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Marxist theory

Australia: 'It's time for the DSP to merge into the Socialist Alliance'

Peter Boyle speaks at the Socialist Alliance seventh national conference, Januray 2, 2010. Photo by Alex Bainbridge.

[This report, presented by Peter Boyle on behalf of the Australian Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) national executive was adopted, by the 24th DSP congress on January 2, 2010. See also ``Australia: New era of left unity as DSP votes to merge with the Socialist Alliance''.]

We are proposing to take an important step forward in our party building effort, an effort that has now spanned some four decades. We propose, at this 24th congress, to merge the Democratic Socialist Perspective into the Socialist Alliance, to take everything we have learned and built over these years of political struggle (organised through the DSP) into a broader political organisation, an organisation which has a majority of members who don't come from the DSP.

John Bellamy Foster: `We can't shop our way out of the ecological crisis'

John Bellamy Foster Interviewed by Max van Lingen

[This article first appeared at MRZine. A shorter version of this interview appeared in the December issue of the Dutch newspaper The Socialist. The entire interview appears in Dutch at the website of The Socialist. It has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission. To read more by John Bellamy Foster, click HERE.]

Max van Lingen: Consciousness about climate change has increased enormously; however, it also seems as if there is a lack of criticism of business and government actions. Instead it appears as if people are thinking: it doesn't really matter why people act, as long as they act.

Pamphlet to download: Marta Harnecker's `Ideas for the Struggle'

This 12-part series of articles by Marta Harnecker (translated by Federico Fuentes) on ideas for how to organise for socialism in the 21st century first appeared in Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. It is now available download free as a pamphlet in PDF format.

Paul Le Blanc: Theories of Stalinism

The Marxism of Leon Trotsky
By Kunal Chattopadhyay
Kolkata: Progress Publishers, 2006, 672 pages

Western Marxism and the Soviet Union
By Marcel van der Linden
Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2009, 379 pages

Reviews by Paul Le Blanc

Karl Marx and his comrades deemed their own approach “scientific”, as compared to “utopian” intellectual efforts on behalf of socialism, because they believed that practical efforts to challenge and ultimately replace capitalism with something better must be grounded in a serious study of economic, political, social, historical realities and dynamics.

More, they believed that lessons learned from practical organising and political experiences of the working class and popular social movements — sometimes glorious victories and often tragic defeats — must also guide practical efforts of the future. The combination of such study and experience has been called “Marxist theory”.

The massive crisis of capitalism has put the meaning of “socialism” back into public debate. Superficially equating state intervention in the economy with “socialism”, some are inclined to agree with Newsweek magazine that “we are all socialists now.”

Capitalism, sexism and queerphobia’s social basis

Melbourne protest for same-sex marriage rights, August 9, 2009. Photo by Benjamin Solah.

By Jess Moore

There are social expectations on everyone, men and women, to act in particular ways based on our sex. This is bad for everyone because it’s stifling, but it’s worse for women and queers.

These gender stereotypes and roles put men first and women second:

Teori Revolusi Permanen Trotsky: Suatu perdebatan panjang yang masih relevan

[Klik di sini untuk artikel-artikel Links dalam Bahasa Indonesia]

Oleh John Nebauer, anggota Partai Sosialis Demokratik Australia (DSP)

Ulasan dari buku Trotsky's Theory of Permanent Revolution: A Leninist critique, by Doug Lorimer, Resistance Books, Sydney, 1998.

Setelah Lenin, Trotsky adalah pemimpin utama Revolusi Rusia. Kontribusinya terhadap gerakan sosialis internasional dan Marxisme sangatlah besar. Kepemimpinan Trotsky dalam Komite Revolusioner Militer pada November 1917 berperan menjamin kemenangan pemberontakan Bolshevik. Karya klasiknya History of the Russian Revolution masih merupakan pemaparan terbaik tentang rangkaian peristiwa menjelang dan sesudah kehancuran dinasti Romanov. Sebagai pendiri Tentara Merah, Trotsky memainkan peran vital dalam mempertahankan revolusi dari kekuatan reaksi. Di kemudian hari, ia memimpin oposisi terhadap degenerasi Stalinis dan memberikan analisis Marxis terhadap rejim birokratis tersebut.

