Library

Sects and Vanguards In Labor Movement - Jonathan Ayres (1939)

The publication, in English translation, of Martov's essays on the State and the socialist revolution has thrown into a dither the Right and Left "Communist Oppositions," which, after a series of changes of name and false whiskers, are doing business locally under the guises of an "independent labor league" and a "socialist workers' party." Martov is found to be especially dangerous fare for the followers of these two sets of self-styled saviors of the working class.

The Meaning of Bank Deposits - Edwin Cannan (1921)

I HOPE I am not succumbing to the fashion of supposing a golden age in the past, but I cannot help thinking that the nature and functions of deposit banking were much better understood forty years ago than they are now. We had not then become convinced that nothing in economics can be both simple and true, and the young were taught that the theory of deposit banking was very simple.

The Agrarian Origin of Capitalism - Darren Poynton (2011)

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.

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

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”.

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

Marx and Engels and the 'Collapse' of Capitalism - John Crump (1969)

In 1786, three years before the outbreak of the French Revolution, Gracchus Babeuf wrote:
 
"The majority is always on the side of routine and immobility, so much is it unenlightened, encrusted, apathetic . . . Those who do not want to move forward are the enemies of those who do, and unhappily it is the mass which persists stubbornly in never budging at all."
 
The events of 1789 disproved his gloomy predictions but, by the time Babeuf became prominent, the reaction was already setting in.

Rosa Luxemburg and the Collapse of Capitalism - John Crump (1969)

Fifty years ago on 6th January began the hopeless Spartakist rising against the Social Democrat government of Germany. It led to the brutal murder of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, two well-known and courageous opponents of the first world slaughter. Luxemburg, as an opponent of both reformism and Bolshevism who understood the worldwide and democratic nature of socialism, had views on many subjects near to those of the Socialist Party of Great Britain. However, there were certain basic differences between our views and hers.

The Futility of Reformism (exert) - Samuel Leight (1984)

Taxation is a dominating, reformist activity generating an inferred assumption that it possesses similar economic consequences for both the capitalist and working classes, varying only in degree. The socialist attitude contradicts this inference and asserts that the burden of taxation is borne by the capitalist class, that the whole question has become a misleading, dangerous red herring diverting working class away from their true interests.

Human Nature and Morality - Socialist Standard (1989)

After Marx died there grew up a legend that his theory of social causation was too narrowly mechanistic to provide accommodation for any sort of ethics. No doubt Marx, in combating the sentimental "moralising" of certain utopian contemporaries who called themselves "the True Socialists", had leaned so far backward as to give semblance if not substance for fathering on him views whose alleged paternity he would have disclairned.

The Revolution that Wasn’t - Pieter Lawrence (2008)

What might have happened if, forty years ago, workers in France had taken over the factories and tried to keep production going.

1968 saw an outbreak of protest in various parts of the World. Much of it was very violent and the main thrust of this protest was in France and in America, where a longer-term campaign was being pursued. To a lesser extent, again, some of them very violent, demonstrations took place in Germany and in this country.

Conversation With a Hairdresser’s Assistant - Wilhelm Reich (1935)

In the 1930s Wilhelm Reich, perhaps best known as the author of The Sexual Revolution, developed the theory that it was possible to explain the basic concepts of Marxian economics without employing complicated economic terms and arguments. As an example of his attempt at this, we publish below, for the first time in English translation, an article he wrote in 1935 under his pseudonym of Ernst Parell for the Zeitschrift für politische Psychologie und Sexualökonomie (vol 2, No 1) he published in exile in Denmark.

Assistant: Style or a simple haircut?

The Thin Red Line: Non-Market Socialism in the Twentieth Century - John Crump (1987)

To find a coherent set of ideas which are subversive of capitalism, and which do offer an alternative to production for the world market, one must turn to the 'thin red line' represented by … anarcho-communism; impossibilism; council communism; Bordigism; situationism… …there is a basic set of socialist principles which these currents share. Initially, four such principles can be identified. The currents of non-market socialism are all committed to establishing a new society where: (1) Production will be for use, and not for sale on the market. (2) Distribution will be according to need, and not by means of buying and selling. (3) Labour will be voluntary, and not imposed on workers by means of a coercive wages system. (4) A human community will exist, and social divisions based on class, nationality, sex or race will have disappeared. Let us clarify these four principles for those readers who may not immediately grasp all their ramifications.

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