“The ideas of the ruling class,” wrote Karl Marx, “are in every epoch the ruling ideas: ie, the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force.”

For organisations such as the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), which oppose themselves to the capitalist ruling class, having our own theory, our own ideas, is vitally important. Ideas in and of themselves cannot overthrow the system, but theory is an essential guide to our practice. Because our theory is based on analysing a rapidly changing system, and because it is drawn from and crystallises the lessons of real struggles from below, those ideas must be constantly discussed, tested against reality and developed.

See below for some of the works from key figures in the Marxist tradition—Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky, Lenin and others—and some of the writings of those associated with the SWP and its predecessors or similar organisations around the world. Needless to say, not all the authors agree with one another on every point, and not all the articles fit into neat categories, nor is it a comprehensive collection—if you have ideas for texts to include, please get in touch!


Our YouTube channel is well worth a browse. It features hundreds of videos including live streamed events, shorter explainers and meetings from Marxist Festival. Check it out!

International Socialism Journal

Our theoretical journal, International Socialism, comes out four times a year with longer articles that help to offer a deeper understanding of socialist theory. You can search the ISJ archive for articles covering most theoretical topics


We regularly produce short pamphlets that provide an introduction to key parts of our theory and political topics. You can browse and download our selection of pamphlets to find the one you’re looking for.

Our educational programme

Along with our regular meetings and events, branches of the SWP organise educational courses that help our members to get to grips with our theory.

Click on the categories below to expand.

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels
Also available in pamphlet form
The classic manifesto by the founders of the Marxist tradition.

Socialism: Utopian and Scientific by Frederick Engels
Also available in pamphlet form
A brilliant, brief exposition of Marxism.

Revolution in the 21st Century by Chris Harman
A short book introducing the relevance of revolutionary Marxism in the 21st Century

How Marxism Works by Chris Harman
A short book introducing Marxist ideas.

The Meaning of Marxism by Duncan Hallas
A very readable, short introduction to the basic ideas of Marxism.

Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism by Lenin
A brief article on the origins of Marx’s ideas.

Marxism at the Millennium by Tony Cliff
A collection of brief essays on Marxism and the ideas of the SWP

The Two Souls of Socialism by Hal Draper
A classic pamphlet by the American Marxist Hal Draper on the distinction between “socialism from below” and “socialism from above”.

What Is the Real Marxist Tradition by John Molyneux
A study of Marxism and the many distortions of it.

Why You Should Be a Socialist by Paul Foot

The Case for Socialism by Paul Foot
Two short books by Paul Foot making the case for the Socialist Workers Party.

Alienation, Labour and Ideology

An Introduction to Marx’s Theory of Alienation by Judy Cox
An accessible introduction to this important area of Marxist theory.

The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 by Karl Marx
These manuscripts contain the beginnings of Marx’s theory of alienation—the way that capitalism strips workers of their humanity by distorting their relationship to their own labour process, the products of their labour and their fellow humans.

In Perspective: Valentin Voloshinov by John Parrington
An assessment of the Russian Marxist Voloshinov who produced pioneering studies of language and psychology.

Marxism and the Philosophy of Language by Valentin Voloshinov
Sections of Voloshinov’s works on language, written in 1929.

Commodity Fetishism by Fredy Perlman
Perlman’s 1968 introduction to a collection of writings by Isaak Rubin presents an interesting argument on the relationship between the early and later understanding of alienation in Marx’s writing.

Anarchism and Autonomism

The New Workerism: the Politics of the Italian Autonomists by Jack Fuller
Interesting account of the growth of autonomism out of the Italian struggles of the 1960s and 1970s.

Toni Negri in Perspective by Alex Callinicos
An analysis of the works of the Negri, an important figure in Italian autonomism.Esme Choonara


Art as the Cognition of Life by Aleksandr Voronsky
A pathbreaking attempt to explore art from a Marxist perspective from post-revolutionary Russia.

Literature and Revolution by Leon Trotsky
A selection of writings with important insights into art by the Russian revolutionary.

The Work of Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Walter Benjamin
A fascinating attempt to explore the changes to culture brought about by the development of capitalism.

The Legitimacy of Modern Art by John Molyneux

Comment on Molyneux and Art by Chris Harman
A debate on modern art from the pages of International Socialism.

A revolution in paint: 100 years of Picasso’s Demoiselles by John Molyneux
A look at the rise of modern art.

