And despite your mental, spiritual, and physical debt to the relentless goings-on of a world succumb to capitalism—you are here reading this. Maybe you are a dutiful DSA organizer spending your weeknights after work on Zoom calls or canvassing your neighborhood, maybe you are a member of another organization or group fighting for change in your community, perhaps you are engaged in the struggle most directly vis-a-vis your daily life, at work and as a tenant.
Wherever you are embedded in our shared anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist front, we hope to offer you some solidarity in the form of organizing stories shared by comrades from all over the country.
While our published selections always gravitate towards Praxis over theory, and this issue is no different, our focus has shifted back to materialism’s foundation. And, no, we will not be breaking down the science of Marxism at a molecular level. We are talking about spatial things in the most practical way, that assemblage of relationships that determine where we live, work and play while discussing the interplay between these relations as a capitalist society and the environment. And, crucially, we are thinking through how our organizing is both limited by these relationships as well as presenting opportunities for the reimagination of the sort of society we want to build. This is a generative process where we plot new landscapes of space and time, through a critique of the old.
Articles in our present issue, including Gary Potter’s “Socialism and Rural Organizing” and Parker Shea’s “Hinterland and Suburb: Two Problems, One Solution” help think through organizing prospects across various geographies of contemporary class struggle. Drawing on the work of theorists of carceral geographies in the US, including Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Yuri K.’s “Liberal Ideology and the Carceral State” offers a primer on the carceral foundations of liberalism. Ranging from spatialized accounts of materialist themes in popular science fiction (Evan B’s review of Dune) to arguments for how we reorganize transit and urban movement (Nicole Murray’s “Shopfloor Eco-Socialism”), further pieces offer visions to imagine reconstructing our world and our relationship to the environment as we meet the oncoming planetary crisis. And to match those future visions, Amy Barenboim’s “Graduate Student Organizing at Columbia University and Beyond” and Michael Thomas Carter’s “Electoral Politics and the Path to Socialism” offer insights from the successes of recent struggles, successes that help re-shape what we recognize as possible at the university and in the electoral sphere.
Finally, in this issue we present the first in an ongoing series of tenant unionist columns, presenting reporting on autonomous tenant struggles from around the country. In keeping with capitalism’s tendency toward uneven development, the character of tenant struggle has also developed differentially in the disparate parts of the U.S. in which it is being waged. Our inaugural tenant unionist column presents lessons learned by our comrades that speak not only to the particular conditions in which they are organizing but also to more universal insights they have developed for communist tenant struggle as such. We note that the autonomous tenant union specifically has proven to be an effective form of political organization for sustaining an explicitly anti-capitalist tenant struggle that resists the sorts of depoliticization inherent in advocacy or electoral approaches to the housing question.
As you head off to explore this issue we hope these articles help you see the current moment as crises of precarity and violence resulting from the cumulative development of capitalism. Let us look to the future as 21st Century Socialists and imagine a future where, instead of reproducing the same old failed patterns of social life, we get to build something fresh and new.
The Partisan Editorial Collective