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By Doug Greene
February 23, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice with the author's permission — Marxist theory is not the same thing as the popularization of socialist or communist ideas but is (at its best) an open-ended, creative, and continually developing theoretical framework for understanding and changing the world. As Lenin put it, "without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement." However, in order for Marxist theory to fulfil its goal, ways must be found to popularize it for millions so they can understand and apply it.
By Cat Moir
“After one has enjoyed the first taste of Marxist criticism, one will never again be able to stand ideological hogwash.” – Ernst Bloch, Spirit of Utopia, 1918
January 30, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Red Wedge with the author's permission — The relationship between art and society has always been a central question for artists, thinkers and activists on the Left. In the twentieth century, it was commonplace to believe that art has the power to change the world. It was this conviction that motivated Georg Lukács to defend the literary realism of writers like Thomas Mann over the stylistic innovations of a James Joyce. For Lukács (1977: 33), literature was “a particular form by means of which objective reality is reflected,” and as such it was “of crucial importance for it to grasp that reality as it truly is.” By displaying social reality in all its contradictory complexity, Lukács believed, art could serve the interests of class struggle and social emancipation.
Michael Lebowitz: If you don’t understand the second product, you understand nothing about Marx's Capital
Presentation by Michael A. Lebowitz
January 29, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The following talk was given at the International conference "150 years Karl Marx’s Capital - Reflections for the 21st century" held in Athens, Greece on January 14-15, 2017. Organised by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - Athens Office in cooperation with Theseis, the conference discussed the actuality of Marx’s theoretical system of the critique of political economy 150 years on from the publication of Capital Volume I.
By Jason Devine
January 11, 2017 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– Marxism was born through a critical appropriation of Hegel’s method and a radical break with the philosophy of Young Hegelianism. With this, Marx declared that philosophy was over. As he wrote to Ferdinand Lassalle in regards to the Hegelian dialectic, “This dialectic is, to be sure, the ultimate word in philosophy and hence there is all the more need to divest it of the mystical aura given it by Hegel.” Even more explicitly, Engels wrote in an early introduction to his Anti-Dühring: “The Hegelian system was the last and consummate form of philosophy, in so far as the latter is presented as a special science superior to every other. All philosophy collapsed with this system.” Hence, any attempts to revive philosophy i.e. a specific form of ideology, could only be a step backwards from the advance made by Marx and Engels, could only ever be a reactionary project. If carried out within Marxism it can only mean a reversion back to pre-Marxist times, to pre-scientific views in the study of society. Dialectical materialism as the philosophy of Marxism is exactly such a reactionary turn. In fact, dialectical materialism, the ruling philosophy in the USSR, a philosophy which, in whole or in part, countless Marxist-Leninist parties, groups, and sects claim adherence to today, was essentially the product of Georgi Plekhanov. However, Plekhanov’s philosophy of dialectical materialism was not and is not synonymous with Marx’s method, with scientific socialism. Rather, the former can be more correctly described as neo-Young Hegelian.
By Michael A. Lebowitz
October 11, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Monthly Review — Often the best way to begin to understand something is to consider what it is not. Socialism for the twenty-first century is not a society in which people sell their ability to work and are directed from above by others whose goal is profits rather than the satisfaction of human needs. It is not a society where the owners of the means of production benefit by dividing workers and communities in order to drive down wages and intensify work—i.e., gain by increasing exploitation. Socialism for the twenty-first century, in short, is not capitalism.
By Doug Enaa Greene
September 27, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Red Wedge with the author's permission — In the Spring of 1940, as the Nazis conquered France and were the dominant power on the European continent, the exiled German Marxist philosopher Walter Benjamin wrote his final work, Theses on the Philosophy of History. In a moment of political defeat, with fascism triumphant, the parties of the far left lying prostrate and subjugated, Benjamin penned the following words:
By Doug Enaa Greene
September 16, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — With the exception of the Bible, no other work in history has been more praised and denounced, analyzed and criticized, both seriously and superficially, than the Communist Manifesto.
By Jason Devine
September 9, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — As I have extensively argued elsewhere, “dialectical materialism” as the philosophy of Marxism does not exist. Indeed, when Marx listed in his famous letter to Joseph Weydemeyer what he felt and understood to be his scientific contributions, dialectical materialism as a name, concept, and system was conspicuously missing. Further, when Engels spoke at Marx’s graveside he mentioned Marx’s scientific discoveries, but at no point did he mention dialectical materialism as a name, concept, or system. This is no surprise as the phrase “dialectical materialism” was never used by Marx or Engels and hence appears nowhere in their entire oeuvre, either published or unpublished. Indeed, Marx developed a new scientific method, not a system.
By Michael Löwy, translated by Dan La Botz
August 8, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from New Politics — Rosa Luxemburg’s defense of socialist democracy and her critique of the Bolsheviks in her pamphlet The Russian Revolution (1918) are well known. Less well known and often forgotten is her critique of bourgeois democracy, its limits, its contradictions, and its narrow and partial character.
