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Spectre of Communism

What is capitalism?

We are often told that capitalism is the most efficient economic system; that markets are rational tools for distribution; and that only under capitalism can people live free and fair lives. However, while capitalism might enrich a parasitic handful, it is fundamentally a system of oppression and exploitation for the vast majority of humanity. But what actually is this system? How does it work, and not work? How do we bring it down; and what can we replace it with?

While the right-wing, liberals and even much of the so-called left still fail to grasp the essence of capitalism, Marx elaborated on this in extreme detail over 150 years ago. It is crucial that communists today follow in his example, and grasp the real nature of the capitalist system: how it functions, and why it goes into crisis. 

This week’s episode of Spectre of Communism podcast welcomes Niklas Albin Svensson, a leading member of the International Marxist Tendency. For more by Niklas on capitalism today, we recommend this article on the looming global recession.

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Spectre of Communism

Unrest on every continent: how communists are mobilising!

This week’s special episode was recorded during the recent meeting of the global leadership of the International Marxist Tendency in Italy. We hear reports from the front lines of the class struggle from five leading comrades involved in building revolutionary communist organisations in: South Africa, Argentina, Pakistan, France and the United States.

The class struggle is heating up everywhere! As workers and youth internationally struggle to make ends meet, the capitalist class is leading the world down a blind alley of war, crisis and destruction. On all continents, an increasing layer is drawing the inevitable conclusion: we need communism!

You can watch a video recording of this episode on our Youtube channel.

If you are a communist, then get organised! For more information on our sections in these countries, check out these links:

South Africa

Argentina

France

Pakistan 

United States

If you’re based elsewhere, find the communists where you are via our main website: https://www.marxist.com/ 

Note: this video was recorded at the end of January, before the results of the Pakistan elections that Paras discusses.

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Spectre of Communism

Defend the Cuban Revolution!

The Cuban Revolution is rightly considered an inspiration by communists worldwide. This tremendous movement threw off the chains of capitalism and US imperialism, opening the way for incredible social, economic and technological advances in what had previously been a brutally oppressed society. Today, however, the Cuban Revolution faces a number of perils.

This week’s episode welcomes Jorge Martin, a leading member of the International Marxist Tendency, to discuss the past, present and future of the Cuban Revolution. Isolated and bullied by US imperialism, it is now more important than ever to defend the gains of the Cuban Revolution and fight to overthrow capitalism internationally.

For more by Jorge on the situation today, we recommend this article from last year on the threat of capitalist restoration

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Spectre of Communism

Is communism against human nature?

A textbook argument against communism is that, although it may sound nice, it is fundamentally “against human nature”. Many communists will be sick and tired of hearing this accusation, but what actually is ‘human nature’? How should communists respond to this claim?

This week’s episode of Spectre of Communism welcomes Ben Curry, writer and editor for marxist.com, to answer one of the most prolific myths about communism. In reality, the idea that human beings are inherently ‘greedy’ and that this makes capitalism an inevitable fact of life could not be further from the truth.

Ben considers the wide variety of ideas and systems that have been considered inevitable and natural throughout human history, only to fall by the wayside; and speculates about how humanity will change and develop in a future communist society.

For further reading, we would recommend Alan Woods’ editorial for issue 41 of In Defence of Marxism magazine, which looks at human nature and alienation.

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Spectre of Communism

In defence of Lenin

With capitalism in its deepest-ever crisis, it is more important than ever for communists to defend the immortal achievements of one of the greatest revolutionaries the world has ever seen. For this reason, 2024’s first episode of Spectre of Communism looks at the real life and ideas of Lenin. 

The episode welcomes Rob Sewell, editor of The Communist and co-author of a new biography, In Defence of Lenin: an extensive political biography and vindication of Lenin’s revolutionary legacy. Get your copy now!

We would also like to draw listeners’ attention to the recent launch of lenin.red. The website includes a number of resources for communists to study and understand Lenin’s life and work. 

100 years after his death, the ruling class still wastes no opportunity to slander and malign Lenin. The website also includes a submission form, for sending any such slanderous myths that you might have heard, and want answered on a future episode of the podcast! 

You can also send us your myths via any of our social media channels, with the hashtag #LeninLives!

