2023: the best of marxist.com

This year has marked an important new stage in the crisis of world capitalism. At marxist.com we have aimed to provide a communist perspective at every stormy turn. Additionally, we have continued to publish original contributions to Marxist theory, which have been enthusiastically received by our readers. Hundreds of thousands of visitors have read and shared our 2023 articles, the most-popular of which are compiled below!

Many of our best-performing pieces give a Marxist analysis of the key developments of the year: including the ongoing economic crisis, and particularly Israel’s brutal ongoing war against Gaza. But many of our top performing articles reflect an interest in broader questions, of history, philosophy, science, art, and the new question of AI.

This is precisely what Marxist ideas are about: raising the sights of the advanced workers and youth, in order to arm them with a many-sided understanding of the world so that we can change it.

We believe that marxist.com has established itself as the world’s foremost source of Marxist theory. Only an International built on the firm rock of revolutionary theory can stand a chance of overthrowing this system. Many of our most read articles of the year are therefore older theoretical works that our comrades have written dating back to previous years.

Scroll down to see a list of works from the archive that have also proven popular in 2023.

With that said, here are our top 10 new articles of 2023.

Top 10 articles of 2023

The world in 2023: crisis, war and revolution – world perspectives document

2023 marked a turning point in history / Image: own work

This document, debated and endorsed by delegates at the International Marxist Tendency’s (IMT) 2023 world congress in August, represents our organisation’s analysis of the main trends in the world situation, and our predictions for where things are heading. Although the term is occasionally overused, 2023 marked a turning point in history. The post-COVID recovery is over, inflation remains high, the labour movement has begun to reawaken, and the world is being roiled by war and instability.

Moreover, the document notes the rising popularity of communism amongst big sections of workers and especially young people, and emphasises the need to reach them. This was the basis for our International’s highly successful ‘Are You a Communist’ campaign this year. The document ends with a clarion call:

“The tide of history has turned and we are now beginning to swim with the current, not against it. The workers and youth are far more open to our ideas than at any other time… It is up to us to ensure that we take full advantage of every possibility and prove that we are equal to the great tasks imposed upon us by history.”

Read the article here.

Israel-Palestine: no to the invasion of Gaza! End the occupation! by Francesco Merli

Only a new intifada can end this bloody impasse / Image: Ahmed Abu Hameeda

On 7 October, Hamas launched a surprise attack out of the Gaza Strip. Israel’s response has been to unleash a campaign of unbridled carnage against the Palestinians, with the connivance of western imperialism, who constantly preach Israel’s “right to self-defence” – as the IDF murders innocent men, women and children.

This initial statement, released days after Hamas’ attack, after Israel had begun its revenge bombardment, puts the blame squarely where it belongs: with the Zionist occupation, and its imperialist benefactors in the West, who have created a 75-year-long nightmare for the Palestinian people, denying them a homeland or a dignified existence. Only a new intifada can end this bloody impasse.  

Read the article here.

Germany’s biggest weekly magazine asks: “Was Marx right after all?” by Ben Curry

Der Spiegel Marx Image Der SpiegelCapitalism cannot be reformed, it must be overthrown / Image: Der Spiegel

Back in January, the new year’s edition of Germany’s biggest weekly magazine (Der Spiegel) depicted a certain 19th century German philosopher on its front cover (updated with an olive shirt and hipster tattoos) beneath the headline: ‘Was Marx right after all?’ 

It will surprise nobody that we answer in the affirmative! But when one of European capitalism’s most-serious mouthpieces poses such a question, it reveals the deep anxiety of the capitalist class about the future of their system. Recognising the crisis-ridden state of the world, Der Spiegel desperately grasps at the straws of ‘degrowth’ and a ‘gentler’ more ‘sustainable’ capitalism.

Of course, they stop short of accepting Marx’s ultimate conclusion: that capitalism cannot be reformed, it must be overthrown.

Read the article here.

