Tag: marxist

Slavoj Žižek Fails to Fully Understand Hierarchies

Daniel Szewc | Poland

One must understand the realities of Eastern Europe from 1945-1989 to understand Slavoj Žižek’s mentality. His embracement of the Marxist way of being is completely the result of his comparatively strong societal position in Slovenia before the fall of the Eastern Block. This was exemplified by the fact that this hierarchal position, created on the basis of being closer to the Marxist view of a perfected human than the average man, got even stronger after the acceptance of capitalism in his native country (for all intents and purposes, Slavoj Žižek is a celebrity in Slovenia). Of course, this brought to his subconscious the notion that being closer to Marx makes you a more efficient human in general, whilst in reality, it was just the manifestation of parts of the old, synthetic establishment, Žižek included, surviving into the new era, and adapting to the new circumstances.

As for his support of leftism, contrasted by his dislike of societal decay, it is comparable to liking uranium, yet disliking the particles that it emits. No matter how hard you try to keep society stable, without the philosophical absolute, you are unable to do so.

The Maintenence of the Hierarchy

Any hierarchy without an unreachable entity, whether it be a value or a being, that cannot be toppled from the bottom is doomed to fluctuate drastically, as well as to crash in a time proportionately short to the number of active members in the said structure. For example, the morally unthinkable happened in France, the regicide of the revolution, and the hierarchy’s immovable peak was shattered.

Soon after, the bloodshed flooded over to the initial instigators of the crime, causing the whole megastructure to topple. In the end, a new hierarchy arose, with Napoleon rising to its peak. He was able to justify his role sufficiently enough not to be toppled by power-hungry contestants for his position only because of his idealization and even stronger emancipation of the traditional role of emperor.

For such processes to not happen, equality, not hierarchy, would have to dominate throughout life forms- something that is mathematically ridiculous. To assume that the total sum capability of creatures as complex as us to have equal chances at maintaining our positions at a zero level hierarchy is simply improbable. Too many variables influence our lives on the daily for this to happen naturally, and for any individual even remotely knowledgeable about cybernetics, it is obvious that no circuit can encompass a circuit equally or more complicated than themselves, therefore the human mind may never manage to understand it’s own secrets (…and variables that make us so different in outcome).

Of course, #MeToo became dominated by empty media icons, because it’s the natural consequence of having a promiscuous society, something one can earn money off, and human nature. The last of the three implies inequality in intelligence and ability, whilst the first is implied by leftism. You cannot have all three and not get the result that #MeToo got.

In general, however, I personally like Žižek’s look on Buddhism, as well as I think that his views on love can be put to good use by any thoughtful person on any side of the political arena. Alas, 90%+ of what he says is based on some ridiculous imaginary plasticity of the human condition. For example, Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist, if anyone, knows the most about empirically proving the aforementioned rationalist perspective of it being improbable.

Who will win the debate between the two? Well, the better question is whether the side that in fact loses will be able to comprehend it’s fallibility, or will it stay in its shell of Marxist presumptions.


71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

Featured Image Source

Advertisements

Marx is Wrong About the Workers

By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

In my recent reading of Marx and Engels’s The Communist Manifesto, I was kind of surprised by the characterization made of the relationship between the employers and the workers. Marx calls the relationship exploitative multiple times throughout the work. The workers produce, and then the employer steals away the product of his or her labor. With this characterization, it is no wonder people are so against modern-day capitalist relationships. But this characterization is not the reality of the situation. It is based on loaded language and misrepresentations of the market process.

A particular passage caught my attention:

“In proportion to the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working class, developed–a class of laborers, who live so long as they find work, and who find work so long as their labor increases capital. The laborers, who must sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations in the market. ” (Marx par.34)

This paragraph has two core planks: the workers’ lives are dependent on capital, and the workers are owned. Marx says that the worker only lives if they can find work. One may take this as Marx saying that work is bad, but that is not what he is saying. He is saying that work is bad as long as its existence depends upon capital production. Work dependent on capital production is not a bad thing, though. An employer only will hire a worker if the hiring will bring the employer more wealth. This may seem terrible and selfish, but capital accumulation in private hands is a good thing.

