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 Democratic Socialists of America after the 2016 elections is just one example of the dramatic changes in consciousness unfolding around us, a process that is still in its infancy.

Engels described the Canut revolt of the Lyon workers in 1831 as “the first working-class rising” of the early period of capitalist development. In fact, it was the first time in history that the working class had taken power in a major city. Here Steve Brown, basing himself on Robert J Bezucha’s book The Lyon uprising of 1834, describes those momentous events.

In recent years the struggle against gender oppression and sexual orientation-based discrimination has developed into mass movements in many countries. We have seen large-scale protests expressing anger and rebellion – that had been building up for years and decades – against an exasperating interference of a system that not only forces you to struggle daily to make ends meet, but also claims the right to decide what you can or cannot do in your private lives, who you can have a relationship with, sexual or otherwise, whether you can raise a child, etc., and subjects anyone who departs from the norms of the so-called “traditional family” to a social and legal ghetto.

Liberal wonder-boy Emmanuel Macron, the new President of France, last week gave a hair-raising press conference. Speaking at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Macron framed an argument against giving foreign aid to African countries by painting a picture of a feckless “African civilisation” populated by women who – presumably through their own stupidity or lack of self-control – “have seven or eight children”.

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.

A spectre is haunting Europe - the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies. Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?

April 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Fought as part of the larger British-led Battle of Arras during the First World War, the battle was the first instance in which all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) fought together. The success of the unified Canadian Corps in capturing the ridge from German troops, after failed efforts to do so by British and French forces, has steadily grown in significance in recent decades to attain the status of a founding myth, in which Vimy represented Canada’s birth as a nation. This mythologized narrative obscures the true nature of an imperialist war that led to the death of millions, while furthering the revival of a militaristic Canadian nationalism that lays the foundation for future wars.

Today we publish the fourth and final part of Fred Weston's series about the horrors which capitalism has inflicted on humanity. In the previous parts of this article we have seen the real face of the capitalist class, both its predatory nature on a global scale and its capacity for violent suppression of any mass popular revolt that challenges its right to rule. Some will say, yes but this was in the past; now the system has become more civilised and humane. Recent history shows that this is utterly false.. (Click here to jump straight to part four)

To mark the 134th anniversary of the death of Karl Marx – who died in London on 14th March 1883 - we are republishing here a revised version of an article by the late Phil Mitchinson. Here Phil outlines the life and contribution made by Marx to the building of the socialist movement and the development of the ideas of scientific socialism. Together with this we have included the text of Engels' marvellous speech which he gave at the grave of Karl Marx. “Philosophers have only interpreted the world in different ways. The point is, however, to change it.” (Marx)

Three recent scientific papers have reignited the debate on a subject that was always a matter of contention between science and religion: the development of humankind from prehistory to now. In the last twenty years, advances in science have confirmed the need to study all fields of knowledge, from biology to cosmology, with a dialectical approach. This approach enables us to interpret the world as it is in constant motion and contradiction, in permanent transformation, and teaches us how to study processes as mutually connected. This takes into account the fascinating complexity that all of this implies.

Historical materialism is a dynamic method for understanding the complex and contradictory past, with profound implications for our understanding of the world and the class struggle today. For Marxists, history is not something dead and buried, an ossified collection of facts and interpretations established for all-time, but a living treasure trove of lessons for the present and the future.

“The immigrants get all the jobs and houses, while the Italians - or British, or French… - get nothing! The government should think of Italians first - or British, or French first!” How many times do we hear this kind of thinking being hyped up by the TV and press, especially the gutter press, and right-wing demagogues?

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