In this two-part article, Ben Curry explains the development of scientific thought from a Marxist perspective. In part one, Ben introduces the dialectical materialist outlook, explains how it applies to the natural world and demonstrates how the ancient philosophers of Greece and Rome laid the foundations for modern science.
Calling to mind the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland, US President Donald Trump tweets no fewer than six impossible things before breakfast. But what we are living through is not impossible, and it is not a dream. This is the living reality of capitalism a century after it became an absolute fetter on human progress. Trump is merely the personification of this chaos and instability.
Mass protests erupted last Friday (6 July) across Haiti to oppose the government’s plan to cut fuel subsidies. President Jovenel Moïse at first appeared prepared to push ahead regardless of the protests, but with the demonstrations growing in size and scope, the government backed down on Saturday and announced a temporary suspension of the price hike.
Recent events in Catalonia, Scotland, Kurdistan and so on, have brought the question of national self-determination back onto the political agenda. It has become a key element in the development of the class struggle. In this recorded discussion, Fred Weston (from In Defence of Marxism) explains the Marxist approach to the national question.
Less than three weeks after she survived an ultimately toothless rebellion by her pro-European MPs, Theresa May has embarked on a collision course with the hard-Brexit-wing of her party, provoking the deepest crisis her government has faced since last year’s general election.
Along with the renewed discussion in Britain around renationalisation (a policy promised by the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn), the idea of workers’ control and workers’ management has re-emerged. Indeed, John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has said that renationalised companies should not be run like they were in the past, but should instead be run under workers’ control.
This article was written on 10 May, prior to Andres Manuel Lopez Obrado (AMLO)'s election as President of Mexico. However, we think it is still relevant after the Mexican elections as it reveals the brewing conflict between AMLO and the Mexican ruling class.
It wasn’t long ago that Germany was considered one of the few countries with a stable political situation. On the surface at least, with high economic growth and a dominant position within Europe, everything seemed to be going well for the German ruling class. However, this stability is turning into its opposite.
Nicaragua has entered a convulsive process. The profound contradictions of capitalist society are spontaneously surfacing and expressing themselves, and in the absence of revolutionary leadership, they are manifested in a confused manner.
It was not supposed to happen. Incumbent New York Congressman Joe Crowley—the head of the Queens County Democratic Party machine, slated to replace Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, should the Democrats retake the majority—was soundly defeated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old activist who identifies as a socialist and is a member of DSA.
Yesterday, on 2 July, there was massive participation in the Mexican general elections, in which there were 18,229 public positions at stake. However, by far the most important was the presidency. With more than 89 million voters registered, the level of participation – according to the available data – was one of the highest in the history of Mexico.
Lenin once wrote an article entitled Combustible Material in World Politics. But the amount of combustible material in the present world situation dwarfs anything the Bolshevik leader might have had in mind. Everywhere one looks there is instability, turbulence and convulsion: the conflict between Russia and Ukraine; the bloody Civil War in Syria; the conflict between Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia; the unresolved question of Palestine; and the long-drawn-out and equally unresolved war in Afghanistan.
On Sunday 24 June, Turkish voters were called to the polls by President Recep Erdogan to confirm his rule. With 52.6 percent of the total votes, Erdogan was re-elected as president of Turkey in the first round.
Italy’s public debt stands at a staggering €2.3tn, or 132 percent of GDP: the third largest in the world after Japan and Greece. Furthermore, Italy’s banks hold the largest share of Europe's non-performing loans, totalling €224bn. Unlike Greece, which is a relatively small player in Europe, Italy has the third-largest economy in the Eurozone, contributing more than 15 percent of its overall GDP. Italy has now become a huge risk to the financial stability of the whole of the European Union.
The British National Health Service (NHS) turns 70-years-old this year, on 5 July. Festivities are planned across the country to celebrate perhaps the greatest achievement of the 1945 post-war Labour government. And rightly so. The NHS continues to provide care free at the point of delivery. It is, in essence, the embodiment of a socialist approach to healthcare: free and universal.
In the latest episode of IMTV – the International Marxist Television channel, hosted by our British section, Socialist Appeal – our guests look back over a busy year for student and labour activists on UK campuses. Earlier this year we saw the largest ever strike by academic staff in the University and Colleges Union (UCU), who took action over cuts to pensions.
The current crisis of capitalism has had huge consequences for ordinary people, with dramatic falls in living standards, increased job losses and severe welfare cuts. Working-class women are being particularly hard hit by this crisis, facing stagnating wages in already low-paid jobs and often having to bear the brunt of austerity cuts to public services and welfare. Since 2010, 86 percent of Tory cuts in Britain have been targeted at jobs and services that are dominated by women.
Earlier this year, the Trump administration laid out its proposed 2019 budget. Although it sets out increased spending to address the national opioid epidemic, it includes drastic cuts to national public assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, and Section 8 public housing. This will strike a major blow at millions of families whose main source of security is through Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) and other forms of public assistance. Given the stricter eligibility guidelines and $213bn in cuts over the next ten years—30 percent of current levels—some four million Americans will immediately lose access to SNAP benefits.
We republish Leon Trotsky's 1938 pamphlet, Their Morals and Ours. Written while Trotsky was in exile in Mexico, the pamphlet answers critics of the Russian Revolution, who smeared the Bolsheviks as "amoral". Trotsky argues that morality is not fixed but reflects class interests in society. So-called common sense and "elementary moral precepts" against violence, for example, in reality serve the interests of the ruling class. Revolutionary morality – including the use of violence in class struggle – is determined by whatever advances the cause of the proletariat, and thus the liberation of humanity.
After days of fraught negotiations, Theresa May survived a crunch Brexit vote in the House of Commons on 20 June, which had threatened to bring the simmering civil war in her party to a head. But this most recent compromise will only prepare an even deeper political crisis in future.