This is a series of short introductions to the ideas of Marx and Marxism by Marxist writer, John Molyneux. John is the author of numerous books and articles on Marxism including Marxism and the Party, What is the Real Marxist Tradition? and The Point is to Change It! An introduction to Marxist Philosophy and he is editor of the Irish Marxist Review.
Marx’s vision of socialism:
10:06why Marx refused to draw up any detailed plan for a socialist society but saw socialism as a historical process created by the working class itself after the overthrow of capitalism
11:40how dialectics is a theory of change through contradiction and how Marx took over this idea from Hegel and, interpreting it materialistically, made it a cornerstone of his underlying philosophy
Nationalism and Internationalism
10:52why Marx rejected nationalism and called on workers of the world to unite believing socialism could not be realised in one country alone, but also defended the right of oppressed nations to freedom.
Marx’s theory of the State:
11:44explains how Marx rejected the dominant view of the state as neutral or above class, seeing it as fundamentally an instrument of rule by the dominant economic class, and the revolutionary political implications of this.
The tendency of the rate of profit to decline
11:22deals with why Marx believed that in the long run, the rate of profit would tend to fall and how this would make capitalism prone to recurring economic crises.
The Labour Theory of Value
11:43explains Marx’s core economic doctrine that the value of commodities is determined by the labour-power embodied in them and how this underpins the exploitation of the working class.
What is capitalism?
10:27This sets out what Marx saw as the main features of capitalism as it developed historically and his analysis of its central dynamic- the accumulation of capital.
Historical Materialism, part 2
11:45argues against the interpretation of historical materialism as a theory of mechanical economic determinism and shows how Marx and Engels stressed that ideas and political organisation also play a vital part in shaping history.
Historical Materialism, part 1
11:34outlines the basic ideas of Marx’s theory of history which sees history as driven primarily not by the deeds and ideas of ‘great men’ but by how the mass of ordinary people produce the necessities of life.
The Revolutionary Role of the Working Class
11:23goes further into why Marx considered the working class as the ‘gravedigger’ of capitalism and the class which would liberate humanity.