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Marxist theory

Marxist theories of the state played out in Venezuela

 

 

By Steve Ellner

 

October 15, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Steve Ellner's Blog on Venezuela, Latin America and Beyond — An abridged version of this article was published in Historical Materialism, volume 25, no. 2, 2017, pages 29-62

 

Gracchus Babeuf revisited

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

September 11, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from RS21 — In most English language scholarship on the French Revolution, Gracchus Babeuf (1760-1797) remains a marginal figure. At most, he merits a mention in a few paragraphs, where he is generally portrayed as an eclectic and utopian figure, who led an extremist movement doomed to fail. Sadly that view is shared by too many socialists, who dismiss Babeuf as just a Jacobin elitist with little to teach the present. Thankfully, Ian Birchall’s Spectre of Babeuf provides a welcome corrective to the neglect of Babeuf by giving him the respect he deserves as a participant in the French Revolution and as an original socialist thinker from whom revolutionaries can still learn a great deal.

 

Crisis and Breakdown

 

 

 

“Either the socialist transformation is, as was admitted up to now, the consequence of the internal contradictions of capitalism, and with the growth of capitalism will develop its inner contradictions, resulting inevitably, at some point, in its collapse, (in that case the “means of adaptation” are ineffective and the theory of collapse is correct); or the “means of adaptation” will really stop the collapse of the capitalist system and thereby enable capitalism to maintain itself by suppressing its own contradictions. In that case socialism ceases to be an historic necessity. It then becomes anything you want to call it, but it is no longer the result of the material development of society."

 

Rosa Luxemburg

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

Marxism: The philosophy of praxis

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

To Harrison and Sam.

 

“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.”
-Karl Marx

"Marxism is the theory of the proletarian movement for emancipation."
-V. I. Lenin

 

Jose Carlos Mariategui 87 Years Later

 

 

By Marc Becker

 

June 23, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from TeleSUR English — In 1930, Waldo Frank wrote in the leftist U.S. weekly the Nation that the April 16 death of Jose Carlos Mariategui had plunged “the intelligentsia of all of Hispano-America into sorrow; and nothing could be more eloquent of the cultural separation between the two halves of the new world than the fact that to most of us these words convey no meaning.”

 

His funeral turned into one of the largest processions of workers ever seen in the streets of Lima, Peru, but in the United States his death was hardly noticed. Unfortunately, 87 years later Mariategui is still largely unknown in the English-speaking world, even as his status as the founder of Latin American Marxism remains as relevant as ever for understanding political changes sweeping across the region.

 

Hats and men: Marx's faulty symmetry

 

 

By Michael A. Lebowitz

 

May 11, 2017
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project — Was Marx a superman or a human being? Joan Robinson once asked a Soviet professor this very question. Of course, Marx was human, he answered. ‘Then he could make mistakes?’ Yes. ‘Would you mind mentioning a mistake that he made?’ The Soviet professor changed the subject.[1]

 

However, 150 years after the publication of Volume I of Capital, it is long past time for revolutionaries not to change the subject but to talk seriously about mistakes Marx made in Capital and their implications. This article is about one such mistake and how it infected Capital and subsequent practice.

 

John Bellamy Foster answers five questions about Marxism and ecology

 
 
Introduction by Ian Angus

 

March 30, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Climate & CapitalismThe Indian website Ecologise recently published John Bellamy Foster’s Foreword to my book Facing the Anthropocene. Commenting on Foster’s article, journalist and activist Saral Sarkar, who describes his views as eco-socialist, raised questions that challenge the usefulness of Marxist analysis in understanding the global ecological crisis. Foster’s reply was posted by Ecologise on March 26.

 

Revolutionary theory and popularization

 
 

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."[1] 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.

 

Marxism, art and utopia: Critical theory and political aesthetics

 

 

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.

 

Georgi Plekhanov and the roots of Soviet philosophy

 

 

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.[1] 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.”[2] 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.”[3] 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.

 

What is socialism for the twenty-first century?

 

 

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.

 

Walter Benjamin, Louis-Auguste Blanqui and the apocalypse

 

 

Paris Commune

 

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:

 

The subject of historical cognition is the battling, oppressed class itself. In Marx it steps forwards as the final enslaved and avenging class, which carries out the work of emancipation in the name of generations of downtrodden to its conclusion. This consciousness, which for a short time made itself felt in the “Spartacus” [Spartacist splinter group, the forerunner to the German Communist Party], was objectionable to social democracy from the very beginning. In the course of three decades it succeeded in almost completely erasing the name of Blanqui, whose distant thunder [Erzklang] had made the preceding century tremble. [1]

 

The Communist Manifesto: A weapon of war

 

 

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.

“Dialectical materialism,” ideology and revisionism

 

 

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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]

 

‘The hammer blow of the revolution’: Rosa Luxemburg’s critique of bourgeois democracy

 

 

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.

Georgi Plekhanov: Tragedy of a forerunner

 

 

Georgi Plekhanov

 

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.

 

[21세기사회주의 컨퍼런스] 마이클 레보위츠 인터뷰: 오늘날 라틴아메리카 신자유주의 대안 만들기

 

 

[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.

 

John Bellamy Foster: The anthropocene and Marxism today

 

 

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.

Cops, class & race: How to stop police violence

 

 

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.

 

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