Class, Oppression, and the Actuality of Revolution

Reflections on Marxism and Particularity

November 8, 2020

A photo of Neil Davidson in greyscaleThis text is drawn from a much longer piece that remained unfinished at the time of Neil Davidson’s death, entitled “The Actuality of the Revolution.” The longer piece will be published in a collection by Haymarket Books entitled Revolutionary Rehearsals in the Neoliberal Age. In this excerpt, Davidson discusses the complex interplay of social movements against oppression—sometimes referred to as “identity-based” struggles—with struggles against class exploitation. Davidson’s subtle and detailed argument highlights the ways in which the Russian Revolution of 1917 synthesized a multiplicity of social upheavals into a unified revolutionary process. In so doing, Davidson demonstrates both the enduring relevance of a truly historical Marxism, as well as the theoretical and political acuity of his own thinking. Because of the unfinished character of this text, and our need to excerpt a coherent fragment of it, Spectre editors have occasionally needed to add punctuation, complete sentences, omit slightly digressive points, and add short connecting passages. —Editors

 

The founders of historical materialism did not believe that the class struggle would continue indefinitely without a permanent working class victory, since they saw the anarchic, self-destructive nature of capitalism propelling humanity towards a variety of unhappy outcomes, all of which involved at least temporary social retrogression. This commitment to the actuality of the revolution worked in multiple registers.

First, it meant that the material preconditions for the socialist revolution existed. The second meaning of actuality relates not to objectively determined levels of global development, but to a subjective attitude of revolutionary preparedness. The third meaning of actuality refers to a conjuncture when the general levels of development that make socialism possible are joined by a set of more immediate conditions, including those created by the preparatory work of revolutionaries, to produce a revolutionary situation in which taking power is an imminent possibility.

Rex Wade sets out “the series of concurrent and overlapping revolutions” which characterized the Russian revolution of 1917:

the popular revolt against the old regime; the workers’ revolution against the hardships of the old industrial and social order; the revolt of the soldiers against the old system of military service and then against the war itself; the peasants’ revolution for land and for control of their own lives; the striving of middle class elements for civil rights and a constitutional parliamentary system; the revolution of the non-Russian nationalities for rights and self-determination; the revolt of most of the population against the war and the seemingly endless slaughter. People also struggled over differing cultural visions, over women’s rights, between nationalities, for domination within ethnic or religious groups and among and within political parties, and for the fulfilment of a multitude of aspirations large and small.1Rex Wade, The Russian Revolution, 1917 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 283.

Emphasizing the multiplicity of social forces involved in the Russian Revolution is important because, in the debates over communist strategy which followed the formation of the Third International, the revolutionary forces were often reduced to being only the proletariat and the peasantry—the problem being that in the West, the peasantry had been either destroyed “as a class” (as in England) or, more frequently, integrated into the capitalist system and consequently no longer revolutionary (as in Germany). In his response to Lenin’s ‘Left-Wing’ Communism, Hermann Gorter correctly observed that the absence of a revolutionary peasantry meant that the strategies deployed by the Bolsheviks in Russia could not simply be transplanted from East to West with any hope of success.2Hermann Gorter, “Open Letter to Comrade Lenin: an Answer to Lenin’s Pamphlet, “‘Left-wing’ Communism: An Infantile Disorder,”’ in International Communism in the Era of Lenin: a Documentary History, ed. Helmut Gruber (New York: Anchor Books, 1972), 217, 223. Trotsky responded to Gorter by arguing that the British revolution would involve a peasant uprising–not in Britain itself, but in India. To say the least, this is not one of Trotsky’s finest polemical interventions: the point is correct and important in terms of the global revolutionary conjuncture, but irrelevant in relation to Britain, since it was the social role of the peasantry within the imperialist countries themselves which was at stake, not that of the oppressed peasantry in their overseas territories. Leon D. Trotsky, “On the Policy of the KAPD: Speech Delivered at the Session of the ECCI, November 24, 1920,” in The First Five Years of the Communist International, vol. 1 (London: New Park Publications, 1973), 176.

Gorter was wrong, however, to repeatedly argue that the Western proletariat was “alone.” This was only true on the assumption that allies had to belong to another exploited class and not to groups (whose membership might in any case overlap with that of the working class) defined by other characteristics (nation, sex, religion) for which they are subject to oppression. The actual compatibility of struggles to end the exploitation of the working class and the oppression of identity-based groups was demonstrated during the Russian Revolution, but the potential tension between them only became fully declared in the second half of the twentieth century.

