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Redstar2000 is the alias of Edward Clark, a controversial Marxist writer well known amongst radical leftist communities on the internet. He is known for his unconventional approach to Marxism and his virulent rejection of the Leninist trends in the Marxist movement. He died of a heart attack at 69 years old on November 5th, 2011[1]. His ashes were scattered under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in August 2013[2] .

Redstar takes a position that is considered interesting by many, that Marxism and anarchism are on an inevitable course towards convergence. His thinking and observation of historical events has led him to believe that the state has no role as the "transitional worker's state" toward communism. It is a view he defends with a body of collective experience that he claims proves state socialism has run its course.

HistoryEdit

Born in 1942, Redstar2000 was a member of the Students for a Democratic Society for a large period of time, and saw its demise and concluding split in 1969. Experiences such as this, as well as meetings with Che Guevara and Fidel Castro while with a group of students in Cuba in 1964, give weight to his writings amongst those who share his ideas.

He also was a member of the New Orleans Socialist Union, who produced a monthly newspaper in New Orleans called the Louisiana Worker. In the 1960s he had been on the National Executive Board of the Progressive Labor Party. During his time with the PLP he would be published twice in "Progressive Labor": First in 1965 on the transition of the US institutions[3], and then again in 1969 on southern students & liberalism[4]. The PLP suffered many splits causing extremely serious problems for the PLP; including RedStar2000's[5] in 1969 over manipulation of the SDS. it led Redstar2000 and his group in New Orleans to question Leninist methods. They abandoned Leninism in favor of a form of libertarian council communism. He would later be published by the Canadian magazine "The Red Menace" in 1977[6].

TheoryEdit

A simple general explanation for most of his stances is a "no compromise" position on all aspects of capitalist society: the state, capital and religion.

He believes in a communist society built without a state in federated collectives heavily relying on the internet for cooperative voluntary organization. Offenders and people who attempt to re-establish class society would be "voted out" by the majority, or in minor cases, simply "cut-off" from the supply of goods provided by the community.

His major contributions to the realm of ideas have been to this developing trend of anarcho-Marxism. It is a trend that has not been present amongst the radical left in a coherent form for a long time, though libertarian Marxism takes similar positions on many issues as anarchism.

Many Leninists and less-libertarian Marxists consider this unrealistic, as they counter that without an established leadership, no such society could last. Coordination between collectives would become very difficult and the inevitable conflicts that would arise would be difficult to overcome without hierarchy and defined leadership.

On the economy, he believes in democratic worker's control in the workplaces and a gift economy heavily grounded in smart card technology and the internet for statistical data. He believes with such smart-cards, it is possible to see and control trends in the consumption and production habits of the general population without the need for rigid quotas that stifle individuality.

For many, this system of computer-enforced economic organization is easily corruptible and unreliable. It is precisely his belief in the development of technology to a sufficient level to achieve this that leads to the criticism that he is Utopian and un-Marxist.

As for religion, he believes that in an anarcho-Communist revolution, as in the Spanish Civil War, the people will turn against religion as the guardian of the status-quo. He encourages the idea that churches, mosques, synagogues and other denominational structures should in some cases be demolished, as "propaganda in stone," and converted into public places such as parks[7]; and in other cases where the building is modern and not overtly grand to be converted into a place of gathering by removing religious symbolism[8]. He also believes that preaching publicly or attempting to indoctrinate children should be punished by the community, especially in the case of parental indoctrination[9].

These ideas on religion are some of his most controversial in the eyes of more moderate leftists as well as supporters of capitalism, who see a contradiction between his beliefs on the state and his views on religion as extremist.

CriticismEdit

He has been criticized for his "heavy-handed theoretical approach" and "dogmatism". Some believe him to be "egotistical" and "self-centered" and many on the right consider him stuck in an "outdated mode of thinking". Moderate leftists disagree with his analyses and rejection of electoral politics and religion. Proponents of the Leninist paradigm label him as an "anarchist" using his experience and respect amongst the leftist community to spread ideas. His supporters see his theories as an effort to move forward into the next century, combining what has worked with components that address the world as it is today.

It has also been pointed that his ideas assumed a linear development of capitalism, that is to say that Third World countries are in the initial stages of capitalism, and will with time, necessarily become developed countries. Some critics have argued such an analysis is dismissive of the massive impacts suffered by the Third World in its contact with the central capitalist countries.

Even though there are those who have criticized some of his theories, he has been given credit for being a beacon of information and mentor to countless young leftists. His work on topics such as "The High School Commie Guide" has influenced thousands of young people. He receives letters of gratitude from those who have been influenced from all over the world.

Web contributionsEdit

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  • His website, Redstar2000 Papers, was started in 2003 after requests from many youth to document and collect his thoughts.
  • A founding member and retired administrator of the online RevLeft.com community, with over 128,000 members.
  • A contributor to the RCP's Another World is Possible boards. He was a moderator until September 2004.
  • A contributor to Libcom.org.

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://www.revleft.com/vb/redstar2000-has-passed-t163812/index.html
  2. http://vimeo.com/72325397
  3. http://www.marxists.org/history/erol/1960-1970/ballots-guns.htm
  4. http://www.marxists.org/history/erol/1960-1970/southern-students.htm
  5. https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/1960-1970/5retreats/chapter7.htm
  6. http://www.connexions.org/RedMenace/Docs/RM2-WhyLeninistsWillWin.htm
  7. http://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/wim/wyl/socdem/redstar/redstar367.html
  8. http://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/wim/wyl/socdem/redstar/redstar367.html
  9. http://www.prisoncensorship.info/archive/etext/wim/wyl/socdem/redstar/redstar163.html

External linksEdit

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