From Revolution to Irrelevance: How Classical Music Lost its Audience by Simon Behrman
A piece considering the history of classical music.

Culture and Socialism by Terry Eagleton
An argument for a broad conception of culture.

Theses on Realism and Film by Mike Wayne
A challenging article on what realism is and isn’t.

Ecology and the Environment

Marxism and Ecology by Martin Empson
This updated pamphlet explores why capitalism is so destructive to the planet and what a sustainable society would look like.

Dirty energy, capitalism & the working class by Suzanne Jeffery
A recent International Socialism piece on exploring class politics in the climate movement.

Marxism & the Anthropocene by Camilla Royle
A recent International Socialism piece introducing the recent theoretical debates on the Anthropocene.

Food, agriculture & climate change by Martin Empson
An article exploring the impact of capitalist agriculture.

Capitalism and species extinction by Ian Rappel
A recent International Socialism piece on capitalism’s impact on the diversity of life.

Up against the clock: climate, social movements and Marxism by Suzanne Jeffery
A discussion of the climate movement in the run up to the Paris Climate Conference COP21.

Can we build a sustainable society? by Martin Empson
What would an environmentally sustainable society look like? And what would it take to achieve it?.

How big oil is fracking to climate disaster by Amy Leather
A look at oil, fracking and fossil fuel capitalism.

Why Red is Green by Paul McGarr
A study of the relation between Marxism and environmentalism.

Marx’s Ecology in Historical Perspective by John Bellamy Foster
A fascinating account of Marx’s often ignored writings on ecology.

Capitalism and Climate Change by Paul McGarr
An assessment of the threat of climate change.

Economic Theory

Introducing Marxist Economics
Our Education for Socialists pamphlet introducing this topic.

Value, Price and Profit by Karl Marx
A basic elaboration of Marx’s view of the capitalist economic system.

Capital, volume 1 by Karl Marx
The first volume of Marx’s best known work discusses production under capitalism.

Capital, volume 2 by Karl Marx
The second volume of Capital concerns the process of circulation under capitalism.

Capital, volume 3 by Karl Marx
In this volume Marx uses his analysis of capitalism to understand crisis, the financial system and rent.

The Grundrisse by Karl Marx
This work consists of notes that Marx made during his research for Capital, and functioned as a kind of laboratory for his ideas.

A History of Economic Thought by Isaac Ilych Rubin
A brilliant Marxist survey of pre-Marxist political economy, including the works of Adam Smith and David Ricardo.

The Rate of Profit and the World Today by Chris Harman
This article considers one of the controversial aspects of Marx’s economic theory: the tendency for the rate of profit to fall.

Not all Marxism is Dogmatism by Chris Harman
Harman responds to critics of his position on the tendency of the rate of profit to fall.

The Crisis of Bourgeois Economics by Chris Harman
A critique of non-Marxist economics, including Keynesian analyses.

Could Keynes End the Slump by Guglielmo Carchedi
A critique of Keynesianism by a Marxist economist.

Globalisation: A Critique of a New Orthodoxy by Chris Harman
Harman’s 1996 critique of globalisation theory.

Myths of Globalisation and the New Economy by Bill Dunn
Challenging continued myths about world capitalism.

Financial Crises and the Real Economy by Rob Hoveman
An article written at the time of the East Asian crisis of 1998 considers the relationship between credit, stock-markets and so on and the wider capitalist economy.

Western Capitalism Since the War by Michael Kidron
This work, which contains Kidron’s celebrated theory of the permanent arms economy, presents a pathbreaking analysis of capitalism following the Second World War.

Two Insights Don’t Make a Theory by Michael Kidron

Better a Valid Insight than a Wrong Theory by Chris Harman
Kidron and Harman debate the theory of the permanent arms economy.

Reassessing the Permanent Arms Economy by Gonzalo Pozo
A restatement and assessment of the theory of the permanent arms economy developed by Tony Cliff, Mike Kidron and Chris Harman to explain the post-war boom.

Radical Economics, Marxist Economics and Marx’s Economics.
by Jane Hardy
An assessment of heterodox economics from a Marxist perspective.

The Great Recession of 2007 – 2008

From the Credit Crunch to the Spectre of Global Crisis by Chris Harman
An early analysis of the economic crisis.

The Slump of the 1930s and the Crisis Today by Chris Harman
A historical comparison.