Businesses will garner capital as long as they are serving consumers. The worker is part of this process. Capital accumulation for the employer means that they can go and enter into another entrepreneurial endeavor, thus serving more consumers. Thus, the relationship between the worker and the employer being one that produces capital is good for society. Entrepreneurs and capitalists make the world a better place by serving the wants of consumers when they accumulate capital. This is not a bad thing.

But then we move on to the second plank of this passage. Marx claims that the workers “are a commodity.” On the very next page, he goes on to call the workers “slaves of the bourgeoisie class.” This is nothing more than a rhetorical trick. Any reader will want to end slavery, so when Marx calls this situation slavery it forces the reader to believe certain things without proper logical backing. The situation for the working class is not as dire as Marx makes it seem.

The relationship between the worker and the business owner is voluntary in private enterprise. The worker chooses to work for the employer for a wage they agree upon (minimum wage laws set aside). This consensually agreed upon relationship is only slavery in the furthest reaches of intellectual fantization. Any other situation would be slavery. This is the only relationship that can be outside the definition of slavery. So if this is slavery, what is freedom?

Marx believes it is slavery because the employer steals from the laborer. The employer exploits the worker and takes away the value he produces. This is also an inaccurate depiction of the relationship. The worker does not create the products he or she is employed to create from scratch. The worker creates a product using the capital goods the employer has provided them with. Thus, the employer is not stealing anything. Rather, they are paying the worker to do something with the resources they already own.

There is an institution that does steal things it had no hand at all in producing, though. It is called the state. If I were to take nature-given resources and produce a product, and then sell said product, the state would take some of my profit. This is an exploitative relationship. This is the exploitation Marx should have set his sights on.

At the same time, the employer does not buy the worker. The employer rents the labor of the worker. Buying the worker would mean they never went home to their family and they would get a one-time payment to their previous owner, not a wage paid out directly to them. Clearly, this is not the case. Workers rent out their labor voluntarily, and they are still in control of themselves.

If the employer truly did own the worker, the worker could not leave. The worker would be permanently stuck in the present job. But workers can leave if they are unhappy with the working conditions or wages. Marx talks about competition as if it a terrible fire that workers must burn in, but workers are the ones that force businesses to compete.

Competition is what brings up working conditions, pushes down prices, and keeps quality high. It is a staple of the free market and may be one of the most beneficial parts. Marx’s criticism of the relationship of the workers to the employers is misguided, and the conclusions he draws are flat out wrong. Thus, they should be entirely rejected.


To support 71 Republic, please donate to our Patreon, which you can find here.

The Socialist Myth that is Late Stage Capitalism

By Sean Calvert | Canada

Late stage capitalism, or late capitalism, is an idea that has re-emerged in recent years to explain the purported failures of contemporary capitalism. According to this notion, absurdities and failures in the economy are symptomatic of capitalism’s death throes. These perceived failures, however, are not inherent to the system, as many Marxist economists believe, but are rather due to intervention by the state. As for the absurdities, none provide evidence that capitalism is failing.

While Marx himself never used the term late stage capitalism, he did describe what the final stages of capitalism would look like. In volume three of Das Kapital, Marx described how in capitalism’s last stage, market competition would decline as capital centralized in fewer hands. Marxist economists, such as Michał Kalecki, believed that capitalism was inherently monopolistic and that its fate was to move towards a system that would eventually devour itself.

The term “Late Capitalism” can be traced back to Marxist economist Werner Sombart’s work Der moderne Kapitalismus, published in the early 1900s. In this work, Sombart explains that Capitalism developed in three stages: early (pre-industrial revolution), high (the industrial revolution), and late stage capitalism (World War I and beyond).

