The killing of officers by the soldiers in their own army. Since soldiers in capitalist countries are mostly from poor or working class families while the officers are usually from higher social strata, and since the officers in these armies constantly lord their authority over the ordinary soldiers in a most severe way, there are inevitable conflicts between the two at all times. However, during wartime the situation can be more extreme; it is the job of the officer corp to order soldiers into battle in the service of the ruling class, which puts the lives of these soldiers at serious risk for no good purpose. The soldiers sometimes take violent exception to this! And one form of that is to simply turn their guns around against their own officers.
Although there are occasional fraggings in virtually all wars, this became particularly common in the U.S. imperialist war of aggression against Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s. There were an officially reported 209 cases of fragging of U.S. officers in that war, but the number was probably far larger. (It was much less embarrassing for the military to report deaths due to “enemy fire” than it was deaths at the hands of their own soldiers!) The rebelliousness of their own army was one of several important factors that led to the defeat of the U.S. imperialists in that war. The name “fragging” comes from the common use of fragmentation grenades for this purpose. The very last thing a number of U.S. imperialist officers saw in their lives was a fragmentation grenade rolling toward them on the floor of their tent.
“[In Vietnam] the targets of the attacks were mostly junior field
officers. The men who tossed grenades at or shot their officers in many cases were
African Americans. They were pushed over the top by what they considered the brutal,
racist and dehumanizing treatment by white officers. Their hatred was fed by
resentment of being drafted and forced to fight in what they considered a racist,
senseless war against oppressed people.
“The growing problem of ‘fraggings’ leaped to public attention in the trial of Billy Dean Smith in 1971. Smith ... was an African American. He was accused of killing two white officers. Though Smith was eventually acquitted, the trial quickly turned into as much a debate over Army racism and the waging of an unjust war as Smith’s personal guilt or innocence.” —Earl Ofari Hutchinson, “Echoes of ‘fragging’”, San Francisco Chronicle, March 27, 2003.
This was centered around what was officially known as the Institute for Social Research, which was founded and affiliated with the University of Frankfurt in 1923 under the direction of Carl Grünberg. During the Nazi era it was forced to relocate to New York, but returned home in 1949. Among its leading lights were Max Horkheimer, who was the Director from 1931 to 1958, Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse, who had a considerable influence on some of the leaders of the New Left in the U.S. during the 1960s. Its leading later representative is Jürgen Habermas. The programme of the school was supposedly to construct a “critical theory” of Marxism, which they characteristically tried to do in academia and in a way completely divorced from the mass revolutionary movement!
In other words, the Frankfurt School in actual practice has been primarily a loose association of intellectual revisionists who were influenced by Marxism to some degree, but who sought to reconstruct it along the much more idealist and bourgeois lines which were acceptable to them. They found a great deal to criticize in Marx and Engels, and even more to criticize in Lenin. Later they added Mao to their list of Marxist-Leninists they didn’t much care for.
One of their most consistent themes was to oppose materialism. They used this sneaky approach: they identified materialism and its defense with Stalin and his USSR in order to discredit it with their target audience. As much as possible they tried to ignore or deny the plain fact that all the great developers of the science of revolutionary Marxism have been staunch and extremely consistent materialists. In particular they tried to distort Marx’s early writings to make him out to be some sort of Hegelian idealist! Their second sneaky trick was to absurdly claim that dialectical materialism as it has been understood within Marxism-Leninism was actually a form of “positivism”! And in general the Frankfurt School has focused almost entirely on the superstructure of society, with a determination to put an idealist slant on their interpretation of it. Like most idealists, they found Kant attractive when it comes to epistemology. They were also enthusiastic about psychoanalysis, despite the fact that it is mostly a pseudoscience. The psychoanalyst Erich Fromm was one of those associated with the Frankfurt School.
The Frankfurt School rejected orthodox Marxism as a “dogma”. It seems only fair, therefore, that we revolutionary Marxists should reject the Frankfurt School as silly idealist revisionism!
The widely used nickname for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, a government sponsored enterprise (GSE), which in reality is just a part of the U.S. government, and which is one of many govenment agencies which provides financing for the home mortgage market.
The aspect of a capitalist economy wherein commodities are exchanged between buyers and sellers, and the prices for these commodities are determined firstly, by the value in them (the amount of socially necessary labor time incorporated into their production), and secondly, by additional influences and fluctuations around that value center of gravity based on such things as the varying supply and demand.
The capitalists like the name “free market”, rather than alternatives such as the “capitalist market”, or the “commodities market”, since it suggests freedom, which is something that people view positively. (In other words the term includes some bourgeois ideological indoctrination.) But behind the “freedom” of this so-called “free market” is the system of production which involves the enormous exploitation of human labor in order to produce the commodities which are then freely sold by their expropriators (capitalist thieves) on this “free market”.
