During a recent discussion of Marxism and ecology, a friend asked,
If metabolism and metabolic rift were important concepts for Marx and Engels, why did Marxists take so long to realize it? Why were their views on those subjects overlooked until the end of the twentieth century?
There are three answers to that question.
The first and most important explanation was offered by Rosa Luxemburg in 1903. Marx’s work was so wide-ranging and ahead of its time, she wrote, that aspects of it are not recognized as important until the actual class struggle catches with him. Often, “our needs are not yet adequate for the utilization of Marx’s ideas.” When new circumstances arise, then, for “the solution of new practical problems … we dip into the treasury of Marx’s thought, in order to extract therefrom and to utilize new fragments of his doctrine.”(1)Read More »
Meet Karl Marx. This is not only a wreath and a silent tribute before Marx’s grave in London’s Highgate cemetery. For students in Nanjing University, east China’s Jiangsu Province, it is a vivid talk, accompanied to music, drawing on the life experiences and current affairs taking place in modern China.Read More »
To honor Karl Marx’s birthday, artist Ottmar Hörl set 500 of these sculptures up throughout the philosopher’s hometown of Trier, a city in western Germany. The different shades are reportedly meant to suggest that Marxism can be interpreted in more than one way. | DPA via AP
Marx is back. For his 200th birthday, the socialist revolutionary’s bearded image is popping up everywhere. Books, seminars, and conferences devoted to his legacy and enduring relevance abound across the capitalist world—from Brooklyn to London to Berlin—as well as in the countries which still declare their loyalty to his communist ideals.Read More »
This is Episode 2 in a five-part series on ‘K is for Karl’: Episodes; 1, others coming soon
In the second episode of K is for Karl, Paul Mason visits the places and influences around London which contributed to Marx’s writing of the Communist Manifesto. The year is 1847. Then, as now, London was the financial capital of the world. Here, Karl Marx set out to write a document that still has the power to inspire people and terrify the elite… the Communist Manifesto.Read More »
This is Episode 1 in a five-part series on ‘K is for Karl’: Episodes 2, others coming soon
In the first of a series of five short films, British journalist and filmmaker Paul Mason searches for the roots of Marx’s thinking in Berlin, where he began his university studies in 1836. “For Marx, alienation doesn’t just mean we get depressed, we hate our jobs, or that we feel bad about the world. It means we’re constantly using our creative powers in the wrong way. We make things, but the things we make – machines, states, religions, rules – end up controlling us.”Read More »
The following interview with Fred Engst was conducted by Onurcan Ülker (bios beneath interview) on April 7, 2017 in Beijing. It was originally published by Research Unit for Political Economy (RUPE) on January 19, 2018 under the same title. The present version has been edited and reformatted. As the RUPE editors noted in their original introduction, the Engst interview “provides very significant insights into the building of socialism in China on the basis of both direct experience and deep reflection.” Indeed, like other correctives we have published, Engst also strongly contradicts critiques of Mao that have become dominant. We were particularly impressed with the section, “The real ‘Chinese miracle’ was socialism,” in which Engst argues persuasively against the claim that economic growth was feeble in comparison to Post-Mao Era. With straightforward statistical comparison and a clear critique of the use of “retro-computed GDP” by contemporary scholars, Engst shows that “The economic base built in Mao’s era laid the foundation for a sovereign capitalist development.” —Eds.
A review of Jason W Moore, Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital (Verso, 2015), £19.99
Jason W Moore’s Capitalism in the Web of Life sets itself the challenge of locating an account of capitalist commodity production inspired by Karl Marx within the biological, chemical and geological totality we normally call “nature”. The ambition of the book is therefore immense. Moore proposes a method for understanding world history that shows how economic development is connected to “long-wave” ecological transformations. At a time when humanity faces profound and simultaneous ecological and economic crises, Moore proposes a kind of meta-theory that explains them as the outcomes of a single logic.