The term was popularized seventy years later by another Marxist economist, Ernest Mandel. For Mandel, Late Capitalism is characterized by the rise of multinational corporations, consumerism, and globalization. He argued that the last expansionary wave began with the birth of fascism in Europe and the advent of the US and UK command economies during the Second World War. This expansion lasted until 1972 when it reached its limit. Economic stagnation and class struggle followed.

When Mandel was writing, he was witnessing the very end of the post-WWII boom. He believed that the working class would soon rise in a mass, revolutionary movement.  Obviously, this did not happen. The slump did not create anything resembling the conditions that sparked the revolutions in Tsarist Russia.

Contemporary understandings of Late Capitalism have broadened out from the original definition to include all the deficiencies and absurdities of the current economy. These include the destruction of the middle class, the growing gap between the rich and poor, and popular focus on useless goods, such as wifi-enabled kettles.

The “late” in “late capitalism” implies that capitalism is at the end of its age.  Just as Late Antiquity marked the end of the Classical era and the transition to the Middle Ages, so too does late stage capitalism herald both an end and a beginning. Marx believed that the final stages of capitalism would be marked by the rise of the proletariat and the diminishment of the middle class as wealth was concentrated into fewer hands. These three factors, according to Marx, would result in the emergence of a proletarian revolution. Yet history proved otherwise. Crises, such as the Great Depression, came and went, yet there was no revolution.     

Marx predicted that the advent of monopolies would signal the collapse of capitalism. While it is true that large corporations came to control the economic landscape, their dominion is not natural. Economist Horace Gray found that aspiring monopolies would petition governments to designate them as public utilities to protect them from competition. AT&T enjoyed monopoly status until its government supplied patents expired in 1893. By 1907, AT&T’s competitors controlled 51% of the market.

Income inequality is touted as one of the elements of late stage capitalism. Inequality is not necessarily a bad thing – it exemplifies the choice of the individual in a capitalist society. One person may choose to be a schoolteacher and another become a doctor. The income gap between the two is no doubt large, but the two individuals made different choices, leading to different outcomes.

On the other hand, the wealth gap between the rich and poor in the U.S. is growing at an alarming rate. A Bloomberg article found that between 2010 and 2015 the average annual income between the top 20% and the bottom 20% increased by more than $29,000 to $189,000. New York Times columnist David Brooks reports that wealth inequality is greater in the United States than it is in Iran or Russia. Surely this must be a sign that capitalism is in its final stages.

While this is true, the major reason for the channeling of wealth to the super rich is due to collusion among the state, large corporations, and special interest groups. It is called cronyism, and it is inherently against the precepts of free-market capitalism. Corporations lobby the government to create policies, which range from subsidies to protective regulations, which in turn create barriers for new competitors, effectively killing most competition and funneling wealth up the rungs of the socioeconomic ladder. It is not capitalism per se that has funneled the wealth to the top, but the state and its regressive regulations.

It must not be forgotten that capitalism allows more upward social mobility than alternative economic systems. “Oh, but the middle class is shrinking! Marx predicted this!” No doubt this is true in the United States. A Pew Research study showed that between 1991 and 2010 middle-income households fell to 59% from 62%.

Yet acording to the U.S. Census Bureau, since 1967, the number of households which have an income of more than $100,000 has increased from 8.1% to 27.7%. In addition, the number of low-income households, defined as those that make less than $35,000, has decreased from 38.7% to 30.2% since 1967. From these statistics, we can conclude that most households are moving up rather than down the income ladder, contrary to what Marx predicted.

Some who believe that we are in late stage capitalism point towards absurdities and irregularities within our socio-economic system. A $1200 margarita is touted as evidence of decadence. Yet a $1200 margarita undeniably targets the exceedingly rich, and should be regarded as a non-issue because consumers have the choice to pursue lower priced margaritas.

Critics of capitalism fail to recognize is that most of capitalism’s perceived shortcomings are, in fact, not intrinsic the economic system. Rather, they are consequences of the anti-capitalist policies of the state that constrict the free market, and in doing so, give rise to the perception that capitalism is on its deathbed.