The Big Bang: shoehorning the facts to fit the theory, by Ben Curry

James Webb Telescope Screenshot Image Ball Aerospace FlickrAt the heart of modern cosmology lies a creation myth that the entire universe came into being with a Big Bang / Image: Ball Aerospace, Flickr

At the heart of modern cosmology lies a creation myth that the entire universe came into being with a Big Bang some 13.8 billion years ago. That such a notion has revived at the heart of science is symptomatic of the mysticism and obscurantism being revived by a ruling class with no future.

When Ted Grant and Alan Woods pointed out this was an absurdity in the 1980s, they were met with a hail of scorn. Today, advances in astrological technology such as the James Webb telescope are providing inescapable proof of what the Marxists argued all along: the universe is infinite in space and time. 

Even faced with galaxies that are ‘too old’ and ‘too mature’, the cosmological establishment struggles to come to terms with the facts. “It turns out we found something so unexpected it actually creates problems for science,” admits one scientist, cited in this article. “It calls the whole picture of early galaxy formation into question.” Well, quite!

Read the article here.

Down with hypocrisy! Defend Gaza! – IMT statement

Worker breaking missile.pngThe democratic principle of self-determination is curiously absent where Palestine is concerned / Image: Socialist Appeal

This official statement, published a short time after the 7 October Hamas attack, offers a balance sheet of the escalation in Israel-Palestine, and sets forth the main tasks for the labour movement around the world in supporting the struggle for Palestinian liberation.

The article skewers the rank double standards of the western imperialists, who shed crocodile tears for ‘poor little Ukraine’ enduring Russian ‘war crimes’ and ‘genocide’, but back their ally Israel to the hilt over far worse crimes. The democratic principle of self-determination is curiously absent where Palestine is concerned.

The statement makes the position of the communists clear: we stand on the side of the oppressed. We call for revolution to throw off the yoke of Zionist occupation, as part of a wider revolutionary struggle by workers and youth of the region to establish a Socialist Federation of the Middle East.

Read the article here.

2023: another global recession is coming by Niklas Albin Svensson

Blank orange road sign in the dry prairie of nevada. Place your own Text. Nevada, USA.The entire historical period since 2008 has been one of sustained capitalist crisis / Image: own work

The writing is on the wall for the world economy. The entire historical period since 2008 has been one of sustained capitalist crisis, brought to a head recently with the return of inflation, exacerbated by the impact of the Ukraine War: especially on food and energy markets. 

Governments are drowning in debt, growth rates around the world are anaemic, and central banks are left with no other mechanism than hiking interest rates in an attempt to bring inflation under control, which in turn wreaks havoc on the lives of workers and the middle class. The collapse of a number of banks in the past year are the initial tremors of an earthquake the capitalists will be unable to avert. Sooner or later, there will be a slump.

Read the article here.

The death of the artist? A Marxist perspective on AI-generated art by Joe Attard

AI discovers art DALL E 2Anxiety abounds that AI could threaten livelihoods and working conditions of living artists / Image: DALL E 2

The increasing sophistication of generative AI platforms like Midjourney, Stable Diffusion and ChatGPT, which can spit out detailed images and text in seconds, are leading some to question whether they are actually ‘artistic’. However, it’s rather easy to demonstrate the limitations of these technologies. They are devoid of consciousness or creative impulses, and do not engage in the social relations that made human thinking necessary and possible. They simply agglomerate the work of human beings.

Nevertheless, anxiety abounds that AI could threaten livelihoods and working conditions of living artists: ripping off their work and even replacing them altogether. It is the stranglehold of the market that lies at the heart of the problem, which must be overcome if art and culture is to be rescued from the relentless, unfeeling machine of profit-production.

Read the article here.

Cromwell’s commonwealth: building the kingdom of the bourgeoisie by Nye Shaw

Cromwell Image public domainOliver Cromwell, leader of the Parliamentarians and New Model Army, played a key role at the head of this revolution / Image: public domain

While the British bourgeoisie today claims theirs is a naturally conservative country, where revolutions simply do not happen, the rise of capitalism in England was watered with the blood of a king! The English Revolution was a tremendously progressive moment in history, striking a hard blow against the rotten feudal order, and opening the path to the modern world.

