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Workers at a mine in Knockmahon, County Waterford, Ireland in 1906

The Rift of Éire

Karl Marx’s (and Frederick Engels’s) analysis of nineteenth-century Irish history revealed what is referred to as “the rift of Éire” in the colonial period. Indeed, it is in relation to the analysis of the systematic disruption of the Irish environment that Marx’s ecological inquiries can be seen as taking on a concrete and developed form, encompassing the ecological as well as economic robbery that characterized the Irish colonial regime. | more…

Tractor factory in the Soviet Union in 1972

Crisis of Socialism and Effects of Capitalist Restoration

This article will be released in full online April 13, 2020.

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…

Democracy, Planning, and Big Data

Democracy, Planning, and Big Data

A Socialism for the Twenty-First Century?

This article will be released in full online April 20, 2020.

Starting in the late 1960s, the development of the productive forces of society entered a new stage: the Information Revolution, an era focused on the application of information theories such as cybernetics combined with advances in computer technology and digital communication networks, culminating in the Internet. Under capitalist conditions, this has already resulted in a knowledge economy, but the social, auto-regulatory possibilities it opens up are bound to be incompatible with the private appropriation characteristic of capitalism. | more…

Health Care Under the Knife Moving Beyond Capitalism for Our Health

Health Care for Profit (Not Health)

A Sick System

This article will be released in full online April 27, 2020.

Health Care Under the Knife, a collection of essays under the editorship of Howard Waitzkin, presents a vigorous critique of health within the context of capitalism, examining the extent to which the economy and its relations of production determine how health is socially distributed, the conditions of medical practice, and the structural organization of health systems. Rather than considering health as primarily a biomedical phenomenon and health systems as autonomous institutions, the volume recognizes the intricate fundamental relationship between health and the wider political, economic, and sociological context. | more…

Leszek Kolakowski and Henri Lefebvre at a conference in the Netherlands on March 9, 1971

Mystified Consciousness

The great French Marxist Henri Lefebvre authored sixty-eight books, since translated into thirty languages, making brilliant analyses on dialectics and alienation, everyday life and urbanism, ecology and citizenship. Yet, his La conscience mystifiée(Mystified Consciousness), published in 1936, has seemingly been forgotten in every language, largely ignored everywhere. Though it may well be his most enduring political tract, it was his most prescient thesis for understanding the human condition in the twenty-first century. | more…

Powers of Desire: The Politics of Sexuality

Sex and Socialism

While later generations of Marxian scientific socialists saw sex as secondary, derivative of the real relationships of production, many of the earliest socialist theorists and movements took sexual matters very seriously. Thus, in many ways, the advent of Marxian socialism represented something of a step backward in the development of a radical sexual politics. However, in the twentieth century, old divisions on the sex question within the left soon reappeared. | more…

In the Red Corner

The Life of José Carlos Mariátegui

Mike Gonzalez’s new biography of JosŽ Carlos Mari‡tegui is an important attempt to introduce the Peruvian socialist to an English-speaking audience. It constitutes not so much a rediscovery of Mari‡tegui, but is itself part of a slow but steady embrace of a novel and innovative thinker broadly credited with the creation of a Latin American Marxism. | more…

Radical Seattle: The General Strike of 1919

Radical Seattle: The General Strike of 1919

On a grey winter morning in Seattle, in February 1919, 110 local unions shut down the entire city. Shut it down and took it over, rendering the authorities helpless. For five days, workers from all trades and sectors – streetcar drivers, telephone operators, musicians, miners, loggers, shipyard workers – fed the people, ensured that babies had milk, that the sick were cared for. They did this with without police – and they kept the peace themselves. This had never happened before in the United States and has not happened since. Those five days became known as the General Strike of Seattle. | more…

How the World Works: The Story of Human Labor from Prehistory to the Modern Day

Few authors are able to write cogently in both the scientific and the economic spheres. Even fewer possess the intellectual scope needed to address science and economics at a macro as well as a micro level. But Paul Cockshott, using the dual lenses of Marxist economics and technological advance, has managed to pull off a stunningly acute critical perspective of human history, from pre-agricultural societies to the present. In How the World Works, Cockshott connects scientific, economic, and societal strands to produce a sweeping and detailed work of historical analysis. This book will astound readers of all backgrounds and ages; it will also will engage scholars of history, science, and economics for years to come. | more…

A Woman's Work Is Never Done

Liberating Women from “Political Economy”

Margaret Benston's Marxism and a Social-Reproduction Approach to Gender Oppression

There is an unresolved tension at the heart of Marxist explanations for women’s oppression under capitalism. Although there is general agreement that the bourgeois family, as the dominant kinship unit, has something to do with generating and reproducing that oppression, the exact role of the family varies among Marxists. In this respect, Margaret Benston’s proposal to situate domestic labor within capitalist production was truly pioneering. Rather than record and describe domestic work, Benston theorized this labor and laid the basis for later feminists to apprehend the production of commodities and the reproduction of labor power within a unitary framework. | more…