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Marx, Dead and Alive: Reading "Capital" in Precarious Times

Marx, Dead and Alive: Reading “Capital” in Precarious Times

Forthcoming in November 2020

Karl Marx saw the ruling class as a sorcerer, no longer able to control the ominous powers it has summoned from the netherworld. Today, in an age spawning the likes of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, our society has never before been governed by so many conjuring tricks, with collusions and conspiracies, fake news and endless sleights of the economic and political hand. And yet, contends Andy Merrifield, as our modern lives become ever more mist-enveloped, the works of Marx can help us penetrate the fog. In Marx, Dead and Alive—a book that begins and ends beside Marx’s recently violated London graveside—Merrifield makes a spirited case for a critical thinker who can still offer people a route toward personal and social authenticity. | more…

Socialist Register 2021: Beyond Digital Capitalism: New Ways of Living

Forthcoming in December 2020

Every year since 1964, the Socialist Register has offered a fascinating survey of movements and ideas from the independent new left. This year’s edition asks readers to explore just how we need to live with new technologies. Essays in this 57th Socialist Register reveal the contradictions and dislocations of technological change in the twenty-first century. And they explore alternative ways of living: from artificial intelligence (AI) to the arts, from transportation to fashion, from environmental science to economic planning. | more…

The Dawning of the Apocalypse: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy, Settler Colonialism, and Capitalism in the Long Sixteenth Century

The Dawning of the Apocalypse: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy, Settler Colonialism, and Capitalism in the Long Sixteenth Century

August 2019 saw numerous commemorations of the year 1619, when what was said to be the first arrival of enslaved Africans occurred in North America. Yet in the 1520s, the Spanish, from their imperial perch in Santo Domingo, had already brought enslaved Africans to what was to become South Carolina. The enslaved people here quickly defected to local Indigenous populations, and compelled their captors to flee. Deploying illuminating research, The Dawning of the Apocalypse is a riveting revision of the “creation myth” of settler colonialism and how the United States was formed. Here, Gerald Horne argues forcefully that, in order to understand the arrival of colonists from the British Isles in the early seventeenth century, one must first understand the “long sixteenth century”—from 1492 until the arrival of settlers in Virginia in 1607. | more…

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

German Deunification

Gerhard Schršder, Angela Merkel, and the Liberal Roots of German Neofascism

In 2021, Angela Merkel’s fourth and last term as the chancellor of Germany will end. To understand Merkel’s domestic and foreign policy, one must understand the country she inherited. She came to power in 2005 following the first center-left government since 1982, the government of Gerhard Schröder, and was in the fortunate position of becoming chancellor after a coalition government of social democrats and Greens had done the devil’s bidding of implementing very unpopular neoliberal policies to the sole benefit of German capital and the rich. | more…

The Return of Nature: Socialism and Ecology

Twenty years ago, John Bellamy Foster’s Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature introduced a new understanding of Karl Marx’s revolutionary ecological materialism. More than simply a study of Marx, it commenced an intellectual and social history, encompassing thinkers from Epicurus to Darwin, who developed materialist and ecological ideas. Now, with The Return of Nature: Socialism and Ecology, Foster continues this narrative. In so doing, he uncovers a long history of efforts to unite issues of social justice and environmental sustainability that will help us comprehend and counter today’s unprecedented planetary emergencies. | more…

Red cockerel, "Forward Ever, Backward Never": Convention People's Party logo and slogan

Postcolonial Reconstruction in Ghana, 1952–66

In 1952, the West African nation of Ghana, recently having freed itself from British imperialism, set out on a project of radical economic reconstruction unmatched anywhere on the continent in scope and ambition. Having attained political independence with the creation of a sovereign parliament and executive office, the Convention People’s Party under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah drew up extensive plans for ensuring the conditions necessary for real, not just on-paper, independence. | more…

Tractor factory in the Soviet Union in 1972

Crisis of Socialism and Effects of Capitalist Restoration

The main criticism leveled at the socialist economies was that a planned economy was inherently less efficient than a market one, due to the sheer scale of the bureaucratic task involved with planning a major economy. But the collapse of the Soviet and later the Russian economy under Mikhail Gorbachev and then Boris Yeltsin was an economic disaster that was otherwise unprecedented during times of peace. The world’s second superpower was reduced to the status of a minor bankrupt economy with a huge decline in industrial production and in living standards. | more…

Hyman Minsky

Hyman Minsky at 100: Was Minsky a Communist?

Since the Great Financial Crisis of 2007–09, Hyman Minsky (1919–96) has been widely recognized as one of the late twentieth century’s most insightful economic theorists. Nevertheless, if Minsky had still been alive at the time of the Great Financial Crisis, there would have been little likelihood that his new-found reputation would have resulted in his receiving the Nobel Prize in Economics given his heterodox and socialist economic views. | more…

Evald Ilyenkov

On the Coincidence of Logic with Dialectics and the Theory of Knowledge of Materialism

In this reprint of “On the Coincidence of Logic with Dialectics and the Theory of Knowledge of Materialism,” Evald Ilyenkov discusses the idea of the coincidence of dialectics, logics, and theory of knowledge—one of the hallmarks of the Ilyenkovian current in post-Stalin Soviet philosophy. Ilyenkov was a renowned and controversial Soviet Marxist philosopher who contributed substantially to the Marx Renaissance that emerged in the so-called Thaw Period, aiming to reconstruct Marx’s original methodology. He was known as an ardent critic of technocratic tendencies in the Soviet Union and stressed that socialist society should express humanist values and not merely be an engineering project. | more…

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