Oliver Cromwell, leader of the Parliamentarians and New Model Army, played a key role at the head of this revolution, conjuring up forces far more radical than even he anticipated, including the proto-communist Diggers and Levellers. Ultimately, Cromwell’s Commonwealth defended private property against these ancestors of the modern proletariat, whilst consolidating the brutal colonial domination in Ireland. Nevertheless, these events represent a tremendous revolutionary heritage and are full of lessons.

Read the article here.

Artificial Intelligence: doomsday for humanity, or for capitalism? by Daniel Morley

Image Stable Diffusion v2The enormous potential of AI is wasted while these technologies remain shackled to the market / Image: Stable Diffusion v2

This article, which originally appeared in issue 41 of the In Defence of Marxism theoretical magazine, takes a Marxist lens to recent advances in AI, and what they mean for humanity. Despite lofty claims about AI attaining human-or-greater levels of consciousness, Daniel demonstrates that these technologies are ultimately nothing but very sophisticated tools, with no more self-awareness than a hammer or a pocket calculator.

While claims of a ‘Terminator-style’ future, in which machines come to dominate their masters, are greatly exaggerated, they speak to a certain truth: mankind’s creations are increasingly used to enslave the majority, and enrich the elite few. The enormous potential of AI to alleviate drudgery and elevate civilisation are wasted while these technologies remain shackled to the market. To put mankind’s creations back under our control, we need a revolution, and democratic management of the economy.

Read the article here.

The history of Israel-Palestine to 1993 by Francesco Merli

How imperialism created Israel Image public domainThe disaster unfolding in Gaza today is the latest in a litany of crimes against the Arabs in Palestine / Image: public domain

The disaster unfolding in Gaza today is the latest in a litany of crimes against the Arabs in Palestine, which can be traced to their mass, violent displacement in the 1948 Nakba (‘catastrophe’). This article charts the history of Israel-Palestine from the origins of Zionism, through the creation of Israel, the Six Day War, the first Intifada, up to the treacherous Oslo Accords in 1993.

The bloody hands of imperialism are all over the foundation of Israel, which was shamefully supported by the Stalinist USSR. The imperialists stand behind their key ally to this day. Despite heroic episodes of struggle and defiance by the Palestinian people, their leadership also played a role in diverting the struggle for freedom and dignity down blind alleys.

Today, the utopian fiction of a two-state solution lies in tatters. The only possible road to peace and a decent existence for the Palestinians, and all the peoples in the Middle East, is a common struggle against imperialism and capitalism.

Read the article here.

Top 10: from the archives

As mentioned earlier, many of our most popular articles of the year are not in fact new articles, but timeless pieces written long before 2023. In fact, the majority of our best performing pieces, drawing in tens of thousands of hits every year, are works covering the essential pillars of Marxist theory. If you haven’t read them yet yourself, we highly recommend you do so.

Here are the top 10 articles on marxist.com this year that were published before 2023:

What is dialectical materialism? by Rob Sewell

Dialectical materialism is the bedrock of Marxism / Image: Pixabay

Dialectical materialism is the bedrock of Marxism. At first glance, however, the idea of conquering a new philosophy, with its own language, can appear daunting for workers. The fact that, for several years running, this article has been by far our best performing indicates that many thousands of workers are prepared to make the leap to understand it. As Rob Sewell explains in this excellent, colourful and lucid introduction: 

“To the class conscious worker who is prepared to persevere, one promise can be made: once the initial effort is made to come to grips with unfamiliar and new ideas, the theories of Marxism will be found to be basically straight-forward and simple. Once the basic concepts of Marxism are conquered, they open up a whole new outlook on politics, the class struggle, and every aspect of life.”

Read the article here.

What is money? by Adam Booth

Money is something that is completely mystified by the ruling class’ economists / Image: Pictures of Money, Flickr

Central banks print it endlessly; they seem to create it by adding zeros to account balances; and in times of crisis, it appears to vanish into thin air. And yet money, so central to the operation of the capitalist system, is something that is completely mystified by the ruling class’ economists.

Yet there is nothing mysterious about money at all, as Adam Booth shows in this excellent introduction to the question, “What is money?”, in which he traces money’s development from antiquity, through its many manifold functions under capitalism, to its final withering away under a future socialist society. 

Read the article here.

