SLAM [Student Liberation Action Movement]
This was a multiracial radical student organization based in colleges in New York City from 1996 to 2004, especially Hunter College in Manhattan.
In early 1995 the City University of New York (CUNY) announced a major tuition increase and threatened to end (and later did end) the policy of open admissions, which had been won through earlier student stuggles in 1969. In response the students, under the leadership of an ad hoc coalition, organized a protest of 20,000 people which surrounded City Hall. This demonstration was attacked by the police, but the coalition continued and in 1996 transformed itself into the Student Liberation Action Movement. The group spread to CUNY colleges in all parts of New York City, and worked to construct a “left culture” among students. But over time the movement gradually lost force, and SLAM was disbanded in 2004. It did, however, leave a powerful imprint upon the many college students involved.
See also: http://SLAMherstory.wordpress.com for an oral history project by many of the women students involved in SLAM.
See: SWIDDEN AGRICULTURE
The first form of class society, based on private ownership of property and the outright ownership and exploitation of individuals of one class (the slaves) by individuals (or groups of individuals) of another class (the slave owners). Slave society developed out of primitive communal society, and was replaced by feudalism.
See also below, and: CHATTEL SLAVERY
SLAVERY — Ancient
“Unlike the North American slave system, the Roman slave system was not based on racist assumptions. Many enslaved people were educated in the household and often freed in their early 20s.” —New York Times, Book Review section, December 3, 2023.
SLAVERY — Origin Of
“Not everyone can make use of a slave. In order to be able to make use of
a slave, one must possess two kinds of things: first, the instruments and material for his
slave’s labor; and secondly, the means of bare subsistence for him. Therefore, before
slavery becomes possible, a certain level of production must already have been reached and
a certain inequality of distribution must already have appeared. And for slave-labor to
become the dominant mode of production in the whole of a society, an even far higher
increase in production, trade and accumulation of wealth was essential. In the ancient
primitive communities with common ownership of the land, slavery either did not exist at
all or played only a very subordinate role.”
—Engels, Anti-Dühring (1878), Part II, Chapter 2: Theory of Force; MECW 25:148.
SLAVERY — In the Age of Capitalism
Of course capitalism itself is another form of slavery, appropriately called wage slavery by Marx. But even chattel slavery has continued to exist to a very wide extent well into what we call the capitalist era, as has feudalism. The historian Adam Hochschild notes that even by the end of the eighteenth century well over three-quarters of all the people in the world were in bondage of one sort or another, either as slaves or serfs. [Bury the Chains (2005), p. 2.]
And still today, chattel slavery is surprisingly common, though nowhere is it the dominant form of exploitation any more. Sometimes people being held in slave conditions (often as prostitutes) are even found in advanced capitalist countries like the United States. According to the Global Slavery Index (http://www.globalslaveryindex.org/), as of 2016 about 45.8 million people in 167 countries are enslaved through forced labor, debt bondage or human trafficking. This includes over 18,350,000 people in India alone.
See: BLIND FOLLOWERS
A few words which epitomize a social struggle, such as “Peace, Land and Freedom!” and “All Power to the Soviets!” in the Russian Revolution (the latter slogan being the specific version of “All Power to the People!” which was appropriate in the Russian context).
On much contemporary social media, and especially on Twitter, it is essentially impossible to have reasoned discussions or arguments, and the interactions between people become mere exchanges of “sound-bites”. But on the other hand, the requirement for concision does provide the impetus to come with up good slogans, which can carry a lot of meaning. Slogans tend to be dismissed or even denounced by many progressives, but they have served a very important role in revolutionary upheavals. Revolutionaries should certainly seek to come up with memorable, easy to understand and relevant slogans that viscerally link the struggles of the masses to a systemic critique of capitalist-imperialism. Of course, this does not mean that producing slogans should be the primary task of revolutionaries! —L.C.
See also: ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
[To be added...]
See also: FAVELA
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