Marxist Accounts of the Current Crisis by Joseph Choonara
A look at analyses of the Great Recession.

From Global Slump to Long Depression by Michael Roberts
An account of the trajectory of the crisis of 2007-8 and its aftermath.

History and Historical Change

Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy by Karl Marx
This preface contains a brief statement of Marx’s theory of historical change.

The German Ideology by Karl Marx
This wide-ranging early work by Marx contains, among other things, an attempt to develop the Marxist theory of historical change.

Engels and the Origins of Human Society by Chris Harman
An assessment of Engels’ arguments about the origin of the state, of class society and of women’s oppression.

The Bourgeois Revolution by Duncan Hallas
A short article by Hallas on the kinds of revolutions that were required to establish the dominance of capitalism.

Bourgeois Revolutions and Historical Materialism by Alex Callinicos
A detailed exploration of the concept of bourgeois revolution.

Base and Superstructure by Chris Harman
Comments on Base and Superstructure by Alex Callinicos
Further comments on Base and Superstructure by Duncan Hallas
Harman’s article considers the metaphor of “base and superstructure” used by Marx to understand historical change, while Callinicos suggests some problems with Harman’s formulations and Hallas offers a different view.

The Rise of Capitalism by Chris Harman
Harman’s view of the rise of capitalist society and why it first took place in Europe.

A People’s History of the World by Chris Harman
The opening chapters of Harman’s work surveying human history, which begins with the emergence of class societies.

Imperialism and National Liberation

Imperialism and National Liberation
Our Education for Socialists pamphlet on this topic.

Analysing Imperialism by Chris Harman
This article contains a helpful overview of the theory of imperialism and an attempt to apply it to the world in 2003.

Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism by Lenin
A classic introduction to the theory of imperialism.

Imperialism and World Economy by Nikolai Bukharin
Bukharin’s work on imperialism, outlined in this work, was an important influence on Lenin.

The Return of the National Question by Chris Harman
A major article assessing the role of nationalism and the nation state.

Marxism and the National Question by Alex Callinicos
A useful restatement of the Marxist position on the national question.

The Seeds of National Liberation by Dave Crouch
An extended review article looking at the development of the Bolshevik’s position on national liberation.

The United Nations and the Politics of Imperialism by Duncan Blackie
A challenge to the myths of the UN as a force for peace.

Was the Second World War a War for Democracy? by Chris Bambery
A look at the arguments surrounding the war and the position taken by revolutionaries.

The Labour Party and Reformism

Why did Labour lose? by Charlie Kimber
Analysis of the 2019 General Election in our International Socialism Journal

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour and the fight for socialism by Charlie Kimber
Pamphlet looking at the roots of Corbyn’s triumph in becoming Labour leader, and how we achieve socialism now.

Labourism and the Trade Unions
Our Education for Socialists pamphlet on this topic.

Reform or Revolution by Rosa Luxemburg

Also available in pamphlet form
Luxemburg’s classic polemic against “revisionism”—an early form of reformism that developed in the German socialist movement.

The Economic Roots of Reformism by Tony Cliff
A brief article explaining why workers often look to reformism rather than revolutionary politics.

The Labour Party: Myth and Reality by Duncan Hallas
Hallas sets out the revolutionary socialist critique of Labourism.

From Bernstein to Blair: 100 Years of Revisionism by Chris Harman
Harman charts the history of reformism on the left.

Revolutionaries and the Labour Party by Duncan Hallas
In this work, Hallas looks at different approaches that revolutionaries have had towards Labour.

Is there a Future for the Labour Left? by Pete Goodwin
An analysis of the Labour left from 1983.

The Workers’ Government by Chris Harman and Tim Potter
This article considers the different uses of the term “workers’ government” and the problems it presents for revolutionaries.

A House Divided: Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party by Mark Thomas
An analysis of the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party.

Reassessing Podemos by Andy Brown
A look at an important left reformist party in the Spanish state.

The Rebirth of Social Democracy by Donny Gluckstein
A consideration of the life-course of reformism.

The Stagnation of the Dutch Socialist Party by Max van Lingen
An analysis of a left reformist party in the Netherlands.

Marxism and Philosophy

Theses on Feuerbach by Karl Marx
These oft quoted theses mark an important point in Marx’s development as he began to apply his philosophical ideas to workers struggles.

