Marxist theory

Marx, alienation and the working class

Lachlan Marshall examines Karl Marx’s 1844 Manuscripts, where he analysed the alienation of working class life in the developing factory system

The Paris Commune 150 years on—when workers stormed heaven

Peter Robinson explains the achievements of the Paris Commune of 1871 and its vital lessons about what a workers’ government would look like

Fascism is more than a racist movement

More than simply hard right or viciously racist, we must grasp that fascism has specific characteristics, says Tomáš Tengely-Evans

The revolutionary ideas of Friedrich Engels—200 years on

Adam Adelpour looks at the important contribution Marx's collaborator Friedrich Engels made to the development of Marxist ideas, 200 years on from his birth

Nationalism—obscuring the class divide

Workers in Australia have more in common with workers around the world than they do with the Australian ruling class, writes Raul Haagensen

Forging unity in struggle

The Communist International, founded 100 years ago, was the scene of rich debates about how socialists can work in common struggle with other parties, writes Lachlan Marshall The Liberals’ re-election poses...

Iran 1979: an opportunity squandered

Forty years ago protests in Iran rolled over into a revolution. John Rose tells a tale of huge potential brutally suppressed.

Why capitalism fails and the alternative

Adam Adelpour explains how tackling the rise of racism and the far right, the threat of climate change and growing inequality requires a fight against the system itself Political chaos...

Rosa Luxemburg—a fighter for revolution

Rosa Luxemburg defended the need for revolution to end the horrors of capitalism, and her ideas were tragically confirmed by the outbreak of world war, argues Sadie Robinson

Marx’s most revolutionary idea

Karl Marx’s most important insight was the potential role of the working class to overturn capitalism and build a new kind of society, writes David Glanz

Stalin’s imperialism in Eastern Europe

Those who side with Russia against the US today are making the same mistake some on the left did during the Cold War, writes Lachlan Marshall

Lenin’s theory of the party

Lenin’s view on the need for a revolutionary party was a product of the experience of the greatest wave of struggles against capitalism so far in history, writes James Supple

Rosa Luxemburg: Reform or revolution?

Daniel Cotton looks at Rosa Luxemburg’s famous pamphlet Reform or Revolution, first published in 1900

Inequality and the class divide

It’s widely acknowledged that inequality is growing. Behind this is the enormous wealth and power of a tiny minority—the capitalist ruling class, argues Miro Sandev

Stalinism in Russia: the rise of a new ruling class

Some of the left are still nostalgic about Stalin’s Russia, yet it was a brutal capitalist regime locked in competition with the West, writes Tom Orsag

Class, Power and Revolution—Anarchism or Marxism?

Anarchists and socialists share a common aim, but anarchism’s rejection of leadership, party organisation and the need for a workers’ state doom it to failure, writes Caitlin Doyle

Lessons of the Paris Commune

In 1871 workers took power in Paris. Their actions taught Karl Marx about the need to dismantle the existing state in order to bring about socialism writes Tom Fiebig

Who were the utopian socialists?

We continue our series on Marxist classics as James Supple looks at Friedrich Engels’ Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

The Communist Manifesto: Marx’s handbook for revolution

The Communist Manifesto remains among the best introductions to Marx’s analysis of capitalism, and why workers’ struggles hold the key to smashing it, writes Vivian Honan

Marxist classics: Wages, price and profit

Daniel Cotton looks at Marx’s 1865 pamphlet Wages, price and profit, explaining where profit comes from and its relationship to wages and the prices of commodities

Robert Mugabe—from anti-colonial hero to dictator

Charlie Kimber looks at Mugabe’s move from leading the struggle against British colonial rule to authoritarianism and compromise with imperialism

Stalin: embodiment of the counter-revolution

After the ravages of foreign invasion and civil war, Stalin led a counter-revolution in Russia that installed a new class in power and betrayed the ideals of 1917, writes Tom Fiebig

Lenin: Organising for revolution

The October Revolution is the only time so far in history where workers have taken power. This could not have happened with Lenin and the Bolshevik Party, writes Esme Choonara

Russia 1917: Why did ‘soviets’ matter?

The October revolution of 1917 in Russia saw the soviets take power. What were the soviets and how did they work?

The 1945 Saigon uprising: Workers and anti-imperialism in Vietnam

When France returned as a colonial power to Vietnam in 1945, the Vietminh were determined to hold back social revolution, writes Mark Goudkamp

What is class in the 21st century?

