Marxist theory

Michael A. Lebowitz: Socialism is the future -- Build it now

By Michael A. Lebowitz

Ideas become a material force when they grasp the minds of masses. This is true not only of ideas which can support revolutionary change. It is also true of those ideas which prevent change. An obvious example is the concept of TINA -- the idea that there is no alternative, no alternative to neoliberalism, no alternative to capitalism.

Certainly we know that there have been significant changes in the terrain upon which the working class must struggle -- changes which are a challenge because of a new international division of labour and because of the role of states in delivering a passive, docile working class to international capital. It is not only changing material circumstances which affects the working class, however. It is also the loss of confidence of the working class that makes these material changes a deadly blow. Even the Korean working class that has demonstrated so clearly in the past its militancy in the struggle against capital has been affected.

Three books on the life and thought of the `red terror doctor’

Reviews by Alex Miller

Karl Marx: A Biography
By David McLellan, Palgrave Macmillan
4th Edition 2006
487 pages, paperback

Individual versus social solutions to global warming

By Terry Townsend

A talk to the Climate Change Social Change Conference held in Sydney from April 11 to 13, 2008, organised by Green Left Weekly. For more articles, audio and video from the conference, click here.

April 13, 2008 -- I’m sure everybody here is aware of the basic facts of global warming and the likely consequences if rapid and serious action is not taken. There is virtually unanimous agreement among scientists and activists, and increasingly among millions of ordinary people, about the degree of the problem and the time frame we have to make fundamental changes to address it.

John Bellamy Foster on the global financial crisis

‘Nobody knows where the toxic debt is buried and how much there is’

John Bellamy Foster is editor of the Monthly Review, a prominent political journal established by the Marxist economist Paul Sweezy in the 1940s.

Foster is a professor of sociology at the University of Oregon in Eugene, USA. He has written widely on political economy and has established a reputation as an environmental socialist.

He has proven that Karl Marx was a radical ecologist in his book, Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature.

Foster is interviewed by Peter Boyle for Links - International Journal of Socialist Renewal and Green Left Weekly. It was conducted during the Climate Change Social Change conference in Sydney, April 11-13, 2008.

The written version of the interview is available at Green Left Weekly.

Orwell’s Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four: Critiques of Stalinism `from the left’?

Review by Alex Miller

This essay is the result of a re-reading of George Orwell’s two most famous novels. Both Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four have acquired the status of textbooks, and are routinely used in schools to demonstrate to children the inherent dangers of social revolution. It is time for a reappraisal.

The ``Centenary Edition’’ of George Orwell’s Animal Farm contains a preface written by Orwell for the first edition (Secker and Warburg, 1945) but never published, together with a preface that he wrote specially for a translation for displaced Ukrainians living under British and US administration after World War II.

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Michael A. Lebowitz: La jornada laboral capitalista y la jornada laboral socialista

By Michael A. Lebowitz

[Translation by J. Duckworth]

A medida que el primero de mayo se acerca, vale la pena recordar cuatro aspectos sobre ese día:

1. Para l@s trabajador@s el primero de mayo no es la celebración de un día feriado estatal, ni un regalo de él, sino que conmemorara es la lucha —desde abajo— de l@s trabajador@s.

2. Inicialmente, el primero de mayo se centraba en la lucha por una jornada laboral mas corta.

3. La lucha para una jornada laboral mas corta no es una lucha aislada sino la lucha contra la explotación capitalista.

4. La lucha contra la explotación capitalista es una parte esencial pero no es la única parte de la lucha general contra el capitalismo.

Hoy quiero exponer algunas ideas que se refieren tanto a la jornada laboral capitalista como a la socialista y espero que ellas puedan ser útiles en la lucha actual en Venezuela y que sirvan, de manera más inmediata, a los debates de hoy.

Michael A. Lebowitz: May Day -- The capitalist workday, the socialist workday

By Michael A. Lebowitz

April 24, 2008 -- As May Day approaches, there are four things that are worth remembering:

1. For workers, May Day does not celebrate a state holiday or gifts from the state but commemorates the struggle of workers from below.

2. The initial focus of May Day was a struggle for the shorter workday.

3. The struggle for the shorter workday is not an isolated struggle but is the struggle against capitalist exploitation.

Marxism and the environment -- John Bellamy Foster

Marxism and the environment was a workshop given by John Bellamy Foster to the Climate Change Social Change Conference, in Sydney on April 12, 2008. Foster is editor of Monthly Review (USA) and author of Marx's Ecology. The conference was organised by Green Left Weekly. For more audio and video of John Bellamy Foster on related topics, go to http://links.org.au/node/343


Audio: John Bellamy Foster on `Ecology, capitalism and socialism'

John Bellamy Foster's feature talk, recorded at the Climate Change Social Change Conference on April 12, 2008. The conference was organised by Green Left Weekly. Foster is editor of Monthly Review and author of Marx's Ecology: Materialism and Nature.

*NEW* Links Education for Socialists media player

A new addition to the Links - International Journal of Socialist Renewal - website is the Education for Socialists media player. It provides a selection of audio discussions of Marxist theory, history and politics. Use the player below, click here to open it in a new window while you explore the rest of the Links site, or access it anytime from the navigation menu on the left of the home page.

 

Video: John Bellamy Foster on Capitalism and Climate Change

John Bellamy Foster, Marxist ecologist and editor of Monthly Review, addressed the Climate Change I Social Change Conference on ``Capitalism and Climate Change'', Sydney, April 11, 2008. Foster's talk was part of a panel discussing ``Climate change and its social roots''. The conference was organised by Green Left Weekly. Below is Foster's talk in five parts. Click here for an audio recording of all the speakers on the panel, which included Patrick Bond from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and editor of Climate Change, Carbon Trading and Civil Society. John Bellamy Foster discusses Marxism and the environment further here.

