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Only a few short years ago it seemed that the tech market could do no wrong. Whatever problems the rest of world capitalism faced, the tech industries looked to be moving from success to success, with ever-larger profits each year. Every new product was greeted by queues of enthusiasts lining up at midnight to be first to buy the new device, even if it was almost identical to the old one they already had.

The fact that most new devices now seem very similar to older models or competitors products, however, is an indication of some of the problems facing the industry. Where once Apple ruled the world, various other firms are now able to provide seemingly decent substitutes for a lower price. The Android operating software – which covers both phones and tablets - seems to have founds its feet after several false starts and abandoned alternatives to Apple’s iOS. The same applies to the Google software now widely used.

In fact, the world is now awash with mobile phones, laptops, tablets, etc. So much so that there are not enough people on the planet to buy all this produce, even if they could afford it. The tech industry is now facing a classic crisis of overproduction, as Marx would have explained it long ago. Even businesses like Twitter are not immune, with the company announcing a 9% cut in its workforce following a slowdown in profit growth.

You would think therefore that Apple - along with other competitors like Sony and newer entries into the field like Huawei (let alone Microsoft, of course) - would have been privately ecstatic over the Samsung exploding Galaxy Note 7 fiasco. Samsung – one of the big players in the tech world - have had to withdraw the high-profile phone and are now facing an expected 30% fall in profits. It is hard to feel any sympathy for them, however, given they knew long ago about the problem with the lithium batteries but for months chose not to seriously try and fix it. So why the gloom now surrounding Apple and the rest?

The gadget glut

One factor is that the battery problem goes beyond Samsung and the doomed Galaxy model. Modern portable technology requires smaller but far more powerful batteries to operate devices, all of which are extremely energy-hungry. The lithium battery provides this, but, at the small size now required by manufacturers, has stability problems - that is, they can swell up, overheat and then catch fire. Any production flaw in a battery may cause them to become dangerous over time. Laptop batteries have been problematic for several years now, and experts warn against leaving them attached to chargers for long periods. There is also a problem that batteries left with no charge for a long period, of weeks or months, may stop working full stop or become erratic. 

The wider problem is to do with the sheer glut of devices and the fact that there is a limit as to how far forward you can take these based on current technology. The classic case study is Apple itself, the market leader for the whole of the 21st century so far. Anyone who had shares in Apple seemed to posses a gateway to endless profits. However, Apple has now reported a 4% fall in quarterly revenue, the third such fall in a row, representing the first annual fall in profits for 15 years. Even worse, Apple’s profit figures for China have fallen by a fifth. China and Korea are where most of the world’s tech production is sited. 

For years Apple seemed to have the knack of producing ever more popular items, pulling an endless stream of rabbits out of the hat. The MacBook came out in 2006; the iPod in 2001; the iPhone in 2007; and the iPad in 2010. Each of these effectively created a completely new market.

Apple: Hoist by its own petard

AppleDollarThe iPod is a useful case study to look at. Before the iPod was introduced, the music industry was still largely hostile to the download market. They could see how BitTorrent software and the peer-to-peer sharing were creating a huge resource of free but illegal music, encoded into mp3 files using freely available software - files that were being shared around online by millions of people. But they had no idea what to do about this.

As the internet got faster, so the problem got bigger. They tried suing individual downloaders, creating a public relations nightmare in the process. They tried restricting what could be officially and legally downloaded, forcing firms selling these downloads to have restrictive Digital Rights Management (DRM) encoded into the files. All of this merely pushed people back to the “grey area” free downloads and file-sharing operations.

Apple came along and said they were having none of this. Using the integrated iTunes software, they set up a synchronised easy-to-use operation, whereby people could easily download and start playing music on a sleek portable iPod with just a few clicks and no DRM to boot. They could rip their cds using iTunes and even burn discs to create new cds using downloaded files. The iTunes software also accepted imported mp3 files obtained from “other” sources. Given the size of the market Apple had created, the music industry quickly stopped holding back on what was available and embraced the new market, despite their concerns over the lower profits from digital downloads compared to physical media. 

A similar “ease-of-use” experience would be presented for other devices, such as the iPad and the iPhone, both of which were market leaders. However, the seeds of Apple’s problems were planted here. The iPhone - as it has become more and more powerful as a device - has killed off the iPod since the phone now does the same job.

