In the first of a three-part article, Adam Booth examines the rise of the sharing economy, which has featured heavily in the media because of firms like AirBnB and Uber. These new models are presented as offering a revolutionary new dynamic phase in the life of capitalism. But the reality under capitalism is far from this utopian promise.

Part two will examine the impact that new technologies and business models will have on the future of employment and work; whilst part three reviews Paul Mason's new book, PostCapitalism, on the subject of information technology, and looks at the solution to the contradictions posed by modern technology within the limits of the capitalist system.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

(The more things change, the more they stay the same.)

In the second half of the second decade of the 21st Century, we are surrounded by a wealth of technology and innovation, with driverless cars, 3D printing, and an emerging “Internet of Things” connecting people and objects across the globe. Techno-Utopians and libertarian capitalists promise us a world of plenty; a super-efficient system of production and distribution; and a life of leisure. And yet what is the reality for the 99%? Ecological crises, “secular stagnation”, and eye-watering inequality.

For the vast majority, technological progress has not been accompanied by rising living standards, increased wages, or a reduction in the hours of the working week. Despite the incredible technological and scientific potential at society’s fingertips, the most basic problems – of disease, poverty, and homelessness – are not even close to being solved.

Far from being placated and satisfied with what capitalism has to offer in the year 2015, after seven years of global economic crisis, millions of people are rising up, getting organised, and rebelling against the governments and elites who defend this senile system.

Nevertheless, the propaganda continues. In the post-war boom, on the back of mass industrialisation and automation, it was asserted that “we are all middle class now”. Today, despite the gloomy projections from the more serious bourgeois economists, we are told that the next “revolutionary” change is just around the corner. Soon – so the story goes – we will all be free, liberated, entrepreneurial capitalists!

This is the myth that is being peddled across the advanced capitalist world as a supposedly “new” form of economy emerges out of the ashes of the 2008 crisis: the “sharing” (or “on-demand”) economy.

Some, such as those Utopians and libertarians highlighted above, have optimistically proclaimed that we are witnessing the birth of a new, rejuvenated era for the capitalist system. Others, such as Paul Mason in his new book PostCapitalism, have (more soberly) highlighted the contradictions that modern information technology and the “sharing” economy pose within the confines of capitalism – that is, within the limits of private ownership, commodity production and exchange, and production for profit.

But what is the reality? With a plethora of on-demand services now only an app, a swipe, and a click away, are we seeing the dawn of a new smart-phone fuelled era? Does the sharing economy really represent a fundamental change in how society is organised and run? And with a combination of information technology, automation, and high-density networking, has the nature of work and jobs been radically transformed for the better?

Only a click and a tap away

AirBnB and Uber are just the best known examples. But these are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the world of the “sharing” – or “on-demand” – economy. Alongside rooms (or whole apartments and houses), it is possible now to “share” everything under the sun, from cars and bikes to tools and textbooks.

Similarly, it is not just taxi-rides that one can order at a moment’s notice; there are now apps for ordering cleaners (Handy), food supplies (Instacart), or restaurant meals to your door (Deliveroo) within minutes. Indeed, companies such as TaskRabbit match an army of “taskers” prepared to do any manual labour – be it assembling furniture, repairing computers, delivering parcels, or mowing the lawn – with those who require such services.

Whilst often lumped together, the “sharing” and “on-demand” economies have clear key differences. Both have risen to prominence within a similar time-frame, on the basis of a proliferation of smart phones, apps, and a young, tech-savvy, interconnected population. The former, however, is focussed on the so-called “sharing” of goods; the latter, on the provision of “on-demand” services.

The revolutionary potential offered by such technologies and models is clear. Rather than wastefully producing houses and cars that are only used for a fraction of their lifetime, we can efficiently share our resources in order to maximise their use. And with the possibility of requesting a whole range of services with nothing but a few taps on a screen, those with skills and time can be matched effectively with the needs of individual users.

The Orwellian world of the “sharing” economy

sharing economyBut whilst the potential and possibilities offered by the “sharing” and “on-demand” economies are clear, within the limits of capitalism, a revolution they are not.

Capitalism, as Karl Marx explains in his magnum opus Capital, is defined by its nature as a system of universal commodity production and exchange. A commodity, Marx elaborates, is either a good or a service that is produced for the purpose of exchange (as opposed to for individual or societal consumption). Whilst commodities have existed in all forms of class society, it is only under capitalism when commodity production becomes generalised.

Inherent within this concept of the commodity is the question of private ownership, another key pillar of the capitalist system. For if a product can be offered for exchange, it must first belong to the producer or owner who is seeking this exchange.

The sum total of the exchanges between commodity owners, meanwhile, forms the capitalist market. Money and credit are the system’s lubricant, keeping the circulation of commodities in motion. And, finally, we see the driving force behind capitalism linked to the question of private ownership: competition between individual producers in the pursuit of profit, obtained through the exploitation of the working class.

Here, then, are the fundamental elements of the capitalist system: commodity production and exchange; private ownership; the market; money and credit; profit and the capital-wage labour relation.

