Susan Rosenthal

On the middle classes

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I want to thank Leahy and Thomas for their comments regarding the professional middle class (Feedback, January SR). As the capitalist class shrink in numbers and the working class grow in numbers, professionals become more important as a managerial class. The professional class do not create surplus value; they facilitate its creation in the working class.

Who supports Trump?

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In his otherwise excellent article, “Black Lives Matter” (October SR), Brian Richardson repeats a fallacy promoted by the American mass media — that the “more than 19 million white Americans” who “fall below the poverty line” form the “cohort of justifiably angry Americans that the billionaire Donald Trump has pitched his bellicose appeal.” The facts do not concur.

Marxism and psychology

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Continuing a strand of debate, Canadian socialist Susan Rosenthal argues that we must look to social rather than individual solutions to mental ill health.

Marx and Engels described capital as a relationship and capitalism as a system of relationships. Did they mean that every aspect of our relations with ourselves, others, and society is shaped by capitalism, so that a socialist revolution would transform all of these relationships? Or were they being too general? Are some aspects of human experience unaffected by society, so that we need something other than Marxism to understand them and something more than socialism to transform them? This is the core of the conflict between Marxism and psychology.

Mind the trap of biological determinism

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John Parrington’s article (Nature, nurture: mind the trap, October SR) ignores the racist use of genetic research and reduces the social problem of mental illness to the micro-level where it cannot be solved.

The human brain is not a super-computer, as Parrington claims, but a super-connector that enables collective problem-solving. Blocking our ability to solve problems is a capitalist system that celebrates individualism and promotes biological solutions. Parrington falls into this reactionary trap.

Solutions are social

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John Parrington’s article ignores the racist use of genetic research and reduces the social problem of mental illness to the micro-level where it cannot be solved.

The human brain is not a super-computer, as Parrington claims, but a super-connector that enables collective problem-solving. Blocking our ability to solve problems is a capitalist system that celebrates individualism and promotes biological solutions. Parrington falls into this reactionary trap.

What's wrong with Sigmund Freud?

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The pioneer of psychiatry began as an advocate of the oppressed, documenting the effects of trauma on mental health. But he soon switched sides to justify the status quo, writes Susan Rosenthal.

Sigmund Freud was a creative thinker and a prolific writer who continues to shape our views of human behaviour. While academics debate Freud’s ideas in the abstract, with no regard for the consequences, socialists consider everything in its social context. Does Freud’s influence benefit or block the cause of the working class and the progress of humanity?

Philanthropy: the capitalist art of deception

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The rich like to promote their charitable work as a sign of their moral standing, but many of these donations are merely cover, writes Canadian socialist Susan Rosenthal.

Bill Gates is the world’s richest man, with a net worth of £55 billion. In 1998 his company Microsoft was charged with illegal practices, and Gates was condemned as a ruthless monopolist. Four years later, after launching a charitable foundation, Gates was praised as a generous philanthropist.

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