Streaming

In addition, with faster internet connections and the introduction of services such as Spotify, the music industry has gravitated towards streaming as the new option of choice to replace downloads. Streaming has the advantage that you never actually own the music and has much lower royalty payments attached to them compared to downloads. So low, in fact, that many artists now earn most of their income from gigs and merchandising, etc.

YouTube has also become a main source of music for many people. Although initially hostile to YouTube, the music industry has come to see it as a useful tool for promotion. The big music labels were also bought off. When Google were about to buy YouTube, all the major record companies were given free equity stock in the company. After the sale went through, the new owners offered to buy back the equity, giving the companies a nice income which – as it was classified as investment profits – did not have to be shared out with the artists who were now seeing a further fall in royalties. 

Apple has introduced a music streaming service also – called, with stunning originality, Apple Music - but has to compete with already existing operations like Spotify, Deezer or Tidal, nearly all of which have a free-option service. Amazon has also snuck in with their own service, linked to Amazon Prime, and the new voice-controlled Echo speakers. Although none of the streaming services seem to be making any great profits yet, this has left Apple and iTunes in something of a pickle.

Storm clouds

PlannedObsolescenceSuddenly iTunes no longer rules the roost. The other Apple devices are facing competition from cheaper options and Apple seems to have hit a technology dead-end. The new iPhone is pretty much the same as the old one, apart from the inconvenience of not having a dedicated earphone socket. Apple hope you will buy their own expensive (poor quality) earphones that either use the Apple-unique lighting rod charging socket or are wireless; although the Air Pods, as they are called, have hit a production delay.

The trick of “forced obsolesce” is also popping up with other Apple devices. The new range of MacBooks, being announced as part of a big “hello again” presentation of “new stuff” on 27th October, not only remove the cheapest 11-inch MacBook Air option from the market, but also only have USB-C sockets, taking away the old standard USB-A sockets. The SD-card sockets are also gone, although we do get a touch-screen “magic toolbar” bar at the top of the keyboard, replacing the F-keys, and a fingerprint scanner button has been sighted in leaked pics. New Skylake processors and/or mobile Xeon E3 chips may be introduced which could force up costs – a problem with Apple computers already compared to the opposition. 

In truth, many industry observers are now detecting a slowdown in what actually changes from model to model as each new version comes onto the market. For devices such as the industry-standard MacBook Pro, the new changes will be the first since 2013 and the leaked pics hardly suggest a dramatic change this time around. Operating software upgrades, such as the new iOS 10.1, seem to contain less that is really new or wanted each time. Apple did hope that the iWatch smart watch device, introduced in 2014, might be the next big thing, but the sales of these have not proved as popular as was the case with iPads or iPods when they first came out. 

And so the storm clouds are starting to appear in the numbers. Firms like Apple are having to look at their rising research and development costs and have started “revising” production targets. Meanwhile, the warehouse mountains of tech goods are getting larger and larger. Ironically, from being the industry which bucked the trend during the recent crisis, the consumer technology sector may now become its most high-profile example.

Technology and revolution

The huge advances in technology over the last few decades should have provided the basis for rising living standards and a better society. However, for the full potential of technological advances to be realised, we need socialism: a system that could utilise these advances to plan production and distribution for the benefit of all. Instead, we have billions of smartphones, laptops and a plethora of other gadgets, on the one hand; and yet, on the other hand, people are living in poverty, facing basic problems of hunger, sickness, and homelessness on a daily basis.

At the end of the day, you cannot live inside a smartphone or eat it if you are hungry. Capitalism - with private property, competition, and production for profit - has become an enormous barrier to continued development of science and technology. To have a further technological revolution in society, we need a socialist one!

Only a few short years ago it seemed that the tech market could do no wrong. Whatever problems the rest of world capitalism faced, the tech industries looked to be moving from success to success, with ever-larger profits each year. Every new product was greeted by queues of enthusiasts lining up at midnight to be first to buy the new device, even if it was almost identical to the old one they already had.

