Posts tagged ‘Marxism’

April 3, 2014

Was Marx Right?


For Karl Marx’s birthday last year, his hometown of Trier, Germany, displayed 500 figures by Ottmar Hoerl. Thomas Wieck/Agence France-Presse-Getty Images

In the golden, post-war years of Western economic growth, the comfortable living standard of the working class and the economy’s overall stability made the best case for the value of capitalism and the fraudulence of Marx’s critical view of it. But in more recent years many of the forces that Marx said would lead to capitalism’s demise – the concentration and globalization of wealth, the permanence of unemployment, the lowering of wages – have become real, and troubling, once again.

The fall of communism discredited Marx’s political vision. But, as observers have wondered before, is his view of our economic future being validated?

Here’s the voice of reason in the debate:

September 16, 2011

Marx is hot 3

Marx to Market: The economic crisis has made the philosopher’s ideas relevant again, but the world shouldn’t forget what Marx got wrong. By 


Society generally moves on from its mistakes. Doctors no longer drain blood from patients. Aviators don’t try to fly by strapping wings to their arms. Nobody still thinks that slavery is a good idea. Karl Marx, though, appears to be an exception to the rule of live and learn. Marx’s most famous predictions failed; there has been no dictatorship of the proletariat, nor has the state withered away. His followers included some of the 20th century’s worst mass murderers: Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot. Yet the gloomy, combative philosopher seems to find adherents in each new generation of tyrants and dreamers.

You might even say the Bearded One has rarely looked better. [READ THE REST]

September 29, 2010

In a complex world…

The Propagandist features China’s rising hard power with a fascinating video.

Another aspect of the multipolar world whose contours are becoming increasingly visible is the rise of the so-called “Moscow-Ankara-Rome” axis. Volvbilis has been covering this well, for instance in this piece, originally from the Strategic Culture foundation.

Female garment workers in sit-down demonstrationOne of the key labour disputes of our times that of the garment workers in Bangladesh, which Libcom has been covering well. For more news from a trade union perspective, see LabourStart.

Daniel Ben-Ami in Spiked has a great piece about Vince Cable as an example of the reactionary, misanthropic anti-capitalism sweeping the world. David Osler describes Cable as a “populist not a Marxist“, while Carl Packman calls him “capitalism’s posterboy“.

Also from the UK, Chris Dillow punctures the immigration orthodoxies in new Labour Party leader Ed Miliband’s speech.

From the archives: Modern Times magazine in the 1980s on austerity, in an article all too relevant today.

April 16, 2010

COMMENT: Political Science and social conflict [A Very Public Sociologist]

In Marxism the struggle between the classes over the disposal of the surplus yielded by the production process is an inescapable feature of all class societies. Marxism’s attachment to the working class has nothing to do with nostalgia for the “simpler” politics of the past or anything like that. Instead it is based on the observation that the (subordinate) class relationships an absolute majority of the world’s population has to enter into to make a living provide grounds for drawing together the largest numbers possible to pursue socialist politics. i.e. Fighting and building a society free of the class relationships that have characterised history since the dawn of civilisation. Marxist politics therefore has concentrated on building political parties and movements that articulate the interests of workers under capitalism and the trajectory these interests have in moving beyond capitalism.

Whereas class and class conflict is absolutely central to Marxism, this is not the case for political science as a discipline.