A secondary meaning of the term “free market” is in contrast to any capitalist market which is regulated or “interfered with” in even small ways by the capitalist government. The idea here is that any regulation of the market (even if this is actually being done for the benefit of the capitalist class itself!) necessarily impinges on the “freedom” of that market! (Many bourgeois ideologues, especially those who favor laissez-faire or neoliberal forms of capitalism, are actually too stupid to know that some forms of regulation of the market are actually in their own overall capitalist class interests!)
See also: EFFICIENT MARKET HYPOTHESIS
FREE MARKET FUNDAMENTALISM
The ideological belief in the absolute virtues of the “free market” (see entry above) in its virtually pure and unregulated form, even to the point of maintaining that any “interference” or regulation of the market whatsoever will cause more problems than it prevents. These adherents of laissez-faire capitalism have what amounts to a religious faith in this “free market” from both the point of view of its supposed economic efficiency and (even more absurdly) from their conception of morality!
Although faith in the capitalist “free market” is something that most contemporary bourgeois thinkers uphold, some of them uphold it in almost absolutely pure form, while others recognize that some regulation of the capitalist market must occur. This latter group sometimes insults the former group by calling their ideology “free market fundamentalism”.
FREE RIDER PROBLEM
The strong tendency in bourgeois society for individuals to not in any way voluntarily pay for goods and services which are available to them for free. Thus if the government builds a road which any person can drive on for free, the only way the government can pay for such a road is through taxes which the “public” (meaning, mostly the working class) is forced to pay. Bourgeois ideologists use this argument to supposedly “prove” that communism cannot work, since all the necessary consumer goods will be available for free in communist society and money will not even exist.
However, we Marxists know that both society and individual people can be gradually changed, and people can eventually be brought up in such a way that they willingly and enthusiastically donate their collective labor to produce all the goods and services that society needs. This will become ever more feasible as the further development of machinery and automation make the amount of labor necessary from each person smaller and smaller, and the nature of that labor less and less onerous—and even something which most often (instead of only rarely in this society) leads to human enjoyment, satisfaction and fulfillment. In the meanwhile, after the proletarian seizure of power, we will have to settle for an ever-improving (gradually more communistic) socialist economy.
1. Anti-determinism; i.e., the idealist view that cause and effect do not operate in the realm of human action.
2. The ability to act according to one’s inclinations or desires. This is opposed to fatalism, but it is often erroneously imagined to also be opposed to determinism.
Obviously these two senses are completely opposed to each other with regard to the question of determinism. Sense 1 above is the older sense that was most common a century ago, but sense 2 is more widespread today, and reflects a more sophisticated understanding of the role of determinism in the world. When Marxist writers such as Lenin condemn “free will” it is sense 1 that they are referring to.
See also: FREEDOM AND NECESSITY, COMPATIBILISM, and Philosophical doggerel about free will.
“The idea of determinism, which postulates that human acts are necessitated and rejects the absurd tale about free will, in no way destroys man’s reason or conscience, or appraisal of his actions. Quite the contrary, only the determinist view makes a strict and correct appraisal possible instead of attributing everything you please to free will.” —Lenin, “What the ‘Friends of the People’ Are” (1894), LCW 1:159.
[Intro to be added... ]
“‘Freedom’ is a grand word, but under the banner of freedom for industry the most predatory wars were waged, under the banner of freedom for labor, the working people were robbed.” —Lenin, “What Is To Be Done?” (1902), LCW 5:355. [Lenin’s point is that there are very different conceptions of freedom from the point of view of different social classes. —S.H.]
FREEDOM AND NECESSITY
“Hegel was the first to state correctly the relation between freedom and necessity. To him, freedom is the insight into necessity. ‘Necessity is blind only in so far as it is not understood.’ Freedom does not consist in any dreamt-of independence from natural laws, but in the knowledge of these laws, and in the possibility this gives of systematically making them work towards definite ends. This holds good in relation both to the laws of external nature and to those which govern the bodily and mental existence of men themselves—two classes of laws which we can separate from each other at most only in thought but not in reality. Freedom of the will therefore means nothing but the capacity to make decisions with knowledge of the subject. Therefore the freer a man’s judgment is in relation to a definite question, the greater is the necessity with which the content of this judgment will be determined; while the uncertainty, founded on ignorance, which seems to make an arbitrary choice among many different and conflicting possible decisions, shows precisely by this that it is not free, that it is controlled by the very object it should itself control. Freedom therefore consists in the control over ourselves and over external nature, a control founded on knowledge of natural necessity; it is therefore necessarily a product of historical development.” —Engels, Anti-Dühring (1878), MECW 25:105-106.
FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
[Intro to be added...]
“The first freedom of the press consists in it not being a business.” —Marx, “Debates on the Freedom of the Press”, Rheinishche Zeitung, (May 5, 1842). This sentence has also been translated as: “The first freedom of the press must be its emancipation from commerce” and “The primary freedom of the press lies in not being a trade.” [This last version is the one given in MECW 1:175.]
FREEDOM ROAD SOCIALIST ORGANIZATION
The Freedom Road Socialist Organization is a U.S. revolutionary group, or actually, two separate revolutionary groups since it underwent a split in March 1999 and both halves decided to keep the same name. The somewhat larger group, it appears, which is also known as FRSO/OSCL, has a web site at: http://www.freedomroad.org The other group, which has its biggest concentration in the Midwest, and which is sometimes called “FRSO/Fight Back!” (after the name of its newspaper), has a web site at: http://www.frso.org.
The FRSOs have their origin in other revolutionary organizations which were formed during the 1970s. One of these was the Revolutionary Workers’ Headquarters which was a group that split off from the Revolutionary Communist Party in early 1978. Both FRSOs still maintain strong elements of the seriously erroneous political line of the RWH. Both still fail to acknowledge, even after the accumulated evidence of the passing decades, that socialism was overthrown in China after Mao’s death. And while both groups do participate in mass struggle (which the RCP foolishly renounces), in their activities among workers, at least, the FRSOs both seem to strongly shy away from promoting revolutionary ideas. They denigrate this as “red level work” which is supposedly mostly “inappropriate” at this time, at least among the masses in general.
(Rightists, or “right opportunists”, always fail to recognize that it is the obligation of communists to put forward revolutionary ideas to the masses at all times! The differences in how we talk to politically unsophisticated people, as opposed to those who already understand something of the true nature of society and know some Marxist concepts, is not in the political line we put forward, but merely in the terminology we use and the assumptions we make about the existing understanding of our audience. With the unsophisticates we talk about the need for workers to rule society; with a more sophisticated audience we talk about the same thing in terms of the “dictatorship of the proletariat”. There is no group of working class people so backward that we should avoid talking to them about the need for workers to rule instead of the capitalists!)
Both FRSO groups have been extremely weak in their discussion and elaboration of revolutionary theory, including their own precise political lines and the principles behind them. Partly this is due to these political lines being extraordinarily diverse among different individuals within each group. Moreover, both FRSOs have been quite flaky in the stands they have taken on various important issues. The FRSO/Fight Back! group, for example, supports a number of Soviet-style revisionist parties and organizations around the world, while the FRSO/OSCL at least tacitly supported Obama in 2008 and has been trying to promote a plan of “Left Refoundation”, which in part looks toward a merger with other “left” organizations with dubious lines (including, for a time, even the right-wing Trotskyites in the Solidarity organization). They seem to be seeking an organizational solution to the political problem of how to go about becoming a serious political force among the masses.
Both FRSO groups say that they champion the “mass line”. But their conception of the mass line is a strongly rightist-populist one, and involves tailing after the masses from a reformist perspective. For more extensive discussion of this topic see the FRSO page on MASSLINE.INFO
A German-language weekly newspaper of the anarchist group led by Johann Most and Wilhelm Hasselmann which was published in London from 1879 to 1882, then in Belgium in 1882 and in the U.S. from 1882 to 1910.
FRENCH EMPIRES AND REPUBLICS
“A bourgeois revolution broke out in France in 1789 and the First
Republic was established in 1792. Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon I) made himself emperor
in May 1804, and set up the First Empire.
“When the February revolution took place in 1848, the Second Republic was brought into being. Louis Bonaparte (Napoleon III) established the Second Empire in December 1852.
“In September 1870, the Second Empire was overthrown and the Third Republic was formed.” —Note to an article on the Paris Commune in Peking Review, vol. 14, #13, March 26, 1971.
FRENCH REVOLUTION (of 1789)
The overthrow of the French King and aristocracy by the rising new class, the bourgeoisie (or capitalist class), and one of the most important political events in modern history. This is the great revolution that is meant when the phrase “the French Revolution” is used without reference to any specific date.
After a series of wars the French state of King Louis XVI was in serious financial difficulties, and in 1789 it convened a rare meeting of the weak national assembly (the Estates-Generales) in an attempt to deal with the problem. Within this assembly gathering the bourgeois leaders of the Third Estate (everybody other than the clergy and the nobility) demanded limits on the authority of the King and more power for themselves. This tipped off the first stage of the revolution.
