Battle of Ideas

Marxism in the drunk tank

Michael Heinrich's "Introduction to the three volumes of Karl Marx's Capital" is also an introduction to the "Neue Marx-Lektüre" (new reading of Marx) school of thought of which Heinrich is part.

It does many things, in both its jobs, well. It is crisply-written. In discussing ideas from Marx, it refers to today's capitalism, without being swamped by today's empirical details.

Review: "Beyond Apartheid" by Robert Fine with Dennis Davis

One of the numerous commendable causes to which the late Robert Fine committed many years of his life was anti-apartheid activism. Accordingly, our series of book reviews to commemorate Fine continues with Beyond Apartheid: Labour and Liberation in South Africa (Pluto Press 1990). Fine embarked on this project in collaboration with Dennis Davis during the final years of apartheid. Although both are credited as authors, Fine wrote the text itself, whilst Davis helped shape the main contours and ideas of the project, and commented on the drafts.

"We belong to history": the end of coal and the miners

In the summer of 2012 a small group of ex-miners and labour movement activists met in a pub in Sheffield. We had just heard of the Spanish miners’ strike against the attempts by the right-wing government of Manuel Rajoy to withdraw subsidies to the mining industry and thereby, in effect, close it down.

A ‘fact-finding’ trip to Spain then followed and on returning to the UK a Spanish Miners Solidarity Committee was formed, raising 28,000 Euro in something like six weeks – money that went to support the families of the strikers. After which time the miners called off the strike.

Antinomies of the concept of hegemony

Hegemony is a primary concept for understanding global politics today. Principally it expresses the hierarchy of states under US leadership, but hegemony has deeper meanings associated with the ways ruling classes maintain their rule. For socialists, hegemony also encapsulates working class leadership in the struggles of other oppressed layers, along with Marxist leadership of the labour movement. Antonio Gramsci used hegemony in a rich variety of contexts in his important contributions to Marxist thinking.

A backlash book. Or three books?

Bettina Rohl’s “The RAF (Red Army Fraction) Loves You – The German Federal Republic in the Intoxication of 68 – A Family at the Centre of the Movement” is several books for the price of one.

Rohl’s mother, Ulrike Meinhof, was one of the leaders of the early 1970s urban-terrorist RAF, otherwise known as the Baader-Meinhof Group (which Rohl insists on calling the Baader-Meinhof Gang, to underline what she sees as its essentially apolitical and criminal character).

How Marx transcended "the rule of law"

With the passing of Robert Fine on 9 June 2018, the British left lost a truly exceptional figure. A respected sociologist at the University of Warwick, Fine was a long-time sympathiser of Workers’ Liberty. Though he was less involved in frontline activism towards the end of his life, he never lost his commitment to working-class struggle. In short, Fine never became a stereotypical “Marxist academic”.

The development of antisemitism in Hungary

For part two click here

Bibó was not a Marxist but a member of the National Peasant Party (NPP) — a party of radical reformists who adhered to a political position which was loosely described as “the third road” (or “third way”): neither Communist (i.e. Stalinist) or capitalist.

It was, in effect, left-reformist and probably closer to the politics of Bennism (but with an agrarian orientation) than anything else to which it could be compared in the UK today.

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