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An Anarchist Replies

We have received the following criticism from Iain McKay, the editor of the collection of articles by Proudhon that we reviewed last month. Our reply follows.
I was under the impression that a reviewer should actually read the book that they claim to be reviewing. Apparently ALB (Socialist Standard, July 2011) does not think so – how else to explain his demonstrably wrong comments on my Proudhon anthology Property is Theft!? 
You proclaim that Proudhon’s argument in What is Property? “wasn’t as radical as it might seem since what he was criticising was the private ownership of land”.

Cooking the Books 1: Capitalism will not be controlled

Gordon Brown will go down in history as a failure. Politically, as a prime minister who never won an election. Economically, as the man who arrogantly and pompously announced that his policies had led to the end of the boom/bust cycle, only to find himself a year or so later presiding over capitalism’s biggest slump since the 1930s.

Philip Collins commented on this claim in his column in the Times on 7 January:

“Weirdly, the Labour Party appeared to have concluded that capitalism had become stable, ordered and pliant. They need to read their Marx again, They’ll find a picture of capitalism as creative, destructive, radical, disruptive and prone to cycles of boom and bust, even when commanded to behave by Labour chancellors.”

Questions of the Day


A pamphlet with the same title was first published in 1932. In addition to reprints, new editions were issued in 1942, 1953 and 1969, some sections in the earlier editions being omitted and new ones added as fresh issues presented themselves. Four new sections have been added to this edition.

The purpose of the pamphlet is to give in handy form statements of the attitude of the Socialist Party of Great Britain towards important problems and happenings about which questions are put to us. It includes a section on the founding of the Socialist Party of Great Britain in order to show what were the reasons that led the founder-members to draw up the DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES (see below) that has remained unaltered as the basis of the Party, and of our Companion Parties in other countries.


The New Yorker discovers Marx

One hundred and fifty years after the publication of the Communist Manifesto, the New Yorker has discovered that "Marx's version of free enterprise also chimes with the views of many contemporary businessmen, who would rather be flogged than labelled Marxist".

John Cassidy's 5,000-word essay "The Return of Karl Marx" in the October 27 issue of this magazine from the bastion of American capitalism does not include Marx's view of a future world based on common ownership. Nor does it support his labour theory of value. It is however amazingly laudatory when dealing with Marx's analysis of how capitalist accumulation operates. Cassidy quotes one Wall Street organiser of stock issues as saying: "The longer I spend on Wall Street, the more convinced I am that Marx was right . . . I am absolutely convinced that Marx's approach is the best way to look at capitalism."

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