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Marxist theory

Linking class and gender theory

 

 

Reviewed by Pip Hinman

 

Social Reproduction Theory
Edited by Tithi Bhattacharya
Pluto Press $45

 

December 7, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The rise of #MeToo, the anti-rape culture movement in India, the US women's strike and the pro-choice movements that have rocked Ireland and Argentina reveal that a new generation of feminist activists — some of whom may not have heard of “second-wave feminism” nor read the debates — is now organising for change.

 

They are fighting back because their hopes and aspirations for a better, more equal life are being thwarted. They experience oppression as women and as workers. They may not all identify as feminist (thanks to liberal feminism), but they are fighters against women’s oppression nonetheless.

 

These are some of the people Tithi Bhattacharya hopes to reach with Social Reproduction Theory, a collection of essays that focus on developing and linking class and gender theory.

 

Value in a divided world

 

 

By Neville Spencer

 

Modern Imperialism, Monopoly Finance Capital and Marx’s Law of Value
By Samir Amin
Monthly Review Press, 2018

 

December 7, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — One of the most obvious and abhorrent features of the global economy is the stark division of the world into a wealthy “North” and a poor “South” — a division that Egyptian-born economist Samir Amin often referred to as one of “centre” and “periphery”.

 

Amin, former director of the Third World Forum in Senegal, is renowned as one of the most significant theorists in the field of global economics, uneven development and imperialism. His work is a major reference point in explaining the origin and nature of the North/South divide.

 

Modern Imperialism, Monopoly Finance Capital and Marx’s Law of Value was published shortly before his death in August. It comprises his 2010 work The Law of Value Worldwide and several essays explaining and expanding upon the themes of that work.

 

Trotsky’s revolutionary ideas – originality or continuity?

 

 

By Paul Le Blanc

 

 

December 2, 2018 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Although I consider myself a Trotskyist (just as I consider myself a Leninist and a Marxist), there is something that has gotten me into trouble with some friends who also identify as Trotskyists.[1]

 

What Is Trumpism?

 

 

By Barry Sheppard

 

December 2, 2018 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Among socialists and the broader left there have been a range of views about what Donald Trump represents. These range from that Trump is an aberration and that things will return to “normal” once he is gone, to that Trump is working toward establishing fascism.

 

I reject the first view. Since 2008 politics in the U.S. and much of the world has undergone an important shift. There is no return.

 

Those who hold the latter view point to Trump’s overt racism and misogyny, his threats to unleash new wars (even nuclear war), his championing of restrictions on democratic rights, his open America First nationalism, his urging his audiences to attack protesters and reporters, his attacks on the press and so forth. Fascist ideology indeed encompasses these traits, but carries them to an extreme.

 

Antonio Gramsci and the Modern Prince

 

 

 

By Paul Le Blanc

 

December 1, 2018 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – In this period of global crises and ferment, radical and revolutionary activists are reaching for modes of organization and political practice that can help advance their struggle for human liberation. For growing numbers, the political and organizational perspectives of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin are becoming a pole of attraction – providing an increasingly desired coherence and revolutionary edge. Yet the Leninist tradition can most fruitfully be understood not as providing dogmatic Truths fashioned by a revolutionary genius, but rather as a collective project and process, creatively fashioned and made relevant by insightful, passionate activists engaging with a variety of contexts. 

 

Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) offers an incredibly rich way of articulating and applying Leninist perspectives.

The age of unreason or misology: The knowledge-practice relation and its political significance

 

 

By Raju J Das

 

September 29, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In many contemporary societies, there is a typical distrust of knowledge claims that are backed by reason and evidence. Correspondingly, there is a popular penchant for knowledge claims that have no basis in reason or evidence. It is as if post-modernism is being put into practice in popular circles.

 

18 theses on Marxism and animal liberation

 

 

By Bündnis Marxismus und Tierbefreiung/Alliance for Marxism and Animal Liberation

 

August 19, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Marxismus und Tierbefreiung — Marxism and the liberation of animals are two things which, at first glance, do not seem to have much in common. Neither did the former make waves for being particularly animal-loving, nor are animal lovers known for taking up the cause of liberating the working class and the construction of a socialist society.

