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editorial

by Martin Levy

In CR77 (Autumn 2015), writing about Jeremy Corbyn’s successful campaign for the Labour leadership, I recalled the statement by former Labour prime minister Harold Wilson that “A week is a long time in politics.” Fewer than 80 weeks on, we have seen further dramatic transformations, including the ruling class defeat in the EU referendum, Corbyn’s second victory over the right wing in the parliamentary Labour Party, and the stunning advances made by Labour in the 2017 general election.

“Universal suffrage”, wrote Frederick Engels back in 1884, “is the gauge of the maturity of the working class.” In a capitalist parliamentary democracy such as ours, “wealth exercises its power indirectly, but all the more surely” than under a dictatorship.i

The election result therefore represents a significant growing maturity in our working class. After over 30 years of retreats, when “class” almost became a dirty word, and despite the ruling class pulling out all the stops, millions of working people voted to support a programme which puts class back at the centre of the agenda – For the many, not the few.

How did this happen? Corbyn’s campaign broke new ground in several respects – a rock concert appearance, 6 simultaneous mass rallies and the mobilisation of tens of thousands of door-step campaigners, phone bankers and social media activists. Corbyn’s own drive, integrity and approachability was also a major factor. But it was above all the policies: Labour’s manifesto offered a vision of community, public service and collectivism – a message of hope in response to austerity, privatisation, and ‘same old, same old’.

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Marx’s Capital and Capitalism Today: Part 1

150th ANNIVERSARY OF THE PUBLICATION OF MARX’S DAS KAPITAL

 

Marx’s Capital and Capitalism Today: Part 1

 

by Robert Griffiths

The first volume of Capital by Karl Marx was published in 1867, in German as Das Kapital. It was the fruit of ten years’ study, analysis and composition in the wake of the first real international crisis of capitalism.

This work began in earnest with his Economic Manuscripts of 1857-58i. In essence, these represent the first draft of Volume I of Capital.

Portions of the Economic Manuscripts relating to the dual character and values of commodities, labour and money were then restructured and published in 1859 as ‘part 1’ of A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (ACCPE)ii. The title was to become the sub-title of Capital proper. In a famous preface to the 1859 text, Marx summarised his theory of historical materialism, with its revolutionary conclusion that within each mode of production (slavery, feudalism, capitalism), society’s productive forces develop to the point where the existing relations between the exploiting and exploited classes act as an absolute barrier to their further development and so have to be ruptured: “Then begins an era of social revolution.”iii

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  • Man's dearest possession is life. It is given to him but once, and he must live it so that, dying he might say: all my life, all my strength were given to the finest cause in all the world—the fight for the Liberation of Mankind.
    Nikolai Alexeevich Ostrovsky Author (1904 –1936)
  • Literary works cannot be taken over like factories, or literary forms of expression like industrial methods. Realist writing, of which history offers many widely varying examples, is likewise conditioned by the question of how, when and for what class it is made use of.
    Bertholt Brecht Playwright and Poet (1898-1956)
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