Mandel waited from 1973 until his death in 1995 for the proletariat to revolt. Yet his wait was in vain.  If capitalism is as unsustainable and as exploitative as many Marxists make it out to be, we would have already seen a revolution akin to the overthrow of Tsarist Russia. For now, and the foreseeable future, free-market capitalism remains the best economic system we have.


To support 71 Republic, please donate to our Patreon, which you can find here.

Featured Image Source.

There And Back Again: My Journey From Marxism To Libertarianism, And Back To The Radical Center

By Jason Thompson | United States

Political opinions are like assholes – we all have one – and for the most part, nobody wants to see or hear yours expressed if it does not validate their own preconceived notions and particular worldview. It just seems so impossible that a person on the “left” could have anything at all in common with somebody on the “right. ” Aside from tremendous failures in communication, there tends to be, and I am speaking from my own personal experiences, an apparent inability to see somebody on the other side of the supposed “spectrum” as truly human. I would go so far as to say that American political culture is diseased.

Echo chambers and political tribalism abound.

I would like to introduce myself. In articles to come, I will do my best to focus on objective reporting of facts and happenings, albeit from a libertarian standpoint, but this right here, folks, is an opinion piece.  It is the story of my own personal experiences and how they have come to shape and define the beliefs and principles that set the stage for a political bildungsroman twenty-five years in the making.

I was born into a working class, mostly Irish family of eight children in the small town of Mount Airy, Maryland. My father is a roofer and a farmer from Southern Virginia. His people were old-school Southern Democrats, and my mother’s people were liberals from Maryland, Western Pennsylvania, and Missouri.  This familial political history has been integral in shaping my own conceptions of identity and the principles and values I hold dear.  Over the years, my principles have largely held steadfast, but the manner in which they have been expressed politically and ideologically has transformed radically.

I used to be a filthy commie.  A God-damned Marxist inspired radical who raged against what I saw as a system which forced my father to grind his bones into the dirt to feed eight children and to scrape by in a world which that crushed the poor while enriching the elite. Little did I know, my father was the ultimate rebel.  He was agorist in every sense of the word.

And I am his son.

I was angry.  I wanted vengeance. And as the saying goes, I was certainly born with a plastic spoon in my mouth.

How could somebody work so hard and find themselves constantly scraping by just to survive? My family members were Democrats. My great grandmother’s sister was the second woman to travel to the USSR after WWII and was on an FBI blacklist during the McCarthy era. How could I not do my forefathers justice by believing what I truly thought would raise the poor out of impoverished misery? My heart was in the right place, but I was trying to build a foundation and ideological home with a hammer and a sickle.

And I wondered why the house I had built kept crashing down under the weight of objective scrutiny.

Marx, Trotsky, democratic socialism, mutualism, George Orwell – these were my political fodder.  I ate it up at the expense of intellectual honesty.  I blogged about it.  I towed the party line. But from a young age, the seeds of entrepreneurship and personal responsibility had been planted, and those two things were crucial in my journey towards libertarianism. The election cycles of 2012 and 2016 pushed me away from the extremes and helped me find a new home in a libertarian-inspired radical center.

Going to a small liberal arts school, I find it amazing that I was not further indoctrinated into the cult of social justice and Marxist lunacy.  Perhaps it was because I was surrounded by truly leftist professors – useful idiots the whole lot of them – that I raged against what I was coming to see more and more for what it truly was – rhetoric and faux outrage not truly grounded in historical or economic analysis.

I started to gravitate towards right-libertarianism and men like Larry Sharpe, Lew Rockwell, and Ron Paul. Gary Johnson’s 2012 presidential run was fundamental in bringing me to what I saw as my new truth. I started delving down the rabbit hole further and further and recognized the myth of true freedom from a tyrannical state in the modern age. I could see that our society had strayed far from the spirit and text of the US Constitution.