Gramsci dan Hegemoni

[Klik di sini untuk artikel-artikel Links dalam Bahasa Indonesia]

oleh Trent Brown

[Pernah dimuat di http://links.org.au/node/1260, dan diterjemahkan ke dalam bahasa Indonesia oleh Data Brainanta, Staff Dept. Kaderisasi dan Komunikasi Massa DPP Papernas.]

John Bellamy Foster: `The roots of the world ecological crisis'

October 29, 2009 -- "We have no other word but crisis to describe it, really. It's very different than the economic crisis that we are now in, in the sense that even a very, very severe economic crisis, such as the one that has been present since late 2007 ... still is, in many ways, a cyclical event... These crises are periodic -- it's part of the nature of capitalism...

Fourth International debates `ecosocialism'

By Michael Löwy

International Viewpoint -- October 10, 2009 -- Daniel Tanuro’s report on climate change [Report on climate change at the IC of the Fourth International] is one of the most important documents produced by our movement in recent years. It is an invaluable contribution to the political arming of revolutionary Marxists and to making them capable of facing up to the challenges of the 21st century.

`Monthly Review' at 60: Six decades of campaigning for `social and ecological revolution'

On September 17, 2009, Monthly Review celebrated its 60th anniversary at the New York Society for Ethical Culture in New York City. Five-hundred enthusiastic supporters gathered to hear remarks by Robert McChesney, Grace Lee Boggs, John Bellamy Foster, Fred Magdoff, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Michael Tigar, and hear music by Toshi Reagon.

More than six decades ago, Paul Sweezy and his good friend, the labour journalist Leo Huberman, had long dreamed of founding a magazine offering a forum for insightful comment and analysis of world and national events from a specifically socialist perspective. The two already had a history of activism in the radical cauldron spawned by the Great Depression, the rise of the labour movement, and the World War II. By 1948, with the accelerating crises of Cold War and domestic repression – and with seed money from Sweezy's good friend and Harvard colleague, the literary historian and critic F.O. Matthiessen – they pressed forward with their plan for what would become Monthly Review.

The Levellers and the 1640s English Revolution

The Putney debates. Graphic by Clare Melinsky, Rampart Lions Press.

By Graham Milner

In 1649, 360 years ago this year, an experiment in communal land holding and cultivation began on St. George's Hill in Surrey, England, as the principles of a communist society were put into practice by the Diggers -- followers of Gerrard Winstanley, a visionary and writer of radical political tracts. This experiment marked an important phase in the development of socialist tendencies in the struggle to defeat the Stuart monarchy in the 1640s. This essay attempts to analyse the dynamics of the revolutionary struggle in England during the 1640s civil war and its aftermath. It concentrates on the emergence and development of left-wing tendencies in the revolutionary movement, and attempts to provide an explanation for the defeat of the aspirations of those tendencies.

Gramsci and hegemony

Graphic from http://www.i-italy.org.

By Trent Brown

September 22, 2009 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Antonio Gramsci is an important figure in the history of Marxist theory. While Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels provided a rigorous analysis of capital at the social and economic levels – particularly showing how capital antagonises the working class and gives rise to crisis – Gramsci supplemented this with a sophisticated theory of the political realm and how it is organically/dialectically related to social and economic conditions. He provides us with a theory of how the proletariat must organise politically if it is to effectively respond to capital’s crises and failures, and bring about revolutionary change.

Incidentally, this innovation has proven to be of interest not only to Marxists, but also to those involved in other forms of progressive politics, from the civil rights movement, to gender politics, to contemporary ecological struggles. The reason why his approach has proven so popular and generally adaptable is because Gramsci was himself a man of action and his fundamental concern was with progressive strategy. Thus while in this article I plan to give a give a general outline of Gramsci’s theory of hegemony and the reasons behind its formulation, it’s important that we build on this by thinking about how we can use these concepts strategically in our own struggles.

John Bellamy Foster: Financial crisis, imperialism and environment -- `Socialism is humanity's best chance'

On September 17, 2009, John Bellamy Foster appeared on Democracy Now! to discuss the financial meltdown, social change and democracy. Click HERE to read the transcript.

* * *

A conversation with John Bellamy Foster, editor of the US-based socialist magazine Monthly Review, professor of sociology at the University of Oregon and co-author (with Fred Magdoff) of The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences (Monthly Review Press, 2009). He was interviewed by Farooque Chowdhury for the Bangladesh daily newspaper New Age. It was published on September 8, 2009.