The lower classes, however, especially in Paris itself, soon pushed the revolution in a much more radical direction. This led to the beheading of the King in 1793, along with thousands of the nobility and their supporters, in what is known as “the Terror” or “the Reign of Terror”. There is little doubt, however, that this shedding of the blood of the old ruling class was necessary for the success of the revolution. This radical phase of the revolution ended in 1794.
After several years of weak conservative rule general Napoleon Bonaparte seized power in a coup d’état in 1799, and later made himself Emperor.
The great French Revolution was one of the greatest bourgeois revolutions; it marked the end of feudalism in France and the beginning of bourgeois rule. Though there were periods of restorations of emperors and kings, the bourgeoisie remained largely in control of French society from then until the present time. Moreover the radical ideas from the early days of the revolution, as epitomized in the slogan “liberty, equality and fraternity” had profound influences on Europe as a whole and indeed the entire world.
See also: JACOBINS, MOUNTAIN AND GIRONDE
“The ever-memorable and blessed [French] Revolution... swept a thousand years of ... villany away in one swift tidal-wave of blood—one: a settlement of that hoary debt in the proportion of half a drop of blood for each hogshead of it that had been pressed by slow tortures out of that people in the weary stretch of ten centuries of wrong and shame and misery the like of which was not to be mated but in hell. There were two ‘Reigns of Terror,’ if we would but remember it and consider it; the one wrought murder in hot passion, the other in heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other had lasted a thousand years; the one inflicted death upon ten thousand persons, the other upon a hundred millions; but our shudders are all for the ‘horrors’ of the minor Terror, the momentary Terror, so to speak; whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the axe, compared with life-long death from hunger, cold, insult, cruelty and heart-break? What is swift death by lightning compared with death by slow fire at the stake? A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by that brief Terror which we have all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over; but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real Terror—that unspeakably bitter and awful Terror which none of us has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves.” —Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889), Ch. XIII.
“When Mao Zedong was asked his assessment of the French Revolution, the chairman replied, ‘It’s too soon to tell.’” —Bill Brazell, Wired magazine, Feb. 1997, p. 52. [Of course for every Marxist, including Mao, indeed for every truly progressive person with any knowledge at all of history, the French Revolution was one of the greatest of all historical events. But Mao here is obviously taking a long philosophical view, one that might reflect on humanity as a whole by saying that the final verdict is not yet in. —S.H.]
FRENCH REVOLUTION (of 1830)
The revolution which overthrew Charles X, the last of the Bourbon kings. Charles had tried to restrict the freedom of the press and curtail the power of the legislature, which led to a popular uprising in Paris which overthrew him. After Charles was deposed, Louis Philippe, the Duke of Orleans, replaced him as the “Citizen King”, a constitutional monarch who repudiated the divine right of kings. But Louis Philippe increasingly supported the interests of the bourgeoisie against those of the working class, whose conditions worsened. He himself was then overthrown in the revolution of February 1848.
FREUD, Sigmund (1856-1939)
Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis (see entry below).
Philosophically, Freud regarded “psychic activity” as something independent of the brain, existing side-by-side with material processes. This means he was a dualist, which from the point of view of Marxism is a form of idealism. (See specifically: psychophysical parallelism)
The pseudoscientific doctrine created and elaborated by Sigmund Freud which claims to explain people’s deepest psychological motivations and disorders, and to provide a therapeutic treatment for such disorders. There is no scientific evidence to support Freudian psychoanalytic theory and practice, nor for any of its numerous variations.
The core doctrine of Freudian psychoanalysis is the theory of the unconscious and that there are three systems of the “psyche” (or, loosely speaking, the mind), namely, the id, the ego, and the superego. The “id” is a Freudian term for the completely unconscious system of personality, and is the supposed source of “psychic energy” derived from instinctual needs and drives. The id supposedly acts on the “pleasure principle” of increasing personal pleasure and reducing pain. “The unconscious” is made up of ideas and feelings which are unacceptable either to society or because they are ultimately dangerous to the existence of the person themselves. Freud claimed these ideas and feelings are sexual in origin, and include the Oedipal desire for sexual intercourse with your mother, and therefore a hostile challenge to your father!
The “ego”, in this doctrine, is said to be that part of the “psyche” where consciousness and perception reside. But it is also the area where mediation is said to occur between reality (or the “reality principle”) and the defense mechanisms of “the unconscious”. Thus the ego is supposedly more extensive than just that which is available to the person’s conscious awareness.