I felt vindicated. Here was truth. I was more right than God, but man, did I still have a lot to learn. Fast forward to the 2016 election cycle and I was hooked.  I was a full blown political junkie and I jumped right into the firefight.

I was an ideological soldier fighting my own personal jihad against the system of leftist professors who had lied to impressionable college kids and corporate stooges who had misled the American public. Boy did I alienate a lot of people. Vitriol and political hatred were in the air.  People who I had used to agree with politically at one point, and whom I had considered good people (they were, I was being a pretentious prick), became my ideological enemies in a battle waged on social media.

Slacktivist, Supreme. That was me.

I lost a lot of friends over what I now see was inane bullshit and a failure on my own part to adequately communicate my ideas.  I drove off the people most in need of hearing what I still believe is the truth.

That is when I discovered radical centrism, and began to see that libertarianism may be much more of a centrist ideology than I had presupposed and that a lot of the hatred and vitriol could be extinguished through communication and approaching the issues facing American society from an open-minded pursuit of outreach beyond our base. We accomplish this, as a team, not by abandoning our principles, but by focusing on pragmatism and effective marketing.

Somebody I was in a discussion with last night said “you can be more right than God, but if you don’t communicate effectively than you have nothing.” Our movement is so consumed with ideological infighting by keyboard warriors that the voting public cannot take us seriously.  We argue incessantly over drivel the average American neither has the background nor the luxury to care about, and in doing so push ourselves into smaller and smaller sub-groups to the point that we can’t even compete with the duopoly on major issues facing ALL Americans. We’re all on the same ship piloted by a political elite which perpetuates this false dichotomy between left and right. Even the filthy internet commies.

Divide and conquer.

We are playing right into their hand. We have tightened the yoke around our own necks by failing to see each other as Americans and to effectively communicate our ideas to the wider public.

Someone once said that getting libertarians to agree and to organize coherently is like herding cats. It can’t be done.

Well, I grew up herding pigs, cows, sheep, and goats. I’m good at it.

Now I am going to try to herd cats.

I could go on and on, and my editor is probably going to grill me for writing such a long piece.  But this is my story, and am I being detained?

The Land Of Upright Men: Thomas Sankara & The Marxist Revolution of Burkina Faso

By Spencer Kellogg | AFRICA

I am often asked, ‘Where is Imperialism?’ Just look into your plates: you see imported corn, rice or millet. This is imperialism. Our country produces enough to feed us all. We can even produce more than we need. Unfortunately, for lack of organization, we still need to beg for food aid. This type of assistance is counterproductive and has kept us thinking that we can only be beggers who need aid.

Africa has long been a testing ground for some of the world’s most appalling and dangerous ideas. Raped of their land and wealth, Africa as a continent still lags severely behind all other land masses though their nations are blessed with a bounty of natural resources. Even after the uprising and reclamation of many African nations from their colonialist masters, today these countries still suffer at the hands of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other global political & economical conglomerates that seek to push through often failed large-scale agricultural and industrial projects to the detriment of Africa leaving these poor people mired in unresolved debt and slaves to a new order – that of a globalist economy. In 1983 in the former French Upper Volta, one man was determined to stand against the tyrants who used his land and abused his people for wealth to be exported to the other side of oceans and seas. This man was Thomas Sankara.

Landlocked to the North by the Malian desert and cut off to the Atlantic Ocean by The Ivory Coast and Ghana to the South, The Former French Upper Volta has long been one of the poorest nations in the entire world. Although the country achieved independence in 1960, the following two decades were known best for their lackluster development and incompetent leadership often bankrolled by their former colonizers in France. Dressed in military garb and sporting the classic red beret, Sankara immediately went about slashing the salaries of public servants, eliminating all colonial taxes levied on the country and breaking up powerful unions that hoarded wealth while reinvesting the nations small abundance back into the communities that lived in abject poverty. Socially, Sankara rejected the patriarchal undertones of colonialism and allowed women to enlist and serve in the military alongside men while also creating a holiday where men would go to the market to buy goods while the women stayed home. This challenge to societal norms set a precedent not only for Africa but also for countries far and wide which still reverberates today.

