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Marxist theory

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The crisis of capitalism and the disappearing centre



By William Briggs

June 6, 2022 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The political centre is shrinking. The evidence is there for all to see and it is keeping the ruling class in all countries awake and uneasy.

There is a phenomenon that can be observed across the world. Bourgeois political legitimacy is crumbling. The old verities of a tightly held two-party system of centre left/centre right domination that increasingly merges in ideology and practice is being challenged as never before. People are deserting the traditional parliamentary parties, and what were only recently seen as irrelevant edges, are becoming stronger.

There is another phenomenon that has been emerging over the past few decades and is a causal factor that affects the shrinking of the political centre. There has been an economic squeezing of the middle class. It has shrunk, as its members are increasingly returned to the working class, from whence they came in earlier generations. The crisis in global capitalism has led to a rise in social inequality, the concentration of wealth into fewer hands, the proletarianisation of the developing world, a loss of security and, within the developed economies, a middle class that is becoming smaller and more threatened.

From Kautsky and the Bolsheviks, to Hegel and Marx: Dialectics, the triad and triplicity

By Jason Devine

September 21, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  In popular discussions or expositions of “dialectical materialism,” the so-called “philosophy” of Marxism, one frequently finds references to the triad of thesis-antithesis-synthesis as an example of the dialectical method. Regardless of the illustrations provided the fact remains that the triad has nothing to do with Marx’s dialectical logic. In fact it is pre-Hegelian. The “core of the dialectic method, both in Hegel and Marx, is not the triad thesis-antithesis-synthesis, which was originated by Kant and then developed by J.G. Fichte.” Still, it is understandable that many people who consider themselves communists, as Marxists, would promote the triad as the dialectical method, when such a view can be found among the founders of the modern international communist movement, the Bolsheviks. After reviewing the latter, this study will then go on to consider the role of the triad, if any, in Hegel and Marx.

Download the PDF here

Decolonization and Communism



By Nodrada 


“We have to give life to Indo-American socialism with our own reality, in our own language.
Here is a mission worthy of a new generation.”
-José Carlos Mariátegui, “Anniversary and Balance,” José Carlos Mariátegui: An Anthology


June 26, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Orinoco Tribune — While the turn towards analyzing ongoing settler-colonialism has finally reached the mainstream of North American political discussions, there is still a lack of popular understanding of the issues involved. Settler-colonialism is, ironically, understood within the framework of the ways of thinking brought by the European ruling classes to the Americas. By extension, the conceptions of decolonization are similarly limited. Although the transition from analyzing psychological or “discursive” decolonization to analyzing literal, concrete colonization has been extremely important, it requires some clarifications.

Identity and liberation: A critical Marxist difference



By Neil Faulkner and Rowan Fortune.

June 19, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Anti-Capitalist Resistance — Depending on how it is defined, postmodernism can vanish into empty catchalls or fail to encompass ideas, philosophers, art styles, and tendencies associated with it. The idea itself is unstable, and often not especially useful. Even just taken in politically relevant forms, associated notions of identity politics, queer theory, intersectionality, and privilege theory are extraordinarily heterogeneous in themselves. This is how we loosely defined it in System Crash (2021):

Postmodernism – a portmanteau of related theories centred on the basic idea that no single over-arching ‘grand narrative’ is capable of explaining the world as a whole – has encouraged a multiplication of ‘discourses’ and ‘identities’ as a means towards self-valuation, self-assertion, and self-empowerment.

Know your enemy: How to defeat capitalism




By Michael A. Lebowitz, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/[1]

“Anyone can succeed”

In a capitalist society, there is always a good explanation for your poverty, your meaningless job (if you have a job), your difficulties and your general unhappiness. You are to blame. It is your failure. After all, look at other people who do succeed. If only you had worked a little harder, studied a little more, made those sacrifices.

The weapon of criticism cannot replace the criticism of the weapon: What knowledge do we need for revolution against capitalism



By Raju J DasLinks International Journal of Socialist Renewal 

Abstract: Ideas are needed for social change. But what kind of ideas is the question. The capitalist system is destroying lives and livelihood. It is destroying the environment. It cannot be reformed. It must go. It will not go without a revolution. If we do not see ‘signs’ of a revolution, that is not because we do not know how the capitalist economic structure works and produces its adverse effects on the people and the environment. We, more or less, have this knowledge that explains and critiques the system. Explanatory critique of the system is not enough. What we lack is knowledge about the obstacles to revolution. Among other things, we need to know what is stopping a united revolutionary struggle against the system. This short paper, written as a birthday gift to Karl Marx, aims to address this matter.

Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution and the legacy of Russian Marxism: A dissent to Michael Löwy’s piece



By Seiya Morita

March 5, 2021  — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Michael Löwy's article "Leon Trotsky, prophet of the October Revolution" in Imprecor[1], the French-language journal of the Fourth International, is an excellent piece overall. However, I would like to point out that his statement about Russian Marxism includes a couple of misunderstandings.

Class, gender, race & colonialism: the ‘intersectionality’ of Marx



By Kevin B. Anderson

March 5, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from MROnline — It is clear today that the emancipation of labour from capitalist alienation and exploitation is a task that still confronts us. Marx’s concept of the worker is not limited to European white males, but includes Irish and Black super-exploited and therefore doubly revolutionary workers, as well as women of all races and nations. But, his research and his concept of revolution go further, incorporating a wide range of agrarian non-capitalist societies of his time, from India to Russia and from Algeria to the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, often emphasising their gender relations. In his last, still partially unpublished writings, he turns his gaze Eastward and Southward. In these regions outside Western Europe, he finds important revolutionary possibilities among peasants and their ancient communistic social structures, even as these are being undermined by their formal subsumption under the rule of capital. In his last published text, he envisions an alliance between these non-working-class strata and the Western European working class.

Evald Vasilyevich Ilyenkov: A Marxist philosopher who confronted the Stalinist bureaucratic system



Finding Ilyenkov: How a Soviet Philosopher Who Stood Up for Dialectics Continues to Inspire
By Corinna Lotz
Lupus Books: London, 2019.
64 pp. £5. ISBN: 978-1-916031-81-4.

Reviewed by Jason Devine 

January 12, 2021 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Evald Vasilyevich Ilyenkov tragically took his own life in 1979, but he has continued to live on through a handful of published writings and websites dedicated to presenting his ideas and work. Still, his name is not broadly known in the global Marxist movement outside a relatively small circle of academics and interested activists. Indeed, when the question of dialectics is broached, the common names referred to, beyond Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, are Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and even Leon Trotsky. Therefore, the publication of Corinna Lotz’s booklet is most heartening. It serves to both publicise Ilyenkov and broaden the discussion on dialectics.

Four main components of Marxism



By Raju J Das 

November 20, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In a recent interview given to Jacobin, David Harvey (2019) says this about Marxism: “I still don’t know what it means”.It is difficult to exactly know how to understand this cryptic statement from one of the world’s most well-known Marxists. But this is not an unusual view. Many “Marxists” are “shy” to define their Marxism. It is also interesting that while there are numerous academic journals (e.g. Science & SocietyHistorical Materialism) that claim to be Marxist, they do not explicitly define their Marxism. When they say they are open to all varieties — forms — of Marxism, the question is: forms or varieties of what? There has to be content for it to have many forms. And to the extent that it is possible to know what someone or some entity (e.g. journal or group) means by Marxism, this Marxism often has little to do with the Marxism that was founded by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the 19th century, and continued by Vladimir Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky and their followers in the 20th century.

An anti-colonialist turn in Marx?: Questions for Thierry Drapeau



By Seiya Morita 

September 24, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  "The Roots of Karl Marx's Anti-Colonialism"[1] by Thierry Drapeau in Jacobin examines the influence of the Chartist Leftist Ernest Jones on the development of Marx's anti-colonialist thinking in the 1850s. Drapeau’s analysis is enlightening, but raises some questions.

Socialist Alliance launches PDFs for study & education



September 20, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In collaboration with Resistance Books, Socialist Alliance has set up a new page on its website called PDFs for study & education

This page lists all the Resistance Books titles (including some now out of print) plus a number of items which previously only existed as photocopied pamphlets.

