Understanding History: Marxist Essays

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How did capitalism arise? Why and when did this exploitative system exhaust its potential to advance civilization? Why revolutionary change is fundamental to human progress.

Notes, index. Now with enlarged type.
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More About This Book


How did capitalism arise? Why and when did this exploitative system exhaust its potential to advance civilization? Why revolutionary change is fundamental to human progress.

Notes, index. Now with enlarged type.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780873486057
  • Publisher: Pathfinder Press GA
  • Publication date: 1/1/1980
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.26 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.57 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2004

    Let this book change your life the way it changed mine

    When I first read the materials in this book which were then available in three small but valuable pamphlets, they opened up the world to me. They are timeless in their validity, or rather restricted to the time we share now with the days they were written, the death agony of capitalism. I read George's essays in the mid 1960s, when segregation still existed, when only a few advanced souls thought of what we now know as women's liberation, when the US was trying to crush the Vietnamese struggle for national independence and unity, when laws preventing abortion and criminalizing homosexuality were unchallenged. What these books do is outline that history is the process of change and that modern history is the process of working people, farmers, youth, oppressed nations throwing off the power of exploitation and oppression that flows from the domination of the big imperialist corporations of Europe, the USA, and Japan. They outline that history is changable and that the inherent weaknesses of capitalism itself will lead to struggles of a power and thoroughness that will topple the system. These essays were written in what we all thought was the height of the post war boom, of the 'Pax Americana' were the position of American imperialism seemed unchallengable when many even among those who wanted to change the system believed that prosperity would always exist and that peace and solidarity between the big imperialist countries would be eternal. Today the threat of depression conditions and economic crisis coming out of the conflicts between Europe, America, and Japan, flowing from the declining profitability of imperialism, loom over the whole world. In many countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia conditions worse than those during the Great Depression have already hit. In the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe economic devastation has marked the attempts to open the countries up for direct exploitation by imperialism. In North America, Europe, and Japan, ongoing recessions are teetering on the verge of falling into depression after the next corporate failure, after the next monetary crises, after the next rise in inflation. All foretold in these essay. However, Novack, as a Marxist and a revolutionist, as a long-time leader of the Socialist Workers Party, doesn't just look at history from the outside. What he explains is those of us who want to fight for change can intervene in history, can intervene and win. He taught me to look to the struggles of working people in this country and around the world to find where change will come from. The rising resistance by workers and farmers in this country and beyond belongs to the real history that this book teaches us. Let this book help you change the world the way it helped me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2004

    The long and short of history

    George Novack brings you the sweep of history--and an understanding of what is required to change it. He points out that capitalism is one of the shortest-lived economic systems. Its transportation to the Western Hemisphere was accomplished only with the introduction of chattel slavery, the destruction of many indigenous peoples, and the imposition of feudal conditions on many others in Latin America. Capitalism has produced good things, also, as well as bad, Novack points out. ¿But the most valuable thing it has produced is the industrial working class,¿ a power that has the potential to end capitalism and its system of minority rule. Novack outlines how leaders emerge in the working class and the role of the individual in history-making. Novack presents complex ideas in a readable style. You won¿t get this point of view in a high school or college classroom.

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