 

Exploitation and Oppression

There is no such thing as an undifferentiated “oppression:” they all involve different forms and experiences. Nevertheless, a particularly clear statement of the problems associated with the relationship between exploitation and oppression can be found in a book published in 1971, early in the emergence of what is now usually called “second wave” feminism. Here, socialist-feminist Juliet Mitchell asks a number of important questions of her readers, which could also be asked of other struggles against oppression:

Is the feminist concept of women as the most fundamentally oppressed people and hence potentially the most revolutionary to be counterposed to the Marxist position of the working class as the revolutionary class under capitalism? If so, with what consequences? What is the relationship between class-struggle and the struggles of the oppressed? What are the politics of oppression?3Juliet Mitchell, Woman’s Estate (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1971), 14-15.

The assumption here is that the class struggle against exploitation occurs in one place, and the struggle of oppressed groups against their oppression occurs in a series of other places; but as we shall see, this involves a misunderstanding, or at least a very restricted definition of what exploitation involves. Tithi Bhattacharya has rightly asked whether:

the relationship between exploitation (normally tethered to class) and oppression (normally understood through gender, race, etc.)… adequately expresses the complications of an abstract level of analysis where we forge our conceptual equipment, and a concrete level of analysis, i.e., the historical reality where we apply those tools.4Tithi Bhattacharya, “Introduction: Mapping Social Reproduction Theory,” Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression, Tithi Bhattacharya, ed. (London: Pluto Press, 2017), 3.

I agree with Bhattacharya that the answer is “no.”

In searching for a more adequate analytic framework the work of Georg Lukács may be a useful starting point, in particular his discussion of totality in History and Class Consciousness:

The dialectical method is distinguished from bourgeois thought not only by the fact that it alone can lead to a knowledge of totality; it is also significant that such knowledge is only attainable because the relationship between parts and whole has become fundamentally different from what it is in thought based on the categories of reflection. In brief, from this point of view, the essence of the dialectical method lies in the fact that in every aspect correctly grasped by the dialectic the whole totality is comprehended and that the whole method can be unraveled from every single aspect.5Georg Lukács, History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics (London: Merlin Press, 1971), 168; my emphasis.

Of all subsequent writers on the subject of totality, Bertell Ollman has perhaps done most to develop these insights and—for those not schooled in the categories of German Idealist philosophy—present them in slightly more comprehensible terms:

Few people would deny that everything in the world is related to everything else—directly or indirectly—as causes, conditions, and results; and many insist that the world is unintelligible save in terms of such relations. Marx goes a step further in interiorizing this interdependence within each element, so that the conditions of existence are taken to be part of what it is.6Bertell Ollman, Dance of the Dialectic: Steps in Marx’s Method (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2003), 139-40.

What does this mean for the relationship between exploitation and oppression? Do they constitute different aspects of capitalist totality or, on the contrary, do the various forms of the latter have a purely contingent relationship to capitalism? The problem is not a new one and can be traced back to Marx’s own lifetime. Angela Davis once noted of the early feminists in the USA immediately prior to the Civil War: “The leaders of the women’s rights movement did not suspect that the enslavement of Black people in the South, the economic exploitation of Northern workers and the social oppression of women might be systematically related.”7Angela Davis, Women, Race and Class (London: The Women’s Press, 1982), 66. Davis found this incomprehension regrettable, although it was perhaps understandable in the context of the time; it is less so over a hundred and fifty years later, but is nevertheless considerably more widespread.

The central category for Marxists is not class, but mode of production.

There are two key points from Marx that help provide a way to overcome this incomprehension and better conceptualize the relationship between exploitation and oppression. First, the central category for Marxists is not class, but mode of production. Marx was far from being the first person to identify the existence of social classes, nor to understand that they had antagonistic relationships; he was, however, the first to discover that historically specific ways of organizing material production determined the nature of these classes through the exploitation of one by another.8Marx to Weydemeyer, March 5, 1852, in Collected Works, vol. 39 (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1983), 60 There is, in other words, a difference between saying that, on the one hand, various oppressions are produced within the concrete expressions (societies or social formations) of specific modes of production and, on the other, saying that they are ‘really’ forms of class oppression. Some forms of oppression, like those based on gender, seem to have existed for as long as exploitative modes of production have done; others, like those based on “race,” have been much more restricted to the capitalist era. Neither is directly based on class relations: the question is whether or not they are now necessary for the maintenance of the existing capitalist order.

