Marx and the national question
Marx's understanding of the fight for self-determination at national level as a step on the road to socialism is useful for us today, argues Chris Bambery
The Political Economy of the Kurds of Turkey - book review
Veli Yadirgi argues that there is a clear relationship between the intentional de-development of mostly Kurdish regions of Turkey and the Kurdish question, finds Adam Tomes
Paris and London: A Tale of Two Radical Cities
Chris Bambery on the history of two great capital cities, and the architecture of power.
The Young Karl Marx - film review
This portrait of the most important thinker of the modern age shows a man who was much much more than the popular caricature of a grey beard
The War? The Suffragettes? How did women win the right to vote?
On the centenary of women winning the right to vote, Katherine Connelly explores how they fought for their rights and resisted war
This St David's Day, let us remember guerrilla leader Owain Glyndŵr
14th-century Welsh leader Owain Glyndŵr deserves to be remembered as one of the great rebels of history
1917: The Russian Revolution, Reactions and Impact - book review
1917, a Socialist History Society collection of essays, pays powerful testimony to the power of socialist revolution to change the world, finds Judy Cox
Surviving the Death Factory: communist resistance in Auschwitz
To commemorate International Holocaust Day, Sean Ledwith tells the truly inspirational story of Kampfgruppe Auschwitz (KGA)
The Economic Struggle for Power in Tito's Yugoslavia - book review
Vladimir Unkovski-Korica locates the roots of Yugoslavia’s bloody collapse in the ‘market socialism’ of the Tito years
Frankenstein at 200
Frankenstein was published 200 years ago. It's a horror story but the horrors it described are rooted in capitalism as well as the imagination
Darkest Hour - film review
offers some truths on ruling class contradictions, but retells the myth that the people were fighting for Empire, argues Chris Bambery
Final Solution: The Fate of the Jews 1933-1949 - book review
David Cesarni’s posthumous
is an essential and magisterial history on Hitler’s war against Europe’s Jewish population, argues Chris Bambery.
Union Power: The United Electrical Workers in Erie, Pennsylvania - book review
is a revealing account of a vibrant and militant union in one US city in the century of Depression and McCarthyism, finds Kevin Crane
How and why I write
The Trumpet of Sedition blog has been running a series of articles by historians on 'How I Write'. John Rees contributes
The October Revolution: lessons and legacy
Historian and activist Paul Le Blanc reflects upon the Year One of international working class struggle
The Strange Death of Liberal England - book review
A classic history of the years before World War I is also a source of inspiration for those who wish to create a more equal and just society, argues Alex Snowdon
The Bolsheviks Come to Power - book review
Rabinowitch’s classic account of 1917 reveals the mass, popular nature of the October Revolution led by the Bolsheviks, argues Chris Nineham
How the Establishment Lost Control - an interview with Chris Nineham
How did the establishment get it so wrong? Alistair Cartwright talks to Chris Nineham about his new myth-busting book
Beauty, a dark history, and class conflict
Alison Pennington found them all in a road trip through remote Tasmania
'Intolerants, you are not welcome here!' Remembering the Battle of Lewisham
Forty years after the confrontation between fascists and anti-racists in South London, protestors remembered the momentous event and pledged to continue the fight against racism
Empire and partition: the violent end of the British Raj
Contrary to the rose-tinted view of decolonisation, the end of British rule in India was marked by blunder and duplicity, writes Sean Ledwith
Were you still up for? - Summer reading for interesting times
The shock of the General Election hasn’t even begun to settle down. Mark Perryman recommends summer reads to help grapple with interesting times
Shock and remembrance: how not to commemorate war
We cannot let our histories become grist for the bosses’ war drive, argues Mick Wattam
Survival is victory: the facts and fictions of the Dunkirk evacuation
Dunkirk 1940 has always been an ideological field day for our ruling class, Chris Bambery cuts through the fog of war
Hope and determination at Tolpuddle Festival
There was an infectious air of enthusiasm on display at Tolpuddle this year
For the many, not the few: Jeremy Corbyn and Percy Bysshe Shelley
A look at the radical history of the poem the Labour leader quoted at Glastonbury
Ian Paisley and the DUP: the violent history of Theresa May’s new best friends
Chris Bambery looks at the origins of the Democratic Unionist Party and its links to loyalist paramilitary groups
The Blitz and the Spanish Civil War: ways of remembering the past
How to commemorate the victims of fascism in Britain and Spain is a tricky question, writes Chris Bambery
Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths - review
A fascinating exhibition at the British Library paints an ambiguous picture of the events of 1917
W.E.B. Du Bois: Revolutionary Across the Color Line
This biography reveals W.E.B. Du Bois as a radical and revolutionary thinker who challenged capitalism, imperialism and racism, finds Adam Tomes
Working-Class Politics in the German Revolution
The Revolutionary Shop Stewards are a neglected part of the German Revolution of 1918-23, but the political lessons need clear understanding, argues Dominic Alexander
Darcus Howe (1943 – 2017): the Mighty Lion remembered
A trailbreaking activist, writer and broadcaster is remembered by Madeline Heneghan
A riot of our own
Next weekend marks the 40th Anniversary of The Clash’s debut album. Mark Perryman asks what the 1977 punk and politics mix was all about.