Which aspect of capitalism, one must ask, has been “revolutionised” by the “sharing” or “on-demand” economies? Profits have most certainly not disappeared, as the Guardian points out:

“Joining the sharing economy as a provider of services – accommodation, transportation or whatever else the market calls for – gives you a chance to make money while being part of a “movement”. It sounds tremendously appealing, doesn’t it?...

But make no mistake: it’s a business. And you forget that at your peril, regardless of how you’re participating in the sharing economy.

“Here’s the bottom line: none of the businesses that have sprung up to serve the sharing economy are…non-profit entities. Rather, they are corporations whose goal is to make a profit out of a much less formal sharing economy that already existed…

“…you don’t get to becomeone of the most valuable venture capital-based businesses in the world, as Airbnb has done, and to be worth an estimated $10bn (more than some hotel chains) if all you are is part of a “movement”. Nope, you have to have found a way to make being the middleman pay off very handsomely indeed – and that’s capitalism 101, not a movement.”

The private ownership is still there, of course: just try staying in an AirBnB flat beyond your agreed dates and see what happens. And it is still fundamentally a market-based economy, with money exchanged for goods and services – i.e. commodities. If this is truly “sharing”, then one might as well classify all sectors and industries within capitalism as being part of the sharing economy, as this so-called “sharing” – i.e. the exchange of money for commodities – is a fundamental trait of all markets.

So what is the “revolutionary” aspect of the “sharing” economy? In reality, there is no sharing taking place here at all. Sharing implies some kind of altruistic reciprocity and/or communal ownership. Indeed, such reciprocity of kindness was (and still is) present in the predecessors to companies such as AirBnB; for example, with online communities such as CouchSurfer, which allowed travellers to find a bed for the night for free thanks to the kindness of others.

No, what we have is not sharing; there has been no abolition of private property or establishment of mass communal ownership. Rather, what we have is the mass conversion of owned products and consumed goods into rented services.

The great trick of the “sharing” economy has been to change the name of things without changing the thing itself. Renting and wage labour – which have existed since the dawn of capitalism – have simply been rebranded as “sharing”. Private ownership, and all the capitalistic laws that flow from this, have not been abolished or changed. The “sharing” economy is just typical commodity exchange given a new gloss and a fancy, trendy, modern spin for the internet age. This is a world of euphemisms that the Big Brother of Orwell’s dystopian classic 1984 would be proud of.

Anthony Kalamar, in an article on, describes this “sharing” zeitgeist as “sharewashing”, whereby businesses hide their real profiteering nature behind the kind, smiling mask of “sharing”. In the process, the possibility of a genuine sharing economy –a socialist economy based on communal ownership and a plan of production – is pushed to the side. And whilst these companies may help reduce waste in a certain sector, on a societal level they act to expand the market.

“The key difference between the promise of the actual sharing economy, and the flood of sharewashing companies seeking to hide under its mantle, is that the latter inescapably involve monetary exchange, for profit, in stark contrast to any definition of "sharing" your mother, presumably, once taught you…

“It alsodisables the very promise of an economy based on sharing by stealing the very language we use to talk about it, turning a crucial response to our impending ecological crisis into another label for the very same economic logic which got us into that crisis in the first place….

“…for over a hundred years it has been all about growth -- find new markets, develop new products, find new ways to get people to consume. That economy's gotta grow, baby. And all the for-profit sharewashing companies listed above are also growing big time. They don't counteract the growth juggernaut of the mainstream economy --they add to it, because they share that economy's market logic of neverending growth for profit. Those spare rooms, empty car seats, and idle hands can be translated into money, once they are brought to market. Social relations which might have been characterized byreal sharingare brought back under the aegis of monetary calculation and the logic of growth.” (Kalamar, “Sharewashing is the new Greenwashing” – our emphasis)

Author Tom Slee, meanwhile, makes the same point in an article for the radical left online magazine the Jacobin:

“Such examinations clearly show that the entrepreneurial wing of this movement dominates more community-minded initiatives. This tension has led to rapidly changing business models, leaving the original ideas of community-based sharing farther and farther behind as sharing economy models have become attractive to large enterprises…

“The “sharing economy” has seen a rapid slide away from collaborative sharing towards further deregulated and precarious employment — the direct consequence of venture capital funding and the growth imperatives that come with that money. Such a project won’t bring us any closer to the more equitable society we want to see any time soon.”

Rise of the rentiers

empty housesThe “sharing” economy, then, is characterised by the conversion of ownership into rents. In turn, the companies that run these peer-to-peer rentals – matching supply and demand – take a cut of the rent as their profit. In this respect, there is another importance difference between the “sharing” economy and that of archetypal capitalism: rather than the capitalists’ profits being a slice of the surplus value created in production, the companies at the centre of the “sharing” economy derive their profits from taking a proportion of the rents, which in turn are a share of the surplus value generated in real production.

Marx explains in Capital how all new value in an economy is created through the application of labour. Surplus value, in turn, is simply the unpaid labour of the working class – the value created by the workers above and beyond their own wage costs, which the capitalist in effect gains for free.