* * *

Free pamphlet: `The Labour Aristocracy: The material basis of opportunism in the labour movement'

The free-market fallacies of Ayn Rand

By Phil Hearse

August 22, 2009 -- Marxsite -- Most people sympathetic to radical politics outside the United States have probably never heard of Ayn Rand, and a brief introduction to her ultra pro-free market views would doubtless be enough to convince them they haven’t missed anything. Yet 27 years after her death, Ayn Rand continues to be seriously debated in the US, her books sell hundreds of thousands each year, her views are propagated by right wing think tanks and foundations and – bizarrely – Charlize Theron is in discussions to turn Rand’s 1088-page magnus opus Atlas Shrugged into a TV mini-series.

The Times Educational Supplement claimed in July that the Ayn Rand revival is gathering pace on US campuses. According to the TES:

New books reveal Friedrich Engels’ revolutionary life

Engels: A Revolutionary Life, by John Green, Artery Publications, 2008.

Marx’s General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels, by Tristram Hunt, Macmillan/Metropolitan, 2009. (First published in Britain as The Frock-Coated Communist: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels.)

Reviewed by Ian Angus

August 24, 2009 -- Socialist Voice -- Most people on the left know that Friedrich Engels was co-author of the Communist Manifesto and Karl Marx’s lifelong collaborator. But few of today’s radicals know much more than that about the man who built barricades and fought a guerrilla war in Germany in the 1848-49 revolution, the indefatigable organiser who played a decisive role in building the Marxist current from a handful of exiles in the 1850s into the dominant trend in the international working-class movement by the time of his death in 1895.

They can scarcely be blamed for their lack of knowledge: it hasn’t been easy to learn about Engels’ life. In the 110 years after he died, only two substantial biographies were published in English – by Gustav Mayer in 1936 and by W.O. Henderson in 1967 – and both have long been out of print.

Sustainability: utopian and scientific

By Mark Burton

To make the move to a sustainable future where people are no longer threatened by an ecological catastrophe will require a number of things –- above all a strong and broad movement with effective and intelligent leadership and an accurate understanding of the current problems and how they can be overcome. Sadly, only some parts of this constellation of forces are in place today.

In particular the green movement is not an effective political and social movement and the left is still in disarray, largely concerned with defensive politics and harking back to a world long gone.

As for ideas and analysis of the situation and what needs to be done, some powerful critiques of the current economic orthodoxies have recently appeared that set out an alternative way in which the wellbeing and prosperity of the population can be achieved and maintained. However, these contributions are insufficient since they do not provide a sufficiently profound diagnosis of the causes of the problem. Without such a diagnosis there can be no convincing prescription for a remedy. But the situation is even worse than that. There is also no convincing approach to obtaining the necessary changes.

John Bellamy Foster: `The transition to socialism and the transition to an ecological society are one’

John Bellamy Foster's keynote address to the Climate Change, Social Change conference (organised by Green Left Weekly), Sydney, Australia, April 12, 2008. This talk is the basis of the last chapter of The Ecological Revolution: Making Peace with the Planet.

Read an exclusive excerpt from Foster's The Ecological Revolution: Making Peace with the Planet at http://links.org.au/node/1066.

Links readers are also encouraged to purchase a copy of this important new book HERE.

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Class struggle and ecology: An ecosocialist approach

By Socialist Resistance (Britain)

…we with flesh, blood and brain, belong to nature, and exist in its midst, and… all our mastery of it consists in the fact that we have the advantage of all other creatures of being able to learn its laws and apply them correctly

— Friedrich Engels.

Ecology as crucial as imperialism

For socialists in the 20th century imperialism was the great dividing line between those who accepted the logic of capitalist society and those who were willing to challenge it. In the first decades of the 21st century it is apparent that imperialism and war will remain inherent features of late capitalism. To these threats we must add the genuine and serious risks of severe ecological degradation and climate change caused by the capitalist economic model as factors that will shape socialist politics in the coming decades.

The biosphere and us

Marta Harnecker: Popular power in Latin America -- Inventing in order to not make errors

A communal council meeting in the community of Andres Eloy Blanco, state of Zulia, Venezuela.

By Marta Harnecker, translated by Coral Wynter and Federico Fuentes
Closing lecture given at the XXVI Gallega Week of Philosophy, Pontevedra, April 17, 2009.

``Either we invent or we err''
--
Simon Rodriguez

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