By Doug Enaa Greene
July 28, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — When the names of Russian Marxism are remembered, those of Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky and Nikolai Bukharin figure as leading lights. However, these figures built upon the pioneering work of Georgi Plekhanov. Plekhanov almost single-handedly introduced Marxism into the Russian Empire and popularized it for a generation of socialist militants. However, Plekhanov's Marxism was seriously flawed in a number of ways and he was not up to the challenge of revolutionary politics. It fell to the generation who came after him to carry the struggle forward to victory. Yet Plekhanov's limitations do not take away from his contributions as a pioneer, something always recognized by his Marxist pupils.
[Original in English here.]
국제전략센터/International Strategy Center -- 2016년 5월 24일 – 링크스– 마이클 레보위츠는 사회주의적 대안 구축에서 나타날 수 있는 문제점을 연구하는데 많은 시간을 할애해온 맑스주의의 선도적 인물이다. 레보위츠는 2004년부터 2010년까지 6년간 베네수엘라 까라까스의 미란다 국제 센터(CIM)에서 혁신적 실천방안과 인간 발전을 위한 프로그램 개발 책임자로 일하면서 “21세기 사회주의” 건설에 참여할 기회를 가졌다.
레보위츠는 최근 링크스와 공동 주최로 호주에서 개최된 21세기 사회주의 컨퍼런스에 참석했다. 아래 내용은 컨퍼런스에서 레보위츠가 중심이 되어 논의한 오늘날 라틴 아메리카에서의 신자유주의 반대와 사회주의 대안 전망에 대해 인터뷰한 내용이다.
July 24, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal via Climate & Capitalism -- John Bellamy Foster discusses the theoretical and programmatic challenges that the Anthropocene, a dangerous new epoch in planetary history, poses for socialists in the 21st century.
John Bellamy Foster is editor of Monthly Review and co-author of The Ecological Rift: Capitalism’s War on the Earth. He spoke at the Marxism 2016 conference in London on July 2.
July 22, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A discussion about the origins of the police and their relationship to racism, class and capitalism featuring Dr. Khury Petersen-Smith.
A missed revolutionary opportunity: The Comintern Third Congress discussion on the 1920 Italian factory occupations
Introductory note by Mike Taber and John Riddell
July 12, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Socialist Review -- As the Communist International’s Third Congress convened in Moscow in June–July 1921, the powerful working-class upsurge that had shaken Italy months earlier was fresh in delegates’ minds and posed a backdrop to their debates.
The September 1920 occupation of the factories in Italy is a lesser-known revolutionary experience of the post–World War I years, yet its impact was no less significant. By starkly posing the question of which class should run the economy, the occupations legitimized a new form of proletarian struggle—expressed in part through the tactic of the sit-down strike that was widely utilized during the 1930s. Possessing the potential for working-class victory, the defeat of this movement instead opened the door to the rise to power of Benito Mussolini and Italian fascism.
By Doug Enaa Greene
June 20, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Speaking at the "Socialism in the 21st Century" conference held in Sydney in May 2016, leading Marxist author Michael Lebowitz, who writes and researches the problems and possibilities of building a socialist alternative, presents a paper on what socialism might look like in this century and the differences with 20th century socialism as represented by the developments in the Soviet Union.
The conference was organised by the Socialist Alliance and sponsored by Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal.
By Doug Enaa Greene
Dedicated to my friend Destiney Linker.
June 10, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- If we were to look at most people who have existed throughout history – we can say that they lived in obscurity, dire poverty, possessing no titles or pretensions to greatness. They lived and died in toil. The vast majority of humanity has passed through these conditions. Yet what did these people think about their circumstances and what to do about them?
By Ryne Tipton
June 6, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The North Star -- If we want to understand a Marxist analysis of capitalism, we have to go back to the beginning of human society and civilization.
By Douglas Enaa Greene
June 1, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Rosa Luxemburg once said that Bolshevism is nothing more than the “mechanical transposition of the organizational principles of Blanquism into the mass movement of the socialist working class.” Many leftists, both now and a century ago, share Luxemburg's position that Leninism is elitist and/or Blanquism. Yet all of these judgments are far off the mark. For Lenin, Blanquism was something that the communist movement needed to overcome if they wanted to win a successful socialist revolution. Leninism is not simply Blanquism or Jacobinism adapted to Russian conditions, but the development of a Marxist mode of politics that draws clear revolutionary lessons from the defeat of the Paris Commune. The central operator of the Leninist mode of politics is a revolutionary vanguard party devoted to the emancipation of the oppressed workers and peasants. However, there remains a grain of truth in the accusation that Leninism is Blanquist, since “Blanquism” is a label used by social democrats and revisionists to condemn the revolutionary essence of Marxism
By Eric Blanc
May 25, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from JohnRiddell.wordpress.com -- The question of broad parties has been heatedly debated by socialists in recent years. Many have argued that “Leninism” should be discarded in favor of wider formations such as Syriza, Podemos, the British Labour Party, the Greens, etc. Others have rejected participating in such structures, on the “Leninist” grounds that building independent revolutionary Marxist parties remains the strategic organizational task for socialists.
Intertwined with this debate has been a serious reassessment of “Leninism” itself. Particularly following the publication of Lars Lih’s monumental Lenin Rediscovered, big questions are being asked: Did Lenin break in theory and/or practice with the “orthodox” strategy articulated by Marxist theoretician Karl Kautsky? Were the Bolsheviks, in other words, a “party of a new type”?