Spectre of Communism

Overpopulation or overproduction? Marx vs. Malthus

Is human population growth to blame for poverty and climate change? Plenty of pundits and politicians on the right and left alike seem to think so. Knowingly or not, they repeat the reactionary ideas of the Reverend Thomas Malthus, whose economic and social theories Marx and Engels demolished nearly 200 years ago. Yet today, the spectre of Malthusianism still endures.

This week’s episode of International Marxist Radio welcomes back Adam Booth from the British Marxist organisation Socialist Appeal to discuss the pernicious role Malthus’ disciples play in the world today. Rather than overpopulation and migration causing inequality and the poor living standards, Marxists understand that exploitation is the real culprit. 

The means exist to feed, clothe and house every human being on earth, but these resources are held in a small number of private hands, to be exploited for profit. We need revolution and democratic management of the economy! 

This discussion is based on Adam’s article from issue 41 of In Defence of Marxism magazine, ‘Marx versus Malthus’, which is available now:

Spectre of Communism

Class struggle in Africa: part two

This week’s episode of International Marxist Radio concludes our two-part series looking at the class struggle in Sub-Saharan Africa. This week, Ben Morken, a leading comrade of the International Marxist Tendency based in South Africa, discusses the broader context that has led to the current state of affairs across the continent.

Historically ravaged by colonialism, Africa today continues to be cynically exploited by imperialism. In addition, many African nations find themselves ground between rival imperialist powers in their pursuit of raw materials and political influence, supported by quisling local rulers. But at the same time, the continent is characterised by proud revolutionary traditions, which are beginning to re-emerge under the pressure of the capitalist crisis.

Note: This episode was recorded before the recent clashes between different factions of the counter-revolutionary forces in Sudan, which have claimed many lives and revealed the tragic consequences of the masses’ inability to take power in the 2018-19 Sudanese revolution.

A Marxist analysis of these events can instead be found here: 

Spectre of Communism

Class struggle in Africa: part one

This week’s episode of International Marxist Radio is the first of a special two-part series looking at the class struggle in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ben Morken, a leading comrade of the International Marxist Tendency based in South Africa, discusses the current political situation in a number of African countries, which constitute a bubbling cauldron of class struggle.

From the revival of radical traditions in post-Apartheid South Africa, to explosive political developments in Nigeria, to human catastrophes in the Horn and Great Lakes region, Ben offers an overview of a continent deeply scarred by the legacy of colonialism and capitalism, but ripe with revolutionary potential.

Note: This episode was recorded shortly after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a ‘state of disaster’ across the nation following mass blackouts, described here: 

Despite this, the crisis of South African capitalism endures, and none of the contradictions Ben describes have been resolved.

Spectre of Communism

Identity politics: capitalism’s weapon of division

This week’s episode of International Marxist Radio welcomes Daniel Morley, a leading comrade of Socialist Appeal, the British section of the International Marxist Tendency, to discuss so-called identity politics, and why Marxists oppose its influence on the class struggle.

In many countries today, identity politics (i.e. the idea that one’s racial, sexual, gender identity etc., rather than social class, determines one’s fundamental interests and worldview) is exploited by right-wing figures in politics and the media. By whipping up controversy around oppressed groups, the so-called culture war has been used to distract people from the ongoing crisis of capitalism and prevent a unified class struggle against the bosses. 

More specifically, identity politics has been a favoured weapon of the right against the left: smearing socialists and left-wingers on cooked-up charges of racism, sexism and so on, rather than engaging with their ideas. Shamefully, as the case of Jeremy Corbyn in the British Labour Party demonstrates, the reformist left has permitted these false charges to pass unanswered, and allowed themselves to be crushed under a barrage of bile.

With identity politics commanding a degree of influence among young people and even a layer of the labour movement, it is important that Marxists have a clear understanding of its reactionary character. Ultimately, only through a united class struggle against capitalism, which benefits from the division of working people, can all forms of oppression be abolished once and for all.

Read an article by Daniel on this subject:

The following is a document by the International Marxist Tendency setting out our position on identity politics:

Spectre of Communism

How Marx became a Marxist

In this week’s episode of International Marxist Radio, Josh Holroyd, a leading comrade of the International Marxist Tendency and editor of In Defence of Marxism magazine (issue 41 available now), discusses the early life, works and revolutionary career of Karl Marx, whose 205th birthday we mark on Friday!

Born on 5 May 1818 in Trier, Marx’s formative years were shaped by the explosive events of the society in which he lived, one that existed in the shadow of the Great French Revolution of 1789. He was also influenced by many thinkers in the socialist tradition, borrowing the best of their contributions and sharpening his own ideas against their shortcomings.

Living at a time when the working class was beginning to make its mark upon history, Marx derived the key lessons of the period, and actively participated in and corresponded with the radical labour struggles of his day – including Chartism in Britain. 

From this foundation, in collaboration with his friend and comrade Friedrich Engels, Marx developed the school of thought that came to be known as Marxism, and began the mammoth task of building a revolutionary organisation to bring these ideas into the wider movement under the immortal banner, penned at the dawn of the 1848 revolution: workers of the world, unite!