Danny, a member from Liverpool, writes on his experience of getting involved with Red Fightback.
Red Fightback is a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist party dedicated to the advancement of class struggle in Britain and the achievement of socialist revolution. As such, we identify as our primary task the building of a Communist Party capable of uniting and leading the people in the fight against capitalism.
In order to achieve this design, Red Fightback acknowledges that we must develop revolutionary theory and praxis that is commensurate with material conditions in Britain, now and as they change, with both theory and practice informing and shaping each other.
As part of this struggle we are dedicated to fighting against:
- Oppressive structures that emerge from class and sustain class society, such as race and gender
- The environmental crisis.
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Content note: some of the sections below assert our opposition to oppressive systems such as racism, sexism, and ableism, and as such contain explanations and examples of how these systems operate. While not particularly graphic, some of these examples may be upsetting.
Marxism-Leninism and socialism
Red Fightback is a Marxist-Leninist party. Red Fightback recognises Marxism-Leninism as a theory of practice explaining the conditions of the working class, and the strategies that can be used to free such a class from oppression by the capitalist class and the ruling financial oligarchy. Marxism-Leninism offers the prospect of a society based on the abolition of private property and the exploitation inherent in the exchange of labour for wages within the capitalist “free market”. Red Fightback believes in, and ultimately struggles towards communism—a society in which the means of production are social property, and where each citizen works towards the communal goals of society according to their ability and receives resources from society according to their need.
Capitalism is a political and economic system in which the means of production are owned privately, and production is carried out for exchange and profit.In a capitalist state, trade, industry and land are controlled by the owners of property– the capitalist class, or the bourgeoisie—who put them to work for profit. The working class—the proletariat—have nothing to sell but their ability to work and do so in exchange for a wage from businesses owned by the bourgeoisie. Marx thus analysed capitalism as commodity production at its highest stage of development, where human labour power itself becomes a commodity, i.e. an item produced for exchange. As humans need some type of social structure to organise labour as well as the production and distribution of resources, the type of structure that historically develops to organise production also organises the relations of production for all producers. The relationship between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat is one of exploitation: the proletariat creates value through the labour it performs for the bourgeoisie, but only receives a small part of it as wages; the rest is appropriated by the bourgeoisie in the form of surplus value, some of which is realised as profit, interest, and rent.
This exploitative relationship, in partnership with the existence of private property creates a society stratified by class. This is an inescapable reality, as the working class as a whole can only obtain its means of subsistence through the sale of its labour-power to the capitalist class. Thus the two main classes in existence, the bourgeoisie and proletariat, exist in a state of tension and opposition with each other as the bourgeoisie feeds parasitically off the proletariat. Through the power that their ownership of property and control of production gives them, the capitalists also control the state. Marx, Engels, and Lenin repeatedly showed that the bourgeoisie are connected with state institutions by thousands of threads. According to them, the bourgeois state is an organ of class domination that facilitates the oppression of the working class through its institutional, legal, and economic structures, as well as through institutions such as the police, the military, and the prison system. Capitalism is therefore the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, and socialism, the first stage of communism, is the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Leninism was a further development of Marxism in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. Beyond his analysis of imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism, Lenin provided Marxism with a method of organising a revolution: the vanguard party, organised along democratic centralist lines, able to unite all the struggles of various sections of the working class into a revolutionary struggle against capitalism. Marxism-Leninism has proved its success in countless revolutions, especially in the colonised Global South, and is thus the method Red Fightback adheres to.
Red Fightback’s opposition to capitalism is rooted in the belief that to all forms of private ownership over essential human resources correspond greater or lesser degrees of exploitation, and under capitalism this exploitation produces mass human suffering. Marxism-Leninism provides the necessary framework for understanding the nature of capitalism, the maladaptive effects it has wrought upon humanity and nature, and what strategies the international proletariat can use to overthrow it.
Red Fightback holds an anti-imperialist position and believes the destruction of imperialism is inseparable from the destruction of capitalism. We believe in the importance of internationalism and solidarity with oppressed nations that are plundered mercilessly in pursuit of imperialist profit. For communists in Britain, we must first and foremost oppose British imperialism and its ruling class.
Our understanding of imperialism as a necessary stage of capitalism was a development of Marxism made by Lenin. As Lenin explained, imperialism is monopoly capitalism grown to a global stage. Its principal features are monopoly in industry, monopoly in the banks, the emergence of finance capital and the financial oligarchy, the increased predominance of the export of capital over the export of commodities, the division of territories between international capitalist associations, and the division of the world between competing great powers. Imperialism sustains itself through the super-exploitation of the resources, labour and economic life of oppressed nations and peoples.
