The Ideological Condition: Selected Essays on History, Race and Gender is a reader comprised of many of Himani Bannerji’s English writings over a long period of teaching and research in Canada and India. Bannerji creates an interdisciplinary analytical method and extends the possibilities of historical materialism by predominantly drawing on Marx, Gramsci, and Dorothy Smith. Essays here instantiate Marx’s general proposition that while all ideology is a form of consciousness, all forms of consciousness are not ideological. Applying this insight to issues ranging from patriarchy through race, class, nationalism, liberalism and fascism, Bannerji breaks through East-West binaries, challenging the mystifying approaches to the constitution of the social, and shows that a sustained struggle against ideological thinking is at the heart of a fundamental socialist struggle.
Is a Strong State all that it takes? The State, Coercion and Social Transformation Pangiotis Sotiris
The Dominant Political Cultures of the British State Mike Wayne
From Neoliberalism to Neostatism: Transformations in the Post-Pandemic Ideological Horizon Paolo Gerbaudo
Panagiotis Sotiris teaches for the Hellenic Open University, Greece, and is a member of the Historical Materialism Editorial Board. He is the author of numerous articles and books on Marxist theory and politics.
An important and principled academic journal dealing with the theory and practice of Marxism and socialism, Monthly Review, was established by Leo Huberman and Paul M. Sweezy in 1949, at an especially difficult time for the U.S. left-wing movement, when it was encountering attacks and slanders under the Truman Doctrine and McCarthyism. Nevertheless, Monthly Review grew and eventually became one of the world’s most influential left-wing magazines. Over seventy years, it has published articles from numerous well-known social activists including Albert Einstein, W. E. B. DuBois, Che Guevara, Barbara Ehrenreich, Noam Chomsky, and Bernie Sanders. It has also brought together and developed many renowned Marxist scholars, such as Harry Magdoff, Paul A. Baran, Ellen Meiksins Wood, Robert W. McChesney, and John Bellamy Foster. In this way, it has made an outstanding contribution to the development not only of Marxist theory in the United States, but of world socialism as well.
Colombian troops killed Jesús Santrich in Venezuela on May 17, 2021. Santrich was a leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and spokesperson for the FARC’s negotiating team during peace talks with the Colombian government that ended in 2016. In this essay from March of 2009, Santrich as political theoretician explores the interrelations of Marxist and Bolivarian thought and the effects on both of utopian longings, political feasibilities, and the reach of history.
This English language version of Santrich’s essay from is incomplete in that some segments of the author’s lengthy quotations from various sources are omitted and sections of two long descriptive commentaries are summarized rather than translated. All translation notes are bracketed in line with the text. Editorial notes are indicated as endnotes. Thanks are due to Professor John Womack for kindly reviewing this translation. Please find additional notes on the translation at the end of the essay.
—W.T. Whitney, Jr.
Dedication: In defense of utopia, as homage to Comandante Manuel Marulanda Vélez, the Insurgent hero of Bolivar’s Colombia, on the anniversary of his journey to eternity. The impossible is what we have to do, because others take care of the possible every day! (Bolivar)
Bloomsbury Academic: London and New York, 2021. 280 pp., $29.95 pb ISBN 9781350201415
Reviewed by Fouad Mami
Ever wonder how to domesticate an explosive theory while pretending you are refining it? McKenna’s The War Against Marxism elucidates such a ‘domestication-as-refining’ without falling into conspiracy theories. He carefully examines the texts of self-purported Marxists and shows in a razor-sharp analysis how the war against Marx’s methodology has been ragging in academia for almost a century now.
It is not a tautology to observe that apart from actual wars between classes and nations, there exists underneath a terrible war of ideas. Upon closer scrutiny, McKenna finds that self-professed neo-Marxists and post-Marxists have succeeded in disfiguring Marx’s ideas, rendering them both anachronistic and innocuous for the powers that be. The damage – for that is how it should be qualified according to the author – is carried out often by catapulting class struggle through several stylistic and thematic maneuvers, reifying the historical totality and rendering Marxism a purely theoretical abstraction divorced from reality.
AAEF Center for Arab Studies University of Houston | June 03, 2021
The Arab-American Educational Foundation Center for Arab Studies at the University of Houston, the Middle East Institute at Columbia University, and the Mahdi Amel Cultural Center cordially hosted a virtual symposium on Arab Marxism and National Liberation: Selected Writings of Mahdi Amel on Tuesday, May 18.
Mahdi Amel is one of the most prominent Marxist theorists to have emerged from the Arab world and the Afro-Asian arena. His selected writings are now finally available in English Translation. This symposium includes the book’s editor Dr. Hicham Safieddine (King’s College London) and its translator, Dr. Angela Giordani (Columbia University). It also features contributions by Drs. David McNally (University of Houston) and Abdel Razzaq Takriti (University of Houston), and was moderated by Dr. Mayssoun Sukarieh (King’s College London).
This paper explores how Marx conceptualised the presence of soil exhaustion within the first half of nineteenth century Ireland. It is a period of Irish history, according to Marx, that was itself divided by two stages of colonial domination. What determined soil depletion in the first period (1800-1846) were the excessive demands of the white crop rotation regime which had to operate under the social process of rackrenting. And this rental system was itself determined by the dominant position held by the colonial landowning elite. Maintaining the soil condition involved the tenantry, both peasants and cottiers, attempting to replace the traded (and therefore lost) nutrients to the Irish soil without adequate capital investments in improvements of the soil. This colonial rental regime came to its end with the occurrence of the potato blight in 1846 and the subsequent Famine.
The new emerging stage of the colonial process (1846-1867 onwards) was what Marx titled ‘Clearing the estate of Ireland’, where the landlords ‘cleared’ their estates of the small peasantry and the cottiers. And in eliminating the peasant restorers of the soil’s fertility, soil exhaustion occurred in the Post-famine period. Marx therefore highlights how the soil of the colonised can itself be colonised by that same process.
‘Man is distinguished from all other animals by the limitless and flexible nature of his needs. But it is equally true that no animal is able to restrict his needs to the same unbelievable degree as to reduce the conditions of his life to the absolute minimum. In a word, there is no animal with the same talent for ‘Irishing’ himself’ (Marx, Capital, vol.1 Appendix: 1068).
Marxism delights in navigating capitalism’s manifold contradictions—use value and exchange value, forces and relations of production, essence and appearance, wage-labour and capital—but one particular contradiction often gets neglected from this panoply: that between intellectual and manual labour.
A notable exception is Harry Braverman, whose Labor and Monopoly Capital argues for the centrality of this growing schism in the face of the post-war period’s world-economic shifts. Writing in the midst of the West’s ‘scientific-technical revolution’, Braverman insisted that the job-specific knowledge available to assembly line workers in legacy industries was not so much increasing as evaporating. He attributed this to the subordination of science to industry as well as an advanced technical division of labour, which breaks down once-skilled mechanical work into a series of rote and repetitive actions. The labouring process thus becomes streamlined: not only are wages and job training investments lowered, so too is worker autonomy.
In this two part series, Kota sits down with Gavin Walker to discuss the history of Marxism in Japan. Instead of simply narrating the facts of this history chronologically, we focus on particular theoretical and political questions that animated the Japanese communist movement before and after the Second World War.
We begin our conversation by discussing what the history of Marxism in Japan tells us about “Japan” as represented by the Eurocentric and Orientalist conception of the world, and the importance of the national question, the ways in which Marxists address issues related to nationhood, nationalism, and internationalism.Read More »