Welcome to Marxism Explained!

My very first blog post, comrades!

So, let’s begin a journey together to find out what Marxism is really all about and why it’s been so influential over the last 150 years. Plus – why it may exert a renewed influence in the years ahead. That’s me on the right by the way with the glasses, in case you hadn’t guessed.

Alongside me are three key Marxist thinkers. From the far left is Karl Marx – who developed the political philosophy named after him. Alongside Marx is his friend and co-writer, Friedrich Engels. We’ll find out lots about him as we go along. And then next to me is Vladimir Lenin – leader of the Bolsheviks, the part that took over Russia in 1917 after a successful revolution.

Back in the early 1980s, I read everything these guys had written from Marx’s devastating critique of capitalism through to Lenin’s demand to move towards revolution when others, who also viewed themselves as Marxists, thought Russia in 1917 wasn’t ready yet.

As a young man, I was involved in a Marxist group that exerted significant political influence in the English city of Liverpool by positioning itself in the Labour Party and trade unions. On this blog, I’ll not only detail Marxist theory but also show how Marxists have engaged in different strategies to achieve their aims. I was involved 35 years ago in what was termed an “entrist” strategy into the Labour Party – but more of that to come and why it is relevant today.

I grew up, in the 1970s, in a world divided between communism (led by the Soviet Union) and capitalism (led by the United States). After 1989, the Soviet Union collapsed but most Marxists in the west had long accepted that the USSR was not what Marxism should have turned out like. The brand of Marxism that had developed in the Soviet Union was termed “Stalinism” and we’ll take a long hard look at that totalitarian nightmare.

Millions of people are re-engaging today with politics and becoming involved in protest activity. Most of that activity is, thankfully, peaceful. There is a growing thirst for political knowledge but people are also incredibly time poor and attention spans seem to have shortened dramatically in the digital era. So, this blog will aim to feed users with bite-sized, digestible and hopefully correct and objective information on Marxism.

In our multi-polar world, a huge multiplicity of ideas jostle for attention and into that mix is added a slew of fake news and disinformation by any number of rogue players from Far Right trolls to nation states like Putin’s Russia. Understanding political ideologies is one good way of spotting the BS out there. Grasping the fundamentals of Marxism is a great way to inoculate yourself from faux radicals, political charlatans and demagogues.

So – let’s get started!



Categories: Philosophy

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