Imperialist nations struggle for the economic and political division of the world. It can be seen in the current era that while the colonial powers of old have formally granted independence to their colonies, oppressed nations, including these same former colonies, remain enmeshed in a net of financial and diplomatic dependence on imperialist nations, due to capitalism dominating the global economy. The analysis of neocolonialism as a further development of imperialism is necessary for understanding the political situation of the world today. Institutions like the IMF and the World Bank, backed by the military force of imperialist powers like the US and through the installation of leaders sympathetic to bourgeois capitalist interests (such as through Operation Condor in Latin America from the middle to late 20th century, which led to a wave of fascist dictatorships across the region, and more recently the coup in Bolivia), have trapped entire continents in a state of underdevelopment and have sabotaged countless attempts at building more progressive societies in countries under imperialist domination. Underdevelopment is not an absence of development, but rather expresses a relationship of exploitation of an oppressed country by an imperialist country, including the pillaging of their natural resources. While much of the Global South has now industrialised, the neocolonial relationship remains, as Western manufacturing firms source cheap superexploited labour in oppressed nations. The only way to effectively stand in solidarity with dispossessed nations and marginalised communities worldwide is to collectively struggle against imperialist monopolies that work in tandem with western imperialist governments to disarm and defang progressive and emancipatory movements in oppressed nations to keep them under their sphere of influence.
In this context, Red Fightback supports the right of all peoples to self-determination and national liberation. National liberation struggles constitute a struggle for revolutionary democratic tasks. However, our perspective on this matter is determined by proletarian internationalism and anti-imperialism rather than liberal, or bourgeois, nationalism. As such, we will lend our support primarily to nationalist movements that oppose imperialism, rather than those which aid it. Today, the neocolonial powers will often seek to foment separatist movements in countries which they seek to sabotage, while aggressively fighting independence movements within their own borders.
The world is dominated by imperialism. We have much to learn from movements in the countries oppressed by imperialism. Whether these movements have a distinctly socialist character or not, we may often find common cause with them in the struggle against our own imperialist bourgeoisie. Criticism cannot take place outside of a dialogue between equals. At the current juncture, often such critique will only take the form of denunciation and slander, which would surely hinder any efforts to build common causes and unite with the revolutionary movements of the world. While we must be able to evaluate these movements realistically, and form independent positions on their particular character, successes and failures, these critiques must be kept internal to the party. Exceptions could only be made in circumstances where we are in a genuine dialogue in the context of shared struggle with the subject of critique - in which case the critique ought to be shared with the subject rather than publicly, or where making critiques publicly would further the primary goal of the defeat of our own imperialist bourgeoisie.
As communists in an imperialist state, we must also remain aware of the ways in which we are benefitted by imperialism. The British welfare state was built with the spoils of the colonial empire throughout the 20th century, and serviced by super-exploited Health Service workers from Britain’s former colonies in the Caribbean and Asia, as well as Ireland. Lenin, in “The Split in Socialism”, predicted the formation of a privileged, upper stratum of the proletariat, living partly at the expense of people across the globe. Since this strand of the proletariat's position depends on imperialist exploitation, it consequently undermines struggles by purging them of their revolutionary content, and acts as labour lieutenants of capital. This weakens potential labour solidarity with workers under imperialist tyranny across the world, including racialised minorities within Britain. The principal expression in Britain has been through trade union opportunism, the Labour Party and its apologists.
Imperialism has rapidly destroyed natural environments all over the world, and displaced indigenous communities with historical connections to the land they have tended to. The goal of imperialists is to pillage the earth in service of profit accumulation, and they have allied with politicians to pave the way for this agenda and manipulated mass media to justify their aims. It is the belief of Red Fightback that another integral aspect in the fight against imperialism is to counter pro-imperialist propaganda disseminated by mass media outlets. Pro-imperialist propaganda, which serves as a justification for imperialist expansion into global south nations, often under the pretext of stamping out terrorism or providing humanitarian aid via various military operations, must be ruthlessly combatted by communists that consider themselves anti-imperialist.
Red Fightback takes a position against opportunism, as we see legal reforms to a capitalist socio-economic system as a necessary, but limited part of class struggle. Lenin considered opportunism to be the main enemy of the working class—that is, placing the interests of the working class as secondary to collaborating with the bourgeoisie in pursuing temporary policies that may lead to some present gains, but ultimately damage the long-term interests of the proletariat. The establishment of communism is the aim of our party and because of this we recognise that extra-parliamentary action has primacy over our involvement in bourgeois politics. Any involvement or campaigns centred around bourgeois politics must be used to further the cause of communism and class struggle, and not as an end in itself. To quote Lenin:
Unity with opportunism means unity between the proletariat and its national bourgeoisie, i.e., submission to the latter, a split in the international revolutionary working class. We do not say that an immediate split with the opportunists in all countries is desirable, or even possible at present; we do say that such a split has come to a head, that it has become inevitable, is progressive in nature, and necessary to the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat and that history, having turned away from “peaceful” capitalism towards imperialism, has thereby turned towards such a split.