Second, as the previous paragraph suggests, Marx did not “reduce” all forms of oppression to class, although some vulgar Marxists have done so; for one thing, he did not think of human beings as being solely defined by their relationship to production. To be a worker is to occupy a social role, but the occupants do not exist solely in relation to the means of production, even though that relationship suffuses all others. To imagine otherwise is precisely to adopt the perspective of the capitalist, for whom people only exist as workers, or possibly as consumers.

In his discussion of rights, for example, Marx dismisses an approach in which workers “are grasped from one particular side, e. g., if…they are regarded only as workers and nothing else is seen in them, everything else is ignored.”9Karl Marx, “Critique of the Gotha Programme,” The First International and After: Political Writings, vol. 3, David Fernbach, ed. (Harmondsworth: Penguin/New Left Review, 1974), 347. Workers also belong to national groups, subscribe to religious beliefs, and have particular sexual orientations: there are of course working class ways of fighting for the rights associated with these aspects of social being, but they themselves are not products of the workplace, nor can they necessarily be resolved there. It is also true that the majority of people who belong to national groups, subscribe to religious beliefs or have particular sexual orientations will also be members of the working class, since it now constitutes the majority of the global population.

Marx did not “reduce” all forms of oppression to class, although some vulgar Marxists have done so; for one thing, he did not think of human beings as being solely defined by their relationship to production.

Third, workers are not, however, only oppressed because they happen to belong to groups who are oppressed for other reasons, but as an integral part of the process of exploitation. Part of the difficulty here is that “exploitation” is a category of political economy which describes a process undergone and resisted by slaves, peasants and workers; but no one experiences exploitation any more than they experience the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. They experience instead the oppression which exploitation involves. Again, Marx was also alert to this and, contrary to legend, consistently so throughout his career, starting the mid-1840s:

What constitutes the alienation of labor? Firstly, the fact that labor is external to the worker, i.e. does not belong to his essential being; that he therefore does not confirm himself in his work, but denies himself, feels miserable and not happy, does not develop free mental and physical energy, but mortifies his flesh and ruins his mind. Hence the worker feels himself only when he is not working; when he is working, he does not feel himself. …His labor is therefore not voluntary but forced, it is forced labor. It is therefore not the satisfaction of a need but a mere means to satisfy needs outside of itself.10Karl Marx, “Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts,” Early Writings (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1975), 326.

By the publication of Capital Volume I, over twenty years later, his language had if anything grown even more extreme. Capitalist manufacture proper, “converts the laborer into a crippled monstrosity by furthering his particular skill as in a forcing-house, through the suppression of a whole world of productive drives and inclination…it mutilates the worker, turning him into a fragment of himself.”11Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, vol. 1 (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1976 [1867]), 481, 482. As Marx acknowledges (483), the point had been made earlier by Adam Smith; see An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Edwin Cannan, ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976), Book V, Ch. 1, 302-3. Marx was here specifically referring to the experience of factory manufacture, now shrinking in the West, but growing to embrace millions of new workers in China and other areas of the Global South, often under conditions equal in their horror to those Marx knew during his exile in Britain.12See John Smith’s powerful description of the conditions under which three commodities–a T-shirt, iPhone and cup of coffee–are produced: Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Super-Exploitation, and Capitalism’s Final Crisis (New York, NY: Monthly Review Press, 2016), 9-34.

But different forms of “mutilation” also occur today in the original sites of capitalist development, where the old collieries and factories have been replaced by the new call centers and dispatch warehouses. James Bloodworth has recounted his experiences working in one of the latter, Amazon in Rugely, Staffordshire. The oppression suffered by him and his fellow workers did not simply involve the body searches at the beginning and end of a shift, or the electronic surveillance of how quickly they were performing their tasks, but the way it penetrated every aspect of their lives:

You get up each morning at eleven, you have breakfast, shower and prepare your feet for the day ahead—several sticking plasters, two pairs of socks—and then you drag your body out of the door by twelve thirty. You return home at midnight and you are usually in bed by one. Wash, rinse, repeat. Fastidiousness goes out the window. You have two meals a day and it is incumbent on you to get as much food inside you as possible at each sitting because it is impossible to know when you will next get the chance to eat a proper meal…Poverty is the thief of time. You wait around for buses and landlords. You are forced to do overtime at the drop of a hat. You hang around for an eternity waiting for the person who has told you they will sort out the administrative error in your pay slip. You go searching for a shop to print the wad of documents you need to start work. You must traipse around the supermarket looking for special offers with the diligence of a librarian searching for that rare first edition. You have to walk home afterwards.13James Bloodworth, Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain (London: Atlantic Books, 2018), 64-5, 67 and 11-76 more generally; for call centers, see Jamie Woodcock, Working the Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centres (London: Pluto Press, 2017), 34-59.