The other American Revolution
Alan Taylor’s book suggests that Trumpism might be less an aberration than the latest expression of long established traits of American political culture
The Nazis and the British establishment
In the TV series SS-GB key figures from the British ruling class take part in the resistance against Nazi occupation. But, as Chris Bambery argues, this would have been an unlikely scenario
The October Revolution: history and heritage
Historian and activist Paul Le Blanc reflects upon the Year One of international working class struggle from Counterfire’s recent 'Revolution: Russia 1917 – on hundred years on' event
Why has the Royal Academy airbrushed Trotsky out of history?
The exhibition, celebrating Russian art from the revolutionary period, is missing a huge part of the story, argues Judy Cox
The tinder before the spark: pre-revolutionary Russia in snapshot
The preconditions of the Russian Revolution were hidden in plain sight, describes Vladimir Unkovski-Korica
Russia's road to revolution
The revolutionary events of 1905 profoundly affected the revolutionary parties themselves, argues Sean Ledwith
The British state and The City - part 3
The third in a three-part series, in which Chris Bambery takes a look at the intertwined history of the state and the City of London
1905: The 1917 Revolution's dress rehearsal
The Russian Revolution of 1917 was led by a working class who, in 1905, had already tasted their own power and experienced bitter defeat
Chris Wickham’s analysis of the European Middle Ages is a rich introduction to the development of Europe up to the 15th Century, argues Chris Bambery
The British state and The City - part 2
The second in a three-part series, in which Chris Bambery takes a look at the intertwined history of the state and the City of London
The British state and The City - part 1
The first in a three-part series, in which Chris Bambery takes a look at the intertwined history of the state and the City of London
Imperialist rivalries and the First World War - the world of the Russian Revolution:
The causes of the First World War and Russian Revolution can be located in the imperialist tensions of world capitalism argues Dominic Alexander
Trotsky's introduction to the Russian Revolution
Trotsky's introduction to his history of the Russian Revolution gives us an insight into how unexpected the revolution was
Red Rosa. A graphic biography of Rosa Luxemburg
Kate Evans’ graphic biography,
, is an entertaining, innovative and perceptive account of Rosa Luxemburg, finds Elaine Graham-Leigh
Christmas 1641: 'the maddest Christmas that I ever saw'
John Rees depicts one of the great popular mobilisations of the English Revolution, described by one eye-witness as ‘the maddest Christmas that ever I saw’
Revolution: Russia 1917 one hundred years on - trailer
A first look at our event coming up next year, celebrating the anniversary of the Russian Revolution
Anarchy in the UK: iconoclasm’s greatest hit
Forty years ago The Sex Pistols’ debut single was released. Philosophy Football’s Mark Perryman remembers it well
War and remembrance: the poppy and the butcher
The stark horrors of World War I cannot be cleansed to serve the interests of our rulers, past and present, argues Chris Bambery
The Leveller Revolution: John Rees on the Jeremy Vine show
Listen to John Rees dicussing his new book on The Levellers, on the Jeremy Vine show
The Battle of Cable Street with Chris Bambery - podcast
Author and broadcaster Chris Bambery tells the story of the Battle of Cable Street, to mark 80 years since
Transforming the past: Walter Scott and the historical novel
Chris Bambery celebrates the novels of Walter Scott, which provide a unique insight into the emergence of the modern world
The Tories and academies: a coup against democracy
As the Tories plan to turn every school into an academy, Alastair Stephens takes a look at the motives behind the drive
England always dreaming
For St George's Day Mark Perryman explores the connections between English football’s golden moment and national identity
Keep Lukács' work alive
Hungarian writer and revolutionary Georg Lukács contribution to Marxist philosophy was unparalleled. His archives must be kept open and his work remembered
A revolt against Empire: the 1916 Easter Rising
In the second part of our 3-part series on the struggle for Irish independence, Chris Bambery looks at the uprising of Easter Monday 1916
Rosa Luxemburg on parliament and political power - key texts
Vladimir Unkovski-Korica introduces a chapter from
Reform or Revolution
by Polish revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg as part of our 'key texts' series
Home Rule and the roots of the Easter Rising
As the hundredth anniversary of the Easter Rising approaches, Counterfire is running a new 3-part series by Chris Bambery on the struggle for Irish independence
A troubled relationship: the UK and the EU
Chris Bambery takes a look at the UK's troubled relationship with the EU, both in the past and in the present
Rock against racism: when black and white united
Jim Aindow looks at the history and impact of an inspirational anti-racist movement told through the photos of Syd Shelton in an exhibition at the Rivington Place gallery
Revolutionary Teamsters: The Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934