 Lenin, 1915
Thus, Red Fightback opposes organisations such as the Labour Party, which, throughout their history, have presented themselves as a “democratic socialist” alternative in bourgeois politics–such as in the form of Corbynism. Democratic socialism is ultimately just an outwardly more “progressive” form of social democracy, which fights for a temporary equilibrium between classes rather than for the end of class society. We oppose all such opportunist organisations in Britain invested in the lie that involvement in bourgeois politics is the only means with which to create radical change, including “green capitalist” responses to the environmental crisis. We also distinguish ourselves from other tendencies that divert from an emancipatory, internationalist, proletarian class struggle, such as anarchism or social chauvinism.
Oppressive structures that compound class oppression
White supremacy and racism
Red Fightback is opposed to white supremacy, an ideology that posits white people as racially superior to other races and thereby creates the justification for white people to dominate over these races. White supremacist ideology is embedded within institutions in Britain, and this ideology orients racism. Racism is a system of unequal power and privilege where humans are divided into groups or “races” with social resources unevenly distributed to groups based on their racial classification. Racism functions as one of the most successful sources of division across the proletariat, within imperialist nations and the oppressed nations.
Racist ideology is an integral aspect of capitalism, of which the most noticeable form in the west is white supremacy. It functions to dehumanise people of colour and justify colonial and imperialist exploitation of these people and their countries. It serves as a mode of dividing workers along artificially constructed racial lines in order to undermine solidarity and facilitate the exploitation of the racial category deemed to be “inferior”. Racist and discriminatory practices culminate in state violence that disproportionately affects Black people and non-Black people of colour who are discriminated against in Britain. For example, Black people are four times more likely to be imprisoned than white people, and make up 12% of those incarcerated, despite accounting for just 3% of the British population. Racism functions to marginalise people of colour so severely that across the world communities of colour remain disproportionately poor and vulnerable to the hardening of the state and its borders.
Islamophobia is another significant iteration of racism that has culminated out of British and American interests in the Middle East. Just as the ruling class stoked anti-Irish sentiment within Britain from the 18th century onwards, the ruling class inculcate a similar hatred within the psyche of the British worker, all for the aim of justifying the expansion of empire. The rise of capitalism enabled Europe to colonise the Middle East and foment prejudice against countries with majority Muslim populations. Western orientalist scholars devised this to construct an image of Eastern, Islamic cultures as primitive, backward and intrinsically depraved, conveniently creating a pretext for European invasion and destabilisation, under the guise of a “civilising project”. This is known as orientalism. In the wake of 9/11, that “civilising project” has manifested into the contemporary War on Terror, manufactured and heavily pursued by both Britain, the USA and other western nations. The consequences of this have severely impacted Middle Eastern and South Asian communities across the West, who have lived in fear of white supremacist terror spiraling into tragedies such as the Christchurch mosque shootings or the Finsbury park mosque attack.
Red Fightback is also opposed to anti-Semitism, a term denoting systematic discrimination and prejudice towards Jewish peoples. The historical origins of anti-Semitism predate modern capitalist society, but the emergence of capitalism has created dimensions to its evolution that are undeniable. The theology of early Christianity reveals the foundations of anti-Semitism. Saint John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, was an early church Father who delivered ‘Eight Homilies Against the Jews’ and so helped establish the ‘Adversus Judaeos’ tradition; this tradition consisted of making arguments that vilified Jewish people. Many early Christians continued this tradition to attract people to convert from Judaism to Christianity. Seminal figures such as Martin Luther propagated anti-Semitism by characterising Catholic orthodoxy as ‘Jewish’ in its supposed materialism. This prejudice was embodied in the anti-Semitic socio-political policies and practices that pervaded into the European Middle Ages.
Many anti-Semitic practices that Nazi Germany would later utilise stem from the Middle Ages. Across Europe, Jewish people were denied citizenship and rights, barred from working in government positions or within the military, and excluded from membership in the guilds and the professions. In Italy, the change in papal policy in 1555 dramatically affected the quality of life for Jewish people. They were required to identify themselves by wearing a yellow badge, were restricted from owning property, and suffered restrictions in commerce and banking. The most devastating of these restrictions was the implementation of the ghetto system, in which Jewish communities were forced to live in sectioned off, run-down, neighbourhoods. This practice of segregating Jewish people into ghettoes was a phenomenon that existed throughout Europe well into the 19th and 20th centuries and was later implemented in Nazi Germany. The aftermath of World War I had wrought devastating ramifications upon the economies of Western Europe, and this, unfortunately, exacerbated anti-Semitism. Moreover, the rise of Jewish Bolshevik leaders in the Russian Revolution of 1917 provided far-right anti-Semites with a new target for their prejudice, and the opportunity to spread racist and anti-Communist propaganda about the threat of Jewish Bolshevism, which is being revived via alt-right notions of ‘cultural Marxism’.