Apparent changes to the way we work can make it seem as if the working class no longer exists. But Joseph Choonara argues that we still have the potential to change the world

The Bolsheviks and the July Days

By July 1917, workers and soldiers in Petrograd were desperate to seize power. The Bolsheviks’ decision to hold back the uprising averted disaster, explains Sophie Joo

How revolution in Russia liberated women

The 1917 revolution put great effort into freeing women from domestic drudgery and giving them a leading role in the unfolding political struggle, writes Caitlin Doyle

The April Theses: Lenin rearms the Bolshevik Party

Lenin’s April Theses argued that a second, socialist revolution was possible in Russia and re-oriented the Bolshevik Party to the fight for workers’ power explains Michael Douglas

Russia’s 1917 revolution: When workers took power

The October revolution is derided by establishment figures. But it saw workers overthrow capitalism and establish real democratic control of society, writes David Glanz

What do we mean by socialism?

Sophie Joo explains what’s wrong with capitalism and why we need a socialist alternative

Unity against racism: American Communists and the black struggle

The American Communist Party's work in the 1930s showed how it is possible to win white workers to the fight against racist oppression, argues Adam Adelpour.

Nationalism and the end of White Australia

Although Australian nationalism has changed to try to incorporate a multiracial nation, the culture of White Australia remains dominant, argues James Supple

1936 and the occupation of the factories: How workers’ unity set France on fire

Workers’ unity was able to defeat fascism and take control of the factories, but a Left government made sure France’s 1936 movement was derailed, writes Feiyi Zhang

Can planning replace the market

Solidarity looks at how a socialist planned economy that puts the needs of people and planet first could work

No matter who wins the election: It’s the rich who rule

The rich run society in the interest of profit—and we can’t vote them out come July, explains James Supple

Unions and the 1926 British general strike

Ninety years on, Vivian Honan discusses the 1926 general strike, and how faith in left-wing union officials produced a devastating setback

Can the state be on our side?

Solidarity looks at the role of the state under capitalism

Can socialism end oppression?

Solidarity restarts our series on common questions about socialism

The original egalitarian societies: What human history tells us about human nature

For the bulk of our existence, humans have lived in egalitarian societies, argues Caitlin Doyle-Markwick, showing that a society based on competition and greed is not inevitable.

Slavery and the origins of racism

Feiyi Zhang argues that racism is a modern phenomenon, a product of capitalism and the trans-Atlantic slave trade

Is the working class still a force for change?

Mark Gillespie looks at the changing nature of the economy and whether this means the working class is disappearing

Populism, anti-politics and the left

Anti-political movements and new left parties like Podemos and Syriza are only inconsistent opponents of the system, writes James Supple

Karl Marx and the First International

Christian Høgsbjerg shows how Karl Marx made a vital contribution to found the first international workers’ organisation and how he fought to ensure its militant trajectory.

Rosa Luxemburg and opposition to WWI: 100 years since the Junius pamphlet

Paddy Gibson continues our series on resistance to the First World War by looking at Rosa Luxemburg’s famous anti-war pamphlet

Syriza’s challenge to austerity in Greece

Alex Callinicos looks at the challenges facing Greece’s new left government—and the ideas behind its strategy

The Second International: Movement that failed to prevent war

Eliot Hoving looks at how the international workers’ movement pledged to resist the outbreak of the First World War

Karl Marx, crisis and capitalism

The growth of inequality and the persistence of economic crisis mean Marx’s ideas are as relevant as ever, argues James Supple

Is the left breaking through in Europe?

Electoral earthquakes have rocked one country after another across Europe. Parties that dominated the mainstream for decades are seeing their support hollowing out or collapsing.

Eastern europe and the Berlin Wall: 1989’s people power revolutions

The Eastern European regimes toppled by mass protests twenty five years ago had nothing to do with socialism, argues Victor Yang

Deciphering Marx’s Capital

Alex Callinicos’s new book Deciphering Capital argues that Karl Marx’s main work is still vital to understand how to change the world

Do revolutions always fail?

The counter-revolution in Egypt, together with the confused outcome of the upheavals in Ukraine, has revived the old argument that real popular power is impossible. John Molyneux explains why this is wrong.

Is international revolution possible?