 

The fact that most new devices now seem very similar to older models or competitors products, however, is an indication of some of the problems facing the industry. Where once Apple ruled the world, various other firms are now able to provide seemingly decent substitutes for a lower price. The Android operating software – which covers both phones and tablets - seems to have founds its feet after several false starts and abandoned alternatives to Apple’s iOS. The same applies to the Google software now widely used.

 

In fact, the world is now awash with mobile phones, laptops, tablets, etc. So much so that there are not enough people on the planet to buy all this produce, even if they could afford it. The tech industry is now facing a classic crisis of overproduction, as Marx would have explained it long ago.  Even businesses like Twitter are not immune, with the company announcing a 9% cut in its workforce following a slowdown in profit growth.

 

You would think therefore that Apple - along with other competitors like Sony and newer entries into the field like Huawei (let alone Microsoft, of course) - would have been privately ecstatic over the Samsung exploding Galaxy Note 7 fiasco. Samsung – one of the big players in the tech world - have had to withdraw the high-profile phone and are now facing an expected 30% fall in profits. It is hard to feel any sympathy for them, however, given they knew long ago about the problem with the lithium batteries but for months chose not to seriously try and fix it. So why the gloom now surrounding Apple and the rest?

 

The gadget glut

 

One factor is that the battery problem goes beyond Samsung and the doomed Galaxy model. Modern portable technology requires smaller but far more powerful batteries to operate devices, all of which are extremely energy-hungry. The lithium battery provides this, but, at the small size now required by manufacturers, has stability problems - that is, they can swell up, overheat and then catch fire. Any production flaw in a battery may cause them to become dangerous over time. Laptop batteries have been problematic for several years now, and experts warn against leaving them attached to chargers for long periods. There is also a problem that batteries left with no charge for a long period, of weeks or months, may stop working full stop or become erratic.

 

The wider problem is to do with the sheer glut of devices and the fact that there is a limit as to how far forward you can take these based on current technology. The classic case study is Apple itself, the market leader for the whole of the 21st century so far. Anyone who had shares in Apple seemed to posses a gateway to endless profits. However, Apple has now reported a 4% fall in quarterly revenue, the third such fall in a row, representing the first annual fall in profits for 15 years. Even worse, Apple’s profit figures for China have fallen by a fifth. China and Korea are where most of the world’s tech production is sited.

 

For years Apple seemed to have the knack of producing ever more popular items, pulling an endless stream of rabbits out of the hat. The MacBook came out in 2006; the iPod in 2001; the iPhone in 2007; and the iPad in 2010. Each of these effectively created a completely new market.

 

Apple: Hoist by its own petard

 

The iPod is a useful case study to look at. Before the iPod was introduced, the music industry was still largely hostile to the download market. They could see how BitTorrent software and the peer-to-peer sharing were creating a huge resource of free but illegal music, encoded into mp3 files using freely available software - files that were being shared around online by millions of people. But they had no idea what to do about this.

 

As the internet got faster, so the problem got bigger. They tried suing individual downloaders, creating a public relations nightmare in the process. They tried restricting what could be officially and legally downloaded, forcing firms selling these downloads to have restrictive Digital Rights Management (DRM) encoded into the files. All of this merely pushed people back to the “grey area” free downloads and file-sharing operations.

 

Apple came along and said they were having none of this. Using the integrated iTunes software, they set up a synchronised easy-to-use operation, whereby people could easily download and start playing music on a sleek portable iPod with just a few clicks and no DRM to boot. They could rip their cds using iTunes and even burn discs to create new cds using downloaded files. The iTunes software also accepted imported mp3 files obtained from “other” sources. Given the size of the market Apple had created, the music industry quickly stopped holding back on what was available and embraced the new market, despite their concerns over the lower profits from digital downloads compared to physical media.

 

A similar “ease-of-use” experience would be presented for other devices, such as the iPad and the iPhone, both of which were market leaders. However, the seeds of Apple’s problems were planted here. The iPhone - as it has become more and more powerful as a device - has killed off the iPod since the phone now does the same job.

 

Streaming

 

In addition, with faster internet connections and the introduction of services such as Spotify, the music industry has gravitated towards streaming as the new option of choice to replace downloads. Streaming has the advantage that you never actually own the music and has much lower royalty payments attached to them compared to downloads. So low, in fact, that many artists now earn most of their income from gigs and merchandising, etc.

