Historical Materialism

Origin of the family: In Defence of Engels and Morgan

Written by Rob Sewell Friday, 21 December 2012

Origin of the family: In Defence of Engels and Morgan“The great antiquity of mankind upon the earth has been conclusively established”, wrote the American anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan in the opening preface of his pioneering work Ancient Society, published in 1877. The revolutionary ideas contained in this book represented a complete departure in this field of human development and served to found a materialist, evolutionary school of anthropology. It was on the basis of this work that Frederick Engels wrote his masterpiece, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.


What is historical materialism? - A study guide with questions, extracts and suggested reading

Written by Mick Brooks Thursday, 14 November 2002

We are publishing our second study guide on historical materialism. Historical Materialism is the application of Marxist science to historical development. The fundamental proposition of historical materialism can be summed up in a sentence: “it is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but, on the contrary, their social existence that determines their consciousness.” (Marx, in the Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy.)


What is dialectical materialism? - A study guide with questions, extracts and suggested reading

Written by Rob Sewell Saturday, 02 November 2002
We are publishing the first of what will be a series of Marxist study guides. The purpose is to provide a basic explanation of the fundamental ideas of Marxism with a guide to further reading and points to help organise discussion groups around these ideas. We are starting with dialectical materialism, the philosophy of Marxism.

Civilization, Barbarism and the Marxist view of History

Written by Alan Woods Wednesday, 17 July 2002

This article by Alan Woods deals with barbarism and the development of human society. In post-modern writing, history appears as an essentially meaningless and inexplicable series of random events or accidents. It is governed by no laws that we can comprehend. A variation on this theme is the idea, now very popular in some academic circles that there is no such thing as higher and lower forms of social development and culture. This denial of progress in history is characteristic of the psychology of the bourgeoisie in the phase of capitalist decline.

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