Historical materialism is the general theory of how and why society develops in the way it does. Each social system has its inherent laws of motion.

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.

Introduction

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.

 


 

Introductory articles

Introduction to Historical Materialism - Alan Woods and Rob Sewell

Historical Materialism: A Study Guide - Mick Brooks

 

Longer articles

Introduction to Historical Materialism - Alan Woods

Civilisation, Barbarism, and the Marxist View of History - Alan Woods

Engels and the Origins of the Family - Rob Sewell

The Materialist Conception of History - Plekhanov

The Role of the Individual in History - Plekhanov

 

Engels' letters to:

Starenburg

Schmidt

Bloch

Boenigk

 

Marxist classics

Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (abstract) - Marx

The Communist Manifesto - Marx and Engels

The German Ideology - Marx and Engels

Socialism: Utopian and Scientific - Engels

Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State - Engels

 

Audios

The Materialist Conception of History - Mick Brooks

Historical Materialism - Adam Booth

The Marxist view of history - Josh Holroyd

Educate Yourself

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The Fundamentals of Marxism: suggested reading

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Dialectical materialism is the philosophy or methodology of Marxism. We must seek to understand the laws of society and nature in order to change them. Read More

Historical Materialism

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Marxist Economics

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Fascism

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The National Question

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Imperialism and War

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