what is a “radlib”?

Image for postBoots Riley at the occupy oakland ?general strike? in november 2011. oakland?s radical reputation, built on the legacy of groups like the Black Panther Party, has given legitimacy to celebrity activists like Boots, who endorsed capitalist-imperialist bernie sanders this year.

radlib, a portmanteau of ?radical? and ?liberal?, is a term used by revolutionary anticapitalists to describe people who pretend to be radically opposed to the capitalist-imperialist status quo, but defend the system in practice, allying with liberal democrats and other counterrevolutionaries.

radlibs as a social force have much in common with the labor aristocracy struggled against by marx & engels, and the social-chauvinists and opportunists opposed by lenin. typically led by activists of the upper strata of the working classes, their ambivalence about the destruction of oppression reflects their precarious position above billions of oppressed and colonized people (but below the bourgeoisie)?they often benefit from increased living standards at the expense of the dispossessed and enslaved, but just as often have been themselves exploited by capitalists and colonizers. their political inconsistency is a product of their liminal position in society.

while many radlibs oppose ?class reductionism? and claim to be interested in fighting multiple systems of oppression, their ties to the spoils of domination and exploitation often lead them into alliances with the dirtbag left they supposedly despise, who are typically far less apologetic about class collaboration with imperialists.

social capitalism is often a radlib?s best means of securing their position.


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