 Berenbaum, 2020
Contemporarily, the wave of fascism engulfing Europe has inflamed anti-Semitic sentiment. As the Holocaust fades from our collective memory, hate crimes against the Jewish community in Britain have reached a record high for the third successive year. 2018 saw a significant increase in the percentage of anti-Semitic incidents that used “political or extremist imagery, from 30% to 45%” were “more than 450 incidents involved language or imagery relating to the far right or the Nazis”. In other countries such as Sweden and the USA, anti-Semitic hate crimes have spiked; in Sweden, the Jewish community have faced attacks on synagogues and in America, the recent Pittsburgh synagogue shooting left 11 people dead at the hands of a white supremacist.
 The Guardian, 2019
Jewish comrades like Theodore Rothstein and Zelda Kahan played a major role in advancing the early working-class cause in Britain, and in 1936 Jewish workers joined with communists and trade unionists to beat back Oswald Mosley’s fascist blackshirts during the Battle of Cable Street. However, we must avoid the temptation to assume leftists are automatically anti-racist, and that concerns around left-wing anti-Semitism are always red herrings. In the 1890s the British Trades Union Congress passed several resolutions calling for a ban on Jewish immigration (many Jewish migrants to Britain were refugees from pogroms in Europe), helping secure the 1905 Aliens Act. Anti-Semitism penetrated certain left-wing circles as anti-capitalism became displaced by euphemistic notions about a “cosmopolitan elite”, feeding into fascist conspiracies – conspiracies which we must diligently combat today. In our fight against capitalism, we must acknowledge how anti-Semitism has been shaped across history by economic and social forces, and how capitalism has engraved racial dimensions and connotations to it that impact the Jewish community globally.
Particularly in Europe, white supremacy also targets Roma and Traveller communities, who face extremely violent state repression such as deportations, forced sterilisation, and police violence, in addition to reduced access to housing, healthcare, and education. Far-right politicians across Europe have built careers on the basis of calling for the “mass cleansing” of Roma people, deemed to be incompatible with dominant European culture. The demonisation of the Roma was effected in the context of the creation of a white European identity, which necessarily demanded the marginalisation of “foreign” ethnicities that did not fit this idealised model. However, the historical oppression of Roma people was not limited to marginalisation, but culminated in Roma slavery in Eastern Europe and in the murder of millions of Roma as part of the Holocaust.
Racialism in western civilisation predated capitalist development. Racial hierarchies were built to proclaim the racial superiority of the “Aryan” or “Nordic” race over other Europeans. This in turn gave birth to secondary myths of “Anglo-Saxonism” in England and “Celticism” in France. Racial conceptions also emerged to deem the Irish and Slavic people as inferior. Thus, capitalism emerged from a western civilisation infused with racialism, and this necessarily directed the racist development of capitalist Europe. The construction of whiteness was concurrent with capitalist Europe’s desire to expand beyond individual domestic economies, as well as the booming transatlantic slave trade. The power of enslaved Black labour was transformative for the ruling and mercantile classes of Western Europe, and so they utilised ideology to denigrate Black people and justify the brutality of chattel slavery. The Atlantic slave trade and the slavery of the New World were integral to the modern world economy, and thus its relationship to capitalism is historical and organic. Pseudoscientific racial theories developed to depict race as a naturally existing division, evidenced by genetics or phenotype, in order to legitimise it and justify the place occupied by Black people in capitalist society. Racial hierarchies predating capitalism also developed in other parts of the world such as India, with the caste system. British colonial reign exacerbated this system, with the British segregating Indians by caste and granting administrative jobs and senior appointments to Christians and people belonging to specific castes. Japan also developed racist ideologies to justify imperialist expansion and domination over other East Asian countries; it was believed living space had to be secured specifically for the Japanese “Yamato people” who were thought to be racially superior to other East Asian ethnic groups.
Ultimately, in our fight to dismantle capitalism, we must also acknowledge how racism and capitalism mutually construct one another and benefit white people. Divesting from racism is equally as important as divesting from capitalism.
Patriarchy, the gender binary, and LGBT+ oppression
Red Fightback is opposed to patriarchy, the socially constructed gender binary, and the consequent marginalisation of the LGBT+ community and women. Patriarchy is a social system in which men hold primary power and prevail in roles of political leadership, social privilege and control of property. In our society, patriarchy is also contoured by cisnormativity and heteronormativity—i.e. the placing of heterosexual and cisgender people as the norm, or default.
