Marxist Theory Featured

It is said that revolution has never come to the British Isles. In fact, modern British democracy was born out of a violent revolution and a bloody Civil War, which saw the king lose his head. Today, we are witnessing one of the most turbulent periods in British history, and the ruling class fears the nation’s revolutionary past, which is why they seek to bury it under falsehoods. This is the complete video series with Alan Woods, The English Revolution: the world turned upside down

This document on the Black Struggle and the Socialist Revolution was passed at the 2008 National Congress of the Workers International League, the US section of the International Marxist Tendency (now Socialist Revolution). It was originally published on 25 June, 2008. We republish it today, as the arguments it raises are more relevant than ever. 

The Black Lives Matter movement has rapidly spread across the world in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by police in the USA. The size and strength of the solidarity demonstrations internationally has revealed widespread outrage at police violence and the system that engenders it. Comrades of the International Marxist Tendency have taken part in demonstrations in countries such as: the USA, Canada, Britain, Belgium, Mexico, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Sweden. Below is a selection of reports from Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Canada.

Coronavirus has exposed all of society’s systemic inequalities. Most glaringly, black and Asian communities in Britain have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The social conditions created by capitalism are to blame.

In this article, Josh Holroyd discusses the so-called Tributary Mode of Production, which has gained traction in academic circles as an alleged ‘update’ to Marx’s conception of historical development. However, a close inspection of this theory, its method and origins reveals less a development of Marxism than a retreat from it, in the face of attacks from its reactionary opponents in the universities.

Governments everywhere are pumping money into the world economy to keep it on life support. Followers of Keynesian ideas – of government stimulus and demand-side management – feel vindicated. But only Marxism offers a solution.

Hieronymus Bosch was one of the most remarkable and original painters of all time. His works were painted five hundred years ago, yet they seem astonishingly modern, anticipating surrealism. This is the art of a world in a state of turbulence, torn by contradictory tendencies – a world in which the light of reason has been extinguished and where animal passions have gained the upper hand. A world of terror, violence and plague: a living nightmare. In short – a world very like our own, particularly given the current pandemic. Alan Woods examines Hieronymus Bosch from the standpoint of historical materialism. Originally published 23 December 2010.

Today is the 45th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon. Prior to this denouement, from 30-31 January 1968, 70,000 North Vietnamese soldiers, together with guerrilla fighters of the NLF, launched one of the most daring military campaigns in history. The Tet Offensive was the real turning point in the Vietnam War. In 2008, on its 40th anniversary, Alan Woods analysed the events that led to the Vietnam War and the significance of the Tet Offensive in bringing about the defeat of US imperialism, and drew some parallels with Iraq.

The following article was written at the end of February and the first days of March, just before the world was hit by the crash of the stock markets on the 9 March and the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This sharp change in the situation obviously also changes the plans of the ruling class. But the underlying economic and political tendencies at play are still the same, although the issue of climate change obviously was pushed to the background. In the case of the Green parties, their character as parties of the ruling class is even-further confirmed in these times of crisis.

Ludwig van Beethoven died today in 1827. If any composer deserves to be called a revolutionary, it is Beethoven. He carried through what was probably the greatest single revolution in modern music and changed the way music was composed and listened to. This is music that does not calm, but shocks and disturbs. Writing in 2006, Alan Woods describes how the world into which Beethoven was born was a world in turmoil, a world in transition, a world of wars, revolution and counter-revolution: a world like our own world.

Marxism has always been at the forefront of the cause of women's emancipation. The 8th of March (International Women's Day) is a red letter day for us as it symbolises the struggle of working class women against capitalism, oppression and discrimination throughout the world. In this article, we outline the first steps given by Marxism to fight for women's rights, what the first successful revolution meant for the emancipation of women, conditions of women under capitalism both in advanced and Third World countries and pose the question of how to eliminate inequality between men and women for good. Originally published 8 March 2000.

The history of Bolshevism from the very early days right up to the Russian revolution contains a wealth of lessons on how it is the class struggle that provides the final answer to the women’s question. In this article Marie Frederiksen looks at the approach of the Bolshevik Party to the women’s question from its early days, right through to the revolution and after taking power. Originally published 8 March 2017.

In his article entitled 'Long Economic Cycles', Kondratiev argued that, in addition to the normal trade cycle of capitalism of between seven and eleven years, there existed longer cycles, the average duration of which was fifty years. He concluded that the capitalist system passes through "long waves", in which each downswing is followed by an upswing which can last for decades. It is this latter assertion that was rebutted by Trotsky. And though it has regularly made its reappearance, enjoying a temporarily fashionable status, it has no solid basis either in fact or in theory. In this article, originally published in 2000, Alan Woods explains why.