The Ukraine war: an internationalist position – IMT Statement

resized niet voine Image Марксистская ТенденцияA year and a half on, and we stand behind every word of the IMT statement published mere days after the outbreak of the war / Image: Марксистская Тенденция

A year and a half ago, war erupted in Ukraine. At the time, an unprecedented fog of war propaganda descended – in Russia and in the West – designed to whip up a chauvinistic mood. Almost the entirety of the so-called ‘Left’ in both camps – from left reformists through to Stalinists – completely capitulated to this mood and supported ‘their’ ruling class in this imperialist proxy war. The IMT, virtually alone, maintained a completely spotless banner.

A year and a half on, and we stand behind every word of the IMT statement published mere days after the outbreak of the war, and the statement continues to be one of marxist.com’s most widely read articles.

Read the article here.

Marxism vs. Queer Theory by Yola Kipcak

Manifestación Orgullo Crítico 2015 Image DaddyCellWe must be ever vigilant against those theories that wrap themselves in ‘progressive’, left-sounding phraseology, but which are used to disguise a reactionary content / Image: DaddyCell

In defending Marxist theory, we must be ever vigilant against precisely those theories that wrap themselves in ‘progressive’, left-sounding phraseology, but which are used to disguise a reactionary content. Queer theory, which derives from academia, is precisely one such theory. Whilst it claims to fight against oppression based on gender and sexuality, it leads into the dead end of identity politics and sterile wordplay. This 2019 article by Yola Kipcak provides a sharp Marxist critique of these ideas, and has continued to be popular every year since its publication.

Read the article here.

Marxism vs. Identity Politics – 2018 IMT World Congress document

marxism poster women 1 Image public domainThe fight against identity politics is therefore one of the primary fronts today in the defence of revolutionary Marxist theory / Image: public domain

Queer theory is just one brand of ‘identity politics’, a set of ideas deriving from the reactionary idealist philosophy of postmodernism, which have become ever more in vogue since the 1980s and particularly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Having spread from academia, they have infected even substantial parts of the labour movement across the world.

Part of the reason for their extraordinary growth has been the fact that the ruling class has latched onto them as their primary weapon in confusing and demoralising the labour movement. The fight against identity politics is therefore one of the primary fronts today in the defence of revolutionary Marxist theory.

This 2018 IMT World Congress document represents an important line drawn in the sand in this conflict, and ought to be essential reading for every serious Marxist.

Read the article here.

What is historical materialism? by Alan Woods

france 63022 960 720Historical materialism forms one of the three key pillars of Marxist theory / Image: public domain

Along with dialectical materialism and Marxist economics, historical materialism forms one of the three key pillars of Marxist theory.

Official history, as taught in schools and universities, is presented as little more than a heap of facts, without meaning or laws. As Alan Woods explains: “Why should we accept that the entire universe, from the smallest particles to the most distant galaxies are determined, and the processes that determine the evolution of all species, are governed by laws, and yet, for some strange reason, our own history is not”?

The reason is simple: once we grasp the laws of history, we can clearly see how the demise of capitalism and its replacement by socialism are a matter of inevitable necessity. In this excellent introduction, Alan Woods acquaints us with the most essential laws of historical development as uncovered by Marx and Engels over 170 years ago.

Read the article here.

Why we are Marxists by Alan Woods

marx eng5Marxism as a theory continues to pulsate with life / Image: public domain

In this classic article, Alan Woods gives a sharp defence of Marxist theory in general. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union it has been fashionable, every year or two, to declare “Marxism is dead”. And yet, why is it necessary to repeatedly declare it so? Quite simply because, far from being dead, Marxism as a theory continues to pulsate with life, and has never been more relevant than it is today – a fact that the ruling class is semi-conscious of, and which keeps its strategists awake at night.

Read the article here.

In Defence of October by Leon Trotsky

trotsky in defence of october speechTrotsky dispenses with the lies of the Stalinists and the myths that the bourgeoisie have and continue to propagate / Image: own work

A recurring favourite, ‘In Defence of October’, written by Leon Trotsky in 1932, is one of a number of classic texts that you can find on marxist.com. By the time it was written, Trotsky had been forced into exile by Stalin and the bureaucracy in the Soviet Union. Earlier that year, he and his family had been stripped of their Soviet citizenship.

