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Book Reviews: 'Fighting Fascism', 'Poverty Safari - Understanding the Anger of Britain’s Underclass', & 'Marx’s Theory of the Genesis of Money'

Misreading fascism

'Fighting Fascism'. By Carla Zetkin, (edited by Mike Taber and John Riddell. Haymarket, £10.99)

This booklet reproduces two main writings of Zetkin on fascism: her report and resolution presented at the Third Enlarged Plenum of the Communist International's Executive Committee in June 1923, and her speech to the German Reichstag in 1932.

Carla Zetkin was an iconic left-wing German Marxist and close friend of Rosa Luxemburg who opted for the political line taken by Lenin and the Bolsheviks, becoming a champion of the Third International. She stayed on the side of the Third International although not without some regrets, even during the rise and 'splendour’ of Stalinism.

Bitcoin: What Would Marx Think?

We have heard all kind of things about Bitcoin. There is even someone who has dared to say that Bitcoin was an alternative to the current economic-political structure and that for this reason Marx would have liked it (‘Bitcoin and Marx’s Theory of History’, Kenny Spotz, Bitcoin Magazine 26, July 2014). Oh dear!

Let us see whether Marx would have liked Bitcoin or not. Bitcoin is a ‘cryptocurrency’, ie a digital encrypted means of payment, safe, until hacked of course. According to Marx, the only alternative to capitalism is a society based upon common ownership of the means of production and products, a society with no profit and no money, not even crypto or funny ones.

Marx analysed extensively the nature and function of money in the capitalist system. This can be found in the first section of the first volume of Capital. Let us brush up on a few concepts from it.

Bordiga and the First World War

The concluding article on the political ideas of Amadeo Bordiga up to 1917

In an article in Avanti, the newspaper of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), in August 1914 Bordiga identified as a dangerous development 'a sympathetic feeling for the Triple Entente [the alliance between Britain, France and Russia], not only justifying, but praising the attitude of the French socialists, to support that Italian socialists should hasten to fight in defence of France’. This was to become the position of Mussolini, at that point editor of Avanti.

For Bordiga, the concept of ‘fatherland’ was by definition anti-socialist and a defensive war on its behalf inconceivable. In September, in an article in Il Socialista on ‘Avanti and the war’, he addressed Mussolini's attitude openly, criticising the ambiguity of the line he had taken on the war in the party’s newspaper.

Early Bordiga and Electoral Activity

The second part of our series on the views of Amadeo Bordiga up to the 1917 Russian revolution.

In March and April 1913, the magazine Avanguardia published a series of articles by Bordiga entitled 'For the Theoretical Conception of Socialism'. In them he expressed his political vision.

'We should not be philosophers but men of action… the proletariat is still in search of its programme and it will not find it permanently until after a long series of struggles and inevitable mistakes committed in action. (….) We have a programme de facto: the abolition of private property and of the wages system. We have to pay attention to the deceits of bourgeois thought and in particular to idealist forms that seek to distract the attention of the proletariat from the economic problems that it seeks to resolve with the violent suppression of their domination.’

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