shows the contemporary relevance of a major episode of revolutionary trade-unionism from the 1930s, argues Richard Allday
Suffragette: on the side of the rebels
is a compelling and moving portrayal of the courage of ordinary women who dared to challenge the power of the British state
Labour: a party always divided
As support for Jeremy Corbyn has grown so has the determination of those who have run Labour for years to hang on to as much power as they can - this is not new says Lindsey German
Zimmerwald 1915: A new socialist resistance against war
John Riddell on how a small gathering held in Switzerland 100 years ago, on September 5-8, 1915, marked a turning point in the world socialist movement
Jack the Ripper museum: women make their own history
Draped in chains of purple, white and green, local people blocked the road in protest outside the grotesque 'Jack the Ripper Museum' due to open on Cable Street on Tuesday evening
John Berger: the nature of mass demonstrations
Demonstrations express political ambitions before the political means necessary to realise them have been created argues John Berger in this article by from May 1968
Ten reasons why the story of Magna Carta is about rebellion
Unfortunately for David Cameron, the real lesson of the Magna Carta story is that only a determined mass movement can win political and social equality
The steam and the piston box: is autonomism an alternative?
Sean Ledwith looks at the origins and the limitations of autonomism
Magna Carta: a tradition of rebellion
Foundation of British democracy or historical relic? Dominic Alexander looks at how the meaning of Magna Carta has always been shaped by class struggle and rebellion
Race to Revolution: The United States and Cuba during Slavery and Jim Crow
The interwoven history of racism and liberation in Cuba and the United States in
Race to Revolution
illuminates a new historical narrative, argues William Booth
The fire last time: when ghetto riots rocked America
Alastair Stephens looks at how riots changed American history and represented a historic challenge to the ruling order
Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune
is an effective account of the 1871 Paris Commune, and how understanding it aids our struggle for freedom within a decaying capitalism, argues John Westmoreland
A People’s History of the French Revolution
A People’s History of the French Revolution
is an attempt to provide a new narrative, but fails to show the importance of the revolution, argues William Alderson
Podcast: the Levellers and John Lilburne
A podcast by Londonist Out Loud discussing the Levellers with John Rees
John Lilburne: free-born 400 years ago…and still the man of the hour
Saturday 14 March sees the
Lilburne 400 conference
in London. The Leveller leader should be remembered for many reasons, not least his commitment to building revolutionary organisation, says John Rees
Debunking the 'clash of civilisations'
We need to refute the idea that we're living through a 'Clash of Civilisations' between the West and Islam - it's dangerous bunkum argues Chris Bambery
Their Magna Carta and ours
Magna Carta was a small but significant crack in the edifice of class oppression which remains to be fully torn down writes Sean Ledwith
Silvertown: The Lost Story Of A Strike That Shook London And Helped Launch The Modern Labour Movement
John Tully’s history of the Silvertown strike reveals industrial and imperial connections, and the nature of the worker’s struggle against them at a crucial period, argues John Westmoreland
Romanticism and Caricature
The tradition of political caricature in Britain, whose classic phase was 1790-1832, is revealed by Ian Haywood’s
Romanticism and Caricature
, finds Jacqueline Mulhallen
Football V War: new film marks 1914 Christmas Truce Centenary
A new film by Philosophy Football explores the potential for sport as resistance. Featuring Grace Petrie, Jimmy Ross, Finlay Allison, Kate Smurthwaite, Simon Munnery and Musa Okwonga
Sylvia Pankhurst's Christmas parties for peace
Katherine Connelly tells of how the radical Suffragette gave East End kids a glimmer of hope in the depths of World War I
Frederic Jameson: The Project of Dialectical Criticism
Robert Tally's study provides a crisp and coherent guide to the thought of a figure future generations, hopefully, will look back on as one of the prophets of their utopia writes Sean Ledwith
Berlin: the wall that came down and the walls that went up
John Rees was reporting from Berlin 25 years ago as the demonstrations which brought down the Stalinist dictatorship reached their peak. Here he reflects on the consequences of the fall of the Berlin Wall
The Darkest Days: The Truth Behind Britain’s Rush to War, 1914
A new account of the weeks before the outbreak of World War I explodes the myth that Britain played an in any way commendable role in the events that led to the catastrophe of August 1914, finds Dominic Alexander
A Marxist History of the Second World War
Chris Bambery’s account of World War II shows how imperialist schemes and interests meant that it was far from a simple story of a heroic struggle against fascism, finds Peter Stauber
Gough Whitlam – the Australian Prime Minister deposed by the Monarchy
Gough Whitlam, the Australian Social Democratic Prime Minister deposed by Elizabeth II has died aged 98
Hey Wilshaw! Leave them kids alone!
