Friedrich Engels

"The most learned man in Europe"

The young Friedrich Engels, born 200 years ago on 28 November 1820, was a troublesome youth for his parents. He persisted in arguing for the rights of the poor, attending meetings of the radical Young Hegelians and contributing to a journal based in the Rhineland edited by an obvious troublemaker called Karl Marx. In 1842 he met Marx for the first time. A deep lifetime friendship would soon evolve. In the same year his exasperated father packed him off to England, to work in the family firm of Ermen and Engels in Manchester, at that time the industrial heart of Victorian Britain. A dose of...

Video: What is the state?

"What is the state?" an introduction by Matt Cooper. This is part of "The ABCs of Marxism" series of meetings, and also the first in "The state, crime, prisons and the police" series of meetings (part two in the latter series here). Upcoming meetings in both series and beyond can be found here. Video: .ytcontainer { position: relative; width: 100%; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.25%; } .ytvideo { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Watch the playlist of introductory speeches from the ABCs of Marxism (some recorded only) by clicking in the top right of the video...

In praise of Mega2

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

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

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?

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

“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

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

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...

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