2022 Minneapolis Marxist School a Big Success!

Comrades from across the Midwest attended the Minneapolis Marxist School on the weekend of October 1 and 2. This was the first regional school here since 2019—and by far the largest—with more than 70 people registered and attending. Following a successful school in Phoenix, this was the second of five regional Marxist schools being held this autumn in the United States. There were comrades and contacts in attendance from IMT branches—both established and in the process of construction—in Minneapolis, St. Louis, Madison, Chicago, Sioux Falls, Des Moines, Milwaukee, Columbus, as well as a contact who flew from Hollywood, CA after hearing about the event from a friend who had seen it on social media! We made sure to tell him about the Bellingham school happening in December in Washington state.

This was the first regional in the Midwest since 2019—and by far the largest—with more than 70 attending. / Image: Socialist Revolution

Huge thanks are due to the planning committee and students who helped bring this school to fruition! Securing locations, getting lunches, and delegating tasks for the two days, the school was carefully planned for many weeks. Additionally, as has already been reported, the student club comrades had to deal with university bureaucracy, which attempted to cancel our Saturday booking.

This school was a fantastic financial success. In addition to money from registration, raffles and socials, a whopping $900 was made from book sales. There was a clear thirst for Marxist ideas. One comrade alone bought nine books!

Comrade Pete Walsh opened the school on Saturday morning describing the current impasse of capitalism, and why the US is heading towards revolution. Generation Z has no memory of a time when capitalism worked. Instead, their lives have been impacted by the decline of US capitalism, and an opening epoch of instability, revolutions, and counter revolutions. The ruling class is seriously divided, with polarization in society occurring both to the left and right. The American ruling class now suffers an acute crisis of legitimacy in all its institutions. Increasingly, the anger felt by workers and youth is being channeled into social movements and unionization efforts. A common struggle must be waged with workers, youth, and oppressed fighting shoulder-to-shoulder to end this rotten system.

On Saturday afternoon, the school discussed the question of Bolshevism versus Stalinism, 100 years after the founding of the USSR. Josh Lucker pointed out the need to understand our legacy, and what the October Revolution truly stood for. While Stalinism was basically extinguished after the fall of the Soviet Union, there has been some revival in interest in it, particularly on the internet. Stalin, and the bureaucracy that he represented, could only come to power due to the isolation and backwardness of Russia. While so-called “Marxist-Leninists” claim the legacy of the October Revolution, the reality is a river of blood separates Stalinism from it. What was needed was for the revolution to spread abroad, especially to the advanced capitalist countries, and a political revolution to overthrow the bureaucratic rule while preserving the nationalized planned economy that had been retained. This historical lesson shows why it is so important to build the International Marxist Tendency before major events unfold.

Our financial appeal at the end of Saturday was a roaring success. Comrades David and Justin gave a rousing and humor-filled appeal for the campaign for an International Center and to sacrifice for the building of the revolutionary party. Many revised their pledges higher during the course of the appeal.

During the session on “Marxism versus Postcolonialism,” Arman Ebrahimi explained how only Marxism is a truly effective weapon against the scourge of imperialism. / Image: Socialist Revolution

Sunday morning was opened with a discussion on “Class War versus Culture War,” led off by Erika Roedl. Recent years have seen a sustained growth in class anger and frustration with the existing order, to which the ruling class can only respond with by intensifying a “culture war” to divide the working class and obfuscate who the real enemy is. On one hand, this means attacks on abortion rights, crafting of anti-LGBT laws, and fear-mongering of “CRT” to prevent the teaching of the history of slavery and racism. On the other hand, it means the encouragement of postmodernism, identity politics and related ideas in the universities. In both cases, Marxism is identified by the ruling class as the enemy. Fighting against all forms of oppression is a necessity for the class struggle, and far from being “class reductionist,” Marxism gives us the tools to understand people’s oppression and how to end it for good.

The discussion Sunday afternoon was on “Marxism versus Postcolonialism,” and how best to fight imperialism. Arman Ebrahimi explained that imperialism is a stage in capitalist development, where monopoly and finance capital give rise to the export of capital abroad and the division of the globe among multinational corporations and imperialist powers. The ruling class justifies this awful exploitation with racism and chauvinism, painting colonized peoples as backwards and needing to be “brought to civilization”. The Communist International upheld the national liberation of the colonial world, and advocated for socialist revolutions as part of an eventual world socialist federation. On the other hand, postcolonialists such as the late Edward Said turned this on its head, arguing imperialism was a result of Western notions about the East. This leads to toothless discussions of “decolonizing curricula” at best, and a defense of reactionary beliefs in colonial countries at worst. Only Marxism has a truly effective weapon against the scourge of imperialism.

The school was wrapped up with closing remarks by Pete Walsh and the singing of the Internationale and Bandiera Rossa. Overall, the school was an electrifying and joyous event, and surely raised the spirits of everyone involved, hot off the heels of an excellent Fall Offensive. The contacts at the event were very impressed and excited, and many gave pledges themselves. Forward to a far larger organization! Long live the International Marxist Tendency!

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