Ofsted head Sir Michael Wilshaw’s ideas about ‘discipline’ have much in common with Victorian methods and little to do with real education writes John Westmoreland
Made in Britain: how the Tories armed both sides in the Iran-Iraq war
Kit Klarenberg looks at how the Thatcher government secretly armed both sides in the war between Iran and Iraq
The People. The Rise and Fall of the Working Class 1910-2010
is a very welcome and successful assertion of the centrality of working-class experience and power in the history of the twentieth century
A People’s History of Scotland: World War I and Protest
In this final extract from
A People’s History of Scotland
, Chris Bambery reveals the range of protests during and opposition to the First World War that erupted in Scotland
A People’s History of Scotland: The Radical Wars
In this second extract from
A People’s History of Scotland
, Chris Bambery discusses working-class movements of the early nineteenth century
A People’s History of Scotland: The Union of 1707
In this first extract of three from
A People’s History of Scotland
, Chris Bambery describes the social conflict that accompanied the elite deal that was the Union of Scotland and England in 1707
1934: American workers in revolt
In 1934 three mighty strikes brought the bosses and bankers to their knees and ushered in a new era of labour-capital relations in the United States writes Sean Ledwith
Sylvia Pankhurst: Militancy and Mass Mobilisation
Pankhurst’s commitment to working class politics offered a more fruitful strategy for the women’s suffrage movement, compared to the middle class strategy of the leaders of the WSPU
Chavez, Venezuela, and the ‘Bolivarian revolution’
The radical reforms of Hugo Chavez are gains to be defended and a platform for further advance towards a revolutionary transformation of society argues Neil Faulkner
Art and Conflict: Sylvia Pankhurst: Suffragette, Socialist and Scourge of Empire
As a young artist at the turn of the 20
century, Sylvia Pankhurst battled discrimination in the institutional art world, while also developing strong political commitments
The Nicaraguan revolution
Neil Faulkner looks at how the US set out to destroy the Sandinista regime and with it any possibility of a wider Central American revolution
Sylvia Pankhurst: War and Imperialism
Sylvia Pankhurst’s activism during the First World War demonstrated her unwavering commitment to anti-imperialism - a thread running through all her activity for the rest of her life
Emiliano Zapata and the Mexican revolution
Neil Faulkner looks at the rise and fall of Zapatismo: revolution from below by the common people of the countryside
Introduction to Sylvia Pankhurst: Suffragette, Socialist and Scourge of Empire
In this extract from her book, Katherine Connelly explains the context and continuities of Sylvia’s many political engagements - too often ignored in standard accounts of her life
Simon Bolivar and the Spanish-American revolutions
Neil Faulkner looks at the rolling wave of revolutions in the Spanish Empire's New World colonies between 1808 and 1826
Toussaint L’Ouverture and the Haitian slave revolution
Neil Faulkner looks at the birth of the Republic of Haiti – an independent black-ruled state created by slave revolution
A Marxist History of the World: Making the future
Historian Neil Faulkner concludes
A Marxist History of the World
by looking at what that history can tell us about the possibility for radical social change
A Marxist History of the World part 106: The Second Great Depression
Four years after the beginning of the crisis, the neoliberal elite is trapped by the contradictions of the system on which its wealth depends, writes Neil Faulkner
A Marxist History of the World part 105: The 2008 Crash: from bubble to black hole
The financial crisis represents the end of an era in which greed and casino-madness had been given free rein by market deregulation and rising debt
A Marxist History of the World part 104: 2001: 9/11, the War on Terror, and the New Imperialism
The Al-Qaida terror attacks allowed the great powers to justify new imperialist wars to safeguard the interests of global capital, writes Neil Faulkner
A Marxist History of the World part 103: 1989: the fall of Stalinism
The revolutions of 1989 represent great victories for mass action, but they were limited in effect, writes Neil Faulkner
A Marxist History of the World part 102: What is neoliberalism?