The “superego” is said to be only partly conscious, and represents the internalization of parental rules and guidance, and the rules of society, partly in the form of moral attitudes. These get reflected in conscious form as feelings of guilt and shame when the rules are violated. (This is one of the more plausible aspects of Freud’s entire doctrine; it notes the role of the conscience in individuals, and how the conscience must first be programmed by the parents and society at an early age.) The superego is thus said to serve as a “censor” of the needs and drives of the “id”.
The doctrine as a whole, therefore, is a theory of internal “psychic” conflict. Individuals who are unable to successfully resolve these conflicts are said to have “neuroses”, and to be in need of psychoanalytic therapy. From the point of view of treating the genuine psychological problems that people sometimes do have, there is no evidence that Freudian psychoanalysis works any better than any of the many other methods of treatment, nor indeed that any form of treatment works any better than merely having people talk their problems over with friends or other sympathetic people.
See also: PSYCHOANALYSIS, SUBCONSCIOUS
FRIEDMAN, Milton (1912-2006)
One of the most influential American bourgeois economists of the 20th century, the founder of what is known as the “Chicago School” of bourgeois economics which insists on complete laissez faire or neo-liberalism. Friedman was a monetarist, who absurdly thought that most things in the capitalist economy could be explained by the quantity of money in circulation and the prevailing interest rates. Friedman and his colleagues supported various dictatorships such as that of Pinochet in Chile in the name of encouraging “freedom”! He was also presented the phony “Nobel Prize in Economics”, awarded by the Royal Bank of Sweden.
See also: MORALITY—and Capitalism
“FROM THE MASSES, TO THE MASSES”
The slogan, originated by Mao Zedong, summarizing the central concept of the MASS LINE method of revolutionary leadership.
FROMM, Erich (1900-80)
German-American sociologist and representative of the neo-Freudian school of “cultural psychoanalysis”. He was a social democrat associated with the Frankfurt School of revisionist academic “Marxists”.
Fromm attempted to synthesize Freud and the “early Marx”. Whereas Freud more strongly stressed the individual biological factors in human development, Fromm put more of the emphasis on social factors. However, he ignored class differences, which is hardly in keeping with the Marxist approach. Instead he looked at the essence of human beings, and of the development of society, from an abstract psychological viewpoint. He did recognize the transformation of humans into mere “things” as the result of their alienation under capitalism, and the resultant irrationality and meaninglessness of existence for many people. Fromm viewed capitalism as a mentally ill, irrational society. But instead of promoting social revolution, he put forward a program of “humanistic psychoanalysis” to supposedly cure individual pathologies.
Fromm joined the liberal reformist “Socialist Party of America” in the 1950s, and viewed himself as a “socialist humanist”. He was also active in liberal anti-war efforts, as with the SANE organization. But over time he became less politally active. One of Fromm’s books, Marx’s Concept of Man (1961) included some of Marx’s early writings on alienation and related topics, which were not widely available in English before that time.
FRONTIER [Leftist magazine in India]
“The Frontier weekly was started with Samar Sen as its editor in 1968, after he was sacked as the editor of Now weekly due to its overtly leftist leanings. In the editor’s own words ‘After discussing with many we were hopeful that we would be able to collect Rs.60,000/- with ease. However, not more than Rs.9,000/- was forthcoming’. Frontier was enthused by the Naxalbari rumblings but in the 1969 State Assembly elections it supported the United Front of which the CPI(M) was the principal constituent. However, Frontier was soon to play its role in the Naxalite movement. Initially the Naxalites maintained an air of disdain towards Samar Sen and therefore Frontier for its criticism of what it perceived as the excesses of the movement like class anhiliation and hyperbole. When Charu Mazumdar professed that very soon the Red Army would march along the banks of the river Bhagirothi, Frontier’s classic repartee was its editorial ‘If faith could move mountains’. Today it might appear just a linguistic twist but in those charged times one may have had to pay with one’s life for such acts of ‘indiscretion’. It was convenience that brought Naxalites and Frontier closer. There came a time when State repression and the collective violence of the political forces (CPI, CPI(M), Congress) made it difficult to continue publishing Deshobroti and Liberation. Most of the leadership and cadres were in police custody and cracks were developing in the movement. Frontier stepped in at this juncture as a means of communication between the scattered and underground/jailed leadership and the cadre. It played this role from 1970 to 1977. Frontier continues to be published today.” —From the Sanhati.com website: http://sanhati.com/frontier_archives/ Some of these early issues of Frontier are archived there.
FRSO, FRSO/OSCL, and FRSO/Fight Back!
See: FREEDOM ROAD SOCIALIST ORGANIZATION
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