maoism”.  In 1955, at a conference, again it was suggested that Mao Zedong Thought be elevated to Maoism. Mao replied simply, “Marxism-Leninism is the trunk of the tree; I am just a twig.” This was not mere modesty, this was dialectical.

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In Their Own Words: Hamas

Once again, bombs are raining down on Gaza. In response to rockets fired into Israel, the Israeli military has begun attacking alleged Hamas positions in what may be the most severe escalation of violence since 2014. As always, many innocent Palestinians have been caught in the crossfire, though the big target for Israel and its allies is apparently Hamas, the so-called “leaders” of the Gaza Strip. Israel and the United States label them a terrorist organization. But what is Hamas actually?

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A Word on Cultural Revolution

J. Moufawad-Paul describes cultural revolution thusly: “Whereas Leninism was that stage that established the necessity of revolution up to the dictatorship of the proletariat, Maoism is that stage which claims that revolution must continue within the dictatorship of the proletariat … in order to struggle against the counter-revolutionary ideology that is often preserved in the [ideological] superstructure.” It is precisely here where Leninism ends and revisionism begins.

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I’m Callin’ It Now — Trump Will Win in 2020

The 2016 presidential election was one of the biggest political upsets in American history. Everyone, even Trump supporters, were shocked when Hillary Clinton was defeated by Donald Trump. At the time, I was floored. I still remember sitting in front of my computer watching Google’s real-time election map, my jaw dropping with every new state turning red. Looking back, I’m surprised Clinton did as well as she did. So I’m calling it right now, Trump will be reelected in 2020. Here’s why:

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