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Marxist theory

The raw material of exploitation: Harry Braverman's 'Labor and Monopoly Capital'

For more by Doug Enaa Greene.

By Doug Enaa Greene

August 26, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Work sucks. Every day, workers go into jobs they hate, whether in a factory, office or on a checkout line. Workers are made to perform menial and demeaning tasks that have already been outlined for them, down to the smallest details, by management. Their job is so simple that anyone can do it. Ultimately, the worker possesses no control at the workplace.

How that situation came about and what it means for class struggle is the subject of Harry Braverman's classic work, Labor and Monopoly Capital. Braverman's book not only unveils how work is degraded under capital, but remains an important resource for how we understand capitalist society, working-class consciousness, and the class struggle today.

Nicos Poulantzas: State, class and the transition to socialism

Click for more on Nicos Poulantzas and more by Doug Enaa Greene.

By Doug Enaa Greene

August 5, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- We live in an era where too much of the left, both in the USA and abroad, remains stuck to old orthodoxies and failed strategies. Marxism is reduced to holy writ and rote, devoid of any ability to either interpret or change the world.

In order to win, the left desperately needs to break away from past habits and recover the ability to raise questions anew by using Marxist methodology to formulate strategy. In this endeavour, there are a number of thinkers we can profitably learn from; one of whom is Nicos Poulantzas. Despite the limitations and contradictions within Poulantzas' methods, he was not afraid to ask the right questions and to develop new strategies.

To that end, it is worth looking at Poulantzas' work in three areas: the state, class and the transition to socialism.

I. Biography

Michael Lebowitz's 'The Socialist Imperative': 'A must-read for revolutionaries'

The Socialist Imperative: From Gotha to Now
By Michael A. Lebowitz
New York: Monthly Review Press, 2015.
264 pages

Order HERE.

For more by or about Michael Lebowitz, click HERE. For more by Doug Enaa Greene.

Review by Doug Enaa Greene

July 28, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Those who open Michael Lebowitz's new book, The Socialist Imperative, will find something far different and refreshing than the old apologetic Soviet manuals on the smooth workings of a planned economy. What they will discover is a collection of writings inspired by Lebowitz's lifetime of activism and profound solidarity with the oppressed and exploited under capitalism and his revolutionary vision of how to build a socialist alternative.

Doug Greene's Gramsci for communists: the video

For more by Doug Enaa Greene, click HERE.

For more discussion on the ideas of Antonio Gramsci, click HERE.

Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) was a brilliant Marxist theorist and dedicated revolutionary, whose work is still discussed today. Unfortunately, a great deal of this discussion distorts Gramsci's ideas in order to advance a reformist agenda or is confined to academia. Yet Gramsci was a partisan of class struggle and revolution. Communist historian Doug Enaa Greene lead a discussion on Gramsci's ideas dealing with how to build a communist movement that can win.

For the full text of "Gramsci for Communists, see:

To learn more about the Center of Marxist Education, see

Georg Lukacs: Lessons for struggle today

Doug Enaa Greene's lecture on Hungarian Marxist Georg Lukacs (1885-1971) and the lessons we can use for today's struggles. The work of Lukacs, who was one of the preeminent communist philosophers of the last century, offers valuable insight on how revolutionaries understand the nature of capitalism, political organising and strategy. Presented to the Center for Marxist Education.

By Doug Enaa Greene

Gramsci for communists

Graphic from Barbwire.

For more by Doug Enaa Greene, click HERE.

For more discussion on the ideas of Antonio Gramsci, click HERE.

By Doug Enaa Greene

To my mother.

June 22, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The purpose of the Red History Lecture Series since its inception has been to discuss lesser known or neglected socialist and communist figures, movements, and events. So it may be rightfully asked – why discuss Antonio Gramsci?

Gramsci is fairly well known with his work easily available and ideas discussed in universities, countless commentaries and elsewhere. However, there is something potentially worse than obscurity and neglect, and that is to be misunderstood. Unfortunately, that is the fate which has befallen Gramsci.

Marta Harnecker: The origins of capitalist exploitation

For more by or about Marta Harnecker, click HERE.

By Marta Harnecker, translated by María Poblete and Federico Fuentes

April 17, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This text incorporates much of booklet #2 from the original series Cuadernos de Educación Popular (Booklets for Popular Education), which was titled “What is socialism?” and was written by Marta Harnecker in collaboration with Gabriela Uribe. This series was published in Chile during the Popular Unity government, lef by Salvador Allende, and was reprinted in various countries and languages. The text has been revised, some errors have been corrected, and supplementary examples and text boxes have been added, in order to make it easier to comprehend some of the complex ideas it tackles.

In this Booklet for Popular Education we hope to study the fundamental mechanism that explains why, under capitalism, you have a small group of people who possess a lot of wealth and enjoy an easy life, while a significant portion of workers find themselves in a very difficult situation.