The ‘free-market’ theory provides a pseudo-scientific justification for the greed and poverty endemic to the system, and the main beneficiaries are the global mega-corporations of neoliberal capitalism
A Marxist History of the World part 101: The Long Recession
By the early 1970s, the levers of state economic management had stopped working and the world economy entered a long period of stagnation
A Marxist History of the World part 100:1968-1975: the workers’ revolt
As the crisis of capitalism spread around the world, the working class took centre stage – but the revolt did not result in successful revolution anywhere, writes Neil Faulkner
A Marxist History of the World part 99: 1968 - the long sleep ends
The long sleep of the post-war period was brought to an end in 1968, as revolts erupted across the developed world, writes Neil Faulkner
A Marxist History of the World part 98: The Vietnam War
Neil Faulkner explains how an army of peasant guerrillas managed to defeat US imperialism in a full-scale war
A Marxist History of the World part 97: Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution
The reforms that Fidel Castro introduced after the overthrow of the Batista dictatorship were real, but they were bestowed from above and straitjacketed by poverty, writes Neil Faulkner
A Marxist History of the World part 96:1956: Hungary and Suez
1956 was a year of war, revolution, and disillusionment – a year after which nothing could ever be quite the same again, writes Neil Faulkner
A Marxist History of the World part 95: Oil, Zionism, and Western Imperialism
British support for the Zionist movement led to the foundation of Israel in 1948. In conjunction with US imperialism, the Israeli state is an enduring source of oppression in the Middle East
A Marxist History of the World part 94: End of Empire?
In spite of the imperialist powers' attempts to cling on to their colonies, formal empire was finished by the late 1970s. But this was not the end of imperialism, writes Neil Faulkner
A Marxist History of the World part 93: Maoist China
After the revolution of 1949, the Chinese Communists resorted to state capitalism to force the country’s industrialisation. The consequences were disastrous, writes Neil Faulkner
A Marxist History of the World part 92: The Great Boom
In the first three decades after the war, the world economy experienced unprecedented growth rates and falling unemployment. But the boom rested on unstable foundations, writes Neil Faulkner
A Marxist History of the World part 91: The Cold War
The Second World War had created a world divided between two imperialist blocs. Their nuclear arsenals acted as a ‘deterrent’, but rivalry and suspicion meant that war was never far away
A Marxist History of the World part 90: The Second World War: resistance
Large parts of Occupied Europe were liberated by local resistance movements. But the potential for a revolutionary transformation was smothered at birth, writes Neil Faulkner
A Marxist History of the World part 89: 1941-1945: barbarism in a world gone mad
The Second World War was characterised by primeval savagery. Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and Militarist Japan waged war with unprecedented brutality, but the ‘democracies’ also committed terrible war crimes
A Marxist History of the World part 88: The Second World War
With the great powers fighting to defend their empires, the Second World War would re-divide the world between competing blocs of capitalists, writes Neil Faulkner
A Marxist History of the World part 87: The Causes of the Second World War
As Hitler sought to expand Germany's sphere of influence in Europe, Britain's policy of appeasement reflected the interests of the British ruling classes – until German power became overwhelming
A Marxist History of the World part 86: The Spanish Civil War
In 1936, after General Franco had led an unsuccessful coup against a democratically elected government, revolution swept across Spain. Neil Faulkner explains why the workers were ultimately defeated
A Marxist History of the World part 85: June 1936: the French general strike and factory occupations
In the mid-1930s French workers launched a wave of strikes and occupations. Neil Faulkner explains how the Stalinised Communist Party worked to contain this resistance
A Marxist History of the World part 84: State Capitalism in Russia
By the end of the 1920s, Stalin's party-state apparatus had become the dominant force in Russian society. A bureaucratic ruling class treated all forms of dissent and resistance as crimes against the state
A Marxist History of the World part 83: 1933: the Nazi seizure of power
By the early 1930s, the German ruling class was determined to use the Nazis to make the world safe for German capital. But the fascist victory was not inevitable – it resulted from a failure of revolutionary leadership
A Marxist History of the World part 82: The Hungry Thirties
Beginning with the Wall Street Crash in 1929, the world economy entered the Great Depression. The misguided policies that world leaders pursued ensured that millions of lives were torn apart.
A People's History of London - Part 3
The Mob is A Movement: In the final extract from A People's History of London, Lindsey German and John Rees conclude their explanation of the roots of rebellion and protest in the nature of London as a city
A Marxist History of the World part 81: The Roaring Twenties
Although the 'American Dream' became a reality for millions in the 1920s, it was built on shaky grounds - the huge speculative bubble that was building up on Wall Street was waiting to collapse
A Marxist History of the World part 80: Stalinism: the bitter fruit of revolutionary defeat
Neil Faulkner looks at the time when the Bolshevik regime turned in on itself and morphed into a mockery of its socialist ideals.