We recognise that the oppression of women and gender non-conforming people have roots that stem from civilisation before the establishment of capitalism. We also recognise that gender and sexuality are constructed within a given society’s prevailing mode of production and relations of economic production. Thus, analysing gender and sexuality as separate from class serves only to undermine our ability to analyse the intersections of oppressive structures in a holistic manner.
The ruling class in every historical existing mode of production have necessarily formed certain processes to reproduce the conditions of the mode of production. In all class societies, but particularly under capitalism, the duty of reproducing the labour force is assigned to women. The gender known as “woman” was created by class society to describe the person responsible for reproduction on both a daily and generational level. Contrastingly, “man” was assigned the role of producer. However, globally, women often perform both reproductive and productive labour in their households, and proletarian women often become the “breadwinner” in their families in the absence of a male figure with a financially secure job. Traditionally, the woman’s job was to support the man in this role, so that his productive power can be harnessed to generate greater surplus value for the bourgeoisie. While pre-capitalist societies also relied in part on the reproductive role of the woman, capitalism strengthened this system and transformed it into a rigid division of labour.
The construction of these two genders solidified into what we understand as the gender binary, and it is institutionally entrenched and socialised into human beings from birth in order to secure the endurance of capitalism. From the gender binary emerges misogyny, as women are relegated into a lower position than men and given fewer chances to advance up the social hierarchy; compulsory heterosexuality also emerges, to dictate that men should pair only with women, for any other type of combination represents a direct threat to the ruling social order. The ruling class benefits from this arrangement as it can ensure the reproduction of the labour force, the maintenance of discipline and a distinct moral order for the workforce, and even the perpetuation of capitalist ideas of self-sufficiency, private property, and individualism.
We can see that the existence of the LGBT+ community, who reject the gender binary and compulsory heterosexuality through rejecting gender norms and expressing other forms of sexuality, are placed in an antagonistic position to the bourgeois stance on gender roles. Herein lies the major motivation for the oppression of the LGBT+ community. Trans and non-binary people, through rejecting the gender coercively assigned to them, or identifying outside of the binary, directly challenge this ideological structure. Equally, people who diverge from heteronormativity, including gay people, bisexual/pansexual people, and lesbians, defy the prescribed social order by expressing attraction, love, and intimacy outside of traditional gender norms, and thus undermine the use of the heterosexual family as tool of social and ideological reproduction. While sexual behaviour itself lies at the root of many historical attempts to oppress these communities, capitalist society instead demands the pathologisation of divergent ways of experiencing love and relationships, creating and marginalising distinct categories such as “the lesbian” or “the bisexual” as industrialisation demanded increased control over the private life of a newly formed proletarian class.
Capitalism additionally stratified women and members of the LGBT+ community across racial and economic lines, which inevitably impacted the ideologies of resistance these groups would later create, such as feminism. Existing iterations of feminism—one prevailing example being liberal feminism—serve to protect the interests of the most privileged strata of these groups at the expense of the overwhelming vulnerable majority. Historically, and presently, this stymied attempts to unify either groups against capitalism or cis, heterosexual normative patriarchy. Similarly, the prioritising of the most bourgeois members of the LGBT+ community by the ruling class via policy and other means serves only to undermine the more radical anti-capitalist and marginalised sections of the movement. The development of these oppressive structures has designated cisgender and heterosexual people as the societal norm, and so privileged their positions over the LGBT+ community. As part of our fight to dismantle these systems, a vital first step is acknowledging these privileges and subsequently divesting from reinforcing violent heteronormative and cissexist values.
Red Fightback advocates Marxist feminism, and revolutionary intersectional theory as they are iterations of feminism that seek to analyse the oppression of women and the LGBT+ community through a materialist lens, as well as amplify the voices of those marginalised through multiple oppressive structures, who have been historically ignored or attacked in the first, second and third waves of feminism.
Red Fightback is opposed to ableism, “a network of beliefs, processes, and practices that produces a particular kind of self and body (the corporeal standard) that is projected as the perfect, species-typical and therefore essential and fully human”. Ableism is rooted so deeply and violently within society, the very geographical layout of countless buildings in cities, towns and villages across the country, and many others, exist to either exclude the possibility of disabled people existing in that space, or to make extremely uncomfortable such an experience.
 Quoted in Erevelles, 2011, p. 33
The modern understanding of disability is again rooted in the European Enlightenment, which witnessed intertwining constructions of mental and physical abnormality. For example, the superexploitation of the labour of women and people of colour by European colonial powers was justified by notions of inherent feminine and racial “irrationality”, caused by supposed physical (biological) inferiorities. This was contrasted with the supposed “rationality” of the white, able-bodied bourgeois male. Here lay the origins of the “eugenics” movement, developed in Britain in the late nineteenth century, which assigned to social undesirables an innate biological “degeneracy”.