This surplus value is then divided up into profits, interest, and rents. The owners of money (the banks and financiers) who charge interest and the owners of property (the landlords) who charge rents, therefore, are not creating new values, but are merely re-distributing value (and surplus value) that has already been created in the process of commodity production.

With the rise of the “sharing” economy, therefore, we are seeing the rise of parasitic rent-seeking capitalism on a vast scale. The main “revolution” of the “sharing” economy has been to turn personal property into private property – that is, to turn the personal property of millions of ordinary people (homes, cars, etc.) into a source of profits for the capitalists. Put simply, it is the mass conversion of small-scale personal property into capital.

Whilst AirBnB and other such companies may help improve in allocating specific resources more efficiently, they are not re-investing their profits into solving the problem of scarcity where it exists. In other words, they are doing nothing to develop the productive forces.

The case of AirBnB is a perfect example. This major player of the “sharing” economy is ultimately benefitting from the fact that there is a lack of housing and affordable accommodation in society. But rather than re-investing its profits into solving the shortage of housing, as would occur within a socialist plan of production, AirBnB simply spends its profits on advertising and marketing in order to expand its share of the market. This is the basis for its entire business model.

At the same time, there are many examples of how AirBnB, rather than helping to solve the housing crisis, is actually responsible for exaccerbating it. Many landlords who previously rented to long-term tenants are now instead choosing to cash-in and turn their properties purely into short-term lets and holiday homes, at much higher rates than those on the long-term rental market. The result is to price renters out of areas they could previously afford and to reduce the supply of housing available to rent. Instead of efficiently allocating resources, then, AirBnB actual serves to increase scarcity.

The example of Uber highlights the same point. Here is a company that benefits extraordinarily from the dire state of public transport in many cities across the world. But rather than using its profits to invest in public transport, Uber – like AirBnB – spends its money on advertising and marketing. Of course, as long as Über is a privately-owned, profit-seeking company, this makes perfect sense. Uber, AirBnB, and other such businesses are only following the laws and logic of the capitalist system, which is driven by competition and the pursuit of profit.

Similarly, companies in the on-demand economy, by classifying their workers as “self-employed” rather than as “employees”, avoid any obligation to provide training or equipment. Rather than investing to improve the skills and tools of the on-demand workforce, and thus help raise productivity across the sector, these firms are just taking advantage of the mass unemployment and low-waged, unproductive labour that exists in swathes across society as a result of the crisis of capitalism. Instead of helping to develop the productive forces, these companies are actually profiteering from the symptoms of society’s stagnation.

Another important difference between the “sharing” economy and a genuine socialist plan of production should also be highlighted in this respect. Whilst a "sharing" economy might be able to allocate resources more efficiently and reduce waste within one sector, the role of workers democracy and a planned economy within socialism is to direct and allocate resources (ultimately social labour time) across the whole of the economy, according to where there is scarcity or need in society.

Under capitalism, it is price signals and the market that play an equivalent role in allocating resources, primarily through directing investment. However, this is done – in capitalism – not on the basis of need, but because of a mismatch of supply and demand for certain commodities, and the possibility for the capitalists of making super-profits by pouring capital into this-or-that sector.

Within those sectors covered by the “sharing” economy, therefore, the allocation of resources may be more efficient. But the companies leading the way in the “sharing” economy (or, indeed, the capitalist economy in general) do not operate to address social needs, but only to make profits. The allocation of resources between different sectors and across the economy as a whole, meanwhile, is still left to the anarchy of the market, which is in fact highly inefficient – hence the fact that such absurd contradictions exist across the capitalist system: mass unemployment alongside overwork; homelessness alongside empty homes; austerity alongside excess capacity and piles of idle money in the hands of big business. Far from being an efficient system, therefore, there is a great waste of resources under capitalism, due to its own internal contradictions.

The fact that investors are pilling money into the “sharing” economy – a purely rentier economy – is yet another reflection of the enormous spectre of overproduction (“excess capacity”) that is haunting the world economy. With inequality at unprecedented levels, there are huge piles of profits accumulating in the hands of the 1%. But with massive levels of overproduction still existing on a world scale, there is little to be gained from investing these profits in real production – hence the rise of speculation, the growth of asset bubbles, and the increasing instability on the stock markets (such as the recent dramatic fall of the Shanghai stock exchange).

This rise of the rentier economy, in the form of the growing “sharing economy”, then, does not herald a new dynamic phase for capitalism; rather, it demonstrates the opposite: the impasse that capitalism has reached in being able to develop forces of production – industry, science, technology, and technique.

In short, the so-called “sharing” economy, far from signalling the dawn of a new era of collaboration, equality, and common ownership, is simply the growth of parasitic capitalism with a bit of lipstick on to make it seem pretty. Like the prostitutes of old who would hide the symptoms of their diseases with makeup, turning sores into beauty spots, the rotting capitalist system in its epoch of senile decay – no longer able to develop the productive forces and take society forward – has tried to mask its most unattractive and repulsive features as something to be revered.

Part two -->>

Marx Capital in a Day

Marx Capital in a Day

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
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Date: 9 Mar 2017
Workers’ control, democracy, and power Workers' control, democracy, and power
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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
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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