About Shikha Patnaik

Marxist-Leninist at heart, from India and currently living in Malaysia.

Decolonization is the way Forward for Communism

The contradiction of colonizers vs colonized is stronger than the contradiction of the ruling class vs working class in the imperial core. Colonialism led to the development of capitalism, and not the other way round. This is why socialism has only ever developed as a result of overthrowing colonialism in Global South countries. This is why socialism has never developed in imperial countries, because the working class of imperialist and colonizing nations is complicit in the exploitation of colonized peoples.

If colonialism created capitalism, then the way forward for communism is decolonization and anti-imperialism. We can keep pushing idealist lines that the only struggle is a class struggle but the history of socialist struggle has been the struggle of national liberation movements against colonization and imperialism. Socialism is a science that develops as material conditions develop and not a dogma that needs to be adhered to because Marx had said something. Continue reading

Thoughts on Gender and Dialectical Materialism: Will the Future be Agender?

Of late I have been wondering what it means to me that I am a woman. What does it mean to others who identify as women, cis or trans. Is the identity of a woman only meaningful because an opposite exists – the identity of a man? What is gender identity and can we apply the laws of dialectical materialism to gender?

Ever since I read Mao’s On Contradiction, I have not been able to get the below passage out of my head.

“…the existence of each of the two aspects of a contradiction in the process of the development of a thing presupposes the existence of the other aspect, and both aspects coexist in a single entity; second, in given conditions, each of the two contradictory aspects transforms itself into its opposite. This is the meaning of identity.” Continue reading

Anti-Socialist Bias in Mainstream Media Reporting: Endorsement of Major Political Aggressions of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

I recently participated in a conference at the university I work at and while it is part of my job to help organize these events, I also wanted an opportunity to speak to a larger audience on socialism in real life and not just in leftbook. So I seized this opportunity and delivered a short talk on fake news on socialist countries and how imperialist countries justify their invasions of socialist countries based on such fake news. I did not manage to complete the entire paper before the conference, during which I could only present on Venezuela and the DPRK given the time limits. I intend on writing the full paper and publishing it here in parts. This post will focus on the introduction, the next post on media reporting on Venezuela vs France, thereafter the DPRK vs the USA, and so on until I manage to cover Syria, Libya, Iraq, and other countries. Continue reading

Trying to Fight Capitalism without Communism is like Trying to Fight Sexism without Feminism

As the socialist wave grows larger every day, especially among the youth, political debates are reaching a new level of heat for many of us. I recently got into the umpteenth debate about capitalism and communism with a friend, and ever since I turned Marxist-Leninist a few months ago, I realized that my friend, who had actually helped me become politically active in the first place, is but a liberal, just like the political activists I had once idolized with him.

To be clear, all liberals are not the same. All communists of today started out as liberals and we have all benefited from the changes that liberal politics ushered into our modern middle-class society. The only liberals I have a problem with are those who parade as intellectuals (they’re not) and who refuse to embrace communism as the next step in their social evolution. There is no denying that liberal politics has woken up a generation of today’s youth to the reality of racism, sexism, and gender discrimination but where it has failed is in waking us up to the reality of capitalism, neoliberalism, and imperialism.  Continue reading

Understanding State and Revolution by Lenin – Chapter II

In the summary of Chapter I of State and Revolution, we read about how and why states are formed and how the state in capitalist society is the organ of oppression of the working class by the ruling class through military and paramilitary forces, and through taxation of the working class. We also read about how the antagonism between the working class and the ruling class is irreconcilable and hence, the working class must overthrow the state in an armed revolution and install a new form of government, the dictatorship of the proletariat, in order to win its class struggle and remove class distinctions during the transition period of capitalism to communism, which is when the state will finally wither away because it will no longer be required to enable the oppression of any class.

Let us proceed to the next chapter, which focuses on the European revolutions of 1848 to 1851, a series of liberal revolutions that began in France and aimed to replace the monarchical states with independent nations. Continue reading

Understanding State and Revolution by Lenin – Chapter I

If you’re new to socialism, you probably have come across suggested readings to understand Marxism. A classic text that remains highly relevant even today is Lenin’s State and Revolution, which was first published in August 1917. If you haven’t been able to find a copy to read, or if you’re struggling with reading or understanding it, I hope to be able to help you with chapter-wise summaries of the book.

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Einstein, H. G. Wells, and Other Leading Figures who you didn’t know were Pro-Stalin

In a February 2017 poll by the propagandistic organization Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, it was revealed that nearly 1 in 5 American millennials consider Joseph Stalin and Kim Jong Un “heroes”. The credibility of anything published by this deplorable organization is questionable but there is no denying that there is a rising interest in both communism and Stalin, and for good reason.

In this article, I share what some of the leading figures and politicals activists of the 20th century thought about Stalin: Albert Einstein, H. G. Wells, Nelson Mandela, W. E. B. Du Bois, Che Guevara, and Paul Robeson. I also share resources that will help in learning more about one of the greatest socialist revolutionaries in modern history and in shedding misconceptions bred by half a century of Western imperialistic propaganda.

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Socialist States are more Democratic than Capitalist States

In Part 1 of this article, Our Right to Vote is not a Sufficient Measure of Democracy, we read about how capitalist countries are authoritarian and how voting in national level elections in capitalist societies is essentially ineffective. In the second part of the article, we shall explore democracy in Actually Existing Socialist states (AES states) and understand concepts of freedom and authority from a dialectical point of view as opposed to an analytical point of view. Continue reading

Our Right to Vote in Elections is not a Sufficient Measure of Democracy

In all the conversations I have with people about socialism and socialist states, the one argument invariably made by those who are pro-capitalism or by liberals who are yet to develop an understanding of socialism is that socialist states are dictatorships and not democracies. It’s not their fault, for we live in a world dominated by the North and the West, and liberal values across the globe are shaped by what those countries decide we must uphold. Continue reading

On the Commodification of Travel

“I worry that travel is becoming more a form of consumerism, whether you live in Santa Monica or Shanghai, than a real exercise in curiosity, and that as the world grows more open and available, going to another country will seem more like going to a cool ethnic supermarket or trendy restaurant than a true journey into shock or difference.” – Pico Iyer Continue reading