 

A Marxist perspective on sustainability: Brief reflections on ecological sustainability and social inequality

 

 

By Raju J Das[1]

 

February 18, 2018
 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal   Karl Marx’s concept of sustainability is connected to his concepts of metabolism and reproduction. While the first connection is well recognized in recent literature (famously in the work of Paul Burkett, John Bellamy Foster and many others)[2], the second connection is not. Moreover, sustainability is potentially connected to another crucial concept in Marx’s thinking – that is, value of labour power (which is expressed as the wage that workers receive), although Marx fails to explicitly make that connection.

 

In this short paper, I connect sustainability to metabolism, reproduction, and value of labour power. I argue that sustainability (or a healthy environment) can be seen as an “ecological social wage” under capitalism and has to be fought for as a part of a larger fight against the various logics of capitalism, such as endless accumulation, and against the system as a whole. Therefore, ecological sustainability is fundamentally a class issue, one that concerns the working class of the world as a whole that is comprised of people with different gender, racial, and nationality backgrounds, and it is not to be narrowly seen as an ecological issue, separate from the needs and the movements of the working class.

 

Women, nature, and capital in the Industrial Revolution

 

 

By John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark

 

January 30, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Monthly Review — The remarkable rise in recent years of “social reproduction theory” within the Marxist and revolutionary feminist traditions, identified with the studies of such figures as Johanna Brenner, Heather Brown, Paresh Chattopadhyay, Silvia Federici, Susan Ferguson, Leopoldina Fortunati, Nancy Fraser, Frigga Haug, David McNally, Maria Mies, Ariel Salleh, Lise Vogel, and Judith Whitehead—to name just a few—has significantly altered how we look at Karl Marx’s (and Frederick Engels’s) treatment of women and work in nineteenth-century Britain.[1] Three conclusions with respect to Marx’s analysis are now so well established by contemporary scholarship that they can be regarded as definitive facts: (1) Marx made an extensive, detailed examination of the exploitation of women as wage slaves within capitalist industry, in ways that were crucial to his overall critique of capital; (2) his assessment of women’s working conditions was seriously deficient with regard to housework or reproductive labor;[2] and (3) central to Marx’s (and Engels’s) outlook in the mid-nineteenth century was the severe crisis and threatened “dissolution” of the working-class family—to which the capitalist state in the late nineteenth century was compelled to respond with an ideology of protection, forcing women in large part back into the home.[3]

 

Dialectical logic in Plato’s ‘Parmenides’, Hegel’s ‘Logic’ and Marx’s ‘Critique of Political Economy’

 

 

By Jason Devine

 

January 29, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Leon Trotsky once contended that the “Dialectic training of the mind” was “as necessary to a revolutionary fighter as finger exercises to a pianist.”[1] Regardless of one’s appraisal of the man, his observation was incontestably correct. To be a revolutionary in our modern times is to be a Marxist, and to be the latter is to adhere to Marx’s dialectical method. This method, by its very nature, cannot be unconsciously absorbed: it must be consciously striven for and then put into practice. The essential path to beginning this process of “training” is the study of works of dialectical logic.[2] Of course, not all such works are equal or accessible. For example, to fully understand Marx’s dialectics, a study of the works of Hegel is necessary; but starting with Hegel is notoriously difficult. Nevertheless, one piece of writing which is generally accessible and, moreover, an exemplar, is Plato’s dialogue Parmenides.