 

YouTube has also become a main source of music for many people. Although initially hostile to YouTube, the music industry has come to see it as a useful tool for promotion. The big music labels were also bought off. When Google were about to buy YouTube, all the major record companies were given free equity stock in the company. After the sale went through, the new owners offered to buy back the equity, giving the companies a nice income which – as it was classified as investment profits – did not have to be shared out with the artists who were now seeing a further fall in royalties.

 

Apple has introduced a music streaming service also – called, with stunning originality, Apple Music - but has to compete with already existing operations like Spotify, Deezer or Tidal, nearly all of which have a free-option service. Amazon has also snuck in with their own service, linked to Amazon Prime, and the new voice-controlled Echo speakers. Although none of the streaming services seem to be making any great profits yet, this has left Apple and iTunes in something of a pickle.

 

Storm clouds

 

Suddenly iTunes no longer rules the roost. The other Apple devices are facing competition from cheaper options and Apple seems to have hit a technology dead-end. The new iPhone is pretty much the same as the old one, apart from the inconvenience of not having a dedicated earphone socket. Apple hope you will buy their own expensive (poor quality) earphones that either use the Apple-unique lighting rod charging socket or are wireless; although the Air Pods, as they are called, have hit a production delay.

 

The trick of “forced obsolesce” is also popping up with other Apple devices. The new range of MacBooks, being announced as part of a big “hello again” presentation of “new stuff” on 27th October, not only remove the cheapest 11-inch MacBook Air option from the market, but also only have USB-C sockets, taking away the old standard USB-A sockets. The SD-card sockets are also gone, although we do get a touch-screen “magic toolbar” bar at the top of the keyboard, replacing the F-keys, and a fingerprint scanner button has been sighted in leaked pics. New Skylake processors and/or mobile Xeon E3 chips may be introduced which could force up costs – a problem with Apple computers already compared to the opposition.

 

In truth, many industry observers are now detecting a slowdown in what actually changes from model to model as each new version comes onto the market. For devices such as the industry-standard MacBook Pro, the new changes will be the first since 2013 and the leaked pics hardly suggest a dramatic change this time around. Operating software upgrades, such as the new iOS 10.1, seem to contain less that is really new or wanted each time. Apple did hope that the iWatch smart watch device, introduced in 2014, might be the next big thing, but the sales of these have not proved as popular as was the case with iPads or iPods when they first came out.

 

And so the storm clouds are starting to appear in the numbers. Firms like Apple are having to look at their rising research and development costs and have started “revising” production targets. Meanwhile, the warehouse mountains of tech goods are getting larger and larger. Ironically, from being the industry which bucked the trend during the recent crisis, the consumer technology sector may now become its most high-profile example.

 

Technology and revolution

 

The huge advances in technology over the last few decades should have provided the basis for rising living standards and a better society. However, for the full potential of technological advances to be realised, we need socialism: a system that could utilise these advances to plan production and distribution for the benefit of all. Instead, we have billions of smartphones, laptops and a plethora of other gadgets, on the one hand; and yet, on the other hand, people are living in poverty, facing basic problems of hunger, sickness, and homelessness on a daily basis.

 

At the end of the day, you cannot live inside a smartphone or eat it if you are hungry. Capitalism - with private property, competition, and production for profit - has become an enormous barrier to continued development of science and technology. To have a further technological revolution in society, we need a socialist one!

Educate Yourself

  • Educate Yourself
  • The Fundamentals of Marxism
  • Dialectical Materialism and Science
  • Historical Materialism
  • Marxist Economics
  • The State
  • Russia, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalinism
  • Anarchism
  • Feminism
  • Fascism
  • The National Question
  • Imperialism and War
  • Revolutionary Strategy
  • Revolutionary History

Socialist Appeal are proud to publish this basic guide to help focus your studies of Marxist theory and practice. Visit the various tabs to find links to introductory articles, classic texts, and audio talks for different topics. We also invite our readers to become acquainted with the more basic ideas of Marxism by starting with the recommended short reading list, going through the FAQ section, reading this article that combats the myths about Marxism, and listening to the following audios:

Why Marx Was Right - Alan Woods

What is Marxism? - Alan Woods

What Will Socialism Look Like? - Fred Weston

What is Capitalism? What is Socialism? - Fred Weston

We will be expanding and developing this section over time. Please contact us if you have any questions, or if you'd like any suggestions on what to read next.

