Spectre of Communism

Marx or Graeber? A reply to ‘The Dawn of Everything’

David Graeber and David Wengrow’s anthropological opus, The Dawn of Everything, claims to offer an entirely new, radical view of the development of human society (implicitly: one that knocks down Marx and Engels’ historical materialism). This is no small task, but is the book as earth-shattering as the immodest title suggests?

Despite making waves in certain left-wing circles, the book offers a thin gruel. By fetishising the ‘creative’ potential of human ‘free will’, Graeber and Wengrow ignore the material conditions underlying the development of specific forms of society. In doing so, they defend an abstract idealism that has nothing to offer in terms of explaining our past, nor advancing the class struggle to end oppression and exploitation today.

This week’s episode of International Marxist Radio features Joel Bergman, a leading member of Fightback/La Riposte Socialiste, the Canadian section of the International Marxist Tendency. 

The discussion is based on Joel’s recent article in the latest edition of In Defence of Marxism magazine, which is available to pre-order now!

*Note: at the end of the episode, we incorrectly say that Joel’s article appears in issue 41 of the IDoM magazine, whereas it will actually be in issue 42, themed around The State. Apologies for the confusion!

Spectre of Communism

France: police killing sparks mass fury

Last week, a French policeman shot an unarmed French-Algerian teenager (Nahel M.) in the chest after a traffic stop. Before pulling the trigger, Nahel was told “I will lodge a bullet in your head”. A video of the brutal slaying was uploaded to social media, resulting in a massive outpouring of rage that swept the country.

Police violence in France is the worst in Western Europe, and this latest outrage occurs at a time when President Macron’s government is already weak and despised, fresh off the back of a powerful struggle against his unpopular pensions ‘reform’. 

The tremendous tensions in French society are ready to brim over at any moment: all that is needed is for the workers’ movement and the left to connect the masses’ disparate struggles into a political programme to overthrow Macron, along with the rotten capitalist regime he represents.

Jules from Révolution, French section of the IMT, joins us once again to discuss the situation in the country, and perspectives going forward. You can read the French comrades’ latest statement on these developing events here: 

Spectre of Communism

Prigozhin’s adventure: clash of the oligarchs

Last weekend, Yevgeny Prigozhin, chief of the infamous Russian mercenary company Wagner, led an apparent mutiny. After withdrawing his troops from the front line of the Ukraine War, Prigozhin took control of the military bases at Rostov-on-Don and began what he called “march for justice” (albeit a heavily armed one), heading towards Moscow. Within a day, it was all over, but what are we to make of these dramatic events?

A significant degree of uncertainty still surrounds Prigozhin’s adventure, particularly the motivations of the different individuals involved. This week’s episode of International Marxist Radio features regular guest Jorge Martin who helps shed some light on this murky affair. 

For further analysis, Jorge’s recent article on the topic can be found here:

We recommend reading the statement put out by supporters of the International Marxist Tendency in Russia, shortly after Prigozhin’s manoeuvre, which can be found here:

Spectre of Communism

Marx and the revolutions of 1848

175 years ago, a wave of revolutions swept across the European continent, in which the working class played a key role in challenging the might of the feudal order. From France to Germany to Italy, the masses led a struggle for democratic and economic demands, winning significant concessions from the decrepit ruling classes of Europe. Marx and Engels were not just passive witnesses to these events, but active participants.

As well as being an immensely important chapter in the history of the working class, this period was crucial for the political development of Marxism. Thanks to the revolutions of 1848, Marx and Engels advanced their understanding of the struggle for socialism, producing many of the fundamental ideas that would come to play a central role in the revolutionary movements of the 20th century. 

This week on International Marxist Radio, Josh Holroyd, writer and editor for, joins us once again to discuss the events of 1848 and their impact on the lives and works of Marx and Engels. Most importantly, Josh traces the significance of these lessons to the current class struggle, and explains why Marx and Engels’ insights from 1848 are every bit as relevant today.

This episode follows on from a previous discussion with Josh on the podcast (‘How Marx Became a Marxist’), in which he covered Marx and Engels’ early political career up to and including the publication of the Communist Manifesto. That episode is available here:

For an invaluable example of Marx and Engels’ insight during this period, we recommend reading the Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League from 1850, a balance sheet of the revolutionary wave, which is discussed in the podcast:

This episode also pays tribute to Sieva Volkov, also known as Esteban, who recently passed away at the age of 97. Esteban was the grandson of Leon Trotsky and dedicated his life to defending the legacy and ideas of this great revolutionary. A tribute to Esteban’s life and work, written by Alan Woods, can be found here:

Spectre of Communism

Multipolarity vs. world revolution

The relative decline of US imperialism is leaving a void that is starting to be filled by other powers. In recent years, this has led to a rise of rival imperialist nations such as China and Russia, which are increasingly trying to challenge the domination of the US. What are the implications of this for the class struggle? What are the tasks of communists in a so-called multipolar world?

This week’s episode of International Marxist Radio welcomes Hamid Alizadeh from the editorial board of to look at developments in world relations between the major capitalist powers. 

Some on the left have hailed the formation of different imperialist blocks as a moderating force against US imperialism, in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union. In reality, however, no capitalist ruling class has anything to offer the workers anywhere in the world. As imperialists compete for markets and spheres of influence, ultimately it is the working class that pays the price, while the bosses line their pockets.

For more on this topic, read Hamid Alizadeh and Ben Curry’s recent article on the widening fissures in world relations here:

For more information on the relative decline of US imperialism, check out last week’s episode ‘Towards a Third American Revolution’: 

Spectre of Communism

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: 

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: