I don’t intend this article to be entirely in defense of leftist ideology (Marxism, communism, socialism, etc.), and I don’t mean to say that leftism is the answer to all of the problems men face. Rather, the purpose is more of a clarification. While the men’s rights movement has a diverse membership, there is a large anti-left tendency, particularly hostility towards socialist or communist ideology.
I am proposing a few points which I want to elaborate on. First, I want to explain the ideology of the left, including specific terminology. Second, I’d like to state how, contrary to what feminists may claim when using the leftist movement, feminism is actually in opposition to Marxist communism in particular, and leftism in general. Also, I would like to point out how the men’s rights movement can actually benefit from leftism, including communist ideology and Marxism, as well as how capitalism, especially as it exists now in the West, is harmful to men.
As for background, I don’t have a PhD in Marxism, and the closest I come is studying for a Master’s in the People’s Republic Of China (a name with almost as many falsities in it as the Holy Roman Empire, though at least the PRC is Chinese). I also don’t consider myself entirely Marxist, socialist, nor communist, and have issues with all three (I prefer to keep unlabeled, as labels tend to be inaccurate and troublesome), though also find points of agreement with Marxism and especially limited state socialism.
However, I have read the Communist Manifesto, gone through Wage, Labour, & Capital, and I have been a part of an anti-capitalist organization on my college campus where I have seen that organization reflect an increasingly feminist stance. Though, in case McCarthyists are interested, I am not now, and nor have I ever been, a card-carrying member of the Communist Party.
One problem with the definitions is that even among scholars and experts, there is not full consensus on terminology. However, I have come up with some working definitions which are basic enough to be more or less agreed upon. When I say leftism, I’m referring to general anti-capitalist tendencies, which include various branches of communism (Marxism, Maoism, Leninism, Trotskyism, etc.), socialism, syndicalism, anarchism, and the variations (anarcho-socialism, social democracy, libertarian socialism, anarcho-primitivism, etc.). Specifically, communism is a political and economic theory developed (though not invented by) Karl Marx in which all property is publicly and collectively owned. Communist ideology holds that there are two main classes, the workers (proletariat), who do the actual physical work, and capitalists (bourgeoisie), who own the means of production, such as land and factories, and make money from the work of others.
Capitalism, according to leftist thought, is inherently exploitative, especially since companies are driven by the mandate to make profit, and the concerns of the workers don’t factor into a company unless they affect profit. An illustration would be an example of a factory. The workers perform all the labor, but they do not own the finished product, nor have true say in the working conditions, pay, or workplace safety. The owner makes all of the decisions, and also owns the finished products, and sells them on the open market to earn a profit.
After subtracting the cost of materials, transportation, and operational costs, the capitalist (not the workers) decides how much of the money made from the sales to give to the workers, as well as how much money to spend on such things as workplace safety (if any is spent). In modern times (the Communist Manifest was written over a century and a a half ago), this is further developed into exploring how corporations work within the state, such as political lobbies and government regulation, or lack thereof.
Socialism, then, would be an answer to this. Socialism would primarily collectivization, taking the means of production from capitalists, and putting power into the hands of the workers (collective farming after the Chinese revolution, for example) by means of a socialist state. Capitalists as a class would be eliminated, and individual capitalists would then become workers (this also happened during the Chinese revolution, though often though force, when landowners often attempted to hold onto their property).
A socialists state would also have a planned economy, where the state controls the means of production in the name of the workers (as opposed to direct control by workers, such as in syndicalism), and makes all economic decisions, i.e. It would be full nationalization. This would be the “dictatorship of the proletariat”, and according to Marx, “… the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy.” Ideally, however, it would still be accountable to the workers, so that those who work in the factories would be protected from exploitation by the government, which would be answerable to the people.
It should be noted that this hasn’t been the case historically. Leon Trotsky accused the Soviet Union of being a “… degenerated workers’ state under the dictatorship of the bureaucracy.” Mao Zedong also initially criticized members the Chinese Communist Party who he saw as becoming a new social class of ruling elite, and called for the workers to also voice criticism. However he did also change his stance quickly when he personally felt threatened by such criticism (“Fight the power” is a less appealing slogan when you are the one in power).
Pure communism would be the final stage, where the state power vastly declines, and is decentralized into the hands of the individual workers. It would be a completely classless society, where all are equal, democratically elected officials would rule by consent of the ruled. The people would then own the means of production through the state, and so all decisions regarding the actual running of businesses, as well as how to spend the material wealth generated, would be made in the interests of the workers. Using the earlier factory example, under communism, the workers at the factory could decide to spend the profits made on better salaries or working conditions.
As mentioned before, there are a great many leftist ideologies besides Marxist communism, however addressing them would take a great amount of time, and risk going too far off the main topic of how leftism relates to men’s rights. While there are many disagreements on issues such as how strong the state should be, or what should be the level of organization, the basic tenants of opposing capitalism, and putting power into the hands of the common people, the workers, are held by almost all leftist ideologies. However, I’ll be mainly addressing Marxist communist ideology. While the above explanations are still lengthy, it’s important to know the terms.
