International Marxist Radio

Towards a Third American Revolution?

The recent period in the USA has been highly eventful. From the Trump presidency, to the Sanders movement, to BLM and the George Floyd protests, to the storming of Capitol Hill, the ‘Land of the Free’ is more polarised than it has been for decades. Poverty, racism and inequality are rampant; and seemingly not a month passes without another terrible mass shooting. The American Dream has turned into an American Nightmare for millions. What we need is a Third – Socialist – American Revolution!

This week, International Marxist Radio welcomes John Peterson, editor of Socialist Revolution, the website and section of the International Marxist Tendency in the United States. John discusses the developments in the USA over the last few years that have led the ruling class to its current impasse. 

Unlike liberals or conservatives, who weep in despair at the state of the country, the Marxists are throwing themselves into the struggle to overthrow this ailing system. The crisis has shown the need for a revolutionary transformation of the USA!

Listen to John’s podcast series on the US Civil War, better described as the Second American Revolution:

Read his article on the same topic in issue 38 of the In Defence of Marxism magazine: 

International Marxist Radio

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:

International Marxist Radio

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: 

International Marxist Radio

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.

International Marxist Radio

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:

International Marxist Radio

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!

International Marxist Radio

Labor struggle in the USA: the sleeping giant stirs

This week on International Marxist Radio, Tom Trottier, a leading comrade of Socialist Revolution, the US section of the International Marxist Tendency, speaks about exciting developments in the labour movement in the United States of America!

After a long period of relative inactivity, the US working class is beginning to move. As the ongoing crisis of capitalism continues to worsen living conditions for the vast majority, workers in the US, as elsewhere, are looking to the mass organisations. This has taken the form of a significant growth of the trade unions, as the working class seeks to defend their standard of living against stagnant wages and rising prices.

It has also seen an explosive development of radical new unions, set up by fresh layers: Amazon workers, Starbucks workers, and so on. New leaders like Chris Smalls of the Amazon Labour Union, and a left-wing layer at the top of the Teamsters, are also being pushed forward and tested by events. Shawn Fain (mentioned in the episode, which was recorded a few weeks ago) has also been elected to the leadership of the UAW on a class struggle programme.

Given the dominance of the US as both an economic and an imperialist giant, the strengthening of the labour movement in the belly of the beast is of decisive importance for workers’ struggles internationally.

International Marxist Radio

The fall of woman: Engels, Morgan and the family

On this week’s episode of International Marxist Radio, Fred Weston, a leading comrade of the International Marxist Tendency, discusses the historical roots of women’s oppression.

While we are often told that the oppression of women is innate to human relations, this could not be further from the truth. In reality, in pre-class societies, hunter-gatherer men and women generally existed in an egalitarian relationship. These were arguments raised by Lewis Henry Morgan, a materialist anthropologist whose work informed Engels’ writings, particularly his classic text The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. 

The emergence of the patriarchal family did not occur randomly, or as merely the product of a shift in people’s ideas, but was the result of the development of private property, inheritance and class society. And if we can point to a time before these things existed, we can imagine (and fight for) a world where they are consigned to the dustbin of history!

We would like to draw readers’ attention to the issue 41 of In Defence of Marxism magazine, which includes an excellent article by Fred that formed the basis for this discussion. Get your copy of the latest IDoM here: 

International Marxist Radio

Pakistan on the brink!

This week’s episode welcomes Adam Pal, leading comrade of Lal Salaam, the Pakistani section of the International Marxist Tendency, to discuss the ongoing turmoil in Pakistan. 

In the midst of a deep political crisis, the Pakistani ruling class is split, with different factions leaning on sections of the military high command to maintain their position. This has led to the immense social instability that has characterised the country in the recent period.

On top of this, the Pakistani economy is on the ropes. Economists are already comparing the situation in Pakistan to that of Sri Lanka, which earlier this year saw a social explosion that brought the government to its knees. Without doubt, such a movement of the masses in Pakistan is on the cards.

International Marxist Radio

Banking crisis: will there be a new recession?

This week’s episode welcomes back Niklas Albin Svensson, a leading member of the International Marxist Tendency, to discuss the ongoing turmoil in the global banking system.

A few weeks ago, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapsed, but the failure of SVB was not the end of the story. Rather, what we have seen is a sudden flurry of bank collapses, which has so far culminated in the forced merger of Credit Suisse into UBS and the dramatic fall in Deutsche Bank’s share price.

While a total collapse of the banking system has so far been avoided, this does not mean that the situation is stable. In reality, crises like this are inevitable under the capitalist system, and the ruling class have only managed to temporarily alleviate the worst of this crisis by laying the grounds for a deeper one.

Read Niklas’ latest on the banking crisis: