Karl Marx

Pedantic, empty and false on "metabolic rift"

It is unfortunate that Matt Cooper chose the eve of international climate mobilisations for his belated foray into Marxist ecological politics (Solidarity 607, 22 September 2021). His musing is vacuous, error-strewn and offers no alternative. Worse, he disparagingly misrepresents the ecological Marxism that underpins the AWL’s climate politics. His essay serves only as an exercise in stale pedantry. Marx During the mid-1840s, as Marx and Engels developed their materialist conception of history, they were already engaged with ecological questions. They conceived of nature as totality, with...

Marx's Capital volume 1 - 12-session course

Marx's Capital volume 1 - 12-session course Format of each session (which we'll vary slightly from week to week): - Quick outline of the passages of Capital covered, and questions - 15 minutes - Work in "breakout rooms" on discussing selected extracts and comments - 30 minutes - Report-back on that work, and discussion - 20 minutes - Review of discussion points - 25 minutes Running from 3 October 2021 to 3 April 2022, every other Sunday at 18:30-20:00 London time, skipping 28 November and 26 December. Zoomlink: bit.ly/capi-z Eventbrite bit.ly/capi-ebrite The basic reading is Otto RĂĽhle's...

Kohei Saito’s "Marx’s Ecosocialism" — Study course

Marxism and ecosocialism: study course Thursdays 8pm (UTC+1), 15 July 2021 to 5 August 2021 Please register (free) on Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.com/e/karl-marxs-ecosocialism-study-group-on-saitos-book-tickets-162039455373 Zoomlink each Thursday https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81679399952?pwd=WW9lRzF1M1l4VVVsWTZVOFdyTS84dz09M Study guide for the course Powerpoint for session 1 (15 July) Powerpoint for session 2 (22 July) Powerpoint for session 3 (29 July) Powerpoint for session 4 (5 August) Click here for review of Saito's book

Malm's "Fossil Capital": mired in slurry

Andreas Malm’s writings on climate change have been widely lauded across the left in recent years, including in Solidarity (Zack Muddle, 588, 14 April 2021). In my view, Malm is a charlatan, a pretentious poseur, who sows confusion on Marxism and climate change politics. This became clear with his book Fossil Capital (2016) and has worsened subsequently. Fossil Capital Britain was the first industrial capitalist state. Climate scientists estimate that Britain accounted for 80% of global emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion in 1825 and 62% in 1850. Therefore accelerating fossil fuel use...

Hegelian usages in Marx's Grundrisse

In an 1873 afterword to an edition of Capital volume 1, Marx wrote: "The mystifying side of Hegelian dialectic I criticised nearly thirty years ago, at a time when it was still the fashion..."

Was Stalinism the new barbarism?

Published in Workers' Liberty Series 1 No. 66 January 2001. 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...

Stalinism in theory and history

Published in Workers' Liberty Series 1 No. 62 March 2000 In theories of Stalinism, as Haberkern comments in 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 his most ardent followers. Many...

The dynamics of bureaucratism

Left Oppositionists in Siberian exile, late 1920s Published in Workers Liberty Series 1 No.59/60 December 1999 / January 2000 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...

Penetrating but unsound

Statue of Stalin toppled in the 1956 Hungarian revolution Published in Workers Liberty Series 1 No. 53 February 1999 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...

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