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.
In 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto established the first digital bitcoin transaction by mining the so-called genesis block. This was to be the beginning of a new era for money and the payment system, but the story did not develop according to the original aims of the pseudonymous bitcoin creator. Digital currencies really have the potential to change the economic landscape. The problem is that, under capitalist conditions, they will not be used to help ordinary people, but rather, the profiteering bankers. Note: this article was written in December 2020.
The following is an introduction by marxist.com editor Fred Weston to the new edition of The First Five Years of the Communist International from Wellred Books (buy it now!) Fred outlines some of the key debates and decisions taken in the first four congresses of the Communist International. This, we hope will serve to place the contribution of Trotsky into the context of the period.
This article explains the disagreements and political errors that marred the early years of the Communist Party of Italy (PCd’I). The Lyon Congress of 1926 was a culmination of the contradictory nature of the PCd’I which – compounded by the bureaucratic degeneration of the Third International – tragically contributed to the defeat of the Italian communists, alongside the rest of the workers' movement, at the hands of fascism.