Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/515/3600

From The Socialist newspaper, 10 January 2008

Review

Marx's Das Kapital: a biography

Francis Wheen, published by Atlantic Books

This is a disappointing book. Francis Wheen's earlier biography is definitely worth a read and shows he has made a serious study of Marx's writings. But this only seems to be a rehash of parts of that, with a hastily-written catalogue of familiar lies and misrepresentation tacked on at the end.

This biography of Capital starts well, with some interesting background information showing how Marx wrote it over many tortuous years. Wheen's is quite an affectionate picture and he has clearly actually read a fair bit of what Marx wrote.

But when he comes on to the chapters on how Marx's ideas were taken up and developed he goes seriously off the rails.

Probably the worst bit is when, discussing the Russian Revolution, Wheen wrongly claims Lenin's role was to lay the basis for "a monstrous tyranny" - what Wheen refers to as "Communist Russia"... "where Lenin and then Stalin froze [Marxism] into a dogma."

Wheen drags Lenin's What is to be done? out of context and has clearly made little effort to examine what, or why, Lenin wrote what he did. Trotsky is merely mentioned in passing, although in a slightly more favourable light.

The book ends: "Far from being buried under the rubble of the Berlin Wall, Marx may only now be emerging in his true significance. He could yet become the most influential thinker of the twenty-first century." That's true Francis but what Marx was after was for the working class to change society - not to get a place on a chat show.

At nearly 8 for 120 pages, it's not to be recommended.

Alison Hill

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 10 January 2008:

Fight for socialism!

Defeat the pay limit

Feature: Socialism and democracy needed to reshape the world


Socialist Party workplace news

Postal workers fight to defend the Burslem 12

Scrooge employers attack shop workers

Building workers fight for real union representation

Fighting council cuts

Industrial news in brief


Socialist Party editorial

Renationalise the energy industry


Socialist Party news and analysis

Police ballot for industrial rights

Straw provokes POA

Soaring food prices hit world's poor

Big business hands off our NHS!

The privateers are taking over


International socialist news and analysis

Pakistan: Mass opposition to Musharraf regime after Benazir killing

Kenya: Stolen election explodes into mass anger and bloodshed


Socialist Party feature

Victory! Tenants beat 1 million sell-off campaign


Obituary

Obituary: Andrew Glyn


Socialist Party review

Review: Marx's Das Kapital: a biography, by Francis Wheen


 

Home   |   The Socialist 10 January 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Marx:

triangleWorld economic crisis: A Marxist approach to the coronavirus crunch

triangleBuy a historical biography for Christmas

triangleYork Socialist Party: Was Marx right about the economy?

triangleDundee: young workers meet

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

27/5/20

Letters

Going viral - Socialist comments and letters

20/5/20

Obituary

Obituary: Rob Crabb

20/5/20

Letters

Going viral: letters to the editors

20/5/20

Upton Sinclair

The Jungle: capitalism's remorseless attack on workers' safety and conditions

13/5/20

Letters

Going Viral: Socialist comments and letters on the corona crisis

6/5/20

Letters

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters on the corona crisis

6/5/20

Review

TV Review BBC Panorama: PPE shortage - how many lives will be lost?

27/4/20

Coronavirus

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters

22/4/20

Letters

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters

15/4/20

Letters

Going viral: Socialist comments on the corona crisis

8/4/20

Socialist Party

Labour leadership election: Starmer wins but the fight for socialism goes on

7/4/20

Coronavirus

Going viral

31/3/20

Coronavirus

Going viral - Socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis

25/3/20

Letters

Going viral: Socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis

18/3/20

TV

TV: Noughts and Crosses

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999