Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Adventures in Marxism

 I was saddened to read of the passing of the late great Marxist humanist Marshall Berman last month - not least because the title of a selection of his writings - Adventures in Marxism - helped reinforce my decision to call this blog 'Adventures in Historical Materialism'.  By way of tribute to Berman, I will refer interested readers to my review of Berman's work from 2006 here.

Speaking of 'adventures in Marxism', while longstanding readers of this blog will have spotted that I am really contributing very little here at the moment, I may as well take this opportunity to note that registration is now open for Historical Materialism conference in London in November - though, as HM conference tends towards the academic and obscurantist, I should probably also recommend a short but sharp critique of 'academic Marxism' from 1989 by Chris Harman, who made the point that 'revolutionary Marxism starts from different premises and has different aims to the academic version', and the two should not be confused for each other.  Fans of Harman might also be interested to learn that the four essays that were later published together to form the basis of his 1984 study of Marxist economics, Explaining the crisis, are now online as part of the ongoing process of making the second series of International Socialism journal accessible, see Theories of the crisis, Marx's theory of crisis and the critics, The crisis last time and State capitalism, armaments and the general form of the current crisis.   These essays really help explain the economic crisis of the 1970s - for Harman's explanation of the crisis which began in 2007, see his Zombie Capitalism.

Finally, a quick salute to the late General Võ Nguyên Giáp, who has passed away aged 102 - and who was a military genius who helped mastermind the defeat of first French colonialism and then American imperialism in Vietnam.  To paraphrase Tom Paine, to play a part in the military defeat of two empires in one's lifetime really is 'living to some purpose'...

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