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Marxist Classics (Volume One)

Marxist Classics (Volume One) - Alan Woods A collection including revolutionary works by Karl Marx ([b:The Communist Manifesto|30474|The Communist Manifesto|Karl Marx|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1311645363s/30474.jpg|2205479]), Frederick Engels ([b:Socialism, Utopian and Scientific|188897|Socialism, Utopian and Scientific|Friedrich Engels|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1172548117s/188897.jpg|182607]), Vladimir Lenin ([b:The State and Revolution|179612|The State and Revolution|Vladimir Ilyich Lenin|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1358889486s/179612.jpg|809070]), and Leon Trotsky (Transitional Program) is both impressive and vital for understanding the economic, political and social battles being waged today. Why do conservatives shudder at language like "it takes a village to raise a child"? One reason's because Marx and Engels rip the concept of the nuclear family in The Communist Manifesto. Why must conservatives try to compromise unions? Their collective action has been necessary in fighting for parts of Trotsky's transitional program (examples are minimum wage laws and 8-hour work days) from capitalism to socialism. Simply put, these works are must-reads for those interested in understanding our world.

The Communist Manifesto opens and closes with memorable lines: from "A spectre is haunting Europe-the spectre of communism" to "The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. WORKERS OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!" Intriguing stuff! I was shocked by the continuing relevance of Marx's analysis of the globalizing economy.

Socialism: Utopian and Scientific looks at the ongoing shift from feudalism, through capitalism, and on to socialism through the lens of Historical Materialism (as opposed to idealism/utopianism). Engels gives a scientific basis to the proletarian movement.

In The State and Revolution, Lenin uses mainly the teachings of Marx and Engels to counter the notion that anything but revolution (i.e., reforms) can bring about his desired "dictatorship of the proletariat".

Trotsky argues in The Transitional Program for the use of "transitional demands" to help the workers see the necessity of and move toward social revolution. He distinguishes between the "minimum program" (basic reforms) and "maximum program" (social revolution).

The common theme between all four works in this collection--revolution must occur. These works will not be comfortable reads for the squeemish, or for proponents of maintaining existing order at all cost. But give it a try anyway. You'll learn something.