Marxism: Ten aspects concerning socialism in the 21st century


What can we hope for and strive for in a world in which globalised capitalism is rampant and is driving us all to destruction? We have a responsibility to link theory and practice in order to put an end to capitalism once and for all. The century of revolutions, from 1917 to 2017, has provided progressive political narratives and conceptual tools which deepen and extend revolutionary Marxism, and we need to draw on those conceptual tools to bring the Marxist tradition to life again, acting alongside other progressive forces. Now, in this century, Marxism is a theory and practice of emancipatory politics, providing a revolutionary praxis for liberation movements, and our task is to make socialism visible as an alternative, in our forms of struggle and in our vision of another world beyond capital. We can begin to imagine what a future socialist society might look like, albeit with a status of little more than fiction for us now. We need to start here, with where we are and with what we have as existing conditions of life and resources for struggle. I focus on ten aspects of Marxism, showing what it pits itself against and suggesting what kind of world it makes possible for us.


Marxism is historically constituted, invented in the nineteenth century in order to address and solve a particular problem, the historically-specific and limited nature of capitalism. Marxism is not a worldview, but a weapon in the hands of working people to overthrow a particular economic system predicated on exploitation and oppression. Just as it came into being at a certain point in history, so Marxism will disappear when its work is done, unnecessary and anachronistic in a genuinely socialist society. This means that ‘socialism’ and ‘communism’ – the blueprint for which Marx refused to draw up – cannot correspond to the forms of life we endure or imagine today, and it should not be modelled on those restricted forms of life. To begin to lay the foundations of communism is to leap into the unknown, with historically-unparalleled freedom being the prerequisite, and a flourishing of diverse hitherto-unimagined competing worldviews fruitful for new forms of progress in a kaleidoscopically contradictory future civilization.

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