Lenin was the foremost exponent of Marxism of his generation whose leadership was decisive in the success of the Russian Revolution. This was made possible by the development of a theoretical outlook which informed the anti-imperialist wing of the socialist movement which subsequently became the worldwide communist movement.
A new situation requires a new analysis, and each new factor in the situation requires a specific and concrete analysis, placing it and its weight correctly in the overall situation.
Discussion about the trends in the world economy emerging from the 2008 financial crisis is dominated by the relative growth rates of the US and China – the world's two largest economies.
The media discussion has been focusing on concerns about China's slowdown and its global impact, while the US is portrayed a recovering well. In fact both major economies are slowing in the context of continued global economic weakness, but the US is slowing much more than China.
The following article, by John Ross, looks at these facts in detail and points out that the key question is not 'why is China slowing?', but why has the US slowed much more dramatically than China in the last year?
By Brian Williams
The analysis of Marxism concludes that the interests of humanity as a whole coincide with those of the working class – i.e. the advance of the working class takes forward the general interests of humanity, including all of its oppressed layers, while setbacks for the working class roll back the interests of humanity. This therefore determines the attitude to all political forces. Those who take forward the interests of the working class take humanity forward, those who set back the working class set back the general interests of humanity including its oppressed layers. Nothing more clearly illustrates this reality than the history of the 20th century, above all the victory and then defeat of the Russian revolution, and the events following this in the 21st century.
The following article by John Ross sets out the disastrous effects on countries following neo-liberal economic policies - including in Latin America, Europe, and the US. It also analyses the errors in economic theory of neo-liberalism. Its influences also damaged China's economy in the first half of 2012, but following China's government boosting state led investment from mid-2012, China's growth has accelerated again.
By Brian JowellsIn a serious admission the Financial Times, which cannot be accused of pro-socialist bias, has set out the facts on how capitalism, at least in the imperialist economies, now makes you worse off. In an article under the title ‘Spectre of stagnating incomes stalks globe’ it notes:‘In the postwar years, there was a belief in developed economies that each generation could expect to have materially better living standards than their parents. Yet the outlook for income growth has rarely looked worse than it does today…
Lenin emphasised that it is a fundamental error to conceive of the class struggle as between the working class of one country and the capitalist class of that country – of the British working class against British capitalism, of the French working class against the French capitalists, etc. Instead, Lenin noted: ‘The socialist revolution will not be solely or chiefly, a struggle of the revolutionary proletarians in each country against their own bourgeoisie – no, it will be a struggle of all the imperialist-oppressed colonies and countries, of all dependent countries, against international imperialism’ (Lenin V. I., 22 November 1919). Lenin’s point continually needs understanding and emphasising, particularly in imperialist countries.1
The political current Counterfire, which has its origins in the SWP, has chosen to produce as one of its first publications Capitalism and Class Consciousness: the ideas of Georg Lukács by Chris Nineham (Nineham, 2010). Such a choice is highly interesting in placing theoretical concepts developed by Lukács in the early 1920s as a basis for the approach of Counterfire. These concepts were specifically rejected by Lenin in very strong terms – he referred to Lukács’s views as ‘purely verbal’ Marxism. As ideas of, or similar to, the early Lukács are the basis not only of Counterfire but of other currents, and as they reveal more generally a misunderstanding of Marxism, analysing why these ideas are wrong – and why Lenin so specifically rejected them – is of importance to more than simply small circles.
By Steve Wallace
The financial events of 2008–2009 inaugurated not only an economic but a new ideological crisis of capitalism. How deep this crisis will become depends on the development of the economic situation and the intervention of the political left. The character of this crisis, however, can be seen most clearly by placing it in an historical context.
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