Karl Marx

Was Stalinism the new barbarism?

Paul Hampton analyses the arguments used by Tony Cliff and others to rubbish the ideas developed in the 1940s by Max Shachtman and the “unorthodox” Trotskyists in the USA about the USSR. This is the second part of an article whose first part appeared in Workers’ Liberty 62 BY the late forties Shachtman came to the conclusion that Stalinism was “the new barbarism”. Cliff understood that there were two meanings of the term “barbarism’; the first sense meant a description of the period since 1917, given the belatedness of the socialist revolution, in which humanity had been subjected to the...

Stalinism in theory and history

In theories of Stalinism, as Haberkerm comments in his review of The Fate ofthe Russian Revolution (WL59-60), plainly there are many nuances, and his review of The Fate of the Russian Revolution (WL59-60), plainly there are many nuances, and valuable contributions from the likes of Burnham, Carter and Draper which ought to be more widely known. But the book, criticised by Ernie for its failure to include more such texts, was not intended as a compilation of theories of bureaucratic collectivism. It is rather a critique of the ideas of latter-day Trotskyism, from the premises of Trotsky and by...

The dynamics of bureaucratism

Left Oppositionists in Siberian exile, late 1920s The Fate of the Russian Revolution: Lost Texts of Critical Marxism Volume One is a significant contribution to the literature of the anti-Stalinist left. Long buried in the archives the polemics and analyses of those socialists who refused to accept the definition of Stalin’s barbaric regime as a “workers’ state” simply because property was nationalised and private property, large and small, was obliterated, deserve to see the light. My criticism of this anthology should in no way detract from the valuable contribution made and, in view of the...

Penetrating but unsound

I welcome the publication of The Fate of the Russian Revolution: Lost Texts of Critical Marxism Volume One a sort of library in itself. It is a handy compendium of the sweep of Max Shachtman's journalism, and of his co-thinkers. Always penetrating, often witty, and never without interest, Shachtman was a very gifted revolutionary journalist. But he was no theoretician. This puts him well ahead of James P Cannon, who was neither, but journalism is what it is, and not theory. The book is full of empirical observations about the USSR, that are often quite unexceptional in themselves, but it has...

The pilots who weathered the storm

In the first of a series of critical responses to The Fate of the Russian Revolution: Lost Texts of Critical Marxism, recently published by Phoenix Press and Workers’ Liberty, Alan Johnson* argues that the book can play an invaluable role in restoring democracy to the heart of Marxism and help lay to rest the theoretical confusions of post-Trotsky Trotskyism. “However well-intentioned Marxists are nowadays about the need to value democracy the latter simply cannot play a significant theoretical role in the class analysis of politics.” (Gregor McLennan, 1989:114). “The iron dictatorship...

Study group on Marx's Grundrisse

Thursdays from 10 December 2020, skipping 24 December, 31 December, and 7 January. Restarting in 2021 on 14 January 2021. It's possible to join in from 14 January, since the two first sessions (on the "Introduction" and on "Bastiat-Carey") are slightly detached from the bulk of the Grundrisse. Sign up on Eventbrite here Register on Zoom here Study group blog here Study schedule Click here to download all the Powerpoint presentations for the 15 sessions as a single pdf file References to the Grundrisse are given both to the "Analytical Contents List" and to the page numbers of the Penguin...

Video: What is the state?

"What is the state?" an introduction by Matt Cooper. This is part of "The ABCs of Marxism" series of meetings, and also the first in "The state, crime, prisons and the police" series of meetings (part two in the latter series here). Upcoming meetings in both series and beyond can be found here. Video: .ytcontainer { position: relative; width: 100%; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.25%; } .ytvideo { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Watch the playlist of introductory speeches from the ABCs of Marxism (some recorded only) by clicking in the top right of the video...

In praise of Mega2

The Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (Mega) is a project to publish a complete critical edition of the publications, manuscripts and correspondence of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The project is still incomplete after almost a century. However as more materials are published, we get a far deeper understanding of the origins and development of Marxism. For anyone interested in working class self-emancipation, the Mega should be an irreplaceable referent. The Mega was conceived after the Russian revolution. The Bolsheviks wanted to make the theoretical legacy of Marx and Engels available to the...

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