Category Archives: Books

Homer and the European Epic

Chris Gray, Homer and the European Epic

This pamphlet aims to situate Homer’s ‘The Iliad’ and ‘The Odyssey’ in the context of the development of ancient Greek society from Mycenaean times down to the early classical period (around 600 BCE) and in the context of the common European epic and tradition. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

Zinoviev and Martov: Head to Head in Halle

Head to Head in Halle

Ben Lewis & Lars T. Lih, Zinoviev and Martov: Head to Head in Halle (2011)

“We are on the field of battle. The audience in the hall is divided in two sections: it is as if a knife has cut them sharply in two. Two parties are present.”

Grigory Zinoviev’s description of the Halle congress of the Independent Social Democrats (USPD) in 1920 highlights the knife-edge on which the German workers’ movement was balanced. Would the USPD embrace the young Soviet government and the Communist International as part of the Moscow-led drive to strategically re-orientate the workers’ movement? Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

Revolutionary Strategy

Revolutionary strategyMike Macnair, Revolutionary Strategy: Marxism and the problem of left unity

The free market triumphalism of the 1990s is over. Early 21st century capitalism looks like Karl Marx’s description: growing extremes of wealth and poverty, and irrepressible boom-bust cycles. But for the moment, rightwing religious and nationalist nostalgia politics is the main beneficiary of the opposition this has spawned. The political left remains in the shadow of its disastrous failures in the 20th century. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

Fantastic Reality

Fantastic RealityJack Conrad, Fantastic Reality: Marxism and the Politics of Religion (2007)

Religion, as defined by Marxism, is fantastic reality. Fantastic, not in the trite sense that the claims religion makes about existence are verifiably untrue, unreal or baseless, but in the sense that nature and society are reflected in exaggerated form, as leaping shadows, as symbols or inversions. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

Remaking Europe

Remaking Europe

Jack Conrad, Remaking Europe (2004)

European unity is one of the biggest, most complex and bitterly contested political issues of the day – there are no easy ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers.

Europe is an enigma. We are told it is a nascent military threat and a guarantor against war; a wide field of struggle and a remote bureaucratic machine; a black hole of patronage, subsidy and corruption and a global haven of stability, enlightenment and rationality. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

Towards a Socialist Alliance Party

Towards a Socialist Alliance Party

Jack Conrad, Towards a Socialist Alliance Party (2001)

Some comrades in the Socialist Alliance say we should settle for a loose conglomeration of leftwing groups and local campaigns. Others wand a ‘relatively durable’ united front. For these comrades the word ‘party’, when it comes to the Socialist Alliance, is anathema. It is as if they were anarchists. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

In the Enemy Camp

Jack Conrad, In the Enemy Camp (1993)

Why do communists stand in elections? As Jack conrad’s book comprehensively shows, Marxists have always viewed parliamentary democracy as a sham. So why does the Communist Party of Great Britain – in the traditions of Lenin’s Communist International – think that standing in elections is ‘obligatory’? Does it stand for votes, for publicity or propaganda impact? Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Books