A Marxist History of the World part 79: Revolt in the Colonies
The anti-colonial revolts of the early 20
century were inspired by radical ideas, but, as the examples of Ireland, India and Mexico show, history exacts a heavy price for political timidity.
A People's History of London - Part 2
In the second extract from
A People's History of London
, Lindsey German and John Rees explain why London has such a vibrant history of radicalism
A Marxist History of the World part 78: The First Chinese Revolution
In 1927, the Chinese nationalists smashed the country's first working-class revolutionary movement – a defeat that would shape the whole subsequent history of China.
A People's History of London - Part 1
In the first extract from A People's History of London, Lindsey German and John Rees explain that the recent Occupy camp outside St Paul's Cathedral lies in a long line of Londoners' gatherings and protests in that very place, stretching back centuries
A Marxist History of the World part 77: World Revolution
In the five years after the First World War, revolutionary contagion spread around the world. It showed the extraordinary possibilities that arise when the masses become active in making their own history.
A Marxist History of the World part 76: Italy’s ‘Two Red Years’
Like Germany, Italy was on the brink of revolution in the summer of 1920, after the strains of imperialist war had levered open deep fractures in an unstable social order.
A Marxist History of the World part 75: The German Revolution
At the end of the First World War, the epicentre of revolution moved from Petrograd to Berlin. Why did the German communists fail where the Bolsheviks had succeded?
A Marxist History of the World part 74: 1918: how the war ended
After four years of carnage, the First World War finally came to an end when the Central Powers collapsed and revolution spread to Germany, writes Neil Faulkner.
A Marxist History of the World part 73: 1917: the October Insurrection
The October revolution was an expression of the democratic will of millions of workers, soldiers, sailors, and peasants writes Neil Faulkner
A Marxist History of the World part 72: February to October: the rhythms of revolution
The situation of 'dual power' that emerged after the overthrow of the Tsar in February 1917 was marked by a series of major political crises.
A Marxist History of the World part 71: Dual power: the mechanics of revolution
The centuries old Russian monarchy was overthrown in a matter of days in February 1917. Neil Faulkner looks at the months of turmoil that followed
Timelines: A Political History of the Modern World
In this extract from the Introduction to his new book
, Timelines, A Political History of the Modern World
, John Rees looks at some of the forces that gave rise to the world in which we live.
A Marxist History of the World part 70: 1917: the February Revolution
As WWI turned into a protracted, bloody struggle the initial enthusiasm gave way to growing class tensions which exploded first in Russia's February Revolution.
A Marxist History of the World part 69: The First World War
Neil Faulkner looks at how capitalism plunged humanity into an abyss of carnage, destruction, and waste without precedent, as mass production methods produced industrialised slaughter.
A Marxist History of the World part 68: 1914: descent into barbarism
In the summer of 1914 capitalism tipped humanity into an abyss of barbarism that would leave millions dead. Neil Faulkner looks at the First World War.
A Marxist History of the World part 67: Reform or Revolution?
The world Socialist movement was blown apart as its members supported the First World War. Neil Faulkner looks at how the question of reform or revolution lay behind the split.
A Marxist History of the World part 66: The Ottoman Empire and the 1908 ‘Young Turk’ Revolution
Neil Faulkner looks at how the revolution that began in Turkey in 1908 initiated a process that would transform the middle east over the following two decades.
A Marxist History of the World part 65: The 1905 Revolution: Russia’s great dress rehearsal
Neil Faulkner looks at how the Russian Revolution of 1905 helped Leon Trotsky formulate an answer to the century-old riddle of Russian history: what form must the revolution take in order to be victorious.
A Marxist History of the World part 64: What is Imperialism?
Neil Faulkner looks at how the growth of giant monopolies and the fusing of industrial, bank, and state capital created global competition - and the roots of World War I.
A Marxist History of the World part 63: The Rape of China
Neil Faulkner looks at the impact of western imperialism's repeated and bloody attempts to control the wealth of China
A Marxist History of the World part 62: The Scramble for Africa
The imperial competition to control Africa spawned a predatory colonialism of mines, plantations, and machine-guns and propelled humanity towards industrialised world war writes Neil Faulkner.
A Marxist History of the World part 61: The Long Depression, 1873-1896
Neil Faulkner writes about the The Long Depression – an unprecedented economic slump which started the countdown to the First World War.
A Marxist History of the World part 60: The Paris Commune: the face of proletarian revolution
The Franco-Prussian war produced the first proletarian revolution in history, and showed to the world for the first time what a workers’ state looks like.
