Organizational Materialism: Considerations on Contemporary Leftism

The Left Wind

by Jean Allen

The wake of Occupy Wall Street brought with it a series of new Leftist parties and politicians aiming to turn anti-capitalist sentiment into electoral victories.  These politicians have been, in turn, opposed and supported by a variety of journals and activist groups, in many cases regardless of the stated ideology of the groups and of the politicians.  This brings to light a rarely discussed lens of analysis, an ‘organizational materialism’ which places the conflicts between different forms of organizing front and center, ahead of theoretical and ideological differences.   In this paper I will discuss this position by comparing the current rise of ‘left populism’ to the institutional realities of two periods where the left was on the rise: the ‘classical period’ of the 2nd International and the ‘Communist period’ from the 40s to the 60s, ending with an analysis of the contemporary Left and a warning that…

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