In defence of Marxism

1337B7A5 0CF0 4336 97A1 B6CFEABB3A18One often hears of this caricature of Marxism as a dry, narrow doctrine, which reduces all human thought to economics and the development of the productive forces. Yet even today there are people who like to call themselves Marxists who defend, not the genuine ideas of Marx and Engels in all their richness, breadth and profundity, but the very same “economist” caricature of the bourgeois critics of Marxism. This is not Marxism at all but, to use Hegel’s expression, “die leblosen Knochen eines Skeletts” (the lifeless bones of a skeleton), on which Lenin commented: “What is necessary is not leblose Knochen, but living life.”...

The advanced workers and youth have a thirst for ideas and theory. They want to understand what is happening in society. They are not attracted by tendencies that merely tell them what they already know: that capitalism is in crisis, that there is unemployment, that they live in bad houses, earn low wages and so on. Serious people want to know why things are as they are, what happened in Russia, what Marxism is, and other questions of a theoretical character. That is why theory is not an optional extra, as the “practicos” imagine, but an essential tool of the revolutionary struggle.

– From In defence of theory — or Ignorance never yet helped anybody

Last week, the representatives of the Spanish and Portuguese sections of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) walked out of a meeting of Peter Taaffe’s faction within that organisation. They then announced they "would recommend to the Spanish EC and CC that they leave the Faction. [Spanish section general secretary, Juan Ignacio Ramos]

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The Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) has been plunged into a convulsive crisis, which is most likely going to end in a split. At the centre of the crisis are developments in their Irish section. From the material available to us from their internal discussions it appears that the Irish section is being accused of adapting to identity politics, concentrating on women’s and LGBTQ+ issues to the detriment of work in the trade unions, bending towards reformism and at the same time

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Trotsky, a recent Netflix series produced by Russian state television, is a scandalous misrepresentation of both Trotsky’s life and the October Revolution. Alan Woods and Josh Holroyd respond to this insulting portrayal of Trotsky and the Bolsheviks’ legacy.

Speaking at the 2018 Revolution Festival, Jack Halinski-Fitzpatrick of Socialist Appeal provides a Marxist analysis of what role morality plays within class society, and how revolutionaries should derive their ethical framework and decisions.

On 22 November 2018, Bhaskar Sunkara and John Peterson participated in a panel organized at Temple University in Philadelphia by the Temple Marxists, YDSA, and the Utopia Film Club. The editors of Jacobin and Socialist Revolution gave their definitions of socialism, analysed the current state of the socialist movement in the US, and provided their views on the perspectives for a socialist future. The discussion covered a wide range of basic topics of socialist theory and

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Marxists recognise the enormous achievements of the 1949 Chinese Revolution. Unsurprisingly, many slogans by Mao Zedong found an echo across the world as an alternative to the bureaucratised USSR after the Sino-Soviet split. However, there are significant political differences between the ideas of genuine Marxism and those of Maoism, which should be clarified.

This document, after a thorough discussion at all levels of the International Marxist Tendency over the past year, was approved unanimously by the IMT World Congress held at the end of July 2018 with the original title Marxist Theory and The Struggle Against Alien Class Ideas. Its aim is to draw a line between Marxism and a set of idealistic and postmodernist alien class ideas, which have affected for some

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On 3 August, Alberto Garzón, the leader of the Spanish United Left (Izqierda Unida, or I.U.) posted an article entitled "Is Marxism a scientific method?" Under the guise of presenting a 'scientific' critique, Garzón was preparing a break with Marxism. Like every revisionist in history, he disguises this break with the excuse of 'modifying' the ideas of Marx. In reality, he was jumping on the bandwagon of those 'left'

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To commemorate the anniversary of Rosa Luxemburg's murder in 1919, we republish the following introduction to a 2014 Mexican edition of her important work, Reform or Revolution. The legacy of this martyr for proletarian revolution endures through her ideas.

As millions in the US are looking for a way out of the impasse of the capitalist system, rooting ourselves in the sound foundations of Marxist theory has never been more important. Ten years ago, few Americans considered themselves socialists, and even fewer were open about it. But life teaches, and conditions determine consciousness. A decade of crisis, the Bernie Sanders campaign, and Trump’s election have led millions to look to socialism for a way out. The skyrocketing growth of

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In this video from the 2017 October Revolution festival, Daniel Morley (of the Socialist Appeal Editorial Board) discusses the theoretical differences between the philosophies of Marxism and postmodernism.

In this talk at a 2017 day school on the Russian Revolution, Daniel Morley of the Socialist Appeal editorial board discusses the question of revolutionary insurrection, examining how Marxists approach the question of the seizure of power.

The crisis of capitalism has given rise to a mood of questioning and mass movements across the world. From the Spanish Indignados, to the Syntagma Square in Greece, and more recently the Nuit Debout in France, youth are starting to take action and challenge the capitalist system. As part of this general mood, recent years have also seen a number of spontaneous movements erupt against the multiple forms of oppression that different layers of the working class experience under capitalism.