Although it is theoretically possible to conceive of capitalism without nonclass oppressions, in reality it would be impossible to achieve as these are integral to the maintenance of ruling class power, as social reproduction theorists rightly reminded us. David McNally notes in the specific case of racism, it is pointless to engage in abstract debates about whether or not it is theoretically necessary to capitalism: “What we can say is that the actual historical process by which capitalism emerged in our world integrally involved social relations of race and racial domination.”14David McNally, “Intersections and Dialectics: Critical Reconstructions, Social Reproduction Theory,” in Social Reproduction Theory, Bhattacharya, ed., 107.

And the argument can be generalized, as Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nişancioğlu have done in their account of the historical origins of Western dominance:

The conquest, ecological ruin, slavery, state terrorism, patriarchal subjugation, racism, mass exploitation and immiseration upon which capitalism was built continue unabated today. The violent past…was therefore not merely a historical contingency, external to the “pure” operation of capital, or a phase of “incompleteness” out of which capitalism emerged or will emerge. Rather, these practices and processes are “constitutive” in the sense that they remain crucial to capital’s ongoing reproduction as a historical social structure.15Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nişancioğlu, How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism (London: Pluto Press, 2015), 279.

Recent discussions of oppression have been more concerned with establishing links between its different manifestations under capitalism, mainly through the concept of intersectionality, than with establishing the connection between all forms of oppression and capitalist exploitation. 16The term was first used by Kimberlé Crenshaw, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics,” University of Chicago Legal Forum, special issue: Feminism in the Law: Theory, Practice and Criticism (1989).Intersectionality is in many respects the equivalent in social movements to “interdisciplinarity” in academic subject areas: both are attempts to compensate for the absence of the concept of totality, in the case of the former in strategic rather than theoretical terms.

There are two central problems with it. One is that intersectionality has become what Edward Said once described as a “travelling theory.”17Edward Said, “Travelling Theory,” The World, the Text, and the Critic (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983); for an application of the analysis to intersectionality, see Sara Salem, ‘”Intersectionality and Its Discontents: Intersectionality as Travelling Theory,” European Journal of Women’s Studies 25, no. 4 (2018): 403-18. In this case it is one which has travelled from its origins in Black feminism to one which can be accommodated by neoliberalism, with its emphasis on individual roles: the personal is political reduced to the political is the personal—and nothing else.18C. T. Mohanty, “Transnational Feminist Crossings: On Neoliberalism and Radical Critique,” Signs 38, no. 4 (2013): 971-2.

But even where this accommodation has been resisted, there is a second and more fundamental difficulty. As one critical supporter of the intersectional critique of capitalism points out, powerful though it is in many respects, “to say that oppressions intersect, interact and mutually-reinforce one another is still to pose them as separate.”19Ashley Bohrer, “Intersectionality and Marxism: A Critical Historiography,” Historical Materialism 26, no. 2 (2018): 69. In fact, as McNally points out, intersectionality is an example of what he calls “social Newtonianism,” in which different relations collide, but do not interact.

In a social system, however, the connections between different forms of oppression are not random but systematic and “to be systematically related involves considerably more than mere intersection”:

Intersections can be relatively random and haphazard; systems cannot. In a system, all the parts are ordered and integrated in ways that are determined by the other components. For this reason, a system is always more than the sum of its parts. …In other words, gender oppression is inextricably entwined (as is its overcoming) with the capitalist structure of the economy—so much so that, to overturn one, the other must be transformed. This, of course, is another way of saying that, however much they are differentiated relations, they constitute an integral system.20McNally, “Intersections and Dialectics,” 97-9, 110-1.

Holly Lewis makes a similar argument in more concrete terms:

Race, gender, religion, and nation are not ‘things that happen to individuals:’ they are social relations conditioned by capitalism and conditioned by one another. Each relation is defined by all other relations with which it interacts. Just as the experience of maleness is always inflected by gender and sexuality. This is because what happens in the world happens all at once.

