The Role of the Soviets in Russia's Bourgeois Revolution: The Point of View of Julius Martov - Adam Buick (1976)

julius martov

The basic principle defended by Marx throughout his forty years of socialist activity can be summed up in the clause of the General Rules of the First International that "the emancipation of the working class must be conquered by the working classes themselves". This is a rejection of the view that socialism can be introduced for the working class or that the working class can be led to socialism by some enlightened minority.

Those who set themselves up as leaders of the working class fall into two groups. First, there are the parliamentary reformists who tell the workers: "vote for us and we will introduce socialism for you". And then there are the various "vanguards" who see themselves leading the workers in a violent assault on the capitalist state. Both groups, despite being bitter antagonists, share a common standpoint: a denial that the majority of workers are capable of understanding and of organising themselves, without leaders, in order to achieve it.

The Agrarian Origin of Capitalism - Darren Poynton (2011)

Jean-Francois Millet "Peasant Digging"

The transition from feudalism to capitalism is often viewed as the result of a gradual and rising progress of technology, urbanisation, science and trade - inevitable because humans have always possessed ‘the propensity to truck, barter and exchange’ (Adam Smith). However, as I hope to demonstrate, the rise of capitalism depended on very specific and localised conditions and was the result of a process that was far from automatic.

Free Work Versus Forced Employment - Socialist Standard (1998)

Migrant worker in China

Why do you go to work? Is it because you enjoy what you do? Did you choose to work at what you do in the way you do? Would you do your job were it not for the money?

Revolutionary Self-Theory : A Beginners' Manual - Anon (1985)

Spiderman comic

This booklet is for people who are dissatisfied with their lives. If you are happy with your present existence, we have no argument with you. However, if you are tired of waiting for your life to change...

Tired of waiting for authentic community, love and adventure...
Tired of waiting for the end of money and forced work...
Tired of looking for new pastimes to pass the time...
Tired of waiting for a lush, rich existence... Tired of waiting for a situation in which you can realise all your desires...
Tired of waiting for the end of all authorities, alienations, ideologies and moralities...

...then we think you'll find what follows to be quite handy.

The Legend of Marx, or “Engels the founder” - Maximilien Rubel (1970)

The grave of Karl Marx, Highgate cemetary

Note from the author

In May 1970, upon the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Friedrich Engels, the town of Wuppertal had organised an international scientific conference. This occasion brought together around 50 specialists from more than 10 European countries, as well as Israel and the United States whose task was to take stock of modern research on the thought of he who is universally taken to be, alongside his friend Karl Marx, one of the founders of “Marxism”.

Marx, Theoretician of Anarchism - Maximilien Rubel (1973)

Frans Masereel - Die Stadt

Marx has been badly served by disciples who have succeeded neither in assessing the limits of his theory nor in determining its standards and field of application and has ended up by taking on the role of some mythical giant, a symbol of the omniscience and omnipotence of homo faber, maker of his own destiny.

The history of the School remains to be written, but at least we know how it came into being: Marxism, as the codification of a misunderstood and misinterpreted body of thought, was born and developed at a time when Marx’s work was not yet available in its entirely and when important parts of it remained unpublished. Thus, the triumph of Marxism as a State doctrine and Party ideology preceded by several decades the publication of the writings where Marx set out most clearly and completely the scientific basis and ethical purpose of his social theory. That great upheavals took place which invoked a body of thought whose major principles were unknown to the protagonists in the drama of history should have been enough to show that Marxism was the greatest, if not the most tragic, misunderstanding of the century. But at the same time this allows us to appreciate the significance of the theory held by Marx that it is not revolutionary ideas or moral principles which bring about changes in society, but rather human and material forces; that ideas and ideologies very often serve only to disguise the interest of the class in whose interests the upheavals take place. Political Marxism cannot appeal to Marx’s science and at the same time escape the critical analysis which that science uses to unmask the ideologies of power and exploitation.

Why Capitalism Will Not Collapse : Our View of the Crisis - Edgar Hardcastle (SPGB) (1932)

edgar hardcastle

We are in the midst of a crisis that is world-wide. Every country feels its ravages. Millions and millions of workers are unemployed and in acute poverty. Everywhere there is discontent and a feeling of insecurity, and the prestige of even the strongest of governments has been shaken. All sorts of emergency measures have been hastily adopted, but the depression still continues. Working men and women who normally ignore such questions, are now asking why the crisis has occurred, what will be its outcome, and whether it could have been avoided. In some minds there is a fear, and in others a hope, that the industrial crisis may bring the present system of society down in ruins, and make way for another.

How close was France to a socialist revolution? - John Crump (1968)

Paris May 1968

One of the most amusing reports to come out of France during the recent unrest was of one panic-stricken capitalist, convinced that his class was about to be expropriated, who loaded his car with over £1 million in cash and made a dash for the Swiss border. But his terror, ridiculous in retrospect, was matched by a corresponding euphoria in left-wing circles. Anyone accustomed to thinking along Bolshevik or anarchist lines was convinced that "a revolutionary situation" had developed and, in Britain at any rate, there were several groups declaring that the socialist revolution had started.

The Communist Club - Keith Scholey (2006)

The Communist Club (1840-1920) was essentially a political social club, primarily for German émigrés, which, under a variety of names, operated out of various central London premises during the mid to late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Most Left personages of the era had some association with the Club, but the most important was Karl Marx.