The “Green New Deal”

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2019 - 12:57

Marxist ecologist John Bellamy Foster has commented on the “Green New Deal” proposed notably by the new Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez.

I am impressed by some aspects of it. She calls for mass mobilisation, which is indeed necessary. She also calls for innovative forms of financing, such as setting up a network of public banks to finance it directly, modelled after the New Deal, and through much higher marginal tax brackets on the rich and corporations, going back to what we once had in the United States. The revenues could be used to finance a massive shift toward solar and wind

Dry January not so good

Published on: Wed, 13/02/2019 - 11:36

Stephen Wood

I’m sympathetic to some of the points made by Martin Thomas in “Health-anuary” (Solidarity 494) but I think the article attempts to draw conclusions with little evidence.

I took part in Dry January. I’m pleased I did. But for improving health, a general reduction in drinking is more likely required rather than a month of abstinence. I am not a problem drinker, but like many British people an occasional binge drinker. The facts for problem drinking are stark; 30% of all alcohol is consumed by just 4.4% of the population. Dry January is neither desirable for nor targeted at those people, who

Crisis and Sequels out in paperback

Published on: Wed, 23/01/2019 - 10:58

Janet Burstall

Martin Thomas outlines the guide he followed in compiling Crisis and Sequels, a book on the 2007-8 crash and its aftermath now out in paperback edition.

“Analysis must proceed not from a blurred outline of a ‘typical’ capitalist economy, but from the complex reality of a world economy with its own structure and within it national economies substantially different in pattern both from the global structure and from each other”.

Crisis and Sequels is built round 32 interviews with or contributions by 15 economists, organised into five chronological sections as the 2007­8 crash and its sequels

Rosa Luxemburg and imperialism

Published on: Wed, 23/01/2019 - 10:46

Martin Thomas

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

Published on: Sat, 29/12/2018 - 21:04

Martin Thomas

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"

Published on: Wed, 19/12/2018 - 11:20

Interview with Harry Pitts and Matt Bolton

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

In defence of Ernest Erber

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

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

Georgi Plekhanov

Published on: Fri, 23/11/2018 - 12:00

John Cunningham

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

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

Published on: Wed, 31/10/2018 - 11:17

Martin Thomas

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

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