Reading the classics of Marxism is the best way to understand these ideas. At first it may seem difficult, but every worker and young person knows that things worth having are worth working hard for!  Patient and persistent study, discussion, and ultimately, the day to day application of these ideas over a lifetime are the key.

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Marxist theory is the basis upon which our analysis, perspectives, program, and participation in the movement are based. It is our "guide to action." This why Socialist Appeal and IMT place so much emphasis on political education. To this end, we have created an extensive Education Plan to assist comrades in their political development. This is an important resource.

However, it's length and scope may seem daunting to new comrades. With this in mind, Socialist Appeal has compiled a shorter list of classic works and other important writings we think will serve to lay a strong foundation in the ideas and methods of Marxism. We would like to encourage all our supporters and those interested in learning more about Marxism to read (or re-read!) through the works on this list.

This selection of writings is an excellent introduction to many of the fundamentals of Marxist theory. There are many other writings that could be added, but this selection provides a strong basis for those wishing to equip themselves with the necessary ideas for the daily work of fighting for socialism.

Many of these are smaller books or pamphlets; some are more lengthy books; and others are just short articles. This list should therefore be more digestible than the full Education Plan, particularly those with busy work or school schedules. All of them are available to

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Dialectical Materialism is the philosophy or methodology of Marxism. Every political movement, party, or even statement of any kind bases itself, consciously or unconsciously, on some sort of philosophy or world outlook. Marxism is concerned with effecting a radical change in society, and therefore requires an exceptionally clear, thoroughgoing, and systemic set of philosophical principles.

The ideas of Dialectical Materialism, based on the best traditions of philosophical thought, are not a fixed dogma but a system of tools and general principles for analysing the world materialistically and scientifically.

If we are to understand society in order to change it, this cannot be done arbitrarily, since the human will is not master of nature; rather, our ideas and thoughts are reflections of necessary material laws. Instead, we must seek to understand the laws of how human society changes. By following our education plan for Dialectical Materialism, the reader will familiarise themselves with this way of looking at the world so that they too can begin to apply Marxist ideas.

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Historical Materialism is the result of Dialectical Materialism applied to human society and history. It encompasses the general theory of how and why society develops in the way it does. A deeper, more concrete understanding of these principles in combination with a study of real, living history of class struggles enables us to come to a general understanding of where capitalist society is headed and what political strategy is required to successfully influence the course of events.

The basic principles of Historical Materialism are that human society has inherent laws guiding it - its developments are by no means arbitrary or accidental, nor the mere subject of the will of great men and ideas. Human individuals can and do influence society according to their ideas, but only ever within definite material constraints and conditions. Above all, the law determining historical development is that of the development of the means of production - meaning economically productive technology, science, technique etc. The extent of the development of the productive forces determines the social relations of production - i.e. the structure of society, class relations etc. Each social system has its inherent laws of motion. If we want to overthrow capitalist society, we must understand how capitalism works.

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Marxist economics is the study of the laws of motion of capitalist society. Why does capitalism perpetually go into crisis? Why does mass unemployment exist? Are commodity production, the domination of the market, and rich and poor natural, immutable states of being for humanity? Or are they merely the products of this specific mode of production - capitalism? If so, is there any way capitalism can exist without these problems, or by minimising them?

Marxist economics is a “holistic” way of analysing capitalist economy. It starts out by placing it in its real historical context (rather than dreaming up abstract idealisations of capitalism to justify it, as bourgeois economics does), studying all its interconnections and contradictions, rather than artificially isolating one aspect of it. In doing so, Marxist economics lays bare the functioning of capitalism; the exploitation and injustice inherent within it. Those who want to get to the essence of why, in the 21st Century, despite having a more advanced understanding of the world than ever before, humanity seems plunged into perpetual crisis it cannot get to grips with, should look no further than Marxist economics, beginning with the writings of Marx himself.