When you are bearing arms that can spit fire and death and when you can receive orders standing to attention in front of a flag without knowing who will benefit from this order or this arm you become a potential criminal who’s just waiting to spread terror around you. How many soldiers are going around such and such country and bringing grief and desolation without understanding that they are fighting men and women for the same ideals as their own. A soldier without any political or ideological training is a potential criminal.

Sankara questioned the use of force and allegiance to a war machine that often pitted mutualistic philosophies against one another. As we are witnessing throughout the Middle East today, African nations were wrought by civil and border wars often gaslit by European powers seeking to gain footholds in their shadow wars against other global and regional enemies. Here, Sankara reads like Rothbard with his condemnation of war for tribe’s sake and suggestion that his people deserved a greater understanding of the impact that their blood and death played outside the battlefield.

While many African leaders promised reform and advancement for their people, Sankara wasted little time enacting policies to make a concrete change in his burgeoning country. He set up a nationwide vaccination program to tackle the deadly trio of Polio, Measles & Meningitis and within one month had vaccinated over two and half million citizens earning him the respect of the World Health Organization. To increase physical activity, he instituted once a week sporting rituals and himself participated in the new decree by playing soccer and suggesting the practice was important to promote “a healthy mind and a healthy body”. By the early 1980’s, Africa was just beginning to recover from a generational drought and Sankara took the lead by planting millions of trees and instituting policies against the desertification of Burkina Faso. While building new housing for the impoverished cities Sankara also poured money into building railroads and highways that would connect the disparate villages and cities of his nation.

For all of his Marxist tendencies, Sankara showed a reliable libertarian streak in his aims to decentralize and localize the production of goods and services in his land. His arguments against the global economic structure that stood against the needs and prosperity of his own people were rooted in the idea that what is locally produced by his people was best for his people’s economic and ideological strength. While the majority of Africa was used as a production hub for cheap labor, he rallied a new way in Africa by demanding food and goods come from Burkina Faso for Burkina Faso. In his aims to transform Burkina Faso into a truly independent state, he championed the “Faso Dan Fani” (History of Faso Dan Fani) a local cloth woven of cotton that all public servants were required to wear. While skeptics could point to this institutionalized clothing requirement as authoritarian in nature, it could also be seen as a liberating force that stood to question the reliance of outside industrialization that was the driving force of Africa’s weakened economic and philosophical power.

We think that France’s politic in Africa is very French. That is to say that it resembles other French politics. In the past, the French were present in such and such African country in order to either support one particular leader, one kinglet, or to take away another chief and fly him out. France still proceeds that way today.

At the Vittel conference of 1983 in France, the French President François Mitterrand met with Sankara and other African heads of state. In the preceding weeks many, including the French-owned state of Côte d’Ivoire, had expressed doubt and worry over the revolutionary ideas of Sankara and Burkina Faso. Most of the nations that met at the Vittel Conference were dependent on the French treasury and there was a sense that Sankara and his ideas needed to be suppressed before uprisings and counter-revolutions sprang up throughout the continent. There, Mitterrand reminded the nations of their precious alignment with the west and struck out against the sovereignty of rising independent states who sought new allegiances with the Soviet Union and Cuba. At the Organization of Africa Unity Summit later that year, Sankara pointed accusingly at the African heads of state who grew richer while their people grew poorer. He spotlighted the mounting debt and rising interest rates hoisted upon Africa by their former colonizers and called on leaders to stand with him against the global economic tyranny of African nations.

I would like this conference to clearly declare that we cannot pay the debt. Not in a rebellious spirit. But just to avoid being assassinated individually. If Burkina Faso is the only one to refuse, I won’t be at the next conference. When we are saying that we should not pay the debt, we’re not refusing our responsibilities or not keeping our words. It’s just that we don’t have the same moral standards as others. Between the rich and the poor, moral standards cannot be the same. The Bible or the Koran cannot serve those who exploit people and the exploited ones, in the same way. We should have two editions of the Bible and two editions of the Koran. Brothers, with everybody’s support, we will make peace at home. We’ll be able to use Africa’s full potential as well to develop our country because our land is rich. We have enough manpower and we have a very large market, from the North to the South, the East to West. We have enough brainpower to create or at least to go and learn science and technology where it can be learnt.