Feminism has, especially recently, allied itself with Marxism (you can check the sites of many Marxist and Marxist derived organizations), as well as forming their own organizations that are explicitly Marxist-feminist (as well as socialist-feminist, or communist-feminist, distancing from pure Marxist ideology), such as Radical Women, or the Freedom Socialist Party. However, while these organizations may have helped feminists in gaining more power, by co-opting communism and socialism, they ignore that feminism is incompatible with Marxist thought, as well as leftism in general.
Most obviously, and most importantly, Marxist ideology is based on class struggle. From the Communist Manifesto:
The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.
Nowhere there is any mention of sex or gender. Feminists, both Marxist and otherwise, add “men and women” to the “oppressor and oppressed” list, but in doing so, completely and often intentionally miss the point. According to Marxism, a person is a member of the oppressor class by oppressing. A person is a member of the oppressed class, by being oppressed. It is all based on action and behavior. For feminists, a person is a member of the oppressor class by having a penis, and a person is a member of the oppressed class by having a vagina. This allows any man to be demonized as oppressor without considering if he actually did any oppressing.
Likewise, a woman gets the status of oppressed, with all the moral high ground, regardless of if she actually was oppressed. Marxism would see a male coal miner as oppressed, and a female sweatshop owner as oppressor, while feminism would not, looking only at gender. The miner, by having a penis, would be hated as privileged, and the sweatshop owner, by having a vagina, would be thought of as held down by the patriarchy. Marx himself, as far back as the mid 1800s, said “Differences of age and sex have no longer any distinctive social validity for the working class. All are instruments of labour, more or less expensive to use, according to their age and sex.”
While feminist Marxists (as well as other leftist feminists) pay lip service worker’s rights, they fail to address that men are the ones currently most exploited by the current system (and would also benefit most in abolishing the current system).
For example, and this is just one such example, an article “The Russian Revolution and the Emancipation of Women” on the International Communist League website says, “A working woman has more in common with her male co-workers than with a female boss, and the emancipation of women is the task of the working class as a whole.” 
This is true, and under Marxism, women would be liberated as part of the working class no more or less than men would be liberated as part of the same class. Despite stating this, the same author also says, “Today, millions of women even in the advanced capitalist “democracies” endure nasty and brutish lives of misery and drudgery. In the United States, to name just two instances of anti-woman bigotry, abortion rights are under increasing attack and quality childcare is scarce and too costly for most working women.” 
This flagrantly ignores that men are the majority of workplace fatalities  (here’s the BLS statistic, even though most MRAs have it burned into their minds to the point where I could simply offer the citation as “Your own memory”), because mine owners decide that it would cut into profits too much to improve safety inspections. When there’s a disaster on an oil derrick, women aren’t disproportionately the ones crushed under tons of twisted machinery and drowned. This is not to say that women never have the dirty and dangerous jobs, but rather that men outnumber women in these jobs.
The author also assumes that only women have rights on the issue of abortion (ignoring men, who lack reproductive rights, and the unborn, who has no say at all in their own life or death), and that only women should have the right to childcare. This female supremacist viewpoint is something that can be found all over socialist/communist movements, as well as other leftist movements.
Men are also the ones forced into the system of wage slavery far more than women. Feminists ignore that women have society’s blessing to choose full-time work, part-time work, or full-time child care, while men who choose anything other than full-time work (and thus the greatest worker exploitation) are objects of ridicule in popular culture, and objects of suspicion when seen in public taking care of children (the only reason a man would want to be anywhere near a child is because he wants to rape it into oblivion, of course). Further, the current system of alimony and child support (both highly sexist), allow women to consider divorce and paternal fraud as careers.
The redistribution of wealth and resources is often a source of contention, where MRAs see governments benefit women with funding for specialized programs such as offices of women’s health, paid for with tax money, direct giving money to women through special loans to female business owners, and opportunities through affirmative action. The state also facilitates direct person to person transfer of wealth through alimony and child support (including making it easy to commit child support fraud). However, this is not a problem with wealth distribution (at least in terms of pure men’s rights), but how it is done, and how it is done is not Marxist, but following a feminist path of female supremacy.
According to Marx, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!” Female victims of violence, the smallest population of violence victims, are given funding through shelters and programs (like VAWA) far above need. Following true Marxism, men would get the same tax supported benefits, such as funding for prostate cancer research.
Further, a worker’s state would be accountable not to the wealthy political donors (here’s a good place to note that women control a majority of the wealth , allowing them to decide what organizations to fund, and which political candidates to donate to) and lobby groups (such as the American Association Of University Women, or the National Organization Of Women, as only a few examples of powerful feminist lobbies), but to the workers themselves.
There is so much pushback for men’s reproductive rights because men lack the ability to install candidates friendly to the cause of male rights. Feminists can easily lobby for laws that redefine rape to exclude male victims, because MRAs have little say in the matter, lacking the wealth and resources. A Marxist state would have a mandate to protect all rape victims, regardless of the sex of the perpetrator and victim, and if the government failed to do so, there would be no powerful lobbies to drown out the voices calling for more egalitarian leadership.