In this talk from a recent Socialist Appeal day school, Alan Woods (editor of In Defence of Marxism) explores Trotsky's theory of the permanent revolution and how it has been vindicated throughout history - both in the positive sense, by the Russian Revolution, and in the negative, by the Chinese Revolution of 1925-27.

Today, we find ourselves in the midst of one of the deepest crises capitalism has ever faced. While the 99% are being asked to pay for the crisis, the 1% are amassing wealth at an ever accelerating pace. The saturating level of scandal and corruption in the establishment is alienating millions from traditional politics. All of this is causing a deep questioning of capitalist society. Many are looking for an alternative to the system that we have, and a growing number are looking towards

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The past two decades have witnessed a barrage of propaganda against Marxism and its revolutionary heritage. Since the collapse of Stalinism – not socialism, but a monstrously deformed caricature of Marxism - from one front to another the mainstream media, universities, professors and historians have gone on the offensive to discredit Marxism. We examine here the most common myths about Marxism and socialism.

It is in his writings on Peru and Latin America that Mariátegui’s analysis on revolution in colonial countries really stands out. As he pointed out in 1928, “The Latin American Revolution will be nothing more and nothing less than a stage, a stage of the world revolution. It will simply and clearly be the socialist revolution.”[...

José Carlos Mariátegui was founder and general secretary of the Peruvian Socialist Party, set up in 1928, that later became the Communist Party. There is much mythology on the left about him. Here José Pereira puts the record straight explaining how this great Latin American Marxist, in spite of some errors, had reached the same general conclusions as Lenin and Trotsky on the fundamental questions facing the revolution in colonial countries. (First published in America Socialista,

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Fred Weston, Editor of the 'In Defence of Marxism' website, talks about Karl Marx and the attempt of building the first international Workers' Party. This talk about the early days of the ideas of scientific Socialism highlights invaluable lessons for revolutionaries today.

At the recent annual  Marxist Winter School, this year hosted by the UCLU Marxist Society in London, the agenda was was dedicated to the 130th anniversary of Karl Marx’s death, with sessions covering the important contributions that Marx made towards the worlds of politics, economics, history, and philosophy. Here we provide the video of the session, led by Jorge Martin about the key question of building a Marxist international organisation.

At the recent annual  Marxist Winter School, this year hosted by the UCLU Marxist Society in London, the agenda was was dedicated to the 130th anniversary of Karl Marx’s death, with sessions covering the important contributions that Marx made towards the worlds of politics, economics, history, and philosophy. Here we provide the videos of the opening and closing sessions, by Alan Woods, regaring the

Alex Grant, editor of the Canadian Marxist journal Fighback, speaks to a class of 150 students at Toronto's York University about the topic "Is Marxism still relevant?". The video was recorded in the autumn of 2012.

“The news of the death of capitalism is at least premature, the economic and social system that has dominated the world for hundreds of years is not even sick, just look at China to be convinced and see the future. In the East, the masses of peasants are entering into the world of waged labour, leaving the rural world and becoming proletarians. A new phenomenon has been born, unprecedented in history, state capitalism, where the old enlightened bourgeoisie, creative, even if predatory –

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As the 1960s became the 1970s, Hobsbawm stopped defending the nationalised planned economy and became part of the Eurocommunist tendency whithin the Communist Party. He provided theoretical justifications not only for the dissolution of the Communist Party but also for the right-wing turn of the Labour Party in Britain, something which earned him the epithet “Kinnock's favourite Marxist”. [part 1]

News of the death of Eric Hobsbawm on 1st October was marked by an unprecedented outburst of flattery and adulation in the bourgeois media. [part 1]

Fred Weston, editor of the 'In Defence of Marxism', talking at the ULU Marxist Summer School on 'What will Socialism look like?'

 

With the greatest crisis of capitalism since the Great Depression, a key question is what is the alternative to this crisis prone system? With the announcement of the most savage austerity package since the 1920s, which will completely undermine everything that supposed to constitute a civilized society, what is the real alternative? Can the capitalism be patched up and reformed, or do we need a fundamental change in society -- a new socialist society? But what is socialism? Hear Rob

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At a time when the Cuban Revolution is facing great dangers, a serious debate is opening up in the ranks of the Cuban Communists. Last week’s Marxist conference organised by the study group "Cuba: Theory and Society" under the auspices of the Instituto de Filosofia de La Habana in November 2010 to discuss Socialism in the XXI Century in the run-up to the forthcoming Party Congress therefore assumes a particular importance. Among the few foreign guests invited to address this event was the

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Alan Woods speaking on "What is Marxism?" to a packed meeting of students at the University of London at the ULU Marxist Society.