Mike Treen: Une critique de la théorie des crises

[English text and video at]

Mike Treen, directeur national du syndicat Unite, explique pourquoi le capitalisme continue à connaître des crises aujourd’hui, et pourquoi ces crises vont se répéter avec une sévérité accrue jusqu’à ce que les travailleurs prennent le pouvoir et imposent une propriété, un contrôle et une planification démocratiques pour répondre aux besoins à la fois de l’humanité et de Mère Nature.

* * *

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Ce qui suit est basé sur les propos de Mike Treen, directeur national du syndicat néozélandais Unite, à la conférence annuelle de l’organisation socialiste Fightback, qui s’est tenue à Wellington, 31 mai – 1er juin 2014, et un séminaire hébergé par Socialist Aotearoa le 12 octobre. Traduit par Gabriel Stollsteiner

Paul Le Blanc: Explorations in plain Marxism: revolutionary theory, practical action

"For many developing intellectually in the English-speaking world during the early 1960s, the radical sociologist C. Wright Mills (on his way to work above) was an incredibly important influence."

For more by Paul Le Blanc, click HERE. For more discussion of Marxist theory, click HERE.

By Paul Le Blanc

January 15, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The ideas of Karl Marx are often put forward as an invaluable resource for those wishing to understand the world in order to change it for the better. Yet various people who speak as Marxists often insist upon divergent ways of understanding even the most basic concepts associated with Marxism – such as capitalism and the working class.

Discussion: How do we rule? Direct and representative democracy and revolutionary power

A meeting of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers and Soldiers Deputies, April 1917.

By Doug Enaa Greene

January 14, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – I want to begin by stating that I am a firm and unapologetic advocate of the necessity of the dictatorship of the proletariat [to replace the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie we presently suffer under]. To deny the necessity of that dictatorship is to leave power in the hands of those who wield it – the exploiting capitalist class. And without the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, you cannot lay the foundations of a society that provides for human needs and allows for the full development of human potential.

Mike Treen: A critique of crisis theory

November 10, 2014 -- Mike Treen, Unite Union national director, discusses why capitaism continues to have crises today and why they will continue with increasing severity until working people take power and impose democratic ownership, control and planning to suit the needs of both humanity and Mother Earth.

November 10, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following is based on talks given by Mike Treen, national director of the New Zealand Unite Union, at the annual conference of the socialist organisation Fightback, held in Wellington, May 31-June 1, 2014, and a seminar hosted by Socialist Aotearoa in Auckland on October 12.

* * *

The National Business Review reported a comment by New Zealand's minister of finance Bill English on August 15 that he had occasionally pointed out in speeches to business audiences that New Zealand has had post World War Two recessions roughly every 10 years: in 1957-58; 1967-68; the mid-1970s; the mid-1980s; 1997-98 and 2007-8. He would observe laconically: “You'd think we would see them coming.”

But of course bourgeois economists, commentators and journalists don't generally see them coming. One problem, however, is that sometimes the Marxist alternative sees them coming a little too often.

Marxism and feminism: Was Marx a ‘class determinist’?

Marx on Gender and the Family: A Critical Study
By Heather A. Brown
Haymarket Books, 2013
232 pp.

Review by Barry Healy

September 1, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For the most part the Marxist movement has a had a troubled relationship with the women’s liberation movement. While some Marxists (such as those organised in Australia’s Socialist Alliance) have no problem with feminism, others have choked on the thought of a rebellious movement that does not fit neatly into their paradigm of a workers-led revolution.

Leninism, No? Paul Le Blanc replies to Ian Birchall

For more by Paul Le Blanc, click HERE. For more discussion of "Leninism", click HERE.

August 6, 2014 -- Socialist Worker (USA) -- Paul Le Blanc is a veteran socialist and author, most recently, of Unfinished Leninism: The Rise and Return of a Revolutionary Doctrine. In response to an article by British socialist Ian Birchall published at the Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century website [published by the socialist group of the same name, abbreviated as RS21], Le Blanc wrote this commentary to contribute to the discussion of "Leninism".

* * *

Ian Birchall has made an important contribution to the ongoing discussion on the international left about the meaning and value of Leninism, which is one of the focal points of my recent collection Unfinished Leninism: The Rise and Return of a Revolutionary Doctrine. Here I would like to make a few comments about what this esteemed comrade has to say.

Entrevista con Steve Ellner: 'La estructura capitalista es tan poderosa que el Estado no puede desligarse de ella por ahora'

Steve Ellner.

[In English at Haga clic aquí para más artículos en español.]

Steve Ellner entrevistado por Evaristo Marcano Marín

11 de abril de 2014 -- Aporrea -- Steve Ellner es un destacado investigador venezolano, Profesor Jubilado de la Universidad de Oriente (UDO), tiene varios libros publicados y una gran cantidad de artículos escritos en revistas venezolanas (CENDES) y de otros países. Recientemente regresó de Australia, donde desarrolló un seminario sobre el acontecer político de América Latina.