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Like money, the state is something we are all very familiar with and take for granted, but its real essence tends to elude us. The ideologists of capitalism have tried, in various ways, to justify the capitalist state as supremely rational; a neutral arbiter for society, and the embodiment of justice. For Marxists, the state is not at all neutral, nor just. It is certainly anything but rational. We must strip the vale of mysticism away and reveal the state’s real basis. To do that, we have to treat the state historically - taking in its origins, rise, and eventual fall.

The state has not always existed. It is inseparable from class society. Ultimately, it is the instrument for the ruling class to oppress and hold down the masses, guaranteeing the status quo and the sanctity of property. Although the modern state performs many other functions, these are secondary to its real basis - the protection of a set of property relations. To do this, it needs “armed bodies of men” and a monopoly on the use of violence. To establish socialism, it will not be possible for the working class to use the state as it currently exists - that is, with the same network of judges, heads of police and army etc. All the key texts explaining how exactly we relate to the state, and the

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The Russian Revolution is the greatest event in world history for Marxists. For the first time, the working class successfully took and held power. The slaves fought back and won. For these reasons, the name of Lenin and Trotsky, and the entire 1917 episode, has been deliberately dragged through the mud by the bourgeoisie ever since.

Naturally they are aided in this task by the degeneration of the revolution and by the existence of Stalin’s monstrous dictatorship. However, Stalinism represents the opposite of Bolshevism’s real traditions, which readers can read about in this section, as well as the Marxist explanation for why Stalinism took place and what this means for our movement.

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Radicalised youth, seeking to understand how to change modern society, naturally tend to look to both Marxism and Anarchism in equal measure. The question as to which philosophy, or which combination of the two, has the best answers, has long been at the forefront of the minds of revolutionaries.

Anarchism is naturally attractive to all those correctly alienated by bureaucracy in the revolutionary movement. Anarchists are certainly correct to reject Stalinism and careerism. However, it is not sufficient simply to reject these phenomena. We need to understand why bureaucracy and oppression exist and what role they play, in order to understand how to avoid them. We believe that, for all its opposition, Anarchism has little to say about the alternative to bureaucracy. Instead, it is Marxism’s historical materialist method that allows us to understand these problems. In this section the reader will find a series of articles dealing with anarchism and the issues that anarchism raises.

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The discrimination and oppression of women is integral to class society, such that Engels even referred to it as the “first class oppression”. Along with the class system itself, the oppression of women often takes on the appearance of being natural, immutable and eternal, since it has been with us for so long.

But Marxism is a historical science, concerned with understanding the fundamental changes that society goes through. It cannot be satisfied with comfortable prejudices. A study of the origins of human society, as Engels famously conducted in his book The Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State, reveals that the oppression of women is by no means natural and was not even known for much of our history. As Engels explains, the oppression of women arose with the emergence of class society and private property; it will fall with it.

Marxists are fully in solidarity with feminists: we are irreconcilably opposed to the oppression of women and fully support the struggle for their emancipation. We believe this will be achieved through the class struggle, since that is the basic locomotive of history in a class society such as ours. However, Marxism represents a distinct set of ideas from feminism, which is a more eclectic and varied set of ideas. We believe that in this section, readers will find the tools Marxism

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Fascism is something of a bogeyman in modern British society, and has an almost mythical character in bourgeois public opinion. But despite constant talk of it, very little is said about why it happened and how it may or may not happen again.

Fascism is really the death agony of capitalism and the “distilled essence of imperialism”. The fascists in Germany, Italy, Spain and other countries were only able to come to power on the back of defeats of the working class. Ultimately, the madness of fascism expresses the historic crisis and dead-end of capitalism that had arrived by the early 20th Century, alongside the inability of the working class to take power and replace capitalism with a workers’ state, due to the corruption of their leadership, in the form of both reformism and Stalinism. Fascism could and should have easily been avoided had the working class possessed a militant and united leadership prepared to take power.

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The question of nationalities - that is, the oppression of nations and national minorities, which has characterised capitalism from its birth till the present time - has always occupied a central position in Marxist theory. Once again, the historical materialist approach of Marxism dissolves the apparent “natural” role of the nation as a necessary expression of human society. Nations have by no means always existed, nor will they always exist in the future.

