The German translation of Reason in Revolt has just come out, and was
presented at the recent Frankfurt book fair (see above article). Alan
Woods wrote a
new introduction for this edition, which for editorial reasons was
slightly edited. Here we publish the full original text in English.
When Reason in Revolt was published seven years ago, it was
greeted with enthusiasm by many people, not just by Marxists
but those who were interested in the new scientific theories of chaos
and complexity. But some readers found the authors' opposition to the
of the Big Bang hard to accept, after all it seemed that the whole
scientific community accepted the theory
But last week Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok published a paper in Science in which they propose an
alternative model to the Big Bang theory. They suggest that the universe goes through and endless cycle of big
bangs, expansion and then stagnation. Their ideas are at an early stage but they are clearly a step forward
from the mystical idea that the universe was created out of nothing.
On Monday, May 20, the famous American palaeontologist Stephen Jay Gould died of cancer at his home in New York.
Gould made a major contribution to development of modern science with his theories on evolution, and challenged
some of the accepted views of bourgeois science.
We are publishing for the first time on our website the preface to the
first volume of the US edition of Reason in Revolt, published last summer.
Though written one year ago, we think that it is still an useful introduction to all the
main subjects dealt with in the book, such as Marxism and religion, the Big Bang
theory and chaos and complexity.
On Saturday, October 12, Alan Woods participated in the official launch of the German edition of Reason in Revolt (Aufstand der Vernunft) which has just come out. The publication has already aroused a lot of interest in left circles in Germany and Austria, where a series of public presentations is being prepared for the next few months.
Over 400 people attended 3 different meetings in Vienna and Linz organised to
launch the German edition of Reason in Revolt in Austria between December
12 and 14. Alan Woods spoke at these meetings and huge interest was shown by
those attending. Now several discussion groups have been set up around the book
in different universities and schools, and the campaign around the book is to
continue next year.
The first volume of Reason in Revolt has, by all accounts, been well
received in the USA. In general, the Anglo Saxon world has been highly resistant to broad
philosophical generalizations and to Marxism in particular. Yet without such
philosophical generalizations it is impossible to acquire a rational
understanding of the world in which we live.
From the fourth to the twelfth of April, shortly after returning from an
outstanding congress of the Pakistan Marxists, Alan Woods was in Austria on a
speaking tour, organised by the Austrian Marxist newspaper, Der Funke ("The
Spark"). The tour, which was partly taken up by anti-war meetings and
partly to present the German language edition of Reason in Revolt, was a great
On Sunday April 27, the British Channel 4 broadcast a documentary which
went into detail into "how far drug companies are prepared
to go to get their drugs approved and get the prices they want". Basing
itself on four different cases, the program made a very powerful case
for its main conclusion: "if the Big-Pharma powers remain unchecked
more people will be dying for drugs."
Since last summer we have seen a widespread debate about the pros and
the cons of GM products. There are people for and against GM products from all
the different political shades. The bourgeois papers have been very keen on
giving voice to different people in the debate. What is missing, however, is a
class point of view. No one poses the question from the point of view of
ordinary working people.
On December 23, 2003 the US government officially acknowledged the outbreak of
BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in a herd of cattle in the state of
Washington.This is officially the first case of mad cow in the US, but is in
reality the second case of an outbreak in the integrated Canadian and US cattle
industry. The farming and cattle crisis is at root a reflection of the
crisis of capitalism worldwide and a result of "globalization".
Even those who accept the theory of evolution frequently draw reactionary conclusions from the evidence provided by science. In Darwin’s day, natural selection was presented as a justification of capitalism and its dog-eat-dog morality. The fact that such ideas have no basis in what he actually wrote is conveniently ignored. A recent BBC documentary attempts something similar in trying to establish that the violence of human males is genetically determined and can be proved by looking at the behaviour of chimpanzees. Alan Woods explains why this theory is flawed.