42 Years Since the Portuguese Revolution

Today marks the 42nd anniversary of the Portuguese Revolution. On this occasion we recommend the following analysis, written by Alan Woods in 1974.

On Kautsky’s “Foundations of Christianity”

Religion is not the motor force of history, but great social changes are expressed in changes in religion. In his book Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy Engels explained that great historical turning points have been accompanied by religious changes in the case of Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. The mass movements that were aroused by these beliefs in the early period of both Islam and Christianity shook the world.

Early Christianity arose at a time of upheaval and change associated with the crisis of slave society. The rise of Christianity is one of the most extraordinary phenomena in history. Despite the most ferocious persecution, the Christians won mass support until the new religion was eventually recognized by the Emperor Constantine. From being a revolutionary movement of the poor and oppressed, the Church was absorbed into the state to become a formidable weapon in the hands of the rich and powerful.

WWI—Part Eleven: Wilfred Owen and the Muse of War

Wilfred Owen plate from Poems (1920).jpg“The people of England needn’t hope. They must agitate.” (Wilfred Owen, letter to his mother)

It has been said that when the cannons are heard, the muses are silent. In a general sense that is true. The thunder of war drowns out the voice of the poet and the artist. The grim poetry of artillery shells, hand grenades and machine guns is far stronger than the weak voice of human beings protesting against the monstrous cannibalism that periodically disrupts the old equilibrium and threatens to destroy the conditions of civilized existence. However, to every rule there is an exception.

Law and Marxism: 800 Years Since the Magna Carta

Magna Carta 1297 version Parliament House Canberra Australia—20080416
On June 15, 1215, King John I of England signed a document known as the Great Charter (Magna Carta in Latin). This document was the product of a civil war that had been raging between John and his nobles. The document contained a number of concessions by John, through which he agreed to limit his power as king in return for the loyalty of his subjects.

Magna Carta is seen as one of the first documents to form the basis of the British constitution—in fact three of its provisions are still in force in Britain today. It is said to have inspired other movements of people against oppressive dictators and imperial powers, such as the American War of Independence and the Zapatista movement in Mexico.

“The S Word” by John Nichols

EugeneVDebsHatWith rising interest in socialism, John Nichols’ book, The S Word: A Short History of an American Tradition . . . Socialism, raises an important question: is socialism something which should be understood solely as a foreign import, with no connection to American traditions? Or is it in reality bound by a million threads to the best traditions of the American Revolution and various social movements that have emerged over the last two centuries?