Between 24 and 27 July, more than 2,800 Marxists from over 50 countries around the world gathered online for the World Congress of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT). This congress had originally been scheduled to take place in 2020, but was cut across by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A century ago (1 July 1921) was the official founding day of the Chinese Communist Party. It began as a genuine revolutionary party led by dedicated and heroic cadres, but went down to tragic defeat in the 1925-7 revolution. Today, the CCP is an instrument of capitalist domination, but its early history is filled with inspiring and cautionary lessons for revolutionaries today. For more information, we recommend these two articles on the history of the CCP from 1927-37, and 1937-49; as well as China: From Permanent Revolution to Counter-Revolution by John Peter Roberts, available from Wellred Books here.

The International Marxist Tendency proudly presents the relaunched In Defence of Marxism theoretical journal. Translated into multiple languages, readers from all over the world will be able to subscribe, and four times a year will receive the physical magazine, posted to your door. Or you can choose to subscribe to our digital editions, which will land directly in your email inbox. The magazine will become available from 16 July, but you can subscribe today!

22 June is the 80th anniversary of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union in World War Two. This bloody catastrophe, which claimed the lives of almost 5m Soviet troops and saw the Nazis plunge deep into Soviet territory, was facilitated by the wrecking behaviour of Stalin and the bureaucracy. Their decapitation of the Red Army in the infamous Purge Trials, and total mismanagement of the war effort, were paid for in blood by the Soviet people, who were ultimately able to turn things around through their heroic efforts and sacrifice – despite their leaders.

At our British comrades' Philosophy day school, Daniel Morley discussed the accusations of 'fatalism' levelled at Marxism by its enemies. Ironically, it is Marx's accusers who would make human beings passive victims of fate. They say that Marxism is a 'teleological' theory, according to which all of human history is preordained. They even accuse Marxism of being a religion, with the role of God replaced by iron laws of history, leaving no role for active, conscious human beings to change history. This is, of course, a caricature. Marxism is the only philosophy that explains the contradiction between free will and determinism. It is only by understanding the objective laws that govern society that we can change it.

Rosa Luxemburg was born on 5 March 1871. Coincidentally, this was the same year that the workers of Paris rose up and established the Paris Commune: the first ever attempt by the working class to seize power. The euphoria that inaugurated the Commune was short-lived. After a couple of months the Parisian Revolution was smashed by the ruling class in a counter-revolutionary inferno of bullets and blood. In la semaine sanglante (“the bloody week”) that followed its crushing, 30,000 workers were murdered.

The following is an introduction to Wellred Books’ new republication of The Civil War in France by Karl Marx. In this excellent overview, Josh Holroyd from Socialist Appeal – the British section of the International Marxist Tendency – explains all the main events and political processes involved in this tremendous watershed in the history of working-class struggle. The Communards' heroic efforts to build the first workers' government is filled with lessons for revolutionaries today.

EACH TIME that we study the history of the Commune we see it from a new aspect, thanks to the experience acquired by the later revolutionary struggles and above all by the latest revolutions, not only the Russian but the German and Hungarian revolutions. The Franco-German war was a bloody explosion, harbinger of an immense world slaughter, the Commune of Paris a lightning harbinger of a world proletarian revolution.

This translation of an article originally published by Révolution (the French section of the IMT), provides an overview of the Paris Commune: its heroic rise, its tragic fall, and its lessons for revolutionaries today. We will discuss these titanic events in more depth during Wellred Books' special launch event for Marx's The Civil War in France. You can read more about this event here, and register for free here.

On the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Paris Commune, join Wellred Books as we launch our latest title The Civil War in France by Karl Marx. Next Thursday (18 March at 6pm GMT) Jules Legendre, a leading activist from Révolution – the IMT in France, will explain these inspiring events and draw out the lessons revolutionaries must take from the first time the working class took power. Register for free here!

Marxism has always been at the forefront of the cause of women's emancipation. The 8th of March (International Women's Day) is a red letter day for us as it symbolises the struggle of working class women against capitalism, oppression and discrimination throughout the world. In this article, we outline the first steps given by Marxism to fight for women's rights, what the first successful revolution meant for the emancipation of women, conditions of women under capitalism both in advanced and Third World countries and pose the question of how to eliminate inequality between men and women for good. Originally published 8 March 2000.

How do we acquire knowledge? Is there a real world beyond our senses? And if so, what is our relation to it? In this important theoretical contribution, marxist.com editor Alan Woods mounts a defence of materialism against idealism and the obscurantist, postmodernist subjectivism popular on university campuses today.

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