How do Marxists explain the failures of the working movement? I don't so much mean the counter revolution in Russia, but the lack of an international working class movement, especially one which learns from past failures, a party etc. which doesn't get in through social democracy or the "successes" of Stalinism.

I know the Frankfurt school has talked about this, and it seems obvious that with the failure of the unions, both as working class and capitalist organs, there's real practical problems with people organising themselves against their employers. But this seems incomplete.

Has anyone in e.g. the feminist movement, communist or othewrise, used a similar reasoning to explain the persistence of patriarchy?

  • foucault may have something to say
    – user6917
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 19:53

1 Answer 1


There are many different ideological lines within Marxist thought and the analysis of the labor's movement problems is defined by these different perspectives. The question thus can be considered too broad to be answered in brief so I will focus to the issues raised in the question.

In general Marxism analyzes the relations between economic classes, the peaks, the setbacks, the crisis of capitalism, of the labor movement, of the trade unions etc as a dense net of interrelationships, human history and progress of society passes through contradictions that determine the course of the subjects under examination.

Capitalism is able through the use of various means to prolong and secure its existence but it can't override its inner contradictions, so the capitalistic crisis is here to stay.

Some of the most obvious and commonly analyzed such means are imperialism, the destruction of productive forces, the ideological dominance of conservative forces via the control of mass culture, the division of the labor movement and the enforced confrontation of some parts of laborers towards other.

Other reasons may be the ineffectiveness of forms of organization and struggle, the conservativisation of political forms of organization, the echo of the black pages of Stalinism and more.

When we analyze the political movements there is a risk of oversimplification, for example it can be seen that the organization of the labor movement at the international level is in decline but one can analyze this and vice versa. In practice we have the actual advent of a real internationalism, people are seeing through the subtle differences between nations, races, sexes and the contemporary crisis of capitalism makes this transparent.

On the last question it is obvious that a social system such as patriarchy which was prevalent for a wide historical period can not be reversed at a very fast pace but certainly the modern world is confronted with the traditional organization of patriarchy and women through their participation in capitalistic production, the evolution of our societies, etc are gradually equalized with men in the whole world.

  • 1
    pretty good answer which doesn't so much answer as provide a means to avoid glossing and over simplification of the question
    – user6917
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 20:54

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