The crisis of capitalism is accompanied by a crisis of bourgeois thought: philosophy, economics, morality – all are in a state of ferment. In place of the earlier optimism that stated confidently that capitalism had solved all its problems, there is an all-pervading mood of gloom. Not so long ago, Gordon Brown confidently proclaimed “the end of boom and bust”. After the crash of 2008 he was forced to eat his words.

Alan Woods in his new introduction the UK edition of the “Four Marxist Classics” (The Communist Manifesto, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, The State and Revolution, and The Transitional Program in a single volume) looks at the stage the class struggle is passing through internationally, from Greece to Spain, from Egypt to Wisconsin. He stresses that, “In order to succeed it is necessary to take the movement to a higher level. This can only be done by linking it firmly to the movement of the workers in the factories and the trade unions.” The book will soon be available in the UK.

Twenty years ago what was once a mighty Communist Party of nearly two million members, the Italian PCI, was dissolved and was transformed into the Democratic Party of the Left, later to become the Democratic Party. In the process the party split in two, with those opposing this change setting up the Party of Communist Refoundation. This article by Roberto Sarti of the Editorial Board of Falcemartello looks at how this came about and draws some lessons for today’s communists.

Ninety years ago at the Livorno congress of the Italian Socialist Party a decisive mass split took place, which led to the foundation of the Italian Communist Party. The split came in the wake of the defeat of the Occupation of the Factories a few months earlier and marked a clear dividing line between those who understood the need for revolution and those who had adopted a reformist outlook, adapting to the needs of capitalism itself.

This year the workers across the planet will commemorate May Day in one of the most turbulent and traumatic periods in history. The world is ravaged by wars, terrorism, bloodshed, economic catastrophe and unprecedented poverty, misery, disease and destitution. The vast majority of the human race has been plunged into the abyss of deprivation, hunger and agonising suffering.

In January of 1917, a meeting was held in New York City to begin organizing the left-wing of the Socialist Party of America. They wanted to publish a regular Marxist paper, which would be a tool to win over the rank and file of the SP to a Marxist program. There were approximately 20 people at this meeting, one of whom was Leon Trotsky. Trotsky was new to New York and the USA. Soon after the meeting, he would leave the U.S. and go back to Russia and play the role of co-leader of the first successful workers’ revolution, while the SP left-wing would go forward and eventually become the Communist Party.

As part of our ongoing series on the early Left in the United States, we turn next to the Socialist Labor Party and its central figure, Daniel De Leon. Given the continued influence of De Leon and his ideas on some people on the Left, our aim is to draw a balanced appraisal. With the benefit of hindsight, we examine the rise and fall of the SLP as a relevant force in the socialist and workers' movement in order to draw the lessons for today.

On Saturday, March 27, Kenny McGuigan died after six years of fighting Motor Neurone Disease. Kenny was a class fighter, a Marxist and a leading Scottish member of the International Marxist Tendency. We send our deepest condolences to Kate, Paula, Laura, Cara, and all the family, and will not forget our comrade as we continue the struggle he dedicated so much time and energy to.

On January 27th, 2010, the working class and the oppressed of the United States lost one of our greatest historians. For many of us on the left, our introduction to political life was reading Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, which presents a comprehensive history of this country from the “bottom-up.” Zinn made it his life goal to speak for those whose voices had been silenced in the traditional telling of this nation’s history, and to make this history as accessible as possible, so that it did not remain isolated in the ghetto of academia, but was taught in high schools and colleges across the US.

On Thursday October 24th 1929 the great New York stock exchange panic began. 12,894,650 shares changed hands, many at fire sale prices. The following Black Tuesday October 29th Wall Street began its long meltdown. The Wall Street crash divides two eras: the jaunty ‘jazz age’ of the 1920s and the 1930s – the decade of depression.

On August 21, 1940 the great revolutionary fighter, theoretician, and martyr, Leon Trotsky, died of the wounds inflicted in a brutal attack by a Stalinist agent. To mark the anniversary of the assassination of Trotsky we are publishing a transcript of a speech given by Esteban Volkov, Trotsky's grandson, to a school in Barcelona at the end of July 2003.

Marx has been declared dead so many times, and yet he keeps coming back again and again, the reason being that his ideas, his theories, are the only ones that can explain the present crisis of capitalism. Here a Nigerian Marxist gives his views on the relevance of Marx’s ideas today.

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