Mister President, let’s present a united front against the debt here in Addis Abbeba. Let’s make sure that this conference will decide to limit the arms race between poor and weak countries. The clubs and knives that we buy are useless. Let’s make sure that the African market belongs to Africans. Let’s produce in Africa, manufacture in Africa and consume in Africa. Burkina Faso came here to show you our locally produced cotton woven in Burkina Faso and tailored in Burkina Faso to clothe our people. I, along with my delegation, am dressed by our tailors, our farmers. Not a single thread comes from Europe or America. I am not presenting a fashion show here but I simply would like to say that we must accept to live the African way, it’s the only way to live in freedom and with dignity.  Our homeland or death, we will win.

By 1986, Sankara was paranoid by threats mounting from political opponents in every direction. He tried enemies of the state and the upper-class citizens of Burkina Faso became agitated by his authoritative demeanor. For crimes against the country, Sankara forced the guilty to address their treason on radio and television for all to see. Public servants found guilty were often made to work without pay and the trials administered by The People’s Revolutionary Tribunal did not guarantee rights to a lawyer or proper defense. Even worse, the prosecution was not tasked with proving the defendant guilty. Instead, the defendant was presumed guilty of charges and expected to prove his innocence. The once shining beacon of new liberty on the African continent was being extinguished by the very man who lit the flame.

Later in the year, French President Mitterrand would visit Burkina Faso with the aims of squashing the increasingly important player in international politics. The environment was heated as many saw Mitterrand as representative of the same policies that had created and fostered apartheid in South Africa. P.W. Botha, President of South Africa, had visited France only months before Mitterrand made his way to The Land of Upright Men and Sankara, with an international audience watching, took the opportunity to speak out in protest against Mitterand’s relationship with the South African ethnostate:

Killers such as Pieter Botha have had the right to travel through beautiful France. They dirtied it. With their bloodied hands and feet. And all those who allowed them to act the way they did will bear the responsibility for it, here and elsewhere, now and forever.

Though Sankara could not be bought or sold, his second in command, Blaise Compaoré, was growing weary of the revolution and seized on a section of the nation who wished for a more liberal regime. Compaoré, in collusion with the newly elected right wing of France, began to speak out against Sankara. Once close friends, by 1987, Compaoré had disowned Sankara and used his control of the nation’s army to lead a coup against his closest friend. Within weeks, Sankara was murdered in a staged attack by Compaoré’s associates and buried in a shallow grave before nightfall. In the following weeks, Compaoré championed many of Sankara’s ideas while back peddling into a subsistent relationship with the French. In France & The Ivory Coast congratulations were extended to Compaoré and Sankara’s name was dragged through the mud. Throughout Africa however, Sankara’s name still remains synonymous with Pan Africanism and the struggle for complete independence and liberty from neo-colonialist empires.

The modern prism by which we view and define the failures of Marxism is often distorted by the ills of the Soviet Union archipelago and the postmodern academic bastardization of collectivism as seen throughout Asia in the late 20th century. In Africa and South American too, Marxism has played chief doctrine to the murder and widespread poverty of millions of citizens. However, we are aggrieved if we cannot also correctly assert that Capitalism and its determined march against the sovereignty and freedom of poor people is not also to blame for massive death and unrest. Sankara was a poor man who stood for a poor people. He refuted the tone and nature of ‘Afro-pessimism’ and believed wholeheartedly that his people deserved respect, dignity and ultimately freedom. His message today still strikes with the tone of Jefferson. He carried a torch where once no light existed.  In a world full of slanted men hungry for money and power, Sankara stood upright with pride and love of his country and people.