The nation as we know it today is a product of the development of capitalism and its need to unify peoples into units of a certain size (depending on the level of the system’s development – e.g. more recently formed nations tend to be much bigger) to consolidate the market. The contradictions and tensions between nations are a result of capitalism’s “combined and uneven” development. The contradictions of the capitalist mode of production itself force each ruling class to expand outwards, developing a global market and imperialism in the process.

The violent tensions that this process breeds in turn give rise to nationalism, racism and wars. There is no way a successful world revolution, abolishing the global capitalist system, can take place without a careful and nuanced understanding of the national question, with all the sensitivities and complexity it brings. Therefore this section is of the utmost importance for revolutionaries.

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War is a constant feature of life under capitalism, especially in the epoch of imperialism. There has not been a single day of peace since the end of WWII, despite the appearance of WWII (and all previous wars) of being the “war to end all wars”. Capitalism is inherently unstable, competitive and violent. Moreover, there can be no final peace between the classes, since this system is based on the exploitation of the working class by the rich. 

However, there are wars of different kinds under capitalism. The question of war is the hardest equation of all to judge, so careful study is essential so that revolutionaries are not blown off course by the complexities involved. For example, some “socialists” called for support for the war in Iraq, as it had the appearance of establishing “democracy” over dictatorship. Equally, the failure to understand the true meaning of WWI and its implications was the direct cause of the death of the Second International.

Wars, like revolutions, represent the sharp extreme of capitalism’s crisis. Under capitalism, there will be many wars in the future. The more revolutionaries study and understand capitalism’s previous wars, the better equipped we will be to fight against future wars and the capitalist system itself.

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Socialist Appeal is the British section of the International Marxist Tendency, which is active in around 40 countries. Our aim is to spread the ideas of Marxism, in an organised fashion, in the labour and youth movement. Only the British working class has the ability to change British society, because of the central role they play in production and their shared interest in establishing socialism.

However, we must carefully study the history and traditions of the British working class in order for Marxist ideas to connect with them. There are all too many groups who simply declare themselves the vanguard of the British working class, and have a dismissive attitude to the class’ real traditions.

In this section readers will find a series of articles explaining our position on the class struggle in Britain, the key points in the history of the British working class and the lessons to be learnt from them, and the strategy of the Marxists in relation to the movements of the masses.

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The ideas of Marxism and the need for a revolutionary party are not the result simply of a single individual, but arise from the study of history - the history of class struggle. In this respect, the revolutionary party is often referred to as being the memory of the working class, and our task is to learn the lessons from history in order to prepare for the revolutionary events taking place today and in the future.

In this section we present a series of articles and audios covering the key revolutionary struggles in history - from the early class struggles in Rome to the tremendous movements of the working class in the 20th Century. By reading and listening to these, our readers should gain a good overview of the history of the revolutionary movement and the main lessons to be learnt from these.

For analysis of 21st Century revolutionary movements, check out the News and Analysis sections of the website!

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Marxist theory

Hitler and the Rise of Fascism in Germany Hitler and the Rise of Fascism in Germany
Duration: 00:51:40
Date: 9 Mar 2017
Workers’ control, democracy, and power Workers' control, democracy, and power
Duration: 00:57:00
Date: 2 Mar 2017
In Defence of the Russian Revolution - part two In Defence of the Russian Revolution - part two
Duration: 00:21:16
Date: 17 Feb 2017
In Defence of the Russian Revolution -  part one In Defence of the Russian Revolution - part one
Duration: 00:22:04
Date: 1 Feb 2017
Materialism and Dialectics in Ancient Greece Materialism and Dialectics in Ancient Greece
Duration: 00:48:58
Date: 27 Jan 2017
Imperialism in the 21st century Imperialism in the 21st century
Duration: 00:57:35
Date: 13 Dec 2016
Fascism: What it is and how to fight it Fascism: What it is and how to fight it
Duration: 00:36:44
Date: 12 Dec 2016
Dialectics, science, and nature Dialectics, science, and nature
Duration: 00:48:55
Date: 9 Dec 2016
Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution
Duration: 00:42:54
Date: 30 Nov 2016
Marxism, Imperialism, and War Marxism, Imperialism, and War
Duration: 00:50:16
Date: 25 Nov 2016
The Hungarian Revolution: 60 years on The Hungarian Revolution: 60 years on
Duration: 00:47:10
Date: 1 Nov 2016