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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. 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.” 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.” 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.
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.
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.
By Gavin McCrea
Melbourne: Scribe, 2015,
352 pages, A$29.99
Read more on the Marx household
Review by Barry HealyAugust 13, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For those hankering to know what Friedrich Engels’ erect penis looked like, page 37 of this novel is for you. “In its vigours, it points up and a bit to the side”, says Lizzie Burns, the first-person narrator of the entire story.
She goes on: “Its cover goes all the way over the bell and bunches at the end like a pastry twist. Before he does anything he spits on his hand and peels this back.” Engels is quite enamoured of his member, it seems.
Gavin McCrea’s Lizzie Burns is a brilliant narrative voice and his writing sparkles. Lizzie’s rich brogue and her incisive humour are wonderful.
Eleanor Marx: A Life
By Rachel Holmes
Bloomsbury 2014, £25
Review by Alex Miller
February 2, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This new and very well-written biography tells the story of the life of Eleanor Marx (known to her family and friends as “Tussy”). Tussy was the third and youngest daughter of Karl and Jenny Marx.
The first part of the book deals with her childhood in London, and recounts her growing up in the the financially insecure and often poverty-stricken Marx family home, where she rubbed shoulders with the likes of Friedrich Engels and William Liebknecht. That part of the story is relatively well known through the many biographies of Karl Marx that have been published over the years.
The story of Tussy’s adult life is less well known, and Rachel Holmes seeks to right this, with the first full-length biography of Tussy since the 1970s.
"For many developing intellectually in the English-speaking world during the early 1960s, the radical sociologist C. Wright Mills (on his way to work above) was an incredibly important influence."
By Paul Le Blanc
January 15, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The ideas of Karl Marx are often put forward as an invaluable resource for those wishing to understand the world in order to change it for the better. Yet various people who speak as Marxists often insist upon divergent ways of understanding even the most basic concepts associated with Marxism – such as capitalism and the working class.
Marx on Gender and the Family: A Critical StudyBy Heather A. BrownHaymarket Books, 2013232 pp.
Review by Barry Healy
September 1, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For the most part the Marxist movement has a had a troubled relationship with the women’s liberation movement. While some Marxists (such as those organised in Australia’s Socialist Alliance) have no problem with feminism, others have choked on the thought of a rebellious movement that does not fit neatly into their paradigm of a workers-led revolution.
April 14, 2014 -- PolyluxMarx -- For several years now, people have been starting to dust off Marx and return to his analysis of society. This is mainly due to the social turmoil in global capitalism, weaknesses in prevailing explanations of economic relationships and the harrowing crises the world has faced since the 1990s.
In particular, a younger generation of readers – untainted by former ideological battles – is starting to read Capital. Whether in universities, educational institutions, unions or in their own living rooms, small groups are discussing Marx’s critique of political economy.
This is exactly what PolyluxMarx aims to support. This website provides a collection of annotated PowerPoint slides that illustrate the central arguments from Capital. We also use concise introductory texts and notes on methodology and learning to make Capital easier to read.
By Noam Chomsky
Hamish Hamilton (also Penguin), 2013
Review by Alex Miller
February 26, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This volume consists of eight interviews given by Noam Chomsky to David Barsamian in 2010-12 (in fact six of them were given in 2012). As always, Chomsky’s insights into politics and power are penetrating and insightful, and cover a wide range of topics, including the Arab Spring, Wikileaks and Bradley Manning, the role of social media like Facebook and Twitter in the atomisation of society, the Obama administration, and a host of others. As is usual in Chomsky’s books, every factual claim he makes is meticulously referenced in notes at the end.
[Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal urges its readers to consider taking out a subscription to Monthly Review, where this article first appeared. Click HERE for more on Marxism and ecology. For more by John Bellamy Foster, click HERE.]
* * *
By John Bellamy Foster
[This article is an expanded and slightly altered version of a keynote address under the same title presented to the Marxism 2013 Conference in Stockholm on October 20, 2013. That address built on ideas introduced in the author’s Rosa Luxemburg Lecture, “The Great Rift,” presented to the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung in Berlin on May 28, 2013.]
By Daniel Lopez
October 15, 2013 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As Karl Korsh noted in Marxism and Philosophy, the philosophical foundation of Marx’s works has often been neglected. The Second International had, in Korsch’s view, pushed aside philosophy as an ideology, preferring “science”. This, he charged, tended to reduce Marxism to a positivistic sociology, and in so doing, it internalised and replicated the theoretical logic of capitalism.  In place of this, Korsch called for a revitalisation of Marxism that would view philosophy not simply as false consciousness but as a necessary part of the social totality.
