Marxist Theory Featured

Many academics and critics of Marxism attempt to portray Karl Marx as nothing but an armchair theoretician. However, Marx spent his whole life devoted to putting his revolutionary ideas into practice. From his collaboration with the Communist League, who commissioned his writing of the Communist Manifesto; to the founding of the First International: Marx (and his lifelong peer, Friedrich Engels) were dedicated to the task of fighting for international socialism.

"The development of the International Left Opposition is proceeding amidst sharp crises that cast the fainthearted and the short-sighted into pessimism. In reality these crises are completely unavoidable. One has only to read the correspondence of Marx and Engels attentively, or to preoccupy oneself seriously with the history of the development of the Bolshevik Party to realise how complicated, how difficult, how full of contradictions the process of developing revolutionary cadres is."

This summer has been one of freakish weather events the world over. No longer is climate change a thing of the future. From California to the Arctic Circle, exceptional temperatures are creating tinder box conditions. In Greece, 91 people were killed in a horrific blaze. In Japan at least 77 people have died and more than 30,000 have been admitted to hospital with heat stroke. 54 people have been killed by the heat in Quebec, Canada.

In this talk from a 2018 'Marx in a Day' event, celebrating Karl Marx's 200th birthday and discussing his key ideas, Rob Sewell (editor of Socialist Appeal) explains the fundamental concepts of Marxist economics.

Prague 1968

The Prague Spring was a movement with the potential to develop into a socialist political revolution against the Communist Party (CP) bureaucracy, possibly with far-reaching consequences. For this reason, over the last half century, the Prague Spring has been slandered by Stalinists, co-opted by liberals, and distorted by both.

At 5.41pm, 4 August, a powerful explosion was heard near the rostrum from which Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro was addressing a parade at Bolivar Avenue in Caracas to mark the 81st anniversary of the Bolivarian National Guard. President Maduro was unharmed, but seven members of the National Guard were injured.

The aggravation of the economic crisis is making life unbearable for working people in Venezuela. The destruction of the purchasing power of wages has been combined with the collapse of all basic infrastructure (water, electricity and public transport). Workers in different sectors have started to organise and protest, demanding higher wages; while peasants in the countryside are fighting attempts to destroy Chavez's agrarian revolution.

In this article, Ben Curry explains the development of scientific thought from a Marxist perspective. Ben introduces the dialectical materialist outlook, explains how it applies to the natural world and demonstrates how the ancient philosophers of Greece and Rome laid the foundations for modern science. Science is always rooted in class society, and the lack of a dialectical materialist perspective has led some modern scientists back to the idealism and mysticism that the bourgeoisie railed against in its revolutionary phase.

Recent events in Catalonia, Scotland, Kurdistan and so on, have brought the question of national self-determination back onto the political agenda. It has become a key element in the development of the class struggle. In this recorded discussion, Fred Weston (from In Defence of Marxism) explains the Marxist approach to the national question.

Along with the renewed discussion in Britain around renationalisation (a policy promised by the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn), the idea of workers’ control and workers’ management has re-emerged. Indeed, John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has said that renationalised companies should not be run like they were in the past, but should instead be run under workers’ control.

In this video from Socialist Appeal's "Marx in a Day" event in 2018 (which celebrated Karl Marx's 200th birthday), Josh Holroyd discusses the contribution made by the great revolutionary thinker towards our understanding of history.

How can we reach the masses? This question has been at the center of revolutionary debate since the birth of the socialist movement. Revolutions are preceded by preparatory periods of ferment and debate, clarification of ideas, perspectives, and tasks, and shaking off the inertia of the previous epoch of stability and passivity. In these periods, there is a growing sense that society is at an impasse, while at the same time, history is accelerating and great events are coming. This pushes broader layers of society into political activity, and there is a thirst for ideas that can explain the crisis of the system and the way to transform it.

The Venezuelan elections on 20 May were merely an episode in a long saga of imperialist aggression, economic crisis and the deterioration of living conditions for the working class and poor. The reelected Maduro government has continued its policy of making concessions and appeals to the capitalists. If it wasn’t for the escape valves provided by subsidised food parcels, migration and the dollar-based economy, the situation would have led to a social explosion already. The mood of the chavista rank-and-file is increasingly angry and critical of the leadership.

50 years ago, women at the Dagenham Ford Factory began a strike that became a turning point in the fight for equality. It was not the first such strike, and it would certainly not be the last. However, by standing up against bosses, union officials, and even other workers, they would send a message that has stood the test of time and inspires still.

We publish here In Defence of Marxismeditor, Alan Woods's brand new introduction to a German edition of his important series, Class Struggles in the Roman Republic. After explaining the historical materialist method, Alan explores the class forces in ancient civilisations, the role of the individual in history, the falsehood of 'objective' history, and the contradictions underpinning slave society that were ultimately the reason for Rome's descent and decline. He then relates the lessons of the ancient world to modern capitalist society, which like the last days of Rome is also teetering on the brink of collapse. The choice before us is socialism or barbarism.