Spotlight: Marxist Society
The objective of our society is to explore the ideas of Marxism, through informal and formal discussion and reading groups, building upon this with the idea that theory is firm grounding for practice.
We are also involved in campaigning political activity - in particular against the current and planned education cuts. We reject completely the idea that these cuts are inevitable or unavoidable and give our support to all attempts to stop them, by the student unions or by the wider labour movement.
Our view, and the view of Marxism, is that the crisis facing higher education - increased fees, course cuts, the commercialisation and, ultimately, the privatisation of education - is a reflection of the crisis of capitalism. We campaign against the savaging of higher education by the current government.
But we also call for a fundamental revolutionary change in society, for production and the banks to be controlled democratically in the interests of ordinary people. We believe the only answer to capitalist crisis and the ills that go with it is the socialist reconstruction of society.
What is Marxism?
Marxism is a complete philosophical, economic and political system that provides a scientific and accurate way of analysing and understanding the society we live in. More than 150 years ago Karl Marx and writer Friedrich Engels were able to analyse the basic workings of capitalism, to show that capitalism ultimately reaches its limits and can no longer develop production or society.
They also showed a way out of that impasse, through the democratic control and management of production by society as a whole. For this reason Marxism is not just a subject for discussion in the seminar rooms. Marx himself said, “Previous philosophers have only interpreted the world. The point is to change it”.
We know that we live in troubled times. Two years ago the world banking system was within hours of total collapse. Since then, inconceivable sums of government money have been spent to prop up the banks. Now the governments themselves are bankrupt.
Many countries in Europe sit on the brink of economic collapse. In Britain we have just seen the deepest cuts in public spending in generations. A depression comparable to that of the 1930s is possible.
What we are experiencing is a fundamental crisis of capitalism, with collapsing markets leading to mass unemployment and cuts in living standards across the world. Marx explained that in the final analysis this is a crisis of over-production - or over-capacity as it is called by modern economists:
"In these crises, there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity — the epidemic of over-production.” So say Marx and Engels in The Communist Manifesto.
The capitalist system has now become an enormous fetter on human society. This has enormous implications: a socio-economic system, which proves incapable of developing the productive forces, now enters into steep decline. A new era of social revolution has opened up on a world scale, an era of revolution, counter-revolution and profound instability at all levels.
Now society faces a choice. Either accept the attempts of the capitalists to offload their crisis onto our backs - which is the reality of the spending cuts. Or take control of the economy and end this barbarism. Place the major industries under democratic control and management, nationalise them and plan production in the interests of all society.
We were of course present at the NUS/UCU demonstration against education cuts, which we would have hoped all students, lecturers and workers in the education system would have joined. We intend to debate the cuts later this term with other university political societies.
This term we are meeting in Chelsea canteen at 12 o’clock every Tuesday for an informal discussion on Marxist ideas. Next term we hope to arrange a formal reading group on the basic texts of Marxism. We will continue our campaign against the spending cuts!
Join us - to educate yourself, and to help fight the most vicious attack on education and on living standards since the 1930’s. If this interests you, please contact NicholasBaldion@hotmail.com.