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Weekly podcast offering a Marxist approach to the big issues we face in a world of capitalist crisis. Fighting for jobs, homes and public services for all. From strikes and mass movements through to community campaigns, history and theory. We shine a light on the struggles of workers and young people, and discuss the strategy for a socialist fightback.
 
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88. Crumbling capitalism, revolution and counter-revolutionAs the capitalist world tears at itself, who stands to gain? Global capitalism is in its deepest crisis since the 1930s, exacerbated by ‘the great accelerator’: Covid-19 pandemic and depression.There is turmoil on every continent; class battles and uprisings; rising authoritarianism; polari…
 
How can socialists link day-to-day struggles to the need for revolution?Global capitalism is in a historic crisis, and offers no future to the majority of humanity. Socialism is the only alternative to bloated billionaires, mass unemployment and ruinous trade wars.On the one hand, the profit system is in such a mess that even defending existing pro…
 
What is the state of world capitalism as it heads into a second wave of Covid-19?Over a decade ago, the global capitalist system was shaken by a historic financial crisis. It still had not recovered when the coronavirus pandemic caused the worst economic contraction in history.Pandemic, depression, environmental catastrophe, political turmoil - cap…
 
What are the lessons for today from the 1926 general strike?One of the myths about the British working class is that it’s too ponderous and conservative to have a serious fight with capitalism. Actually, centuries of bitter class struggle have shown the real potential again and again.But arguably the high point came in 1926, during a period of nati…
 
How did Trotsky help organise international socialist struggle?Capitalism is a worldwide problem. Since the days of Karl Marx, socialists have worked towards a worldwide solution.But there have been multiple attempts to organise international associations of revolutionaries. Each rose and then fell for different reasons.What can we learn from their…
 
What is fascism and how can we fight it?In the 1930s, mass fascist movements smashed the workers’ organisations. Today, far-right and right-populist forces are again growing in prominence. So what can we learn from history?What exactly is fascism? Is a fascist dictatorship possible today? What distinguishes it from other authoritarian regimes? Do t…
 
How did Trotsky explain the rise of Stalinism?The Russian Revolution began as a mass movement with democratic control of society by the workers and poor. But it ended as a brutal police state which collapsed under its own inefficiency.What caused this complete reversal? Do revolutions inevitably end in treacherous dictatorship? Was the Soviet burea…
 
How did Trotsky fight for national liberation?Socialists aim for a world which doesn’t need borders and ends national divisions. But today, many national groupings are forced into larger states which repress their right to decide their own destiny. How do Marxists address the complexities of the so-called ‘national question’ - maximising internatio…
 
How did Trotsky view the relationship between the revolution and its party?Where countless other revolutions have failed, the workers of Russia succeeded in taking power in October 1917. The decisive factor was the Bolshevik Party. Leon Trotsky likened it to a “piston-box” which could channel the “steam” of mass revolutionary energy.Trotsky did not…
 
What is Leon Trotsky’s theory of ‘permanent revolution’?In the early 20th century, Russia was still a mostly feudal country. Could it achieve socialism without passing through greater development of capitalism first? Even today, the economic and social advances promised by the capitalist democratic revolutions have not been fully achieved in any co…
 
80 years on from Trotsky’s assassination: can they kill his ideas?Lev Davidovich Bronstein, better known as Leon Trotsky, was killed on 21 August 1940. What was Stalin so afraid of? And why do capitalist commentators still try to bury Trotsky’s ideas today?This month, Socialism the Podcast will be answering those questions in a series on Trotsky an…
 
What is scientific socialism, and what can it teach us about the fight for socialist change today?Labour’s left leadership failed to fight for the urgent political and democratic reforms needed in the party - a missed opportunity for working-class political representation.In politics, mistakes in tactics begin with mistakes in ideas. That’s why Mar…
 
We need to fight for every job. But is such a fight possible?Thousands of new members are flooding into Britain’s trade unions. But thousands more are losing their jobs every day. Black Lives Matter and coronavirus inequalities have thrown racism into the spotlight too. Precarious work in the gig economy, and even sweatshop conditions in some areas…
 
Why are the world's economies pulling apart?World capitalism in recent decades underwent a process often called ‘globalisation’. Competing national economies became more and more integrated and dependent on each other.Now, the wheels have come off. Trade wars, political disputes, even rumblings of armed conflict - already happening, but exacerbated…
 
Malcolm X said: “You can’t have capitalism without racism.” Why - and what can we learn from that?Heroic Black Lives Matter protests have swept the US, Britain and the world. Rivers of working-class young people, black and white, have taken up the struggle against racism and police violence.Sadly, police murder of black people is nothing new. Why h…
 