And just because particular Marxists have failed to treat oppression as anything other than a contingent aspect of capitalism does not mean that Marxism itself is incapable of providing a better explanation:

Just as the vector theory seeks to tease out the radical specificity of each oppression in order to separate each oppression from all others, the understanding generated by Marxist analysis is only as rich as the tensions and conflicts incorporated into analyses of historical change: because the history of the world is the motion of these tensions and conflicts. This is the universalism of Marxism. It is not the reduction of human experience to a model but the acknowledgement that we all exist in one world … Oppressions cannot be pinned to the wall like so many dead butterflies. They do not come at us like bolts from distinct and unrelated points.21Holly Lewis, The Politics of Everybody: Feminism, Queer Theory, and Marxism at the Intersection (London: Zed Books, 2016), 195.

The “merger” of movements hailed by Lenin remains a possibility, albeit one which will still have to be fought for and organized.

If there is no necessary connection between the social struggles of those oppressed by reason of exploitation and those oppressed by reason of identity, and these have previously taken place simultaneously for purely contingent reasons, then they can be expected to do so again, with a similarly nonrevolutionary outcome. If, however, they are linked by the process of capitalist historical development, then the “merger” of movements hailed by Lenin remains a possibility, albeit one which will still have to be fought for and organized. Marx himself argued that this should be an objective for the trade unions:

Apart from their original purposes, they must now learn to act deliberately as organizing centers of the working class in the broad interest of its complete emancipation. They must aid every social and political movement tending in that direction. Considering themselves and acting as the champions and representatives of the whole working class, they cannot fail to enlist the non-society [i.e. non-union] men into their ranks. They must look carefully after the interests of the worst paid trades, such as the agricultural laborers, rendered powerless by exceptional circumstances. They must convince the world at large that their efforts, far from being narrow and selfish, aim at the emancipation of the downtrodden millions.22Karl Marx, “Instructions for the Delegates of the Provisional General Council: The Different Questions,” in Collected Works, vol. 20 (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1985), 192.

Lenin himself doubted that the unions could play this role and saw it instead as falling to revolutionaries, as he argued in a famous passage from What is to be Done?:

The Social-Democrat’s ideal should not be the trade-union secretary, but the tribune of the people, who is able to react to every manifestation of tyranny and oppression, no matter where it appears, no matter what stratum or class of the people it affects; who is able to generalize all these manifestations and produce a single picture of police violence and capitalist exploitation; who is able to take advantage of every event, however small, in order to set forth before all his socialist convictions and his democratic demands, in order to clarify for all and everyone the world-historic significance of the struggle for the emancipation of the proletariat.23Vladimir I. Lenin, “What is to be Done? Burning Questions of Our Movement,” in Collected Works, vol. 5, May 1901-February 1902 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1961), 423.

The Russian Revolution provides a powerful demonstration of the two propositions argued in this section. The first is that Marxism is capable of uniting the struggles against exploitation and oppression. There was a fundamental difference between Bolshevik conceptions of female liberation and those associated with the mainstream of Western feminism:

After acquiring [the vote], no feminist movement in the West, until recent years, made any further steps towards realizing economic or sexual liberation; even less did it engage in any mass movement for the liberation of women of the working class or minorities. Bolshevik “feminism” reversed the social timetable of Western feminism. For the latter, political emancipation was the goal; for the former, it was only the beginning.24Richard Stites, The Women’s Liberation Movement in Russia: Feminism, Nihilism, and Bolshevism, 1860-1930, new ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991), 333.

There is no need to downplay the divisions and debates between revolutionaries in Russia after 1917 concerning issues of sex and gender; and there were undoubtedly tensions, gaps, and contradictions in what was done, but in relation to these issues, the Bolshevik regime was one of the first to give all women the vote and was alone at the time in legalizing abortion and making divorce accessible; indeed, this aspect of the revolutionary achievement lasted longer than most others—including soviet democracy itself.25S.A. Smith, Russia in Revolution; an Empire in Crisis, 1890-1928 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 338-45; Sharon Smith, Women and Socialism: Class, Race, and Capital, rev. ed. (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2015), 189-201; and Stites, The Women’s Liberation Movement in Russia, 329-45, 358-76, 416-21.

