Marxists

Rosa Luxemburg and imperialism

Rosa Luxemburg considered her most important contribution to be her book, The Accumulation of Capital, published in 1913. The legacy of the Polish­-German revolutionary socialist leader who was murdered by a right­-wing militia operating under the aegis of a Social­ Democratic government just over 100 years ago has come down to us through a haze of sentimental misrepresentation and selective republishing, but now can and should be reconsidered. For decades the two most widely ­available texts from Luxemburg were critical notes on the Bolshevik revolution, drafted in jail in 1918, and not...

Postone, capitalism, and the working class

Moishe Postone, a Marxist academic at the University of Chicago who died in 2018, skewered antisemitism as an addled, "pseudo-emancipatory" form of anticapitalism, which blames the evils on capitalism not on its structures but on shadowy plots by "the Jews". Socialists, he argued, must instead seek to spread understanding of capitalism's complex and impersonal structures of social domination. Capitalist exploitation and oppression is a matter of social structures. It is not a conspiracy by secret cabals of evil people. Capitalists are generally, to be sure, personally greedy and arrogant, but...

Corbynism, Marxism, and "orthodox Marxism"

Above: Moishe Postone, Robert Fine, Michael Heinrich Harry Pitts and Matt Bolton, authors of the book Corbynism: A Critical Approach, published in September 2018, talked with Martin Thomas from Solidarity. A review of the book can be found here S: Tell us first how you came to be interested in this sort of thing, and writing this sort of book. P: I′ve always been politically active, but not particularly consistently. I first became politically aware in opposition to the Iraq war when I was 15. My involvement with the Labour Party started in 2008 in one of Labour's only traditional strongholds...

In defence of Ernest Erber

Russia was ruled by 130,000 landowners. They ruled by means of constant force over 150 million people … And yet we are told that Russia will not be able to be governed by 240,000 members of the Bolshevik Party – governing in the interests of the poor and against the rich. – V.I. Lenin, Will the Bolsheviks Retain State Power?, 1917 In 1948, after he spent a year thinking it over, Ernest Erber submitted an 18,000 word resignation letter to the US Workers Party, a small group of mostly young, mostly Jewish (one early internal bulletin carried the subhead “Out To The Gentiles!”), and mostly...

Georgi Plekhanov

Before the year 2018 reaches its end, the 100th anniversary of the death of Georgi Plekhanov should be noted and remembered. He is sometimes referred to as the “father” of Russian Marxism, and for good reason. Plekhanov was the most important figure in the early Russian Marxist movement, a major theorist and voice in the Second International; and, as a member of the editorial board of Iskra, a collaborator with Lenin in the first years of the twentieth century. Plekhanov and Lenin were to go their separate ways. By the time of the October Revolution in 1917 Plekhanov had moved considerably to...

An ABC of socialist politics: introductory articles

This ABC of socialist politics brings together a list of short texts which can you can print off and read or give to a friend or workmate to read; or read online. Often longer, more in-depth, articles on the topics covered can be found by using the search function or scanning our sitemap.

How to be pro-Palestinian without being “anti-Zionist”

A French translation of this article can be found here. The term “anti-Zionist” was rare in political discourse when real debates with Zionists were a lively part of the broadly-defined left, in the early 20th century. Its use quadrupled in the 1930s, when the Stalinist movement took an overt “anti-Zionist” and antisemitic turn. It multiplied by three again, to twelve times the level of the early 1930s, in the 1970s, when the term “Zionist” had lost meaning in general circulation other than as a catch-all curse-word. So Google Ngram’s statistics show. Studies such as Dave Rich’s The Left’s...

Rayner Lysaght and Sean Matgamna debate "Socialism, Ireland, and permanent revolution"

On 9 November 2018, 7:30 at the London Welsh Centre, 157-163 Grays Inn Rd WC1X 8UE, Rayner Lysaght, author of "The Republic of Ireland" and many other books, debated Sean Matgamna of Workers' Liberty on the perspectives of Irish politics. Solidarity 485 carries interviews with Lysaght and Matgamna outlining the ideas they will debate. Interviews by Martin Thomas: click here for Lysaght, and click here for Matgamna --- Rayner Lysaght: Threading together struggles T: How would you sum up the idea of permanent revolution in a few words? L: The development of the proletarian revolution out of what...

Fighting capital or just a greedy few?

Published at the close of September, Matt Bolton and Frederick Harry Pitts’ Corbynism — A Critical Approach is not always an easy read. Bolton and Pitts go well beyond the argument that Corbyn does not understand antisemitism, does not really like the European Union, is a bit of a populist, and has a history (and present) of hanging out with some dubious characters. Rather, their book attempts to “elucidate the essential characteristics of Corbynism as a political orientation (and) outline and critique the general worldview which motivates such a platform”. It seeks to do so on the basis of...

Samir Amin, 1931-2018

Samir Amin, who died this year at the age of 87, was one of the foremost writers of the “dependency theory” which, in the 1960s and 70s came, many left-wing activists came to think was “the Marxist theory of imperialism”. Many even thought it was “Lenin’s theory”, although the whole structure of the theory was different. Amin, of Egyptian-French background, lived most of his life in France, and was in the French Communist Party then associated with Maoists. The basic idea of “dependency theory” was that ex-colonial countries were underdeveloped because of a drain of surplus to the richer...

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