England, Wales and Scotland section of International Socialist Alternative

Revolutionary Ideas Festival: Marxist theory in the 21st century

We are currently living in a world in turmoil. Economic crises, conflicts occurring around the globe, mass uprisings against injustice. Huge events occur at a rapid pace, so how do we seek to understand these events?

The theoretical underpinnings of Marxism have been in development for over 170 years, and they are still crucial in how socialists understand world events and the economy. What is it that makes these ideas so fundamental, and how do socialists apply them today? 

Through his theory of dialectical materialism, Marx gave us a framework with which to understand the processes by which societal change occurs. Socialists should not take rigid, prescriptive views of the world, but use these tools of dialectical materialism to analyse the world as it currently is. Our session on dialectical materialism will look at how this analytical framework works, and how we can apply it to understand the world around us. 

Of course, many things have changed in the nearly 137 years since Marx’s passing. Karl pointed to the working class as the engine for change, but the nature of the working class has changed since the time of his writing, and yet his ideas about the working class continue to be relevant. The scientific nature of Marxist socialist ideas means that we can continue to apply their theories to the modern day. In our session on the working class we will investigate how today’s working class fits into Marx’s conception. 

Although Marxism is of course name after Karl, there are a great many influential Marxist thinkers. Not only his long time friend Engels, but many revolutionary socialists that came later, such as Lenin and Trotsky, who both contributed many important theoretical innovations. One of Trotsky’s most important works – the Theory of Permanent Revolution. In our session on this, we will be discussing whether a stronger capitalism would allow poorer countries to get closer to socialism. 

The theoretical commissions will take place at 2pm on Sunday 29th November as part of the Revolutionary Ideas Online Festival of Resistance and Socialism. The sessions are:

  • How does the modern working class fit into Marx’s economic theory? 
  • Would a stronger capitalism get poorer countries closer to socialism? (Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution)
  • What is dialectical materialism? 

Register now!


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