Eugenics did not end in 1945– since the 1960s and up to today imperialist financial institutions, with the support of the United Nations and Western pharmaceutical corporations, have promoted mass forcible sterilisations on women of colour globally (including within imperialist nations). This has been legitimated with renewed discourses of racial-sexual irrationality or lack of self-control. These population control measures were responses to rising anti-imperialist resistance, but also the new imperialist strategy of outsourcing production to low-paid women in the Global South, implying reducing women’s fertility to facilitate their entrance into waged labour.
 Wilson, 2012, p. 91
The bourgeois glorification of “rationality”, effectively meaning the ability to function as productive “individuals” in capitalist society, serves to especially marginalise the cognitively disabled and neurodivergent (e.g. people on the autism spectrum), who are held to lack self-autonomy and thus be societal burdens requiring either “tolerance” or exclusion. Even today, neurodiverse people, and disabled people in general, are forced to justify their right to exist, as the dominant belief in society remains that the birth and existence of disabled people is best avoided or prevented. The anti-vaccine movement is a prime example, as it posits death as preferable to autism.
In reality all individuals in society are dependent on the labour of others, including the “invisible” domestic labour of women, or the superexploited labour of the Global South. What Marxism recognises is that the consequences of biological differences among humans (physical and cognitive) are inseparable from socio-historical conditions, and that therefore disability is “the embodied experience of social oppression constituted via the inhospitable social, cultural, and economic structures in mainstream [class] society.” Marxism is a fundamental rupture from notions of bourgeois rationality because it rejects the equation of human value with profitability in favour of what Marx called the “totality of vital human expression”; and demands social reorganisation that supports all members of society (“to each according to their needs…”).
 Erevelles, 2011, p. 181.
The imperialist ideology of ableism continues to be forcibly imposed on oppressed nations. Financial institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) use loans as a lever for social and economic manipulation in the Global South. This takes the form of “structural adjustment programmes” (SAPs) which force governments to cut healthcare spending, with devastating consequences for the most socially vulnerable. The World Bank also subscribes to “DALY” (Disability Adjusted Life-Year), a unit used for measuring both the global burden of disease and the effectiveness of health interventions. Using the DALY, the World Bank prioritizes cost- effectiveness, whereby each disease, ailment, or disability is classified according to how many years of “productive” (disability- free) life the individual loses as a result and is weighted against age and work potential. The imperialist imposition of ableist ideologies and practices is particularly outrageous if we consider that one of the greatest global causes of disability (physical but also mental, e.g. PTSD) is imperialist wars. Despite Britain’s destructive role in Syria, Libya, Yemen etc., asylum seekers’ access to healthcare is actively blocked by the British state.
 Ibid., p. 139
When disabled people are not dismissed as economic expendables to be cast aside by capitalism, they are ruthlessly exploited as supercheap labour. Disabled people are often channelled into training programs for low-skilled, low-waged jobs that others may be unwilling to undertake, but often they are excluded from work – in Britain, only 32% of autistic people, and 47% of disabled people in general, are in paid work, as opposed to 80% of non-disabled people. Therefore, disabled people often form part of what Marx called the reserve army of labour: those workers who are called upon in times of need but are otherwise relegated to unemployment and used to strengthen competition between members of the working class. Insecurity for disabled people in Britain, who are overwhelmingly working-class, is presently on the rise. In addition, the capitalist drive for further efficiency and standardisation of production means that disabled and neurodivergent people do not receive the accommodations they may require, a fact which is used to further justify their disadvantaged social position and their status as “unprofitable” members of society. Moreover, when economic instability pushes disabled people out of work, they are further marginalised: under the new Universal Credit system already thousands of disabled people have been denied the money they are owed. Benefit cuts impact disabled people disproportionally, as do cuts to health service provision.
 National Autistic Society, 2016
An often-overlooked aspect of ableism is fatphobia: a social stigma that negatively impacts fat people in various social spheres including employment. Fatphobia personalises eating disorders like bulimia as “self-inflicted”, in a manifestation of the individualistic ideology of capitalism, according to which personal responsibility, rather than structural factors, is the ultimate cause of any suffering anyone may experience. This obscures the social causes of obesity: in Britain and other Western nations obesity rates, along with depression and anxiety, are much higher in the poorest sections of the working class. Personalisation legitimises fatphobic discrimination in healthcare provision, and due to societal prejudice fat people often avoid health services.
Though fatphobia is related to sexist beauty standards, Black feminists have pointed out its origins in racist depictions of Black bodies during the colonial era. While fat Anglo-Saxon women were associated with beauty, images of fat Black women were connected to racist tropes that held Black people lack self-control (which were in turn related to ideas of Black “hyperfertility”, rooted in white settler-colonialist anxieties about anti-colonial resistance). Contemporary fatphobia is based on specifically Western, Eurocentric body ideals, and continues to be weaponised against people of colour to this day.