 

15 years since the murder of Chris Hani

On April 10, 1993, South African Communist Party (SACP) leader Chris Hani was asassinated by right-wing extremists hoping to derail South Africa's transtion to democratic rule. On the 15th anniversary of his death, Links reproduces a speech by socialist and African National Congress (ANC) veteran Pallo Jordan delivered to mark the 10th anniversary of the assassination.

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By Dr Pallo Jordan

Allow me first to thank the leadership of the SACP and the central executive committee of Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) for inviting me to deliver this inaugural Chris Hani Memorial Lecture. I consider it a great honour to have been chosen for this task because Comrade Chris was a close and very dear friend of mine.

Conference on the Work of Karl Marx and the Challenges of the 21st Century, Havana May 5-8, 2008

International Conference on the Work of Karl Marx and the Challenges of the 21st Century
Havana, Cuba, May 5th to 8th. Venue: Palacio de Convenciones

This conference celebrates the 50th anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution
which occurred on January 1, 1959.

These are times of special importance for the destiny of humanity, given the increase
in imperialist aggression and its confrontation with the resistance of peoples from
all corners of the globe, who are engaged in important struggles that involve transformative
socialist praxis. The Institute of Philosophy, through its "Permanent Workshop
for the Work of Karl Marx and the Challenges of the 21st Century" extends an
invitation to its fourth Conference. Its purpose is to provide a space for debates
the elaboration of proposals among social and political activists, scientists
and all those interested in the construction of the new world which is both necessary
and possible.

The CPI (M) and stages of revolution

By Dipankar Basu

March 25, 2008 -- This article attempts to throw some light on the following two questions: (1) How does the classical Marxist tradition conceptualise the relationship between the two stages of revolution: democratic and the socialist? (2) Does the democratic revolution lead to deepening and widening capitalism? Is capitalism necessary to develop the productive capacity of a society?

A revolutionary response to the climate change crisis

``We need an emergency mobilisation of society, a five- or 10-year plan to achieve a drastic reorientation of our economy and use of energy. Anything else is simply not serious.''

April 3, 2008 -- Dave Holmes, a veteran leader of theAustralian Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP), is one of the authors of the pamphlet Change the System Not The Climate (Resistance Books 2007) who will be participating in the Climate Change | Social Change Conference, April 11-13 in Sydney Australia. The other authors of the pamphlet, renowned Marxist John Bellamy Foster and Links editor Terry Townsend, are speakers at the conference.

Peter Boyle of the DSP spoke to Holmes about the key issues the conference needs to address.

Marx's call to liberation 160 years and still going strong

By Barry Healy

Not many young authors can publish a work before they reach thirty years of age and have it remain in publication continuously for the following 160 years. Yet that is precisely the case with the Communist Manifesto, which was born in the middle of a Europe-wide revolutionary upsurge in February 1848.

Moreover, the Manifesto still rings through the years to today’s world with its promise of human liberty and fulfilment.

Kosova and the right of oppressed nations to self-determination

By Michael Karadjis

This is the second in a series of articles looking at aspects of the issue of the recently announced semi-independence of Kosova [Kosovo], which has produced markedly different reactions among left-wing and socialist movements around the world. (Click here for the first article in the series.)

International conferences and gatherings

AUSTRALIA: Climate Change | Social Change -- A conference to strengthen radical social action to stop climate change. April 11-13, 2008. Sydney Girls' High School, Cleveland Street, near ANZAC Parade, Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia.

CUBA: International Conference on the Work of Karl Marx and the Challenges of the 21st Century. Havana, Cuba, May 5-8. Palacio de Convenciones.

CANADA: A World in Revolt -- May 22-25, 2008 at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 252 Bloor Street West (St. George Subway Station), Toronto.

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South Africa: Two economies - or one system of superexploitation

By Patrick Bond
[The following is the introduction to ``Transcending two economies – renewed debates in South African political economy'', a special issue of Africanus, Journal of Development Studies (Vol. 37 No. 2 2007, ISSN 0304-615x). It is republished with permission.The full issue is available for free download at http://www.nu.ac.za/ccs/files/africanus_1.pdf ]

Indianismo and Marxism: The mismatch of two revolutionary rationales

Introduction by Richard Fidler -- This important article by Álvaro García Linera, now vice-president of Bolivia, was first published in 2005. It traces the contradictory evolution of the two most influential revolutionary currents in the country's 20th century history and argues that Marxism, as originally interpreted by its Bolivian adherents, failed to address the outstanding concerns of the Indigenous majority. García Linera suggests, however, that the evolution of indianismo in recent decades opens perspectives for a renewal of Marxist thought and potentially the reconciliation of the two currents in a higher synthesis. Although framed within the Bolivian context, his argument clearly has implications for the national and anti-imperialist struggle in other parts of Abya Yale (the indigenous name for the western hemisphere).

Although Bolivia won formal independence from Spain in 1825, its national character remained fragile and incomplete. Not only did it lose significant territories over the years — to Brazil, Chile and, in the 1930s, Paraguay (the Chaco War) — the continuing existence of semifeudal property relations in agriculture deprived its overwhelmingly campesino Indigenous majority of property in land and was the material basis for their oppression as peoples. Indianismo developed among Bolivia's three dozen Indigenous peoples as an ideological reaction to this oppression, but only in recent years has it emerged as a dominant force in the political life of the country, in a process outlined by García Linera in the following article.

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