Strategy & polemics

1337B7A5 0CF0 4336 97A1 B6CFEABB3A18One often hears of this caricature of Marxism as a dry, narrow doctrine, which reduces all human thought to economics and the development of the productive forces. Yet even today there are people who like to call themselves Marxists who defend, not the genuine ideas of Marx and Engels in all their richness, breadth and profundity, but the very same “economist” caricature of the bourgeois critics of Marxism. This is not Marxism at all but, to use Hegel’s expression, “die leblosen Knochen eines Skeletts” (the lifeless bones of a skeleton), on which Lenin commented: “What is necessary is not leblose Knochen, but living life.”...

The advanced workers and youth have a thirst for ideas and theory. They want to understand what is happening in society. They are not attracted by tendencies that merely tell them what they already know: that capitalism is in crisis, that there is unemployment, that they live in bad houses, earn low wages and so on. Serious people want to know why things are as they are, what happened in Russia, what Marxism is, and other questions of a theoretical character. That is why theory is not an optional extra, as the “practicos” imagine, but an essential tool of the revolutionary struggle.

– From In defence of theory — or Ignorance never yet helped anybody

The crisis of capitalism has given rise to a mood of questioning and mass movements across the world. From the Spanish Indignados, to the Syntagma Square in Greece, and more recently the Nuit Debout in France, youth are starting to take action and challenge the capitalist system. As part of this general mood, recent years have also seen a number of spontaneous movements erupt against the multiple forms of oppression that different layers of the working class experience under capitalism.

In this talk from a recent Socialist Appeal day school, Alan Woods (editor of In Defence of Marxism) explores Trotsky's theory of the permanent revolution and how it has been vindicated throughout history - both in the positive sense, by the Russian Revolution, and in the negative, by the Chinese Revolution of 1925-27.

Today, we find ourselves in the midst of one of the deepest crises capitalism has ever faced. While the 99% are being asked to pay for the crisis, the 1% are amassing wealth at an ever accelerating pace. The saturating level of scandal and corruption in the establishment is alienating millions from traditional politics. All of this is causing a deep questioning of capitalist society. Many are looking for an alternative to the system that we have, and a growing number are looking towards revolutionary socialism for the answer.

The past two decades have witnessed a barrage of propaganda against Marxism and its revolutionary heritage. Since the collapse of Stalinism – not socialism, but a monstrously deformed caricature of Marxism - from one front to another the mainstream media, universities, professors and historians have gone on the offensive to discredit Marxism. We examine here the most common myths about Marxism and socialism.

José Carlos Mariátegui was founder and general secretary of the Peruvian Socialist Party, set up in 1928, that later became the Communist Party. There is much mythology on the left about him. Here José Pereira puts the record straight explaining how this great Latin American Marxist, in spite of some errors, had reached the same general conclusions as Lenin and Trotsky on the fundamental questions facing the revolution in colonial countries. (First published in America Socialista, No. 6, August 2012)

At the recent Marxist summer school in London, Alan Woods - author of "Bolshevism: the road to revolution" - explores the ideas of Bolshevism and discusses the vital role of Lenin and Trotsky in the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Fred Weston, Editor of the 'In Defence of Marxism' website, talks about Karl Marx and the attempt of building the first international Workers' Party. This talk about the early days of the ideas of scientific Socialism highlights invaluable lessons for revolutionaries today.

At the recent annual  Marxist Winter School, this year hosted by the UCLU Marxist Society in London, the agenda was was dedicated to the 130th anniversary of Karl Marx’s death, with sessions covering the important contributions that Marx made towards the worlds of politics, economics, history, and philosophy. Here we provide the video of the session, led by Jorge Martin about the key question of building a Marxist international organisation.

How many times have we heard university professors, economists, politicians and journalists declaring that Marx was wrong and that although he had some insights in to the workings of capitalism he failed to see the dynamism of the capitalist system and its ability to recover from crises and move ever forward? However, in the past few years, as the system has been sinking into its most serious crisis in history, every now and then we hear commentators pointing out that Marx was right. The latest is an article published by Time magazine yesterday, called Marx’s Revenge: How Class

...

At the recent annual Marxist Winter School, this year hosted by the UCLU Marxist Society in London, the agenda was was dedicated to the 130th anniversary of Karl Marx’s death, with sessions covering the important contributions that Marx made towards the worlds of politics, economics, history, and philosophy. Here we provide the videos of the opening and closing sessions, by Alan Woods, regaring the The Relevance of Marxism Today and the tasks of the Marxists.

Alex Grant, editor of the Canadian Marxist journal Fighback, speaks to a class of 150 students at Toronto's York University about the topic "Is Marxism still relevant?". The video was recorded in the autumn of 2012.

News of the death of Eric Hobsbawm on 1st October was marked by an unprecedented outburst of flattery and adulation in the bourgeois media. For the past few weeks, the flood of obsequious obituaries exceeded all bounds. He was described variously as “the most widely read, influential and respected British intellectual and historian from the Marxist tradition”; “Britain's most distinguished Marxist historian”, and even “one of the leading historians of the 20th century”.

Fred Weston, editor of the 'In Defence of Marxism', talking at the ULU Marxist Summer School on 'What will Socialism look like?'

 

With the greatest crisis of capitalism since the Great Depression, a key question is what is the alternative to this crisis prone system? With the announcement of the most savage austerity package since the 1920s, which will completely undermine everything that supposed to constitute a civilized society, what is the real alternative? Can the capitalism be patched up and reformed, or do we need a fundamental change in society -- a new socialist society? But what is socialism? Hear Rob Sewell, editor of Socialist Appeal, speak to the students of the ULU Marxist Society in London.

At a time when the Cuban Revolution is facing great dangers, a serious debate is opening up in the ranks of the Cuban Communists. Last week’s Marxist conference organised by the study group "Cuba: Theory and Society" under the auspices of the Instituto de Filosofia de La Habana in November 2010 to discuss Socialism in the XXI Century in the run-up to the forthcoming Party Congress therefore assumes a particular importance. Among the few foreign guests invited to address this event was the editor of Marxist.com, Alan Woods, whose latest book Reformism or Revolution, has attracted a lot of interest in Cuba. We are publishing today the text submitted by comrade Woods to the conference.

Alan Woods speaking on "What is Marxism?" to a packed meeting of students at the University of London at the ULU Marxist Society.

Seventy years since the assassination of Leon Trotsky bourgeois writers and historians are attempting to bury the man again. They are constantly demonizing him and his ideas. That is because they understand that his ideas are not dead, but very alive and have never been so relevant as they are today, in this period of crisis of capitalism.

An avalanche of books has recently been published to discredit Lenin, Trotsky and the Russian Revolution. First and foremost of these writers is Professor Robert Service. The aim of his latest book on Trotsky is to prove that Bolshevism leads to Stalinism and totalitarianism. Here Rob Sewell sets the record straight and explains the huge gulf that divided genuine Bolshevism from the monster of Stalinism that was built on the physical destruction of the Bolshevik party.

The publication of the first volume of Ted Grant’s Selected Works is an important step toward making his ideas more widely known to a new generation of Marxists in the United States. In the book's introduction, Workers International League National Secretary John Peterson explains some of the background and context to this first volume, which focuses on the nature and crisis of Stalinism and the USSR. Grant’s writings on the momentous and complex events of the 20th Century are a textbook example of how to apply the ideas and methods of Lenin and Trotsky to the world around us. Order your copy ...

Join us!

Help build the forces of Marxism worldwide!

Join the IMT!