Looking to an increasingly perilous and inequitable future, many progressive activists and scholars are seriously questioning the capacity of global capitalism to guarantee the conditions for human well-being and sustainability in the 21st century. This development inspires the central inquiry of Marxist Phoenix: Will the intensifying contradictions and multiple crises of contemporary capitalism incite the emergence of a mass socialist workers’ movement committed not merely to the “reform” of capitalism but to its overthrow?
This collection of new and previously published essays, articles, and book chapters written over the last two decades makes the case for the indispensability of the Marxist-socialist project to the emancipation of humanity from material insecurity and ever-worsening social antagonism. Only a global workers’ movement committed to the fundamental tenets of Marxism—a triumphant Marxist Phoenix rising from the ashes of the multiple defeats of the 20th century—can open the road to real social progress.
Interdisciplinary, rigorous, and critically engaged with many currents in contemporary academic discourse, this volume is a timely contribution to the rebirth of a Marxist socialism that is at once scientific, emancipatory, and internationalist in its commitments.
Preface and Acknowledgements
Introduction: Whither the Marxist Phoenix?
Part I: Capitalism, Value, and Crisis
Chapter 1: The Unbearable Burdens of Capitalism: A Marxist Perspective
Chapter 2: Profitability and the Roots of the Global Crisis: Marx’s “Law of the Tendency of the Rate of Profit to Fall” and the US Economy, 1950–2007
Chapter 3: Alienation, Exploitation, and Abstract Labour: A Humanist Defense of Marx’s Theory of Value
Part II: Human Progress and the Materialist Dialectic
Chapter 4: Against Dualism: Marxism and the Necessity of Dialectical Monism
Chapter 5: The Value Abstraction and the Dialectic of Social Development
Chapter 6: The “Intentional Primacy” of the Relations of Production: Further Reflections on the Dialectic of Social Development
Chapter 7: Marxism versus “Progressive Poststructuralism”
Part III: Trotsky’s Marxism
Chapter 8: Revisiting Trotsky: Reflections on the Stalinist Debacle and Trotskyism as Alternative
Chapter 9: The Revolutionary Betrayed: Trotsky and the Crisis of Trotskyism
Part IV: Class, Labour, and Socialist Strategy
Chapter 10: Socialist Strategy, Yesterday and Today: Notes on Classical Marxism and the Contemporary Radical Left
Chapter 11: Rethinking “The Middle Class”: Ideological Constructions and Contradictory Structural Locations
Chapter 12: “As Radical as Reality”
Chapter 13: Beyond Social Unionism: Farm Workers in Ontario and Some Lessons from Labour History
Chapter 14: Twenty-First Century Socialism: Utopian or Scientific?
Murray E.G. Smith is Professor of Sociology at Brock University.
"Murray Smith’s Marxist Phoenix is a must read for all of those who aspire to be a part of a better world in birth. Never has capitalism appeared so destructive of human needs. Yet seldom has capitalism seemed more secure. A social order that cannot provide for those who live within it often seems immune to fundamental transformation. Smith’s book points the way forward with its unerringly sure grasp of theoretical fundamentals and critical strategic sensibilities. It outlines Marxism’s trenchant analysis of capitalism and offers invaluable lessons for organized revolutionary resistance."— Bryan D. Palmer, author of James P. Cannon and the Origins of the American Revolutionary Left, 1890–1928 (2007); Canada’s 1960s: The Ironies of Identity in a Rebellious Era (2009); and Revolutionary Teamsters: The Minneapolis Truckers’ Strikes of 1934 (2013).
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