Eliot Hoving continues our series on socialism, arguing that international revolution is both possible and necessary

How revolution ended the First World War

Revolutions across Europe ended the First World War, writes Lachlan Marshall, as the working class rose up against the rulers that had sent them to war.

Are we too selfish for socialism?

Geraldine Fela looks at the claim that the selfishness of human nature means socialism is impossible

Can workers run the world?

Erima Dall begins our series answering common questions about socialism

Why Marx was right about capitalism

Karl Marx’s ideas remain crucial to understanding capitalism and the crisis and instability across the world today.

Capitalist democracy is a system run for the rich

In our democracy the key economic decisions are not open to democratic control, but are made by CEOs and the rich, argues James Supple Disillusionment with the state of our...

Understanding the economic crisis: putting profit rates at the centre

The Failure of Capitalist Production By Andrew Kliman, Pluto Press $39.95 Since 2007 the world economy has faced its most serious crisis since the 1930s. Its ongoing failure to recover suggests...

Evolution, human nature and social change

What can human evolution tell us about human nature and the possibility of social change, asks Penny Howard THERE IS a common-sense belief that it is impossible to have a society based...

The man behind the image: Che Guevara

Everyone knows the image and almost everybody knows the name, but very few know about the  politics and the legacy. Tony Bozdagci uncovers the man behind the image The iconic...

The 1950s great Labor split: battle for control that drove Labor apart

Behind the Cold War-era split in the Labor Party were efforts by union leaders to exert control of the Labor party, writes James Supple, in our latest instalment of...

Capitalism and democracy

John Molyneux argues that while capitalism came into being with grand claims about universal freedom, democracy has had to be fought for—and is never completely secure In the 21st century...

A million votes for socialism: the story of Eugene Debs, an American radical

Amy Thomas introduces one of the key figures from the hidden history of US radicalism Barack Obama has broken the hearts of the millions of Americans who voted him into...

System error: Capitalism’s crisis and the alternative

The economic crisis is getting worse and heading our way. Solidarity looks at the roots of the crisis in the capitalist system and the socialist alternative It's been five years...

Where do profits come from?

 Jean Parker continues our series on economics by looking at labour and surplus value Profit is the motor of capitalist production, the sole reason why any commodity is produced. Without...

Marxism and anarchism

Anarchist and autonomist ideas have influenced many recent movements, including Occupy. Lachlan Marshall takes a look at a new booklet that weighs up their merits.    Review: Anarchism: A Marxist Criticism,...

Understanding the class divide: the 99 per cent versus the 1 per cent in Australia

For weeks world attention has focussed on the Occupy movement that spread from Occupy Wall Street. Across the world placards have proclaimed “we are the 99 per cent”. Every...

Bad banks, credit and the capitalist economy

Jean Parker begins a series on issues in economics by looking at credit and banking The collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers in September 2008 was the event that triggered...

Revolution and civil war in spain

Last month marked 75 years since the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. Solidarity explores the lessons of the events of 1936. On July 17, 1936 General Franco’s fascist...

Why climate action means challenging capitalism

Amy Thomas looks at why the system is unable to effectively address climate change In 2010, after two decades of scientific consensus that climate change is real and human-induced, global...

Are First World workers to blame for climate change?

Some see workers in developed countries like Australia as too bought off to be allies in the fight for climate action. Jasmine Ali shows why this isn’t the case Many...

Sylvia Pankhurst—socialism, suffrage and the sisterhood?

Lucy Honan concludes our series on revolutionary women with a look at the politics of feminism’s most famous family Just how powerful is the feminist sisterhood? Nothing captures the confusion...

Alexandra Kollontai: revolution and women’s liberation

Solidarity continues a series on the lives and struggle of revolutionary women The 1917 Russian Revolution saw women win greater political, civil and legal equality with men than in any other...

Trotsky, fascism and the united front

Trotsky’s understanding of how to fight fascism in Germany provides important lessons for us today, argues Carl Taylor The Russian revolutionary, Leon Trotsky, understood better than most the danger of...

Equal love, equal rights: rediscovering the red in the rainbow

Amy Thomas reviews Hannah Dee’s The Red in the Rainbow, an essential look at why fighting homophobia means fighting the system Since the federal election Julia Gillard has continued to...

One million job cuts show crisis in Cuban model

Cuba’s announcement in September that one million jobs in the state sector are to be cut signals a speeding up of the shift away from a completely state run...

