Alan Woods

This article by Alan Woods was originally written in 1989 to commemorate 200 years of the Great French Revolution, with a new introduction by the author. Alan Woods explains the internal dynamics of the revolution and above all the role played by the masses.

In this in depth article Alan Woods looks at the specific historical role of Napoleon Bonaparte. He looks into the characteristics of this man that fitted the needs of the reactionary bourgeoisie as it attempted to consolidate its grip on French society and sweep to one side the most revolutionary elements who had played a key role in guaranteeing the victory of the revolution.

This article by Alan Woods looks at how the French Revolution affected British poets. It struck Britain like a thunderbolt affecting all layers of society and this was reflected in its artists and writers.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is considered by many as the greatest musician of all time. He was revolutionary in more senses than one. One of his main achievements was in the field of opera. Before Mozart, opera was seen as an art form exclusively for the upper classes. This was true not only of those who went to see it, but also of its dramatis personae - the characters who were shown on the stage, and especially the protagonists. With The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro in its original Italian title), all this changes. This is the story of a servant who stands up to his boss and outwits his master.

Yesterday the world’s media was rocked by the surprise news that the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, is seeking arrest warrants for war crimes, against Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, and Yoav Gallant, the Defence Minister.

We publish here a contribution by Alan Woods to the pre-congress debate of the Brazilian Communist Party – Revolutionary Refoundation. The PCB-RR gathers the comrades who were bureaucratically expelled from the PCB in July – August 2023, after they raised a whole number of political differences, including regarding the question of the character of the war in Ukraine. We would like to thank the Provisional Political Committee of the PCB-RR for the opportunity for this exchange of ideas amongst Communists and we wish them success in their congress, which is taking place at the end of the month.

This week marks the 200th anniversary of the public premier of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, one of the most astoundingly brilliant musical compositions in history. Despite being functionally deaf by 1824, Beethoven personally conducted the premiere in Vienna, continuing his wild gesticulations after the final note had faded, amidst rapturous applause. The performance and the piece itself, often called the ‘Marseilles of Humanity’, were a defiant rallying cry for freedom and brotherhood in a period of counterrevolutionary reaction. To mark the occasion, we republish ‘Beethoven: man, composer and revolutionary’ by our editor-in-chief, Alan Woods.

In June, the International Marxist Tendency will be launching a new Revolutionary Communist International, to boldly bear the clean banner of communism on every continent. In this article, Alan Woods explains the historic importance of this step, tracing the rise and fall of previous Internationals and showing the importance of the RCI in the struggle for communism today. Register now for our founding conference!

Last week in Lenin in a Year, we delved into an important text that Lenin wrote amidst the 1905 Revolution: Two Tactics of the Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution. The revolution, however, went down to defeat. In the wake of the counter-revolution, all kinds of pessimism and mysticism swept Russia. These moods even infected layers of the Bolsheviks, reflected in attempts to revise Marxist philosophy. This week we republish Alan Woods’ excellent introduction to Lenin’s 1908 work, Materialism and Empirio-criticism, in which Lenin launched a strident defence of dialectical materialism.

Last Friday, the world was shocked and horrified by reports of an appalling massacre at a packed concert venue in Moscow. According to the latest reports at the time of writing, at least 137 people were killed in this barbaric attack. Men, women and children were slaughtered indiscriminately by a group of gunmen who showed no mercy.

Last week, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak issued a grave message outside 10 Downing Street: “democracy is under attack”! What led him to draw this dramatic conclusion? The people of Rochdale (formerly a safe seat for the British Labour Party), voted overwhelmingly for an anti-imperialist firebrand George Galloway, with a monumental collapse of support both for Sunak’s Tories and for Keir Starmer and his Blairite ilk.

The announcement by the Russian Ministry of Defence that its forces had full control of the Ukrainian town of Avdiivka represents a devastating blow to Ukraine and almost certainly a decisive turning point in the war.

At the end of January, around 100 comrades of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT) from across the globe came together for a leadership meeting that represented a decisive landmark in our history. Below, we publish a full transcript of the opening talk by Alan Woods on the turbulent world situation, and the urgent tasks that this places before communists. On Monday, we look forward to publishing a full report of the meeting, which will include important announcements of interest to revolutionary communists everywhere.

Today, 8 November, marks 400 years since the publication of the first volume of Shakespeare’s collected plays, known as his “First Folio”. Published seven years after his death, the First Folio included 36 of his works – from “The Tempest” to “Macbeth” – many of which had never been published and would otherwise likely have been lost.

If the meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies in India was intended as a show of unity against Russia, it succeeded in producing precisely the opposite result.

When the news of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s demise hit the headlines yesterday, the usual pundits appeared on our television screens with the alacrity of a flock of vultures, anxious to pick over the bones of a dead animal in the African savannah.

21 August marks the anniversary of Leon Trotsky's death, following an attack by a GPU agent, on the orders of Stalin. This article by Alan Woods, commemorating Trotsky, was originally published in the year 2000. We share it today in memory of a revolutionary titan whose work and sacrifices preserved the authentic traditions of Marxism and Bolshevism for future generations.