 Strings, 2019
Red Fightback advocate a socialist system that struggles to eradicate ableist body ideals and the construction of disability as life-limiting impairment.
The environmental crisis
Red Fightback considers the current environmental crisis to be inextricably linked to capitalist accumulation, and so advances a materialist understanding of the crisis and a solution based upon the overthrow of capitalism.
As communists, we understand that the driving force of capitalism is the production of surplus value, upon which capitalists enrich themselves. Competition between capitalists forces them to invest into technologically improving the production process, so they can produce commodities more cheaply than their rivals. This way, they can reap profits above average or gain a larger share of the market by selling the commodity below its individual market rate. However, once a technological process is adopted by one capitalist, it is quickly adopted by others until it becomes a standardised process across industries. This drive to invest into labour-saving machines leads to a decrease in money spent on labour power (variable capital) versus money spent on machinery and raw materials (constant capital). The amount of surplus value depends partly upon the number of workers employed, and the time they spend labouring, so the increase of constant capital inevitably forces the rate of profit to decline. The declining rate of profit causes capitalists to hoard capital rather than invest in production, and consequently leads to crisis. This inherent contradiction lies at the heart of capitalism and drives accumulation within cyclical boom and busts in the capitalist economy. This loss of profitability, in turn, requires capitalists to constantly expand and extract more resources from nature.
Since 1988, a mere 100 companies have been responsible for more than 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The Carbon Majors Report has indicated that since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change was established in 1988 to officially recognise human-induced climate change, the fossil fuel industry has doubled its contribution to global warming. This industry has emitted as much greenhouse gas in 28 years, as in the 237 years between 1988 and the birth of the industrial revolution. The scale of emissions associated with these fossil fuel producers has contributed significantly to climate change. However, a 2015 Carbon Tracker Study identified that fossil fuel companies over the coming decade were seeking to pursue coal, oil and gas projects that could waste more than 2 trillion dollars and will significantly undermine international action on climate change and advances in renewable energy.
 Griffin, 2017
 Carbon Tracker Initiative, 2019
Despite terrifying statistics such as these becoming widely available information, fossil fuel corporations are more invested in short-term profitability than the vital need to reduce emissions. As communists, we can see practically how the capitalist law of accumulation is causing mass devastation to the world and its ecosystems. Furthermore, the effects of climate change are ultimately distributed unevenly across the planet, and this distribution reflects a direct link between imperialism and the environmental crisis. On average, carbon emissions in the so-called developed world are around five times those in developing countries. The developed world’s disproportionate contribution to climate change, impacts and endangers people across developing nations. The deliberate maldevelopment of these countries by western nations has also made it so that they are nowhere near equipped to weather the impact of climate change. This link is further evidenced by the fact the US military is the largest polluter on the planet, as well as one of the key mechanisms through which the United States’ imperialist foreign policy is advanced throughout the global south.
 Ghosh, 2019
The climate change crisis is intrinsically racist, and thus disproportionately impacts racialised minorities within Britain, as well as racialised communities across the world. Research by the British government, Imperial College London and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands has shown that the average person identifying as Black or Black-British African in Britain is exposed to higher levels of air pollution than the average urban white person. Researchers have also found that there is an increased tendency for racialised minorities to live in urban areas, where emissions are higher. On a global scale, a disproportionate number of people who live in environmentally hazardous areas are poor racialised minority communities, the same communities to also experience the placement of environmental hazards into areas they live in. This is known as environmental racism; one potent manifestation of this is British firms illegally exporting electronic waste to West African nations such as Ghana, where this waste threatens the environment and proves fatal to human life.
 Vidal, 2019
 Wasley, 2011
We posit that the only effective solution to climate change extinction is the overthrow of capitalism. This would entail the establishment of a socialist society with a planned economy, organised for the fulfilment of human needs rather than in pursuit of infinite growth. It would involve transitioning to cleaner energy sources and implementing better regional and urban planning with a view to protecting nature in general, not just as a resource.
We therefore oppose opportunist movements that seek to rescue capitalism, such as Extinction Rebellion, or organisations fighting for a so-called “Green New Deal”, as well as any attempt to divert revolutionary potential into nihilism and towards the acceptance of extinction as an inevitable reality. Socialism provides a path towards a new mode of life that will facilitate our long-term survival, and the survival of the world’s ecosystems, and it is a goal that we must unconditionally struggle for, regardless of how difficult that struggle may seem.
Revolutionary theory and praxis
Effective praxis exists in a dialectical relationship with theoretical development. Praxis is the process of making action within a theoretical framework. This materialist framework is Marxism-Leninism, the lens through which we attempt to understand material conditions is dialectical materialism, and our actions as a party and as individuals are informed by this, as well as by the desire to make concrete change in the world. We believe our actions must be informed by critical thinking and reflection, as well as the emancipatory goals of redistribution of wealth and the elimination of all oppression.