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Spectre of Communism

Spectre of Communism Podcast intro theme

By popular demand, here is our intro (and outro) theme. Credit to composer Comrade David (Insta: @hiimdavej).

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Spectre of Communism

Palestine: a communist perspective

Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza is undoubtedly the defining political event of 2023. The entire political establishment has lined up behind Israel, justifying a brutal military campaign of collective punishment against the Palestinians (which has killed around 20,000 civilians so far) as “self defence.” While liberals, reformists and even some self-proclaimed “communists” parrot the rhetoric of the bourgeoisie, or descend into utopian moralising, genuine communists must boldly proclaim a revolutionary solution for the liberation of Palestine.

The IDF onslaught against Gaza has awakened an immense wave of anger among the masses around the world, with millions hitting the streets in protest. Comrades of the IMT have faced McCarthyite attacks from the establishment for our solidarity action for Palestine, yet we will not back down. It is the duty of communists to stand on the side of the oppressed: supporting the struggle for a Palestinian homeland, against Western imperialism-supported Israeli aggression. 

But what does a genuine communist approach to Palestinian liberation look like? Where next for the solidarity movement?

For the final episode of 2023, the Spectre of Communism Podcast welcomes two speakers on this important topic: Khaled Malachi, a leading member of Socialist Appeal, the British section of the International Marxist Tendency (who has personal experience of state repression towards the Palestine solidarity movement); and Hamid Alizadeh, editor for marxist.com.

The podcast will be taking a short break over the New Year, but will return in January 2024 with a wealth of new and exciting content.

More articles on the current and historical situation in Israel and Palestine, as well as our comrades’ activities in the solidarity movement, are available here.

Pre-order In Defence of Lenin, a new biography by Rob Sewell and Alan Woods, today! 

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Spectre of Communism

The Origins of Christianity

It’s the festive season, and the Spectre of Communism podcast is welcoming Alan Woods (marxist.com editor-in-chief) onto a special live episode to discuss the origins of Christianity from a Marxist perspective. This is a fascinating story of revolution and counter-revolution in the ancient world.

Despite the reactionary nature of Christianity today, the first Christians were revolutionary fighters against the brutality of the Roman Empire. Crushed by the oppressive fist of the Roman military, the early Christians sought messianic leadership to bring them liberation on earth, not just in Heaven. This had a profound impact on the class struggle in the Roman Empire at the time, which contains many lessons for communists today. Also instructive is the way Christianity was eventually co-opted by precisely the ruling class the early Christians railed against.

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Spectre of Communism

LIVE tomorrow (7pm UK Time): ‘The Origins of Christianity’ – Spectre of Communism podcast

It’s the festive season, and the Spectre of Communism podcast is welcoming Alan Woods (marxist.com editor-in-chief) onto a special live episode to discuss the origins of Christianity from a Marxist perspective. This is a fascinating story of revolution and counter-revolution in the ancient world. We will broadcast the episode tomorrow (12 December) at 7pm British time via our YouTube channel.

Despite the reactionary nature of Christianity today, the first Christians were revolutionary fighters against the brutality of the Roman Empire. Crushed by the oppressive fist of the Roman military, the early Christians sought messianic leadership to bring them liberation on earth, not just in Heaven. This had a profound impact on the class struggle in the Roman Empire at the time, which contains many lessons for communists today. Also instructive is the way Christianity was eventually co-opted by precisely the ruling class the early Christians railed against.

A recording will be made available afterwards on YouTube, and all our usual podcast platforms.

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Spectre of Communism

Napoleon: Marxism vs movie myths

Ridley Scott’s recent biopic Napoleon has evoked much criticism for its shallow narrative and plethora of historical inaccuracies. But who was the real Napoleon Bonaparte? How did a young Corsican from a relatively modest background become the strongman behind an empire that would dominate Europe?

This week’s episode of the Spectre of Communism Podcast welcomes Keelan Kellegher, a leading member of Socialist Appeal, to fill in the many gaps in Scott’s portrayal of Napoleon. We discuss the revolutionary and counter-revolutionary movements that swept France in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Napoleon’s role in them.

For further reading on the historical figure of Napoleon Bonaparte from a Marxist perspective, we recommend this article by Alan Woods.

We also recommend this report on the recent Revolution Festival, which featured a talk by Keelan on the French Revolution.

Here is Keelan’s review of the film.