While women control a majority of the wealth, men still earn a majority of the wages (and thus are the most oppressed by wage slavery, under Marxist thought), because men don’t have the choices women do. In fact, this is one way almost all forms of leftism, from anarchism to Zapatistismo, has much in common with zeta masculinity, and Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW).
Zeta masculinity and anti-capitalism both acknowledge that the jostling for higher and higher position and blind accumulation of wealth and status are detrimental to the people who are trapped in such a life style. They both accept that people all have inherent value that is not contingent on the size of their bank account or how much they can produce for others to consume and profit from.
Both also could contribute to each other. Zeta masculinity can demonstrate how the drive to wealth and status is due to female hypergamy and societal pressure which ties the value of a male as person to his wealth and status. Leftism can offer for consideration how the acquisition of wealth and status is through worker exploitation. In a classless society, men would be free to go their own way without capitalists pushing for society and government to keep men in their place as an exploitable class, and without biased family laws using the threat of debtor’s prisons to have men support women and the children they did not chose to have (assuming they even helped to conceive them in the first place).
So finally, what can the MRM take from this? The MRM has plenty of theory, and while theory is important, so is practical application. Well, here is some such practical application. As stated, leftist ideology has more in common with men’s rights than many might think. While this doesn’t mean that MRAs need to become revolutionary Marxists, it would at least be an argument for giving leftism a detailed looking over as a possible path towards equality of the genders.
More importantly, it means that those who are already on the anti-capitalist left already have more in common with the MRM than they think (to look at it from the reverse side). MRAs might meet people who actually are card-carrying members of a communist party, or are some part of a left tendency movement (one such example is in an article  from a disgruntled anarchist I came across while researching this article). Those in communist, socialist, anarchist, or other such movements are faced with growing feminist domination to the point where they can be feel they need to choose to either support a leftist tendency, or a path towards male equality, but cannot do both.
This was actually my own experience, and one reason I felt the need for such an article as this. I was part of a leftist, anti-capitalist student union. While I never fully chose one label as identity, I agreed with much of Marxism, as well as communist ideology. However, I saw how the group became increasingly feminist, and pursued gynocentrism in ways that had real impact.
The organization had a women’s committee, without any such committee for men. Whenever rape was addressed, it was according to what feminism allowed (evil men raping innocent women), and because rape was something only men ever did, false rape accusations were taboo to talk about (feminist defined rape culture was treated with actual seriousness). The organization promoted International Women’s Day, with nothing for men.
The university, like so many other American universities, lacked a men’s resource center, despite having one for women, and the student union was silent, as it was also silent during the male shaming “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes” campaign. This was an organization that organized and participated in protests and hosted rallies for rights, just not for everyone’s rights. I was increasingly frustrated at the support, tacit and explicit, for inequality as long as it was female supremacist. More important than my discomfort was the feeling of lost opportunity. If there was a viable MRA view in this, and other such student unions, important changes could have been instituted.
We in the MRM need to make it know that they are not at all mutually exclusive. There exist people so revolutionarily Marxist that Che Guevara would have worn shirts with their faces. We can let them know that not only do they not need to abandon Marxism (or any other form of leftism) in order to seek male equality, but that must oppose feminism and take up gender equality in order to be true to their ideology.
MRAs can have the discourse tools needed to engage those on the left on terms they are familiar with, and appeal to already held views, not to persuade through deception or sleight of hand, as feminists have done, but with the logic and factuality the MRM has been forced to develop over the years by virtue of being a repressed viewpoint.
The MRM is not a monolithic organization, singular in thought on all things. Rather, it is a coalition of people united in the struggle to bring about gender equality. An advantage of a coalition is the way it brings together varying viewpoints. We have been good at allowing members of differing religious beliefs to feel welcome and bring their views.
Perhaps there is something a Jewish point of perspective can offer to men’s rights, or something atheism can bring, or Hinduism, or various forms of Christianity. Incidentally, this is in contrast to the above mentioned feminist “communist” organization, “ICL”, which only allows atheism, and is openly hostile to other beliefs.
If the MRM is able to benefit from acceptance of different religions, then there should be room for different political views (as long as those views are beneficial towards the goal of equality). Not only should there be tolerance in spite of the differences, but looking to see what these different political views can offer the movement.
 http://www.she-conomy.com/facts-on-women The quoted passage on the site being: “Of the 743 women of wealth interviewed with at least $3 million in investable assets, 61.2% accumulated their fortunes through corporate employment, their own or a family business or a professional practice. Only 38.8% of the women had married into or inherited their money. – Women of Wealth, 2004, by Russ Alan Prince and Hannah Shaw Grove”
(Quotes from Marx come from the full annotated text of the Manifest Of The Communist Party, here) http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/index.htm
(Information regarding China’s history with communism was taken mainly from China: A Century Of Revolution, http://www.ambrica.com/chinainrevolution.html)
(Communism according to Marx, Engles, and Lenin http://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/c/o.htm#communism)
(Socialism as defined by Marx, Engles, and Bebel http://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/s/o.htm#socialism)