Editor's Choice

The man who made Spartacus: The life and work of Stanley Kubrick

Blatantly recognisable, but with a style which never overwhelms the content, his films are individual, personal - yet awesome in scale and power. So protective was he of his artistic vision that he lived for most of his career in self-imposed exile from the Hollywood system in Britain, even reconstructing Vietnam here because he didn't like flying. He was idiosyncratic, maverick, reportedly very difficult and perfectionist; but that is frequently the mark of an artistic genius.

SWP/IS: history and myth

Eric Hobsbawm somewhere discusses one of the oddest conundrums in labour historiography, one paralleled now in the historiography of IS/SWP: the 20th century reputation of the Fabian Society as far-sighted pioneers of independent labour representation - the gap between what was and what is afterwards widely accepted as having been.

Emile Zola, Socialism and Anti-Semitism

Émile Zola was one of the foremost novelists of late 19th century France. He was also sympathetic to socialism and a hero in the “Dreyfus Affair” of the 1890s. This interview with him by Max Beer appeared in the Social Democrat (magazine of the Social Democratic Federation, then the main Marxist group in Britain) of October 1902. Beer was the British correspondent of the German socialist paper Vorwärts and author of a History of British Socialism.

Ayn Rand's 'The Fountain Head' (1949): Fascist Theme in a Miserable Film

The Fountain Head deserves a review in spite of the fact that it is as blooming a stinkeroo as ever came out of a Hollywood studio. But since this dim view of its merits as a film has no necessary connection with the reason it invites discussion, we skip the bill of particulars. If you blunder into it looking for an evening's entertainment, let the consequences be on your own head.

How the left became “Little Englanders”

In a 1975 referendum on UK’s membership of the European Economic Community (Common Market), forerunner of the European Union, most of the left argued for UK withdrawal. That was the culmination of a step-by-step opportunist collapse into left-nationalism since the 1960s, when all the would-be Trotskyist groups said the answer to limited European capitalist integration was European workers’ unity, not national withdrawal. This article, taken from Permanent Revolution No. 3*, describes the evolution.

Guevara is not our hero

Che Guevara is lionised as a revolutionary icon by wide sections of the global left. Even those claiming some Trotskyist heritage, from the various “Fourth Internationals” to the British SWP, publish mostly uncritical appreciations of the individual and his politics. Yet Guevara was never a working class socialist nor even a revolutionary democrat. He helped overthrow the hated dictator Batista in Cuba, but only to replace it with a Stalinist regime.

The workers or 'the people'?

Why should Marxists want to narrow our appeal to 'the workers', enrolling people from other classes only to the extent that they rally behind the working class? Why not seek a broader unity of 'ordinary people'?

Originally published in Workers' Liberty magazine, January 2001. By Chris Reynolds

The pivot of Marx's critique of political economy is the concept of abstract labour, or universal social labour - labour as the expenditure under standard conditions of a quotient of average labour-power. Abstract labour, according to Marx, is the substance of value.

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