Seventy years since the assassination of Leon Trotsky bourgeois writers and historians are attempting to bury the man again. They are constantly demonizing him and his ideas. That is because they understand that his ideas are not dead, but very alive and have never been so relevant as they are today, in this period of crisis of capitalism.

An avalanche of books has recently been published to discredit Lenin, Trotsky and the Russian Revolution. First and foremost of these writers is Professor Robert Service. The aim of his latest book on Trotsky is to prove that Bolshevism leads to Stalinism and totalitarianism. Here Rob Sewell sets the record straight and explains the huge gulf that divided genuine Bolshevism from the monster of Stalinism that was built on the physical destruction of the Bolshevik party.

The publication of the first volume of Ted Grant’s Selected Works is an important step toward making his ideas more widely known to a new generation of Marxists in the United States. In the book's introduction, Workers International League National Secretary John Peterson explains some of the background and context to this first volume, which focuses on the nature and crisis of Stalinism and the USSR. Grant’s writings on the momentous and complex events of the 20th Century are a textbook

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In 1846 Weitling complained that the “intellectuals” Marx and Engels wrote only about obscure matters of no interest to the workers. Marx angrily responded with the following words, “Ignorance never yet helped anybody.” Marx’s response is as valid today as it was then.

Marxism, or Scientific Socialism, is the name given to the body of ideas first worked out by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. In their totality, these ideas claim to provide a theoretical basis for the struggle of the working class to attain a higher form of human society - socialism. What relevance do these ideas, over 150 years old have to today's society? Alan Woods spoke at a recent meeting of the ULU Marxist Society in London on the relevance of Marxism today.

What is Socialism?

John Peterson, National Secretary of the Workers International and editor of Socialist Appeal, interviewed by Our World Today on the subject of "What is Socialism?". The interview covers many of the traditional arguments made against socialism and defends the banner of revolutionary Marxism.

As a result of the economic and social convulsions, many people are beginning to question the nature of the capitalist system. But does Marxism offer an alternative in todays world? Is there still a class struggle? Or are we all middle class now? Many people are disgusted by the huge salaries of big business, but does this mean they are in favour of socialism? Yesterday Alan Woods answered these questions at a ULU Marxist Society meeting in London with an audience of 25.

Today is the 68th anniversary of the brutal assassination of Leon Trotsky by a Stalinist agent. We commemorate this event by publishing the transcription of his address to the N.Y. Hippodrome Meeting. The speech "I Stake My Life!" was delivered by telephone from Mexico City for the opening event of the Dewey Commission on the Moscow Trials on February 9th, 1937.

Leon Sedov

Tomorrow marks the 70th anniversary of the murder of Trotsky's eldest son - Leon Sedov - by agents of the Stalinist secret police, the GPU. He was thirty-two years of age. This crime constituted part of the systematic hounding and murder of Trotsky's key supporters and family, whose only ‘crime' was to defend genuine Marxism against Stalin and the crimes of the Russian bureaucracy.

Stalin’s article, Some Questions Concerning the History of Bolshevism, reached me after much delay. After receiving it, for a long time I could not force myself to read it, for such literature sticks in one’s throat like sawdust or mashed bristles. But still, having finally read it, I came to the conclusion that one cannot ignore this performance, if only because there is included in it a vile and barefaced calumny about Rosa Luxemburg.

We publish a talk by Alan Woods on the Marxist's attitude to individual terrorism, given at the Socialist Appeal day school in London late last year. Of particular relevance following the assasination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan recently, socialism must oppose acts of indiviual terrorism - 'liberals with bombs' - because of the reactionary role they play in the labour movement.

This book demonstrates that the Russian Revolution, a model for a victorious, popular revolution in a semi-colonial country in the era of imperialism, required not a bourgeois-democratic, but a socialist revolution for the people to take power. The book goes back to basics, critically analysing and comparing Lenin’s and Trotsky’s own writings, which are sited in their source and inspiration - the Russian Revolution of 1905. It is shown that Lenin, in October 1917, adopted the perspectives

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Fred Weston of the International Marxist Tendency, and editor of In Defence of Marxism, talks on Leon Trotsky's theory of the Permanent Revolution. This marxist concept constitued the main ideological opposition to Stalin's theory of 'socialism in one country', which came to be the dominant outlook of the Soviet bureaucracy, that grew out of the isolation and degeneration of the young workers state.

Alan Woods, editor of www.marxist.com and author of many books including Reason in Revolt and The Venezuelan Revolution: A Marxist Perspective, talks to the Oxford Brookes Socialist Society on the relevance of socialism in the 21st century.

The ideas of the International Marxist Tendency are very clear. We stand for the genuine ideas of Marxism and base ourselves on the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky. You may agree or disagree with these ideas. Occasionally however, we encounter opponents who are prepared to go to incredible lengths to distort and falsify what we stand for. Just such a case came up earlier this year when the French language journal, La Vérité, published by the Lambertist group launched a

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