Tag: Karl Marx

The return of Karl Marx

Original article, by Fred Weston, via In Defense of Marxism:

Articles have appeared recently in newspapers and websites around the world highlighting the fact that sales of Marx’s books over the past year have risen sharply in East Germany, particularly among young people. It is worth quoting just a few of these articles.

Boom and Bust, from a Notable Economist

While many of us find ourselves swallowed up by the panic stimulated by 24-hour news cable services and the dying daily press, when we consider the current credit crunch and threats of doomsday, it is important to get some perspective on what is really happening.

History provides us that perspective. The following description of the famous economic panic that followed the collapse of the speculative bubble that surrounded railway expansion in Britain in the mid-nineteenth century presents an illustrative example.

The economist writing here looked back at this famous economic collapse and drew some serious conclusions. The parallels between then and now are striking, even if “then” was over 150 years ago (emphases added):

Lenin’s Chickens Roost in Paulson’s Attic

Another reason why the omnipotence of “wealth” is more certain in a democratic republic is that it does not depend on defects in the political machinery or on the faulty political shell of capitalism. A democratic republic is the best possible political shell for capitalism, and, therefore, once capital has gained possession of this very best shell…, it establishes its power so securely, so firmly, that no change of persons, institutions or parties in the bourgeois-democratic republic can shake it. — Lenin, State and Revolution

The cascade of financial failures on Wall Street — the sure result of a decade or more of unregulated, unrestrained capitalist speculation — has shaken the world capitalist system with a sudden, shuddering spasm  of fear. But with fear comes opportunity, and the ruling elite now sees an opportunity to cast off the shackles of messy public oversight and control entirely.

If one were looking for the utmost in financial irresponsibility, allowing the system to implode/explode, paving the way for socialist revolution (or failing that, a fall into post-Roman-Empire-like darkness), then you’d put Bush and his cronies, like Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, in charge of a supposed “bailout” plan for Wall Street. That’s because the Bush-Paulson plan, by turning over unrestricted control of nearly a trillion dollars of a running tab, while handing the gargantuan bill over to an already deficit-weary taxpayer, will totally eviscerate the public sector of the economy, and pave the way for the complete impoverishment of the wide spectrum of the society. (Naomi Klein has described this process accurately in her widely-read book, The Shock Doctrine.)

The Communist Manifesto: A Challenge is Placed!

So, I wondered over to socialistworker.org this morning looking to see if anything interesting was up, and lo and behold, there was!

IN THIS first installment in a series on the classics of the socialist tradition, TODD CHRETIEN offers you a bet about the Communist Manifesto you shouldn’t refuse.

Critical Theory for the 21st Century: Alf Hornborg’s The Power of the Machine

This is a review of Alf Hornborg’s The Power of the Machine, a book by a professional anthropologist offering a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary critique of our global society.

The review is in four parts: the first part is an introduction to critical theory, the second part will detail Hornborg’s main concern, which is that we are trapped in a “fetish” of economic “machines,” and that this is why we keep offering “technological” and “capitalist” solutions to problems like abrupt climate change.  The third part is a short critique of his central concept, “machine fetishism,” and the conclusion will summarize the book chapter by chapter.

(crossposted at Big Orange)

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