A Marxist History of the World part 59: The Franco-Prussian War
In this week's chapter of the
series Neil Faulkner looks at how Germany’s ruling elite brought about a bourgeois revolution ‘from above’.
A Marxist History of the World part 58: The Meiji Restoration
An event which would shape the history of the Far East until 1945, Japan’s bourgeois revolution ‘from above’ is explored by Neil Faulkner in this week's Marxist History.
A Marxist History of the World part 57: The American Civil War
One hundred and fifty years ago North America saw the start of a revolutionary war fought between rival systems and opposing political ideologies. Neil Faulkner looks at The American Civil War.
A Marxist History of the World part 56: The Indian Mutiny
The Indian Mutiny was the subcontinent’s first war of independence, with Indians of different ethnic and religious backgrounds fighting side-by-side despite the divide and rule fostered by the British.
A Marxist History of the World part 55: The Making of the Working Class
The development of capitalism entails two complementary processes. The first, explored in
54, is competitive capital accumulation. The second, explored here, is the making – and continual re-making – of the working class.
A Marxist History of the World part 54: What is Capitalism?
In this critical chapter of his world history, Neil Faulkner explores capitalism and what it means from the Industrial Revolution to the present day.
A Marxist History of the World part 53: What is Marxism?
In his latest instalment, Neil Faulkner explores the complex history of Marxism - and how capitalism produced its own gravediggers.
A Marxist History of the World part 52: The 1848 Revolutions
Even when progress is reversed, some hard-won gains are permanent. Neil Faulkner examines how the counter-revolution in 1848 failed to entirely turn the clock back.
A Marxist History of the World part 51: the origins of the Labour Movement
Capitalism's industrial revolution gave birth to its own gravediggers, argues Neil Faulkner as he examines the rise and fall of Chartism.
Jesus Christ: revolutionary
In this edited extract from his book
The Jewish Revolt
Neil Faulkner argues that Jesus was a revolutionary.
A Marxist History of the World part 50: The Industrial Revolution
Frederick Engels was sent to Manchester, centre of the Industrial Revolution, to dispel his radicalism. Instead it made him the revolutionary he is remembered as today, Neil Faulkner explains.
A Marxist History of the World part 49: The French Revolution - Themidor, Directory and Napoleon
In his third chapter on the French Revolution, Neil Faulkner discusses the contradictions of bourgeois revolution - but celebrates the gains it won.
A Marxist History of the World Part 48: The French Revolution - The Jacobin Dictatorship
In his latest instalment, Neil Faulkner explores the rise of the Jacobin dictatorship and the ever-present threat of counter-revolution in 18th Century France.
A Marxist History of the World part 47: The French Revolution - Storming of the Bastille
In the latest of his series on the Marxist understanding of history, Neil Faulkner explores revolution and counter-revolution in 18th-Century France.
A Marxist History of the World part 46: The American Revolution
In 1764, Americans thought of themselves as British subjects of King George III. By 1788, they would, by their own decisions and actions, have made themselves the free citizens of a new republic forged in revolution and war.
A Marxist History of the World part 45: The Enlightenment
What gave the Enlightenment its subversive, politically corrosive character was its critique of institutions and practices which appeared comparatively irrational in the light of modern thinking, argues Neil Faulkner.
A Marxist History of the World part 44: Wars of empire
The English Revolution transformed Britain into a capitalist economy engaging in geopolitical competition. Neil Faulkner looks at how Britain became the dominant global superpower of the 19
A Marxist History of the World part 43: Colonies, slavery, and racism
Capitalist contradictions were most evident in the 18th century, when the wealth of the merchant-capitalist class of Britain’s port-cities was contrasted with the untold human misery of the slaves, ramping up the historical significance of racist ideology.
A Marxist History of the World part 42: The Army, the Levellers, and the Commonwealth
Neil Faulkner looks at how even the most radical bourgeois forces, if they are to preserve their property and status, must break the momentum of the movement that has brought them to power.
A Marxist History of the World part 41: 1640-1645: revolution and war in England
The attempt to impose Absolutism by Charles I led to a revolutionary civil war in which the King would be executed - Neil Faulkner looks at the English Civil War.
A Marxist History of the World part 40: The causes of the English Revolution
Neil Faulkner looks at the how the unresolved contradictions in English society and the attempt to establish Continental-style absolutism led to the execution of the king, and the establishment of a bourgeois republic.
What do we mean by a General Strike?
Chris Harman, in this article from 1985, summarises the history of general strikes and analyses different forms of mass working class resistance. He also outlines the factors determining when it is appropriate for socialists to raise the general strike slogan.
A Marxist History of the World part 39: The Thirty Years War
Between 1618 and 1648 Germany was wrecked by insecurity, depopulation, disruption to trade, the destruction of property, and military plundering. Neil Faulkner looks at The Thirty Years War.
