Friedrich Engels

In praise of Mega2

Published on: Wed, 18/03/2020 - 08:52

Paul Hampton

The Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (Mega) is a project to publish a complete critical edition of the publications, manuscripts and correspondence of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The project is still incomplete after almost a century. However as more materials are published, we get a far deeper understanding of the origins and development of Marxism. For anyone interested in working class self-emancipation, the Mega should be an irreplaceable referent.

The Mega was conceived after the Russian revolution. The Bolsheviks wanted to make the theoretical legacy of Marx and Engels available to the

“Heat death” of the cosmos

Published on: Wed, 30/10/2019 - 09:18

Misha Zubrowski

Paul Vernadsky (Solidarity 520) wrote a valuable article on Marx and the environment, and a review of a book on the same topic. I want to pick up on one point.

“Similarly, Engels is sometimes accused of rejecting the second law of thermodynamics in the course of an argument with scientists over the heat death hypothesis. William Thomson (later Lord Kelvin) had supported the latter claim to justify the role of God in the universe. Engels rejected the role of a deity on materialist grounds, while accepting that entropy was a feature of the universe. Latter day scientists agree with Engels:

Marx and the environment

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 10:12

Paul Vernadsky

Over the past two decades, John Bellamy Foster and Paul Burkett have made outstanding contributions to the resurgence of Marxist ecological politics.

In particular their emphasis on Marx’s political economy contained in Capital and their careful dissection of other texts, notes and letters have shown how environmental concerns lie at the core of historical materialism. Their latest book, Marx and the Earth (Haymarket 2017) is a robust defence of Marx and Engels on ecology in the face of a range of green critics.

Marxism has a sophisticated view of the relationship between human society and

Was “permanent revolution” the flaw?

Published on: Wed, 25/09/2019 - 08:42

Martin Thomas

A discussion of Jacques Texier's book Revolution et democratie chez Marx et Engels

Reformist socialism? Who is there, who could there be, who would hold to such a doctrine today?

As a positive scheme for a society of free and democratic cooperation, rather than as a negative reluctance to see working-class struggle rise too high?

Labour's 2017 manifesto was a refreshing break from New Labour. But it did not propose to replace a society of the rich Few and the hard-up Many by equality. It proposed only to take a little from those Few to alleviate the Many.

And, unlike some reformist-socialist

Marxists and science

Published on: Wed, 06/02/2019 - 12:52

Les Hearn

“Marxism does not provide a ready-made key for making judgements about scientific ideas. It cannot substitute for a detailed knowledge of the appropriate scientific material.”1

Marx and Engels saw themselves applying a scientific method to economics and the dynamics of class societies. Their philosophical approach was derived from that of Hegel who used dialectics, a discussion between opposing points of view, to arrive at truths. Marx and Engels applied Hegel’s methods to the real world, in particular showing that the capitalist mode of production gave rise to a class whose interests lay in

Jumbling up History

Published on: Wed, 10/10/2018 - 10:46

Martin Thomas

The letter which this article replies to is here, towards the bottom, entitled "All states are racist endeavours".

Mike Zubrowski (Solidarity 480) is right that to go from saying “all nation states are intrinsically racist” or “all states are racist endeavours” to saying that *Israel*, in particular, is “a racist endeavour”, and therefore should be suppressed (by another state, in fact by a conquering state) is illogical and antisemitic in its implications.

It should also be said that claims that “all nation states are intrinsically racist” or “all states are racist endeavours” are an

The People of the Book

Published on: Wed, 14/02/2018 - 12:04

Martin Thomas

Books have been a great factor in human culture. The Qur’an says: “Do not argue with the People of the Book except only by the best manner, except the unjust among them. Tell them, ‘We believe in what is revealed to us and to you. Our Lord and your Lord is one. We have submitted ourselves to His will’.”

By “People of the Book” it meant principally Jews and Christians. These book-based religions were an intellectual innovation. The book-basis gave Christianity and Islam an expansive power and a cultural breadth that earlier religions had not had. Through books, at least for a minority,

Socialist feminism without the socialism

Published on: Wed, 13/12/2017 - 11:18

Cathy Nugent

The setting up of a socialist feminist network/website should have been worth investigating.

But a look at its contents indicates that the network/website has been set up purely to voice concerns over forthcoming possible amendments to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA), specifically that transgender people will be able to register a change of gender by self-declaration.

The site includes a Q&A on the GRA and promotion of a new campaign Women's Place UK. That campaign's statement says that while it supports transgender rights it believes self-declaration may undermine the integrity of women

Trump’s trade turn is regressive

Published on: Wed, 25/10/2017 - 10:35


“Anyone who thinks [Donald Trump] has dropped his vow to rip up the global trading system has not been paying attention”, wrote Edward Luce in the Financial Times (18 October), after the fourth round of US-Mexican-Canadian talks on Nafta, the North American Free Trade Agreement, closed on 17 October.

The Mexican and Canadian governments were aghast at the US negotiators’ manner, and their push for arbitrary changes which would destabilise the agreement which dates back to 1994. There will now be a lull: a fifth round of talks on 17-21 November, and then another in early 2018. Peter Navarro,

Kautsky and ideas “from outside”

Published on: Wed, 04/10/2017 - 11:35

Colin Waugh

In Chapter 3 of The Russian Revolution: When workers took power, Paul Vernadsky discusses Lenin’s 1901/1902 document What Is To Be Done?, referring among other things to Lars T. Lih’s 2005 book, Lenin Rediscovered.

Later (pp163-169) Paul demolishes Lih’s claim that in 1921 Lenin was still a disciple of Karl Kautsky. In Chapter 3, however, he broadly accepts Lih’s approach to What Is To Be Done?, which is that it’s primarily about urging revolutionaries in Russia to model their activity on methods used by the SPD in Germany. He discusses the 1902 passage by Kautsky which Lenin both paraphrased

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