How can the working class defeat the far right?A magnificent mass movement, overwhelmingly young, working-class and black, but also very multiracial, has erupted in the US, Britain and internationally against racism. Its trigger was the racist police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on 25 May 2020. But young people and workers are angry about …
 
Public confidence in the British government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has nosedived.They’re split over how and when to bully workers back into unsafe workplaces to restart the capitalists’ profit engines. And they’re split over how and when to pay off the massive debts incurred by lockdown relief measures.Meanwhile, the Labour Party - und…
 
School workers and the government are set for a stand-off over reopening during coronavirus.The Tory government is combining absurdly unclear messages about "staying alert" with a rush to reopen more of the capitalist economy. While they are concerned only about restarting the profit machine, workers are concerned this premature, shambolic dash is …
 
What are the lessons for today from Lenin's revolutionary life?22 April 2020 was the 150th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanvov, better known as Lenin, the revolutionary workers’ leader and Marxist political theorist. In 1917, Lenin’s Bolshevik Party led the working class of Russia to overthrow the landlords and capitalists and esta…
 
Chaos in the US presents two options: socialism or barbarism.In the United States, the capitalist class is faced with a shopping list of crises that are shaking their system almost to pieces. Like many capitalist economies, they’ve had to partly suspend production - and profit - in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.They’ve been forced to inject …
 
Workers are furious, so why aren’t capitalist parties suffering?Capitalist governments across the planet are presiding over incompetent, inefficient, and inhuman responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, most are riding high in opinion polls.This is true in Britain too, despite being on course for the worst death toll in Europe. While worker…
 
The capitalist economic system is dysfunctional and obsolete.In the US, 10 million workers filed unemployment claims in the last two weeks of March. In the UK, a million workers filed Universal Credit benefit claims in the last two weeks of March.Just over a decade after the ‘credit crunch’ and Great Recession, the Covid-19 pandemic is causing a ‘c…
 
Unprecedented state intervention - but still workers suffer?The British government has pledged hundreds of billions in funding during the Covid-19 pandemic. The US Congress has approved trillions.Capitalist governments in multiple countries seem to be abandoning privatisation and market competition for nationalisation and central coordination. It l…
 
How can workers look after their interests in the pandemic?Schools in Britain are part-closing, workers in almost every sector are being sent home with or without pay, and there are shortages of equipment for safe and hygienic working everywhere. The day after we recorded this podcast on 19 March 2020, the government was due to announce plans to su…
 
How can workers' action help overcome the Covid-19 crisis?The new coronavirus, Covid-19, is sweeping through the world's population - exposing capitalism for disastrous weaknesses in healthcare systems,social infrastructure, and the global economy. Capitalist politicians and the capitalist state are torn between protecting public health and defendi…
 
Do the setbacks in the 2010s mean the unions can't fight today?The 2010s were a period of major attacks on workers in Britain. But the bosses and their politicians didn’t get things all their own way. The trade unions - the basic self-defence organisations of the working class - fought many important battles, shutting down production to try to forc…
 
After more than 45 days of strikes, workers in France are still furious about President Emmanuel Macron’s attack on pensions. His so-called reform would mean: work longer, get less.But there’s no clear strategy from the union leaders. And there’s no clear political alternative to Macron and his politics, including from left-wing political leader Je…
 
After Suleimani's assassination, what prospects for Iran, Iraq and the US?The year started with Donald Trump ordering the public assassination of a leading Iranian general, Qassem Suleimani, by a drone strike in Baghdad, the capital of neighbouring Iraq.What are the prospects for the struggle between the US and Iran? Does this mean war? What about …
 
Boris Johnson has won a majority in the UK’s general election. Many workers and young people will understandably be feeling gloomy and angry. We say the fightback starts here.How did this happen? What are the lessons? And what does the workers’ movement need to do now to stop Tory attacks?This episode of Socialism responds to the Tories’ return: st…
 
Northern Ireland faces renewed political conflict as a result of the bosses’ Brexit crisis, the collapse of the Stormont government, and underlying it all, huge anger at poverty and oppression. But there is one place where Catholics and Protestants, Nationalists and Unionists are united: the workplace, and so also the trade unions.Councillor Donal …
 
How can the unions win for members and end austerity and Tory rule? We speak to PCS union general secretary candidate Marion Lloyd (in a personal capacity) and RMT union national executive committee candidate Jared Wood.The trade unions are always areas of fundamental concern for Marxists. Now they are poised to play a pivotal role in Britain’s win…
 
SPECIAL: Tories out - Corbyn in with socialist policies! This election is harder to call than perhaps any in British history. But what we can say is that whatever the outcome, tempestuous class struggle will follow. What is the best outcome for this general election? How can socialists help to achieve it? And what does the workers’ movement need to…
 
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