A Marxist History of the World part 38: The Dutch Revolution
For more than 40 years, with wildly fluctuating fortunes, the Dutch Revolution of 1566-1609 took the form of a protracted popular war of national defence against the Spanish Empire.
A Marxist History of the World part 37: The Counter-Reformation
Neil Faulkner looks at how the Reformation was followed by a counter-revolutionary response which involved a dogmatic reassertion of Catholic orthodoxy: the Counter-Reformation.
A Marxist History of the World part 36: The Reformation
The Reformation after 1521 tore apart church and state. Neil Faulkner looks at how the new social forces formed inside late medieval Europe helped undermine the thousand year domination of the Roman Catholic Church.
A Marxist History of the World part 35: The new colonialism
The Portuguese and Spanish overseas empires founded at the beginning of the 16
century were soon followed by Dutch, English, and French empires. Neil Faulkner looks at how the transformation of the world by European colonialism began.
A Marxist History of the World part 34: The new monarchies
Neil Faulkner looks at how the transition from feudalism to capitalism introduced a new model of unified states, centralised government, royal armies, internal repression and national-dynastic wars.
A Marxist History of the World part 33: The class struggle in medieval Europe
Despite dominating western Europe in the 11
century by the 14
century Feudalism was faced with a crisis that generated a wave of revolutionary struggle. Neil Faulkner looks at the causes and outcomes.
A Marxist History of the World part 32: Lord, burgher, and peasant in medieval Europe
Feudalism is often portrayed as a stagnant system where little changed over centuries. The reality was a system that was more dynamic and productive than anything before it argues Neil Faulkner.
A Marxist History of the World part 31: Crusade and Jihad
The Crusades lasted 200 years and represented the most extreme expression of the futile violence inherent in western feudalism - a murderous attack on the Middle East by western feudal thugs under the banner of religion.
A Marxist History of the World part 30: The rise of western feudalism
Following the collapse of the Roman Empire Western Europe became a politically fragmented region of warring states from which a radically new social, military, and political order developed.
A Marxist History of the World part 29: The peculiarity of Europe
Why Europe? Why was it that the second great transformation in human existence - the development of capitalism and industrial society - was pioneered on the western edge of the Eurasian land-mass?
The cycles and arrows of time: A Marxist History of the World part 28
Part 9 of A
Marxist History of the World
, we paused to discuss ‘how history works’. It would be useful to pause again to review some general lessons of the history of the ancient and medieval civilisations we have looked at since.
The Iraq Inquiry - Timeline with John Rees
John Rees looks at the Iraq war and whether the current government Inquiry will be a whitewash.
A Marxist History of the World part 27: New World Empires: Maya, Aztec, and Inca
The early civilisations of the Americas were limited by geography - in only two areas did urban revolution occur and civilisations develop: in parts of Mesoamerica, and in the Central Andes.
A Marxist History of the World part 26: Africa: cattle-herders, iron-masters, and trading states
Neil Faulkner looks at the early civilisations in Africa and how geography ensured the continent would develop differently from Eurasia.
A Marxist History of the World part 25: Chinese History’s Revolving Door
Neil Faulkner examines China's imperial history, where for two millennia political revolution did not lead to social transformation, but simply to the replacement of one dynasty by another.
A Marxist History of the World part 24: Hindus, Buddhists, and the Gupta Empire
More than half a millennium separated the fall of India’s Mauryan Empire in the late 3rd century BCE (before the common era) from the rise of the Gupta Empire in the early 4th century CE (common era). Economic and social change during the interval altered the foundations of imperialism.
A Marxist History of the World part 23: The Abbasid Revolution
slam created a single overarching allegiance throughout the Arab-ruled world yet the Middle East came to be a divided region of weak and unpopular states. Neil Faulkner looks at the conflicts that lay behind this process.
A Marxist History of the World part 22: Arabs, Persians, and Byzantines
This week Neil Faulkner describes the rise and explosive spread of the third great monotheistic religion, where compassion, charity, and protection became moral imperatives - Islam.
A history of student revolt - Timeline with John Rees
John Rees charts the political history of student movements - from volunteer strikebreakers in the twenties to their more recent role as a catalyst for mass movements of radical social change.
A Marxist History of the World part 21: Huns, Goths, and Romans
Neil Faulkner charts the transformation of the Huns from tribal nomads into continent-straddling militarists.
A Marxist History of the World part 20: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Neil Faulkner examines how the three great monotheistic religions produced by the contradictions of the ancient world owed their extraordinary power to their origins in the myths and rituals of the oppressed.
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