spotCampaigns

spotOrganisations

spotArguments for socialism

spotPeople

spotInternational

spotEvents

spotAround the UK


All keywords


All Arguments for socialism subcategories:

Arguments for socialism

Capitalism

Globalisation Anticapitalism

* Marxism


Marxism keywords:

Anarchists (4)

Aristocracy (5)

Bolsheviks (49)

Bonapartism (1)

Bourgeoisie (10)

Bureaucracy (36)

Commune (9)

Communism (18)

Communist Manifesto (23)

Counter-revolution (35)

Engels (35)

Feudalism (3)

General strike (320)

Insurrection (6)

Jacobins (6)

Lenin (68)

Maoists (6)

Marx (133)

Marxism (110)

Marxist (107)

Materialism (20)

Nobility (2)

Philosophy (12)

Proletariat (5)

Revolution (530)

Russian (152)

Sans-culottes (7)

Soviet Union (31)

Stalinism (57)

Transitional Programme (25)

Trotsky (133)

Trotskyism (44)

Working class (809)

soviet (49)

Engels


Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 1038, 17 April 2019: 100 billion for bosses - cuts for us. Fight for the socialist alternative

Search site for keywords: Engels - Socialist - Workers - Capitalism - Socialism - Socialist Books

Non-fiction - Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

Engels' classic essential for understanding socialist ideas old and 'new'

Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx's collaborator and co-founder of scientific socialism

Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx's collaborator and co-founder of scientific socialism   (Click to enlarge)

Mary Finch, East London Socialist Party

As Tony Saunois points out in his foreword to the new Socialist Books reprint, 'Socialism: Utopian and Scientific' remains one of the best introductions to Marxist ideas.

It was the first Marxist text I read after joining the Socialist Party seven years ago. Admittedly, a lot of it went completely over my head! But there were lessons I took from it on my first reading which have drawn me back to it again and again.

One of the most valuable things about this pamphlet by Karl Marx's co-thinker Friedrich Engels is its clear and concise explanation of dialectics, the science of change, and how it applies to the real world.

Engels lays out the transition from feudalistic societies and economies to early capitalism. He concretely explains the forces at work behind this process, and how it changed the relationships between classes. Understanding of these forces is an essential building block for understanding and organising in the working class today.

Its continued relevance has also been shown by the recent revival of 'new' utopian ideas and reformism, which imagine an end to capitalism without the need for workers to fight for power.

Engels describes some of the huge struggles, like the French Revolution, which took place when capitalism was still in its infancy. At that time, the limited development of the new working class held back its consciousness of its own role, and the strength of its movements for change.

There was only a glimpse of the potential power of organised workers in fighting capitalism and building a fundamentally different society.

As a result, what Engels calls "utopian socialists" drew the conclusion that workers are unable to fight for ourselves, and need other forces - 'benign' capitalists or the middle classes - to make change on our behalf. Utopians like Robert Owen tried to build 'islands of socialism' which they thought could convince profit-driven capitalists to create a rational, fairer economy.

Marxism

These failed, but their pioneering examples were key to developing a more thoroughgoing socialist understanding. The "scientific socialists" - the Marxists - exposed the impossibility of the ruling capitalist class voluntarily dissolving itself, and looked at the inner workings of capitalism to find that only working-class struggle could overcome this.

Today is a very different context to that which Engels lived in. Capitalism is a fully developed world economic system.

In capitalism's current crisis, though, the working class is yet to decisively put its stamp on events. After ten years of devastating austerity without a successful mass movement of workers against it, there is confusion about which force in society can achieve change.

Many workers and young people are encouraged by the idea that we can make tweaks and changes to the capitalist system. But without taking the economy and society out of the hands of the super-rich, reforms on their own can never be complete or permanent.

There is, similarly, a search for forces other than the working class which can temporarily seem more radical and willing to enter struggle. But it is workers who keep the economy going, the basis for all society on top of it - so it is the working class which is uniquely placed to seize democratic control of it.

The capitalist class will always act to preserve its system, no matter the cost. It's not enough to challenge capitalism - workers have to remove it, and replace it with a socialist world.

Only the working class can achieve socialism, whether based in the factories and mills of Engels' time or their modern equivalents today. 'Socialism: Utopian and Scientific' is essential preparation for the urgent tasks facing workers and socialists today.

Socialism: Utopian and Scientific - reprinted by Socialist Books

Socialism: Utopian and Scientific - reprinted by Socialist Books   (Click to enlarge)

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 







Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999