* * *

En varios momentos de esta entrevista, pensé y me ubiqué del lado de las explicaciones que nos ofreció Steve en cada una de sus respuestas. Me sentí comprometido con esa idea sobre el Estado que rescata de Nicos Poulantzas, en la cual, deja atrás esa especie de objeto secuestrado por una determinada clase y se concibe como una especie de espejo que recoge y refleja toda la dinámica social. 

Venezuela: ‘Bir ülkenin devrimci bir devleti ve kapitalist bir ekonomisi olabilir mi? – Steve Ellner ile görüşme

Steve Ellner.

[English at]

Professor Evaristo Marcano için Steve Ellner ile görüştü; İngilizceye çeviren Steve Ellner, Türkçeye çeviren Işık Barış Fidaner

22 Nisan 2014′te Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal‘da yayınlandı.

Steve Ellner ile görüşmemin çeşitli zamanlarında, sorularıma karşılık sunduğu açıklamaları benimsedim. En çok benimsediğim şey olan Nicos Poulantzas’ın geliştirdiği devlet fikrinde verili bir sınıfın nesnesi olmanın yanısıra ve bunun ötesinde devlet ulusun toplumsal dinamiğini içine alıp yansıtan bir tür ayna olarak kavranmakta. Bu kavrayışa göre devlet her bir toplumsal kuvveti mobilize etme kapasitelerine uygun olarak büyüyüp değişen bir kuvvetler ilişkisi. Bu tez Venezuela’da gerçekleşmekte olan mevcut süreç bağlamında çok pratik anlamlara gelmekte.

Venezuela: ‘Can a country have a revolutionary state and a capitalist economy?’-- Interview with Steve Ellner

Steve Ellner.

Steve Ellner interviewed by Professor Evaristo Marcano for; translated by Steve Ellner

April 22, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, with permission of the author -- At various moments in the interview with Steve Ellner, I welcomed the explanations that he offered in response to my questions. I most identified with the idea of the state as developed by Nicos Poulantzas in which in addition to, and beyond, being an object of a given class, the state is conceived of as a type of mirror that takes in and reflects the nation’s social dynamic. According to this conception, the state is a relation of forces that grows and changes in accordance with the capacity to mobilise each social force. The thesis makes much practical sense in the context of the current process taking place in Venezuela.

PolyluxMarx: A guide to reading Karl Marx's 'Capital'

April 14, 2014 -- PolyluxMarx -- For several years now, people have been starting to dust off Marx and return to his analysis of society. This is mainly due to the social turmoil in global capitalism, weaknesses in prevailing explanations of economic relationships and the harrowing crises the world has faced since the 1990s.

In particular, a younger generation of readers – untainted by former ideological battles – is starting to read Capital. Whether in universities, educational institutions, unions or in their own living rooms, small groups are discussing Marx’s critique of political economy.

This is exactly what PolyluxMarx aims to support. This website provides a collection of annotated PowerPoint slides that illustrate the central arguments from Capital. We also use concise introductory texts and notes on methodology and learning to make Capital easier to read.

Michael Lebowitz: A path to socialism -- building upon the foundations began by Hugo Chavez

[Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal urges its readers to consider taking out a subscription to Monthly Review, where this article first appeared. For more articles by or about Michael Lebowitz, click HERE.]

By Michael Lebowitz

March 2014 -- Monthly Review -- It is now one year since the unfortunate death of Hugo Chávez on March 5, 2013. Shortly after, the editors of Monthly Review quoted a letter from István Mészáros to John Bellamy Foster which described Chávez as “one of the greatest historical figures of our time” and “a deeply insightful revolutionary intellect” (“Notes from the Editors” in the May 2013 Monthly Review). Whether Chávez will be remembered over time this way, however, depends significantly on whether we build upon the foundations he began.

John Bellamy Foster: Marx and the rift in the universal metabolism of nature

[Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal urges its readers to consider taking out a subscription to Monthly Review, where this article first appeared. Click HERE for more on Marxism and ecology. For more by John Bellamy Foster, click HERE.]

* * *

By John Bellamy Foster

[This article is an expanded and slightly altered version of a keynote address under the same title presented to the Marxism 2013 Conference in Stockholm on October 20, 2013. That address built on ideas introduced in the author’s Rosa Luxemburg Lecture, “The Great Rift,” presented to the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung in Berlin on May 28, 2013.]

Love and revolution

Many will call me an adventurer – and that I am, only one of a different sort – one of those who risks his skin to prove his truths...I have loved you very much, only I haven’t known how to express my affection. I am extremely rigid in my actions, and I think that sometimes you didn’t understand me. It hasn’t been easy to understand me. Nevertheless, please take me at my word today…An abrazo (hug) from your obstinate and prodigal son. -- Che Guevara, March 31,1965

By John Rainford

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