Karl Marx, A Nineteenth Century Life
By Jonathan Sperber,
Liveright Publishing, 2013
By Barry Healy
September 26, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In life Karl Marx lived a tumultuous, revolutionary life and in death he has likewise been less than tranquil. Alive, he was the best hated man in Europe. For the ruling classes and police spies he personified the “spectre” that was haunting the continent, the demonic rise of communist revolution.
After his death he was bleached of his humanity, canonised by his admirers and slandered by his bourgeois enemies. Both misrepresented him.
His enormous collection of notes and half-formulated writings were bequeathed first to his long-time political collaborator Frederick Engels and later to the German Social Democratic Party (SPD). Engels laboured long and hard and managed to produce the second and third volumes of Capital.
Australian protest against the US war on Vietnam. Socialists argued for the movement to have as its central demand the call for the immediate withdrawal of US and Australian troops from Vietnam.
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This talk was presented by Peter Boyle representing the then Democratic Socialist Party (since merged with the Socialist Alliance) to a workshop with comrades from the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) of Indonesia in 2000. It was based on a talk by Doug Lorimer to a Resistance leadership training school in Sydney on April 24-25, 1995. It was published in The Activist, volume 5, number 6, 1995. Doug Lorimer passed away on July 21, 2013. Read more of Doug Lorimer's writings HERE.]
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Mary Burns’ younger sister, Lizzie, c.1865. Lizzie lived with Engels after her sister died, and married him a day before she herself died. No image of Mary is known to exist.
By Mike Dash
Favourite maxim: Nothing human is alien to me
Favourite motto: De omnibus dubitandum -- Everything should be doubted -- Karl Marx
By Michael Cooke
July 2, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- These two dictums are never truer when one confronts the negative commentaries on a relatively obscure and early piece of writing of Karl Marx’s entitled “On the Jewish question”, published in 1844. Critics have highlighted statements like:
What is the secular basis of Judaism? Practical need, self-interest. What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is the worldly god? Money.
Later on in his polemic he bluntly states:
Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist.
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Doug Enaa Greene delivered this talk to the Revolutionary Students Union at the University of Utah on May 29, 2013. To read more about Gracchus Babeuf, see Greene's essay at: http://links.org.au/node/3228.
By Simon Butler
March 23, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Do oil spills make good economic sense? A witness called by Canadian firm Enbridge Inc.— which wants approval to build a $6.5 billion pipeline linking Alberta’s tar sands with the Pacific coast — told a recent hearing in British Columbia (BC) that the answer is yes.
He said oil spills could benefit the economy, giving business new opportunities to make money cleaning it up. He told Fishers Union representatives that an oil spill in BC might indeed kill the local fishing industry, but their lost income would be replaced by compensation payouts and new career prospects, such as working for oil cleanup crews.
Upon reading this, some readers might protest: “That’s just not fair! How come British Columbian communities reap all the economic gains of a potential oil spill disaster, when we have to live in relative safety?”
It’s easy to laugh at this kind of thinking, to write it off as a desperate ploy by a greedy oil company.
Doug Enaa Greene delivered the above talk to the Revolutionary Students Union at the University of Utah on May 29, 2013.
By Doug Enaa Greene
Dedicated to the Babouvists of today.
“We Communists, united in the Third International, consider ourselves the direct continuators of the heroic endeavors and martyrdom of a long line of revolutionary generations from Babeuf – to Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg.”
'Transitional Program': 'a program of action from today until the beginning of the socialist revolution'
The demand for shorter working hours with no loss in pay has been a key transitional demand.
By Doug Lorimer
[This is the introduction to Resistance Books' The
Transitional Program and the Struggle for Socialism. For discussion on the left about the significance of the transitional method for socialists, see "In defence of the transitional method" by Dave Holmes.]
Sue Bolton speaking at a rally for refugee rights in September. Photo by Aneleh Bulle.
By Dave Holmes
[This talk was presented on January 18, 2013 at the Socialist Alliance (Australia) national conference, held in Geelong.]
January 18, 2013 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Socialist Alliance is currently engaged in a process of discussion and clarification with Socialist Alternative, with a view to exploring the possibilities of greater cooperation and unity. How this will ultimately develop is an open question. But I think it is fair to say that on both sides today there is a much greater interest in the political positions and approach of the other.