Karl Marx

Marx and the environment

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 10:12
Author

Paul Vernadsky

Over the past two decades, John Bellamy Foster and Paul Burkett have made outstanding contributions to the resurgence of Marxist ecological politics.

In particular their emphasis on Marx’s political economy contained in Capital and their careful dissection of other texts, notes and letters have shown how environmental concerns lie at the core of historical materialism. Their latest book, Marx and the Earth (Haymarket 2017) is a robust defence of Marx and Engels on ecology in the face of a range of green critics.

Marxism has a sophisticated view of the relationship between human society and

Was “permanent revolution” the flaw?

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 08:42
Author

Martin Thomas

A discussion of Jacques Texier's book Revolution et democratie chez Marx et Engels

Reformist socialism? Who is there, who could there be, who would hold to such a doctrine today?

As a positive scheme for a society of free and democratic cooperation, rather than as a negative reluctance to see working-class struggle rise too high?

Labour's 2017 manifesto was a refreshing break from New Labour. But it did not propose to replace a society of the rich Few and the hard-up Many by equality. It proposed only to take a little from those Few to alleviate the Many.

And, unlike some reformist-socialist

Putin, liberalism, and the left

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2019 - 12:50
Author

Colin Foster

In September 1847, before they had even written the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels declared:

“If a certain section of German socialists has continually blustered against the liberal bourgeoisie, and has done so, in a manner which has benefited nobody but the German governments... then the Communists have nothing in common with [them]”.

Marx and Engels rarely quoted their own earlier writings. They considered that article so important that they cited it again in 1865. Breaking off collaboration with a socialist newspaper in Germany (launched in the tradition of Ferdinand

Robert Fine and the critique of antisemitism

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2019 - 11:16
Author

Dan Davison

Robert Fine, who died on 9 June 2018, was a socialist writer unafraid to stand up to much of the left’s received wisdom on the questions of Israel, Palestine, and antisemitism.

He opposed the “absolute anti-Zionist” standpoint that one should unreservedly object to (a) Israel’s very existence, rather than the oppressive practices of the Israeli state, and (b) any feelings of Jewish communal or national identification with Israel, even when such feelings are accompanied with harsh condemnation of the Israeli government or genuine horror at the Palestinians’ suffering.

Fine opposed the blanket

A new humanist politics?

Published on: Wed, 05/06/2019 - 11:02
Author

Matt Kinsella

Paul Mason’s latest book, Clear Bright Future, is written as a defence of humanism and human-centred politics, against the resurgent threat of the far-right, from Trump to Bolsonaro, Le Pen to Salvini. The title is a reference to Leon Trotsky’s testament. Mason entreats us to fight “all evil, oppression, and violence”, and shares Trotsky’s optimism for the future.

Mason draws a convincing link from the financial crash in 2007-08 to Trump’s election. Mason emphasises how the monopolisation of information (think Google and Facebook) has led to systems outside our control, for example, of online

Letters

Published on: Wed, 10/04/2019 - 08:20

As Aristotle is one of the “giants” on whose shoulders Marx stands, we should take an interest in issues of distortion or vulgarisation of Aristotle’s key ideas. It might be that Martin Thomas’s comments on Aristotle (Solidarity 499) carry a “trace” of this process.

One thing Marx and Aristotle certainly have in common is their having been subject to sustained vulgarisation and distortion. The vulgarisation of Marx is a part of our inheritance and that demands we are scrupulous and forensic in our approach to classic texts (comrades might find useful the work of Michael Heinrich on the

Letters

Published on: Thu, 07/03/2019 - 08:30

Mike Zubrowski's letter in the last issue of Solidarity makes a strong case for the importance of reading long texts.

I agree with the main thrust of what Mike writes, and would agree with it as a critique of my article if I had actually argued what he claims that I did. But I didn't.

My article argued that "We can not just rely on a text-heavy newspaper any more." I did not write that reading long texts is not important, nor that other media could replace newspapers.

Mike partly acknowledges this by stating that my article 'implied' these things rather than claiming that it actually argued

Marxists and science

Published on: Wed, 06/02/2019 - 12:52
Author

Les Hearn

“Marxism does not provide a ready-made key for making judgements about scientific ideas. It cannot substitute for a detailed knowledge of the appropriate scientific material.”1

Marx and Engels saw themselves applying a scientific method to economics and the dynamics of class societies. Their philosophical approach was derived from that of Hegel who used dialectics, a discussion between opposing points of view, to arrive at truths. Marx and Engels applied Hegel’s methods to the real world, in particular showing that the capitalist mode of production gave rise to a class whose interests lay in

In defence of Ernest Erber

Published on: Wed, 05/12/2018 - 10:35
Author

Alan Johnson

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

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