Racism in Australia: The working class is not to blame

There is no doubt that racism has deep roots in Australian society. But where does this racism come from and how can it be pushed back? There is a widespread myth...

Polish Solidarity: Festival of the oppressed

Thirty years ago, the Polish working class rose up in struggle against the Stalinist regime and formed their own independent trade union, Solidarnosc. Solidarity looks at their experience and...

Louise Michel and the Paris Commune

 Jasmine Ali begins a Solidarity series on the lives and struggle of revolutionary women The Australian newspaper has welcomed the first female prime minister as the fulfilment of the “feminist...

Cuba: No model for socialism in the 21st century

Many see Cuban society as a model for socialism. But a look at its history presents different conclusions, argues Mark GillespieWhen President Obama moved into the White House, he...

James Connolly—socialism and the struggle for Irish independence

James Connolly insisted that socialists had to support independence for Ireland, but that workers had to lead the fight if it was to mean real liberation, writes Phil Chilton Despite...

The rise and fall of the women’s movement

  British socialist Judith Orr looks at the radical women’s liberation movement of the 1960s, and why it declined It is hard to imagine just how different the world was for women...

Socialists and the united front

As the Rudd government backs big business rather than taking action on climate change, entrenches the NT Intervention, and maintains much of the Howard agenda the need to build...

Lessons from the fight against Apartheid in South Africa

Understanding the history of the fight against Apartheid can help explain why black poverty still persists today, argues Paddy Gibson Twenty years on from Nelson Mandela’s historic release from Apartheid’s...

Defending Stalin does socialism no favours

Review: The Idea of Communism By Tariq Ali, University of Chicago Press, $22.95 More like a long pamphlet than a book, The Idea of Communism, the first of a series edited by...

Gandhi’s Salt March and the myth of non-violence

Gandhi’s celebrated strategy of non-violent protest was not responsible for winning Indian independence, and actually held back the struggle, explains Lucy Honan As the police gathered forces and began...

What is exploitation?

How does the ruling elite get rich from our labour while paying us what they claim is a "fair wage"? Amy Leather explains Karl Marx’s revolutionary answer to this...

Chris Harman: Ideas for revolution in the 21st century

In this obituary to British Marxist Chris Harman, Ernest Price outlines some of his key contributions, which will help guide revolutionaries for generations to comeOn November 7 the International Socialist...

Marx’s ecology

The writings of Karl Marx showed an understanding of capitalism as a system that distorts humanity’s relationship to the environment, writes Jasmine Ali “Let us not however flatter ourselves over...

1989—Revolution and the fall of the Berlin wall

The popular revolutions that brought down Stalinism were a rebellion against the ruling class in the East, not against socialism, argues Mark Gillespie In the last months of 1989, a...

Why socialists support nationalisation

As companies around the world sack workers and close their doors in response to economic crisis, Jasmine Ali demonstrates the importance of the demand for nationalisation   “State ownership of the...

Why Peter Garrett lost his way

Peter Garrett's collapse into conservatism has been not just quick, but abject. The Environment Minister’s credibility is not in tatters—it has evaporated completely. David Glanz looks at what happened Just two...

The hot autumn: How workers’ revolt shook Italy

The years after 1969 in Italy showed the potential for mass radicalisation of the working class within western capitalism, argues Judy McVey The French ten million strong general strike and...

A frock-coated communist: rediscovering Friedrich Engels

Review: The frock-coated communist By Tristram Hunt Allen Lane $59.95 As establishment economists struggle to explain capitalism’s crisis, the ideas of Karl Marx are enjoying a renewed legitimacy. The sight of French...

Keynes or Marx?

Political leaders across the world are embracing Keynesian economic policies. But they are incapable of escaping capitalist crisis, writes Feiyi Zhang “The ghost of John Maynard Keynes, the father of...

Recovering Marx’s theory of economic crisis

The recession has brought a renewed interest in Marxist explanations of economic crisis. Rick Kuhn’s book is timely in this context. Published last year, it is the product of...

Socialism, Mao and the Chinese revolution

China under Mao adopted Stalin’s model of rapid industrialisation based on intense exploitation, and was never genuinely socialist

Rosa Luxemburg: reform or revolution?

NINETY YEARS ago Rosa Luxemburg, one of the great revolutionaries of the twentieth century, was assassinated. This came in the midst of the mass revolt by the German working...

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