The dialectics of the historical and logical in Hegel and Marx



By Jason Devine


May 29, 2020 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  This essay is an exploration of Marx’s dialectical logic, in particular the question of the relationship between the historical and logical. This little-discussed aspect, like much else in Marx, is rooted in Hegel. But just as a tree cannot be reduced to its roots, so Marx’s view of the historical and the logical cannot be reduced to that of Hegel’s. There is a qualitative break between the two, and the logic of both does not coincide. A proper comprehension of them requires that they be grasped in their mutual exclusivity and interconnection. The essence of the following study concerns the question of scientific cognition as pioneered by Hegel and further developed by Marx.


Marx and the Indigenous



By John Bellamy FosterBrett Clark and Hannah Holleman

Marxism: Ten aspects concerning socialism in the 21st century



By Ian Parker

February 13, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from FIIMG — What can we hope for and strive for in a world in which globalised capitalism is rampant and is driving us all to destruction? We have a responsibility to link theory and practice in order to put an end to capitalism once and for all. The century of revolutions, from 1917 to 2017, has provided progressive political narratives and conceptual tools which deepen and extend revolutionary Marxism, and we need to draw on those conceptual tools to bring the Marxist tradition to life again, acting alongside other progressive forces. Now, in this century, Marxism is a theory and practice of emancipatory politics, providing a revolutionary praxis for liberation movements, and our task is to make socialism visible as an alternative, in our forms of struggle and in our vision of another world beyond capital. We can begin to imagine what a future socialist society might look like, albeit with a status of little more than fiction for us now. We need to start here, with where we are and with what we have as existing conditions of life and resources for struggle. I focus on ten aspects of Marxism, showing what it pits itself against and suggesting what kind of world it makes possible for us.

Michael Heinrich: Capital & Crisis – Actuality of Marx’s critique of political economy in the 21st century



Speech given by Michael Heinrich at 12th Subversive festival "Europe on the Edge – Towards New Emancipatory Imagination" Moderated by Stipe Ćurković.

February 13, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal via SkriptaTV — The first volume of Capital appeared more than 150 years ago. However, it didn’t just picture capitalism of 19 th century. Marx didn’t want to present a certain period of capitalist development, he claimed to present the capitalist mode of production in its “ideal average”, i.e. the core of capitalist relations, which are connected with any form of capitalism. I will discuss this claim especially with regard to value, money, crisis and class relations.

Revolutionary theory, academia and Marxist political parties



By Raju J Das


October 20, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — If revolution is necessary, what is necessary for revolution? Many things are necessary. There has to be a numerically large mass of workers who are suffering, who are class conscious and who are engaged in trade union and political struggle. Revolution also needs “a correct revolutionary theory” (Lenin, 1968). And theory — or more broadly, revolutionary intellectual work — has to be consciously produced. Then the question is: what is the role of the academic world in this production, in relation to the world of political revolutionaries (e.g. party-based intellectuals), and what is the connection between intellectual work and political program. This short article provides some basic reflections on this question in a schematic form.


‘Dual Power,’ then... and now?



By Richard Fidler


September 7, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — Global capitalist crisis, impending ecological disaster, and new responses by popular movements in some regions, particularly in Latin America, inspire radical thinking about the need to go “beyond capital.” But how to attain the desired “system change” — today, an ecosocialist regime in place of capitalist rule — continues to be a matter for debate and experimentation.


Gee Whiz! Communism is sure gonna be keen!



Aaron Bastani
Verso, 2019


Reviewed by Ian Angus


July 7, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Climate & Capitalism — When I was ten years old, I read and re-read a stack of decades-old Modern Mechanix magazines that I found in my grandfather’s basement. Throughout the Great Depression, MM regaled its readers with breathless accounts of technological marvels that were going to change the world, very soon.


Issue after issue promised the kind of things that were later parodied in The Jetsons TV show — flying cars, air conditioned cities, weather control, robots and the like.


A new theory of strikes for a new labour movement



By Fahmi Panimbang


July 7, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Progress in Political Economy — The idea of mass strikes within the Marxist tradition has been most powerful against capitalism. With the idea of strikes, Marx wants to bring about an epistemological change in the working class, “so they would know that they are, together, ‘the agent of production’, and that if they stopped, then production stopped.” Different models of mass strikes have been practised and reterritorialised worldwide from its origins in Western Europe. There has been debate on how the working class today responds to the current changes of capitalist development.


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