Marxism

An Uncivil War

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Review of 'Marx, Tocqueville, and Race in America', August Nimtz, Lexington Books £20.95

Central to the argument in this book is Marx's famous comment in Capital, 'Labour cannot emancipate itself in the white skin where in the black skin it is branded.' This, Nimtz argues, underpinned Marx and Engels' approach to the American Civil War (1861 to 1865). At stake was the development of the American working class - and indeed of the European working class - not only the fate of the black slaves. Thus Nimtz shows how important race was to Marx and Engels' understanding of class - contrary to received wisdom.

Weak Foundation

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Review of 'The Myth of 1648' by Benno Teschke, Verso £25

This book sets out to attack the conventional view in the academic discipline of International Relations which sees there being an unchanging form of interaction between states from 1648 to the present day. Teschke quite rightly insists the whole approach is untenable, since the relations between states change with changes in the social relations of production within each, and he provides useful accounts of the relations during the medieval period, the period of absolutism and that of modern capitalism.

However, two things stymie his argument.

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