CRITICAL- MASS. NET
(A site for non-sectarian anti-capitalist activists and free-radicals.)
Within the evolving 21st century capitalist crisis a fundamental factor is absent. Missing is a ‘critical mass’ of activists who embrace and pursue a non-sectarian, anti-capitalist theory and practice. That particular 19th century tradition of anti-capitalist radicals who are free of sectarian and elitist posturing has all but disappeared, leaving only a splintered and internecine residue – offering little that is positive to those newly engaged in global anti-capitalist activism. Following the economic crisis of 2008, a number of revolutionary anti-capitalist groups have openly declared themselves as being opposed to sectarianism. Yet typically most have failed to recognise the extent of the characteristics of sectarianism and thus the gap between such rhetoric and the reality of their practices remains as wide as ever.
Ten of these characteristics are contained in the article ‘Sectarianism and the question of the General Strike’ on this blog. These allow the symptom of sectarianism to be identified and together with the following principles offer a basis which would create a foundation for those who genuinely and seriously wish to overcome this sterile sectarian anti-capitalist tradition.
1. Opposition to capitalism in all its economic, social and political forms.
2. Opposition to sectarianism and dogmatism.
3. Opposition to polemical distortion in disagreements.
4. Opposition to disrespect, sarcasm and intimidation.
5. For, sharing of information and understanding, including joint tactical discussions.
6. A refusal to allow theoretical differences to impede or prevent joint action.
[see also ‘Fundamentalism’ and ‘The Importance of Theory’]
The title of the site (borrowed from physics) has therefore been chosen as a metaphor to represent two things. First, the need for an all-round, rigorous criticism of the mass of problems now facing humanity. Second, the need to develop a ‘critical mass’ of collaborative activists who aspire to facilitate an eventual ’chain reaction‘ against the present global system of capitalism.
This site will, therefore, seek to become a clearing house for the exchange and promotion of non-sectarian anti-capitalist ideas and practice and also a reference point for those who wish to consider, develop and propose analytical or theoretical insights which are intended as tools for those opposing the capitalist system as a whole.
Accordingly, there will be two aspects to the work of the site. One section will contain short articles of immediate topical relevance to the struggle against the present global system. A separate section will contain longer, more considered, presentations. The latter, a more theoretical section, will include critical (and self-critical) evaluations of past and present anti-capitalist theories, positions and actions.
This then is the intention, but of course it will take some time to be fully operational. Any suggestions and observations, therefore, will be welcome and can take the form of comments to the various posts or directly by email to the current editor firstname.lastname@example.org.
All posts may be reproduced in full provided the author is acknowledged and a link to this site accompanies the article. Precis and extracts by negotiation.
A copy of the book ‘Revolutionary-Humanism and the Anti-Capitalist Struggle’ (with some diagrams missing) can be viewed at
Marx’s XI Thesis on Feuerbach is Not Explicit Enough.
Philosophers have only interpreted the world in different ways. What is crucial, however, is to change it.”
(Theses on Feuerbach by Karl Marx, translated by Carl Manchester: en.wikisource.org/wiki/Theses_on_Feuerbach )
The world should be changed; but to what should it be changed? If we don’t know what the world should be changed to, we’ll continue to change it in the same way we have been doing since times immemorial, and the world will continue to be changed according to the short-sighted visions of those who happen to be at the helm at the whichever time at what-so-ever place.
I think that Marx’s XI thesis on Feuerbach is not explicit enough–Marx should have explained what he thought the world should be changed to. We try to change the world to our liking with most of our actions, but so far the results have been a transformation of the world from bad to worse, on the whole.
A meaningful change is being desired; Any odd change will not do! In order to change the world in a truly meaningful way, we, all who share this world, have to come to an agreement about what the desired world should look like; We have to re-design the world first–then we can change it meaningfully.
Thank you, Mr. Jan Hearthstone “Designing the Earth Anew Together” – http://www.ModelEarth.Org .
Hi Jan! Thanks for writing in.
Of course you should bear in mind that Marx’s theses on Feurbach were not meant for publication. Nor was much of his written material. Most of it was in the form of notes for himself. Publication of his written notes only came after he was dead and he consequently had no control over the form it was published in. Hence it is easy to criticise Marx for a number of things. There are two familiar and contrasting forms of criticism of Marx. Some say he wrote too much abstract economic and philosophical material, others say he wrote too little which could be used as blue-prints for others to follow.
My own view is that this form of criticism is to miss the point of reading Marx. To me his material is one of the most valuable sources of analysis and information about the system we live under. It contains many useful insights as to what not to do as well as some general (and often vague) suggestions of what might follow. This to me is not a fault in Marx, but a virtue. My own view with regard to him not being explicit in any of his own works about exactly what the future should look like was for very good reasons. He was trying not to be a ‘leader’ or guru who created ideologies and ideal future perspectives, for others to follow. That was exactly what he criticised in relationship to idealistic ‘socialists’ and communistic sectarians; of whom he wrote;
“Individual thinkers provide a critique of social antagonisms , and put forward fantastic solutions which the mass of workers can only accept, pass on and put into practice.” (Marx. ‘The First International and After. Penguin. page 298.)
For Marx, the future was something people needed to collectively work out and work for themselves. This is because societies evolve and develop and are most suitable when the development is ‘owned’ by the communities themselves. To do this however, people need to collectively own and control the means of production, for if these are owned and controlled by a particular class, then they are not free to do this, but dependent. Chapter 7 of the book ‘Revolutionary-Humanism and the Anti-capitalist Struggle’ referred to and linked in the about section above contains some of the many useful insights by Marx.
I am not very knowledgeable about Marx–I wrote the article about his 11th thesis because reading his “Theses on Feuerbach” was a part of some college course I took, and I was trying to advance the idea of designing the future of the Earth collectively …
This concept of designing the future collectively suggests that instead of one group of people trying to improve their conditions by fighting against some other group that they perceive to be the cause of their unhappiness, they both together design their collective future, a future that would appeal to all of them. 99% + 1% = 100%.
Your welcome Jan. I think if you have time to read some of his material you would find much in Marx which corrosponds with your own view on the need for meaningful change. Regards, Roy