Socialism isn’t a utopian dream. It is a part of the real world, a struggle already in progress. Brian Jones examines Marx’s revolutionary ideas in this last of three articles.
KARL MARX is widely condemned as a utopian dreamer. The irony in this is the fact that Marx is distinguished from previous socialists precisely by his departure from a utopian approach.
The real utopians were the socialists before Marx. They dreamed of an egalitarian society, and drew up elaborate plans for them–rigorously detailed blueprints for industry, education and social life. The utopians hoped that if these plans were presented to rich and powerful people, they would be convinced by the rationality of socialism, and they–the bourgeoisie–would give us an egalitarian society.
Karl Marx developed his ideas in an era of when young people were dedicating their lives to a struggle for new rights and freedoms. Brian Jones examines Marx’s revolutionary ideas in this second of three articles.
HOW DID Karl Marx become a Marxist? Marx developed his idea not just through study–although he was a voracious reader (really, the word “voracious” doesn’t begin to touch it). Marx’s Marxism is really the theoretical product of his practical efforts to build a movement for radical change, and his observations of struggles taking place around him.
This is worth our attention because Marx is not only the author of a set of ideas about history, but the author of a unique method of looking at history. This method is widely known as historical materialism or dialectical materialism.
The ideas of Karl Marx–that class society creates great wealth for the few at the expense of the many–ring truer every day. Brian Jones examines Marx’s revolutionary ideas in this first of three articles.
IN THE last 150 years of U.S. history, you can’t point to a generation whose most active, radical layers have not been drawn to the ideas of Karl Marx.
This was true of the abolitionist movement (Marxist immigrants even fought with the Northern Army in the Civil War), the early pioneers of our labor movement, the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) who passed through Socialist and Communist Parties in the first half of the 20th century, and of the many thousands who joined the Black Panther Party and other parties that declared themselves against capitalism and in favor of socialism in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The final plenary at the 2010 LEFT FORUM conference in New York features Francis Fox Piven, Brian Jones, Arundhati Roy and Noam Chomsky. The presentation begins with a memorial for the beloved historian, Howard Zinn, and proceeds to the theme of the 2010 conference: “The Center Cannot Hold – Rekindling the Radical Imagination.”