In late 1932, on the 15th anniversary of the October Revolution, Trotsky found himself in Stockholm and was invited to give a talk on the same subject. In this lecture, of which ‘In Defence of October’ is a transcription, Trotsky sets the record straight about the October Revolution. He dispenses with the lies of the Stalinists and the myths that the bourgeoisie have and continue to propagate, such as the idea that the revolution was a mere coup d’état, and sets the record straight, laying forth the real causes of the October Revolution.

Read the article here.

Women before, during and after the Russian Revolution by Marie Frederiksen

1917 International Womens Day Petrograd Image public domainThe Russian Revolution began on 8 March, International Working Women’s Day / Image: public domain

This article, first written in 2017, the centenary year of the Russian Revolution, but continues to be a popular read.

It is a feature of every revolution, which stirs to action the most oppressed and downtrodden layers of society who are usually utterly excluded from politics, that women jump to the fore. The Russian Revolution began on 8 March, International Working Women’s Day, with strikes of female textile workers, and the greatest reserves of revolutionary strength in the Russian Revolution came precisely from proletarian women. This article discusses the role of women in Russian society, in the Revolution, and the way that the Bolshevik regime attempted to achieve not only legal but the material liberation of womankind.

Read the article here.

The French Revolution by Alan Woods

Bastille Image public domainThe French Revolution of 1789-93 continues to stand out as one of the most important events in human history / Image: public domain

This wonderful piece by Alan Woods has been rediscovered by our readers this year, making it a new entry in our top ten, a position it fully deserves.

The French Revolution of 1789-93 continues to stand out as one of the most important events in human history. This was a bourgeois revolution, which could have no other result than to place the French bourgeoisie in power. And yet – from the storming of the Bastille, to the rise of the Jacobin Convention, and the eventual reaction of Thermidor – it was as heroic and full of lessons as any revolution in human history.

Read the article here.

Check out the following link to find more articles on other great revolutions in human history.

Top five podcasts

Not only was this a highly successful year for marxist.com, but our new podcasts have also been a big success, with both International Marxist Radio and our latest show, Spectre of Communism, receiving well over 120,000 plays across all platforms. 

With weekly episodes starting up again in January, we’re cultivating an even wider audience for communist news, theory and analysis via the internet airwaves! Here were our biggest episodes of the year…

2023: for a revolutionary new year!

Our first episode of 2023 saw our editor-in-chief, Alan Woods, give an overview of the year past and a view of things to come. From the economic crisis, to the Ukraine War, to the resurgent popularity of communist ideas, Alan set a perfect tone for what transpired to be a watershed year for the world, and the IMT!

Why we are communists

The season finale of International Marxist Radio saw Ben Gliniecki from Socialist Appeal (soon to be the Revolutionary Communist Party, British section of the IMT) explain why our organisation is enthusiastically claiming the banner of communism. Having gone through the school of reformism in the last period with the likes of Corbyn, Podemos, Sanders, SYRIZA and the rest, the best workers and youth today want the most radical possible break with the old order. Only communism will do!

Ted Grant speaks! The 1970s: a world in turmoil

This gem from the archives sees Ted Grant, founding member of our predecessor organisation, speaking on the world situation in 1974. This was a period where all of Europe was convulsed with revolutionary struggle: an historic opportunity that was sadly squandered by the Stalinist and reformist leaders of the working class.

How Marx became a Marxist

Marx did not emerge fully-formed like Athena from the head of Zeus. As explained by Josh Holroyd, editor at marxist.com, Marx’s thought underwent a process of development. He combined the most advanced ideas of his time, and steeled himself with efforts to build the young forces of the working class, finally culminating with the titanic mind behind Capital and the Communist Manifesto.

The Russian Revolution: the greatest event in history

The first episode of our new podcast, Spectre of Communism, comes full circle, with Alan Woods once again joining us to discuss the great October Revolution of 1917. To this day, the seemingly impossible victory of the Russian workers and peasants over Tsarism and capitalism, with the Bolshevik Party at their head, is a beacon of inspiration for communists around the world.

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