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There Is a War in the World of Communist Memes

Beginner's guide to "leftbook" clashes.

"TERF" is standing for "Trans-exclusionary radical feminism"
The socialist presence on Facebook is now well established, especially in the world of memes. Even Vice wrote about it. Sassy Socialist Memes, with its 900,000 likes, is maybe the most well-known of these pages creating content for commies and other anti-capitalists, but there are plenty of others, ranging from the likes of Communist Memes (around 150,000 followers)—which proposes generic red-themed jokes—to Trotskyist Memes for Fourth International Teens (around 3,800 followers)—specializing in gags comprehensible only to those who read about Max Shachtman before going to sleep.


In this melting-pot of Trotskyists, Maoists, anarcho-communists, and other posadists, one page is well-known for its blatant sectarianism and its conservative views on social issues like gender identities and transphobia, as well as for its cases of personnal attacks on other members of the socialist community: Marxist Memes. Unashamedly Stalinist (yes... they still exist), this page is firing bullets at everything on the left that is not walking the orthodox path of marxism-leninism, promising the gulag for anarchists, Trotskyists, third-wave feminists, and other non-marxist leftists. Also, even more crazy, they support the dictatorial regime of North Korea...

In reaction to this absurd behavior from a bunch of Marxists, other communist pages—wanting to see the left unite against capitalism instead of seeing it infight—began to attack Marxist Memes and its supporters. £ ∆ β Ø U ᴙ ₩ ∆ ⧩ ∑ (Labourwave)—who makes weird images blending the aesthetics of vaporwave with socialist propaganda—attacked Marxist Memes on its position against non-binary people, while posting memes opposing the division of anarchists and communists.


More recently, a strange page—whose admins seem to be often on acid—emerged, calling for a broad unity of the anticapitalist left in a meme war against Marxist Memes and Socialist Musings—another Stalinist page—naming itself Dialectical Love to Rise Above Left Division and Fulfill Marx's Mission. Dialectical Love tries to create a coalition of socialist and anarchist meme pages to exclude transphobic and retrograde socialist groups from the "leftbook" (the world of lefties' memes).

In these ideological clashes, some patterns repeat often, battles about specific issues proper to the far-left universe.


One of these is the constant rivalry between Stalinists ("tankies", as their opponents call them) and Trotskyists. The last ones follow (you guessed it) the ideas of Leon Trotsky, who was an important actor of the October Revolution and was assassinated by a certain Ramon Mercader, agent of the NKVD (the ancestor of the KGB) when Stalin was in power in the USSR.

Stalinists consider that Trotsky and his followers are in fact petty-bourgeois, or even agents of fascism certain times. They consider that Stalin was the legitimate successor of Lenin and that he pushed further the theories of Marx, creating the ideology of "marxism-leninism," who will serve as a guide for most of the communist parties around the world. Trotskyists consider that Stalin was, in fact, a mass murderer who could not tolerate the legitimate criticism that others communists addressed him. They assert that tankies are in fact incapable of understanding correctly the teaching of Marx and Lenin and are instead obsessed by military questions, which lead them to support dictators like Kim Jong-Un or Enver Hoxha.

Following the fact that Trotsky was killed by an ice pick strike in the head (in fact, it was a pickaxe, but it doesn't matter), Stalinists often send images of ice picks to their Trotskyist opponents, or create memes around that object, seeing it as an anti-trotskyist weapon.

Another battle between the Stalinists and the rest of the left concerns feminism and transgender rights, as well as recognition of non-binary persons. Most of those who oppose to Stalinists on the field of feminism consider that the tankies are mostly TERFs (trans exclusionary radical feminists). This trend of feminism—while not being necessarily transphobic in an open manner—doesn't have a place for trans people in its scheme of thought. In the 60s or 70s, it was understandable—since the reality of trans persons had way less exposure—but for today's feminists, it is mostly a statement against the third wave conception of gender and also a transphobic stance.

On a similar theme, Stalinists often are described as SWERFs (Sex worker exclusionary radical feminism) by their critics, as their opinion on sex work is often that of Marx & Engels, as they stated it in the Communist Manifesto... in 1848. Third wave feminists, anarchists, and anti-Stalinist communists oppose mostly this point of view, understanding that sometimes Marx may be wrong.

While all this "war" can be seen as pretty trivial for those who are watching it from outside the world of socialist memes, it can inform us on some interesting facts about today's internet politics.

First, there is an active communist and anti-capitalist community mostly made of young people, which is active on the web and dedicates a lot of time to talking and making memes about leftist ideologies. We often consider—following what is transmitted by the mainstream medias—that the internet is the realm of the alt-right and other fascists, but in fact there is also a strong leftist part of the World Wide Web.

This meme war also shows how the "meme game" evolved in a few years. Memes in a year as near as 2012 were mostly always the same photos, with captions changing a little. We had things like Grumpy Cat or The Overly Attached Girlfriend, but now we have ice pick memes, ironic memes about mostly unknown terrorist groups and memes like this:

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There Is a War in the World of Communist Memes
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