 

It should be recalled that, as Hegel’s system is an organic integration and summation of all previous philosophy, any previous work could be said to be necessary for an understanding of his thought. Certainly this touches the very heart of the man’s philosophy, for he had already noted in 1807, in his famous preface to the Phenomenology, that,

 

Fruits and perils of the ‘bloc within’: The Comintern and Asia 1919-25 (Part 3)

 

 

Chen Duxiu

 

By John Riddell

 

January 28, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — The most advanced experience of Communist alliance with national revolutionists occurred in Indonesia (Dutch East Indies) prior to the Baku Congress. However, it was not mentioned at the congress, even though one of its architects – the Dutch Communist Maring (Henk Sneevliet) – was present in the hall. Maring had been a leader for many years of revolutionary socialist Dutch settlers in Indonesia, who had achieved the remarkable feat of transforming their group into one predominantly indigenous in leadership, membership, and programmatic orientation. The key to success had been a close alliance with a mass national-revolutionary organization of the type described by the Second Congress, called Sarekat Islam.

 

Their tactic, which they called a “bloc within,” involved building a Communist fraction within the Islamic organization both by sending comrades into the movement and recruiting from its ranks. The bloc with Sarekat Islam, which started up before the Comintern was formed, had resulted in consolidation of a small but viable Communist party in Indonesia.[1]

 

Should Communists ally with revolutionary nationalism? The Comintern and Asia 1919-25 (Part 2)

 

 

Turar Ryskulov (1894-1938)

 

By John Riddell

 

January 28, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — As described in part 1 of this series, the Comintern leadership concluded at the end of 1919 that “[T]he civil war of the working people against the imperialists and exploiters in all the advanced countries is beginning to be combined with national wars against international imperialism.”[1]

 

But how would the proposed alliance of workers’ and national uprisings be effected? This strategic issue was addressed in the Comintern’s Second Congress, held in Moscow 9 July-7 August 1920.

Toward a global strategic framework: The Comintern and Asia 1919-25 (Part 1)

 

 

Manabendra Nath Roy

 

By John Riddell

 

January 28, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — The revolutionary activists who founded the Communist International (Comintern) in 1919 had little contact with movements for national and colonial liberation outside Russia. Nonetheless, only a year later, in July 1920, the Comintern adopted a far-reaching strategy for national and social revolution in dependent countries, later termed the anti-imperialist united front.

 

Karl Korsch's Philosophical Bolshevism

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

January 25, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal When Karl Korsch is remembered, he is generally alongside Georg Lukács and Antonio Gramsci as one of the founders of “Western Marxism”. Western Marxism is typically viewed as a diverse trend that focuses more on issues of culture and ideology instead of political economy, and eschews political engagement. It is certainly the case that most of what we understand by Western Marxism, notably the Frankfurt School, falls under that broad definition.

 

After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, Korsch believed that Marxism needed to be restored as a revolutionary philosophy. Korsch wrote his most famous work, Marxism and Philosophy, in 1923 when he was a leader in the Communist Party of Germany. Far from being a Western Marxist, Korsch like Gramsci and Lukács, is better characterized as a “Philosophical Bolshevik” who was committed to the theory and practice of socialist revolution.

 

Building on the legacy of socialism

 

 

 


 

By Vaios Triantafyllou

 

November 30, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from MR Online — Following the intense revolutionary experiences and struggles of the past century, intense debate has emerged on the relationship between socialist theory and practice. How is socialist theory applied during struggles for civil and economic rights, and how is it applied when a revolutionary struggle is successful? What is the role of democracy in such a process, and how are democratic principles incorporated in the pursuit of socialism? Were the mistakes and failures in the effort to build a socialist society inherent to its premises, or were there other factors that led to those failures?

 

Clearing up Marx and profit: ending the ‘Transformation Problem’ once and for all

 

 

Money and Totality, A Macro-Monetary Interpretation of Marx’s Logic in Capital and the End of the ‘Transformation Problem’
By Fred Mosely
Haymarket Books, 2016,
416 pp., $47.99

 

By Barry Healy

 

October 31, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Karl Marx published Volume 1 of Capital in 1867. By the time of its second German edition, just six years later he wrote, in a postscript: “That the method employed in ‘Das Kapital’ has been little understood, is shown by the various conceptions, contradictory one to another, that have been formed of it.”[1]

 

If anything, the contradictory conceptions have grown worse since then with various, near-intractable debates raging within Marxist circles. One of the fiercest of those debates is over the so-called “Transformation Problem”.

 

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

 

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