In order to achieve revolution, we must be dedicated and fully engaged in struggling towards this goal. Part of the struggle is educating and raising the consciousness of the working class, building links with organisations that share similar aims domestically and internationally, campaigning against oppressive policies and in conjunction with radical local and regional groups and initiatives, and organising the provision of aid and resources to local communities and marginalised people cut off from the government. Through struggle, we expect to gain experience that will inform our understanding of theory, as well as our understanding of the world, of ourselves and of each other. Through educating ourselves, conducting dialogue in a respectful manner towards one another, working with each other to improve gaps in knowledge or experience, and opening ourselves up to critique we can build each other and encourage each other’s growth. That is the manner in which we will transform the world.
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Berenbaum, M. (2020). Anti-Semitism. [online] Encyclopedia Britannica. Available at: https://www.britannica.com/topic/anti-Semitism [Accessed 4 Mar. 2020].
Carbon Tracker Initiative. (2019). The $2 trillion stranded assets danger zone: How fossil fuel firms risk destroying investor returns – Carbon Tracker Initiative. Available at: https://www.carbontracker.org/reports/stranded-assets-danger-zone/ [Accessed 21 Apr. 2019].
Erevelles, N. (2011). Disability and Difference in Global Contexts: Enabling a Transformative Body Politic (Palgrave Macmillan).
Ghosh, J. (2019). The global north-south carbon divide. [online] The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cif-green/2009/oct/01/climate-change-debate-copenhagen [Accessed 21 Apr. 2019].
Griffin, P. (2017). CDP Carbon Majors Report 2017. [online] CDP, p.13. Available at: https://b8f65cb373b1b7b15feb-c70d8ead6ced550b4d987d7c03fcdd1d.ssl.cf3.rackcdn.com/cms/reports/documents/000/002/327/original/Carbon-Majors-Report-2017.pdf?1499691240 [Accessed 21 Apr. 2019].
The Guardian. (2019). Antisemitic incidents in UK at record high for third year in a row | Judaism | The Guardian. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/feb/07/antisemitic-incidents-uk-record-high-third-year-in-row-community-security-trust [Accessed 25 Feb. 2020].
Lenin, V.I. (1915). Opportunism and the collapse of the Second International. First published in Proletarshaya Revolutsia, No 5. (28), 1924.
National Autistic Society. (2016). Government must tackle the autism employment gap. [online] Available at: https://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/media-centre/news/2016–10-27-employment-gap.aspx
Strings, S. ‘Fat as a Floating Signifier: Race, Weight, and Femininity in the National Imaginary’ in Natalie Boero and Katherine Mason (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Body and Embodiment (Oxford University Press, 2019).
Vidal, J. (2019). The Black Lives Matter protesters were right: air pollution is a race issue | John Vidal. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/07/black-lives-matter-protesters-air-pollution-race-issue-london [Accessed 2 Jun. 2019].
Wasley, A. (2011). UK e‑waste illegally dumped in Ghana. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/may/16/uk-ewaste-dumped-ghana [Accessed 2 Jun. 2019].
Wilson, K. Race, Racism and Development: Interrogating History, Discourse and Practice (Zed Books, 2012), pp. 83–5.
The following list contains the texts and other resources aspiring RFB members should read before they are able to join. You don’t have to go through this alone! Fill in the form on our Join Us page and you will be assigned a mentor to guide you through this list and through the membership process.
Accessible FAQ-style introduction to capitalism, communism and other key Marxist concepts. If you're completely new to Marxism, this is the best one to read first.
These two, often read together, are probably the best entry-points into Marxist political economy.
In this concluding chapter, the authors sum up the main lessons learned during the October Revolution, and explain how they used Marxism to build revolution. Choice quote: “The Marxist-Leninist theory is not a dogma but a guide to action.”
A very succinct introduction to the Marxist method of investigation. This text has a few problems with economism, viewing production as being a hard determinate of social development, but is absolutely worth reading as an introduction to the Marxist philosophical outlook – dialectical materialism.
An effective presentation of many of the concepts that inform our revolutionary intersectional approach and our way of understanding oppression other than class within a Marxist framework. While a pioneering text of Black socialist feminism, it is of its time, and specifically the suggestion that ‘maleness’ and ‘femaleness’ are “determined by biology” rather than class-based social structures is outdated.
- Red Fightback – A class analysis of the current material conditions in Britain and our strategy for revolution
In this article, we set out a basic analysis of current material conditions and our party’s plan of action. An updated version is in development at present.
A 2-hour documentary outlining our contemporary material conditions at the international level, and the threats we face such as great power competition/inter-imperialist rivalry and climate extinction. It is available in chapter-sized chunks on the Prolekult channel for those who prefer watching it in smaller installments.