  1. Rex Wade, The Russian Revolution, 1917 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 283.
  2. Hermann Gorter, “Open Letter to Comrade Lenin: an Answer to Lenin’s Pamphlet, “‘Left-wing’ Communism: An Infantile Disorder,”’ in International Communism in the Era of Lenin: a Documentary History, ed. Helmut Gruber (New York: Anchor Books, 1972), 217, 223. Trotsky responded to Gorter by arguing that the British revolution would involve a peasant uprising–not in Britain itself, but in India. To say the least, this is not one of Trotsky’s finest polemical interventions: the point is correct and important in terms of the global revolutionary conjuncture, but irrelevant in relation to Britain, since it was the social role of the peasantry within the imperialist countries themselves which was at stake, not that of the oppressed peasantry in their overseas territories. Leon D. Trotsky, “On the Policy of the KAPD: Speech Delivered at the Session of the ECCI, November 24, 1920,” in The First Five Years of the Communist International, vol. 1 (London: New Park Publications, 1973), 176.
  3. Juliet Mitchell, Woman’s Estate (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1971), 14-15.
  4. Tithi Bhattacharya, “Introduction: Mapping Social Reproduction Theory,” Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression, Tithi Bhattacharya, ed. (London: Pluto Press, 2017), 3.
  5. Georg Lukács, History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics (London: Merlin Press, 1971), 168; my emphasis.
  6. Bertell Ollman, Dance of the Dialectic: Steps in Marx’s Method (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2003), 139-40.
  7. Angela Davis, Women, Race and Class (London: The Women’s Press, 1982), 66.
  8. Marx to Weydemeyer, March 5, 1852, in Collected Works, vol. 39 (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1983), 60.
  9. Karl Marx, “Critique of the Gotha Programme,” The First International and After: Political Writings, vol. 3, David Fernbach, ed. (Harmondsworth: Penguin/New Left Review, 1974), 347.
  10. Karl Marx, “Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts,” Early Writings (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1975), 326.
  11. Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, vol. 1 (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1976 [1867]), 481, 482. As Marx acknowledges (483), the point had been made earlier by Adam Smith; see An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Edwin Cannan, ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976), Book V, Ch. 1, 302-3.
  12. See John Smith’s powerful description of the conditions under which three commodities–a T-shirt, iPhone and cup of coffee–are produced: Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Super-Exploitation, and Capitalism’s Final Crisis (New York, NY: Monthly Review Press, 2016), 9-34.
  13. James Bloodworth, Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain (London: Atlantic Books, 2018), 64-5, 67 and 11-76 more generally; for call centers, see Jamie Woodcock, Working the Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centres (London: Pluto Press, 2017), 34-59.
  14. David McNally, “Intersections and Dialectics: Critical Reconstructions, Social Reproduction Theory,” in Social Reproduction Theory, Bhattacharya, ed., 107.
  15. Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nişancioğlu, How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism (London: Pluto Press, 2015), 279.
  16. The term was first used by Kimberlé Crenshaw, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics,” University of Chicago Legal Forum, special issue: Feminism in the Law: Theory, Practice and Criticism (1989).
  17. Edward Said, “Travelling Theory,” The World, the Text, and the Critic (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983); for an application of the analysis to intersectionality, see Sara Salem, ‘”Intersectionality and Its Discontents: Intersectionality as Travelling Theory,” European Journal of Women’s Studies 25, no. 4 (2018): 403-18.
  18. C. T. Mohanty, “Transnational Feminist Crossings: On Neoliberalism and Radical Critique,” Signs 38, no. 4 (2013): 971-2.
  19. Ashley Bohrer, “Intersectionality and Marxism: A Critical Historiography,” Historical Materialism 26, no. 2 (2018): 69.
  20. McNally, “Intersections and Dialectics,” 97-9, 110-1.
  21. Holly Lewis, The Politics of Everybody: Feminism, Queer Theory, and Marxism at the Intersection (London: Zed Books, 2016), 195.
  22. Karl Marx, “Instructions for the Delegates of the Provisional General Council: The Different Questions,” in Collected Works, vol. 20 (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1985), 192.
  23. Vladimir I. Lenin, “What is to be Done? Burning Questions of Our Movement,” in Collected Works, vol. 5, May 1901-February 1902 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1961), 423.
  24. Richard Stites, The Women’s Liberation Movement in Russia: Feminism, Nihilism, and Bolshevism, 1860-1930, new ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991), 333.
  25. S. A. Smith, Russia in Revolution; an Empire in Crisis, 1890-1928 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 338-45; Sharon Smith, Women and Socialism: Class, Race, and Capital, rev. ed. (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2015), 189-201; and Stites, The Women’s Liberation Movement in Russia, 329-45, 358-76, 416-21.
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