The Guardian • Issue #2073


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2073

"Manifesto of the Communist Party, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels," book cover

Manifesto of the Communist Party, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Progress Publishers Moscow, 1977

The lasting beauty of this little book is that ever since 1848 it has rarely been out of print. It is read and re-read in all languages. Why? It speaks to us. It educates, agitates, and organises us. Its language is always accessible, its message clear and as capitalism slides into depravity and devours all before it, the Manifesto shows us all, in so very few pages, just how to fight against that depraved and devouring system. The spectre that Marx and Engels wrote of is still haunting the ruling class. It gives all courage.

"Economic and Philosophical Notebooks of 1844," Karl Marx. Book cover

Economic and Philosophical Notebooks of 1844, Karl Marx, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1974

Ours is a world of anxiety, fear and alienation. Capitalism is destroying us. People live with fear – insecurity, both personal and on the job. Can I pay the bills, will my children have a future, will there be war, will the planet burn? It consumes us all. Marx wrote of alienated labour; forced and coerced labour where the worker finds neither meaning, happiness, contentment, satisfaction of needs, freedom, control, mental growth or physical development. Marx was writing as capitalism was burgeoning. Capitalism no longer holds any promise. Capitalist alienation is complete, Marx’s words both explain the world and offer a solution.

"Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Vladimir Lenin," book cover.

Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Vladimir Lenin, International Publishers, New York

The title says it all, but a fog of confusion still shrouds sections of the left about imperialism. It shouldn’t. It is all quite simple. Imperialism is capitalism in its ‘highest form.’ It is, as Lenin outlines, an observable concentration of production; the existence of monopoly capital; the development of finance capital; the export of capital as a central focus; the development of a world market, the division of the world, and its control by the major capitalist powers. It is, in short, capitalism at its most ugly and brutish, and well worth fighting.

"The Eastern Question: A Reprint of Letters Written 1853-1856 Dealing with the Events of the Crimean War," book cover.

The Eastern Question: A Reprint of Letters Written 1853-1856 Dealing with the Events of the Crimean War, Karl Marx, (1994)

A collection of Marx’s letters and writings on the Crimean War (1853-1856), The Eastern Question is an entertaining introduction to Marx’s thought on geopolitics. Focusing solely on Marx’s major works, it’s easy to overlook what a great journalist Marx was! Here we see Marx attentive to the strategy of Empire, assessing the news as it comes in, depicting and predicting the moves of great powers, minor powers, kings, nations, religious cultures, trade routes, alliances, and blocs. Here we see the geopolitical Marx hard at work. Major players in The Eastern Question are Europe, Turkey, the Balkans and Russia, all still relevant today in times of war. Marx places special importance on the dialectic of classes and nations.

"Socialism in Power: On the History and Theory of Socialist Governance," Roland Boer, book cover.

Socialism in Power: On the History and Theory of Socialist Governance, Roland Boer, 2023

Roland Boer’s Socialism in Power is Boer at the height of his powers! Not flashy scholarship, Boer rather does patient close readings of original Marxist texts on proletarian power. This is an old-fashioned yet advanced way of doing things: advanced because to discover why socialist governance is still important for the Marxism of the future, the old texts themselves bear it out. Boer’s key example is Engels’ late text The Role of Force in History, but Chinese and Eastern materials are also discussed. Socialism in Power is the ultimate rejoinder to strains of Western Marxism that overlook these texts, and more; it has global relevance to the grand continuation of socialist struggle and socialist power in the world.


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