Karl Marx

In praise of Mega2

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

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

Marx's telescope

Published on: Tue, 14/01/2020 - 17:59
Author

Martin Thomas

The working class is the revolutionary class. It is the gravedigger of capitalism and the architect of socialism. Everyone who has even heard of Karl Marx knows that those were central ideas. But Marx himself, in old age, gave an eager suggestion from a young co-thinker about producing an edition of his collected works the wry response: “They would first have to be written”. Marx wrote a lot, but only a fraction of what he planned to write, and that fraction selected by haphazard circumstances as well as by deliberation. Thus, the Communist Manifesto opens with the sentence: “The history of

Marx, ecology, and science

Published on: Wed, 30/10/2019 - 09:25
Author

Paul Hampton

Marx’s theory of metabolism is the starting point for explaining how capitalism generates ecological problems through the insatiable drive for capital accumulation.

Kohei Saito’s book, Karl Marx’s Ecosocialism: Capital, Nature, and the Unfinished Critique of Political Economy (2017), is the most extensive study to date of the roots of Marx’s ecology.

Saito exhaustively combs through Marx’s published works, as well as his excerpt notebooks. The book draws out the dialogue between Marx and natural scientists of his epoch. It successfully explains the influence of natural science on Marx, but

Marx and the environment

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

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
Author

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

Putin, liberalism, and the left

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2019 - 12:50
Author

Colin Foster

In September 1847, before they had even written the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels declared:

“If a certain section of German socialists has continually blustered against the liberal bourgeoisie, and has done so, in a manner which has benefited nobody but the German governments... then the Communists have nothing in common with [them]”.

Marx and Engels rarely quoted their own earlier writings. They considered that article so important that they cited it again in 1865. Breaking off collaboration with a socialist newspaper in Germany (launched in the tradition of Ferdinand

Robert Fine and the critique of antisemitism

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2019 - 11:16
Author

Dan Davison

Robert Fine, who died on 9 June 2018, was a socialist writer unafraid to stand up to much of the left’s received wisdom on the questions of Israel, Palestine, and antisemitism.

He opposed the “absolute anti-Zionist” standpoint that one should unreservedly object to (a) Israel’s very existence, rather than the oppressive practices of the Israeli state, and (b) any feelings of Jewish communal or national identification with Israel, even when such feelings are accompanied with harsh condemnation of the Israeli government or genuine horror at the Palestinians’ suffering.

Fine opposed the blanket

A new humanist politics?

Published on: Wed, 05/06/2019 - 11:02
Author

Matt Kinsella

Paul Mason’s latest book, Clear Bright Future, is written as a defence of humanism and human-centred politics, against the resurgent threat of the far-right, from Trump to Bolsonaro, Le Pen to Salvini. The title is a reference to Leon Trotsky’s testament. Mason entreats us to fight “all evil, oppression, and violence”, and shares Trotsky’s optimism for the future.

Mason draws a convincing link from the financial crash in 2007-08 to Trump’s election. Mason emphasises how the monopolisation of information (think Google and Facebook) has led to systems outside our control, for example, of online

Letters

Published on: Wed, 10/04/2019 - 08:20

As Aristotle is one of the “giants” on whose shoulders Marx stands, we should take an interest in issues of distortion or vulgarisation of Aristotle’s key ideas. It might be that Martin Thomas’s comments on Aristotle (Solidarity 499) carry a “trace” of this process.

One thing Marx and Aristotle certainly have in common is their having been subject to sustained vulgarisation and distortion. The vulgarisation of Marx is a part of our inheritance and that demands we are scrupulous and forensic in our approach to classic texts (comrades might find useful the work of Michael Heinrich on the

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