Karl Marx

Letter: Taking them down a peg

Published on: Wed, 24/05/2017 - 11:12

Martin Thomas

Andrew Northall (Letters, Solidarity 438) asks important questions about taxing the ultra-rich and the merely well-off. No socialist strategy, I believe, can escape the risk of a “counter-revolutionary reaction” from the rich.

That is not just because of our challenge to their income. It is because of our challenge to their wealth and their power. No socialism is possible without taking the top 1% down a peg, and they will resist that ferociously. At certain times they will shrug and pay more tax.

Labour’s plans are modest. In 1944-5 (under a Tory-led government), Britain had a top income

Kimber’s contradictory consciousness

Published on: Wed, 30/11/2016 - 11:52

Liam Conway

The Brexit vote was “a bitter blow for the establishment, big business, the international financial institutions, the rich and the politicians” says Charlie Kimber, writing for International Socialism Journal.

This gives the impression, ″with minor exceptions″, that the ruling class was united in their support for remaining in the EU, which is clearly a fantasy. Cut through the pseudo sociology in Kimber’s analysis and you are left with two points. The leave vote was primarily a revolt against the establishment and was not dominated by racism or hostility to migrants. What evidence does

Is socialism against human nature?

Published on: Wed, 02/11/2016 - 12:09

Sean Matgamna

Our recently published book Can Socialism Make Sense? takes on the arguments against socialism. In this abridged excerpt a critic of socialism (B) is answered by a socialist (A) on the question of human nature.

B: You can’t change human nature. Humanity remains an animal. Human nature — competition, individualism, selfishness, predatoriness — produces, protects, and preserves capitalism.

A. If that were true, then why did we not have capitalism all back through history? We have had slave societies, feudal societies, “oriental-despotic” societies (ancient India and China, Inca Peru). The


Published on: Wed, 19/10/2016 - 11:05

Jason Schulman and Peter Frase

I know Leo Panitch pretty well and I think Martin is misrepresenting him in his report of the “parliamentary socialism” workshop at the Momentum fringe event at Labour Party conference (Solidarity 418).

When Leo dismisses “insurrection”, he means that he doesn’t think that armed struggle with the bourgeois state — civil war, which Trotsky did say was the highest form of the class struggle — is feasible. The bourgeois state has tanks, fighter planes, nukes, etc. Unless revolutionary socialists win over the majority of the rank-and-file of the armed forces well in advance of taking power, we’ll

Revolutionary versus “democratic socialism”? A reply to Luke Akehurst on "entryism"

Published on: Wed, 07/09/2016 - 11:21

Sacha Ismail

An October 2015 article by Luke Akehurst, a prominent and combative Labour right winger who recently failed to be elected to the party's NEC, was recently drawn to my attention. The article, published on the LabourList website, was about “entryism”, by which Akehurst means the presence of a revolutionary socialist group like Workers’ Liberty within the Labour Party. It has renewed relevance during the current events.

Akehurst merits a reply because, unusually, he at least makes a nod towards rationally discussing the issues, accepting that terms like “Trotskyist” and “entryism” are commonly

The world economy since 2008

Published on: Thu, 04/02/2016 - 14:00

Martin Thomas

Since the immediate recovery from the great 2008-9 economic crisis, world economic growth has been slow and troubled. Major areas have slipped back into recession. Now a “third leg” of the crisis, or even a new crash, are possibilities for 2016. Martin Thomas surveys the path, the causes and the sequels of the crisis.

The story started in finance. In June 2005 mortgage interest rates in the USA started rising sharply. They levelled off and declined after July 2006, but in the meantime house prices had reversed their giddy rise of previous years. House prices would continue to fall until

The sham of Osborne’s “Northern Powerhouse”

Published on: Wed, 28/10/2015 - 12:12

John Cunningham

It is alarming and deeply disturbing to see that some people, many of whom should know better, have swallowed George “high-vis” Osborne’s fantasy-speak about building a “Northern Powerhouse”.

This is more amazing when you consider that ever since the Industrial Revolution there has always been a “Northern Powerhouse”, and it was the Conservative Party and Thatcher that destroyed it.

Without the coal, iron and steel, shipbuilding, engineering and textiles of northern cities like Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield and Newcastle (to which Scotland and South Wales must also be added), Britain

Marxism At Work: Shift Work Explained

Published on: Wed, 17/06/2015 - 00:50

Our bodies have evolved so that we're awake by day and asleep at night. The brain’s ‘circadian clock’ monitors light levels and releases a chemical, melatonin, to prompt us to sleep when it’s dark; it releases other chemicals that keep us awake during the day.

This gives our bodies their 'circadian rhythm', which affects temperature, digestion, heart rate and blood pressure.

In the rail industry, many of us work shifts: outside regular 9 to 5 hours, especially nights, early starts and late finishes. In doing this, we're defying our natural rhythm and incurring the risk of health

A workers’ government will seize the banks

Published on: Tue, 21/04/2015 - 16:48

Martin Thomas

It wasn’t the stars, or geology. It wasn’t ocean currents, or the weather. The world economy was brought crashing down in 2008 by the particular way we have allowed it to be organised.

It was brought down by being organised around the priority of maximum competitive greed and gain of a small exploiting minority.

From the early 1980s to 2008, world capitalism became more and more governed by the drive for quick, fluid gains, measured and coordinated through an increasingly complex and fast-flowing system of world financial markets.

Ever more elaborate forms of credit were packaged and traded,

No truth without freedom!

Published on: Wed, 18/03/2015 - 11:03

Karl Marx

Karl Marx wrote in favour of free speech, free criticism, and free expression in these passages of an article of February 1843, “Comments on the latest Prussian Censorship Instruction”

“According to this law,” namely, Article II, “the censorship should not prevent serious and modest investigation of truth, nor impose undue constraint on writers, or hinder the book trade from operating freely.”

The investigation of truth which should not be prevented by the censorship is more particularly defined as one which is serious and modest. Both these definitions concern not the content of the

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