The ‘Bolivarian Revolution’ in Venezuela under Hugo Chávez has reignited debate in Latin America and internationally on the questions of socialism and revolution. This forum brings together six leading intellectuals from different revolutionary traditions and introduces their reflections on class-struggle, the state, imperialism, counter-power, revolutionary parties, community and communes, workplaces, economy, politics, society, culture, race, gender, and the hopes, contradictions, and prospects of ‘twenty-first-century socialism’ in contemporary Venezuela.
Responding to comments by Ben Fine in relation to the concept of the degree of separation among workers, this article argues that Fine confuses Marx’s levels of analysis and thus cannot distinguish between necessity and contingency; fails to grasp the problematic character of Marx’s discussion of relative surplus-value once we remove the assumption of a given standard of necessity; and accordingly remains trapped in a ‘Ricardian Box’ that Marx himself was able to escape.
Karl Marx, philosopher of praxis — the theorist who rejected both the utopian socialists and the utopian putschists because of his core concept of the self-development of the working class through its own struggles. Was Marx necessarily limited because he lived and wrote in the nineteenth century – limited, not because capitalism was as yet ‘immature’, but because the proletariat was? Felton Shortall proposes that, able to observe neither the struggles for workers’ councils and Soviets nor ‘the limitations of the (...) workers’ council form of organisation’ as revealed by revolutionary experiences such as the ‘refusal to work’, Marx could not proceed beyond the dialectic of capital. (shrink)
Not too long ago, Michael Burawoy commented that ‘two anomalies confront Marxism as its refutation: the durability of capitalism and the passivity of its working class'. So, has the time come, more than 125 years after the publication of Capital, to admit that the ‘facts’ simply do not support Marx's theory?