Engels’ pause and the condition of the working class in England

15 March 2020 — Michael Roberts Blog

by michael roberts

On this day, 15 March 1845, Friedrich Engels published his masterpiece of social analysis, The Condition of the Working Class in England.  This year is the 200th anniversary of Engels’ birth.  Below is a short (rough) extract from my upcoming book on the contribution that Engels made to Marxian political economy.  

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Marxism and the Climate Crisis: African Eco-Socialist Alternatives

16 February, 2020 — MROnline

Originally published: ROAPE (Review of African Political Economy) by Vishwas Satgar (February 14, 2020)   |

Introducing an important book series on Democratic Marxism in Africa, Vishwas Satgar explains that the project is premised on a rejection of the authoritarianism of vanguardist politics and the need to learn critical lessons from all the left projects of the 20th century. There is a rich inheritance of emancipatory Marxism in Africa, which includes Frantz Fanon, Ruth First, Samir Amin, Sam Moyo, Harold Wolpe and many others. Today, Satgar argues, the challenge is to defeat carbon capitalism accelerating the climate crisis and fomenting exclusionary nationalisms and for this there has to be a return to Marx.

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A Certain Stage of Development

13 January 2020 — Anticapital

1. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production, or–this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms–with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto.  From forms of development of the productive forces, these relations turn into their fetter.  Then begins an era of social revolution.

And the era of social counterrevolution.

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Marx’s notebooks and the origins of Marxist ecology

18 August 2019 — Climate & Capitalism

Finally published in full, Marx’s notebooks from the 1860s provide important insights into his views on ecology and capital’s destruction of nature.


Teinosuke Otani, Kohei Saito, Timm Graßmann (eds)
MARX-ENGELS-GESAMTAUSGABE, IV, 18
Exzerpte und Notizen. Februar 1864 bis August 1868
(de Gruyter, 2019)

[Marx-Engels Complete Works, Part IV, Volume 18
Excerpts and Notes, February 1864 to August 1868]

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The Handbook of Karl Marx: profitability, crises and financialisation

6 August 2019 — Michael Roberts Blog

The Oxford Handbook of Karl Marx, edited by Matt Vidal, Tomas Rotta, Tony Smith and Paul Prew, brings together a series of chapters by prominent Marxist scholars covering all aspects Marxist theory, from historical materialism, dialectics, political economy, social reproduction and post-capitalist models.

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Could this be the most Marxist film ever made?

14 May 2019 — MROnline – The Public Autonomy Project by Steve Darcy (May 8, 2019)

Boots Riley’s masterpiece of socialist cinema — Sorry to Bother You — may be the most self-consciously marxist film ever made. It is an exhortation to rebel, but to do so with our eyes open, with ‘sober senses,’ so we don’t replicate uncritically the logics that we aspire to contest.

[Note: this contains some plot spoilers.]

Those who avoided reading Karl Marx’s three-volume, 2,500 page magnum opus, Capital, in the improbable expectation that someday a movie version would come out, have finally got their wish. Boots Riley’s film, Sorry to Bother You, may indeed be the most marxist film ever made.

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Invisible Leviathan – Marx’s law of value in the twilight of capitalism By michael roberts

6 April 2019 — Michael Roberts Blog

My foreword to Invisible Leviathan, by Professor Murray Smith of Brock University, Ontario, Canada, published by Brill in November 2018.   Relevant, I think, to my recent presentation on the contribution of Marx to economics made at the Rethinking Economics conference at Greenwich University, London.

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Climate and contradiction in Marx’s theory of history by Matt Huber

11 February 2019 — GreenLeft – Marxist Sociology Blog
Climate change is often seen as a “new” kind of crisis of capitalism – one that throws into question the standard Marxist analysis as having a blind spot with respect to nature. This has led to a whole host of intellectual efforts to “green” Marxism, or to argue an ecological Marxism must go beyond class to incorporate the “new” social movement of environmentalism.

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Problems of Value Production (1) By S. Artesian

5 December 2018 — The Wolf Report: Nonconfidential analysis for the anti-investor

The intensity of production

Competition, according to an American economist, determines how many days of simple labor are contained in one day’s compound labor. Does not this reduction of days of compound labor to days of simple labor suppose that simple labor is itself taken as a measure of value? If the mere quantity of labor functions as a measure of value regardless of quality, it presupposes that simple labor has become the pivot of industry. It presupposes that labor has been equalized by the subordination of man to the machine or by the extreme division of labor; that men are effaced by their labor; that the pendulum of the clock has become as accurate a measure of the relative activity of two workers as it is of the speed of two locomotives. Therefore, we should not say that one man’s hour is worth another man’s hour, but rather that one man during an hour is worth just as much as another man during an hour. Time is everything, man is nothing; he is, at the most, time’s carcase. 

Quality no longer matters. Quantity alone decides everything; hour for hour, day for day;  

Marx – The Poverty of Philosophy

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