Anti-Duhring by Frederick Engels
This work, written to refute the now forgotten Duhring, contains an important attempt to elaborate Marx’s ideas by his co-thinker, Engels.

Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy by Frederick Engels
In this work Engels traces how Marxism developed out of the philosophy of Hegel in Germany.

History and Class Consciousness by Georg Lukacs
Lukacs was a Hungarian Marxist who attempted to build on Marx’s theory to grapple with problems such as the development of class consciousness, the role of the revolutionary party and the development of philosophy under capitalism.

Dialectics: The Whole Truth by Ian Birchall
A straightforward introduction to the concept of the dialectic.

Is Marxism Deterministic? by John Molyneux
A challenge to the still widespread myth of determinism.

Philosophy and Revolution by Chris Harman
Harman’s intervention into a debate on philosophy that took place in the pages of International Socialism. It challenged attempts by the revolutionary left to take up the ideas of the French Communist Louis Althusser.

Gramsci, the Prison Notebooks and Philosophy by Chris Harman
Harman looks at the importance of Antonio Gramsci’s writings, when properly understood, for Marxists.

Michel Foucault: Friend or Foe of the Left? by Colin Wilson
An assessment of the important French activist and post-structuralist theoretician.


More than Opium: Marxism and Religion by John Molyneux
A helpful overview of Marx’s position on religion, which was more subtle than is often recognised.

The Prophet and the Proletariat by Chris Harman
An analysis of the role of radical Islamic movements and how the left should relate to them.

The Bolsheviks and Islam by Dave Crouch
A historical assessment of the relationship between the Bolsheviks and Muslim populations of Russia in the wake of 1917, with important lessons for today.

Karl Marx, Abram Leon and the Jewish Question—a Reappraisal by John Rose
A look at one of Marx’s controversial works and its reception.

What are we to do with Islam? by Ron Margulies
A Turkish perspective on Islamism.

Revolutionary Lives

Rosa Luxemburg by Tony Cliff
This is both a biography and an assessment of Luxemburg’s ideas.

Engels by Tony Cliff
An assessment of Engels, who was far more than merely Marx’s sidekick.

Frederick Engels: Life of a Revolutionary by Lindsey German
A brief biography of Engels.

Engels’ Marxism by John Rees
A consideration of Engels’s contributions to Marxism.

Gramsci versus Eurocommunism, part 1 by Chris Harman
Gramsci versus Eurocommunism, part 2 by Chris Harman
This groundbreaking analysis of Antonio Gramsci, written in 1977, helped to rescue the Italian revolutionary from the distortions he faced at the hands of the Stalinist left.

The Resurrections of Che Guevara by Mike Gonzalez
A critical assessment of Che’s contribution to socialist politics.

Sartre’s Century by Ian Birchall
An article on the French socialist and philosopher.


Dialectics of Nature by Frederick Engels
In this controversial work, Engels seeks to apply the philosophical ideas of Marxism to nature.

Engels and Natural Science by Paul McGarr
A defence of Engels’s contribution to our understanding of the natural world.

Dialectics, Nature and Dialectics of Nature by Camilla Royle
A look at the controversial question of the “dialectic of nature”.

Bookwatch: Marxism and Science by Phil Gasper
A detailed look at writings on this subject.

The Part Played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man by Frederick Engels
Though dated in some ways, Engels’s writings on evolution contain valuable insights.

Revolutions in Evolution by Paul McGarr
An assessment of evolutionary theory as developed by Stephen Jay Gould.

Socialist Society

The Future Socialist Society by John Molyneux
A pamphlet considering what socialism might look like.

Making Sense of Socialism Today by Chris Harman
An interesting article that touches on the question of planning.

Is Human Nature a Barrier to Socialism? by John Molyneux
Molyneux challenges one of the most frequently heard criticisms of socialism.

The State

The State and Revolution
Our Education for Socialists pamphlet on this topic.

The State and Revolution by Lenin
Lenin’s classic work on the theory of the state, written in the midst of the 1917 revolution.

The State and Capitalism Today by Chris Harman
Harman considers different approaches to the state.


The Student Movement Today by Alex Callinicos and Simon Turner
An important appraisal of students’ relationship to the wider working class from 1975.

Student Power? by Chris Harman
An article from the late 1980s on a series of student struggles and comparisons with 1968.

The EU Referendum

The Internationalist Case Against the European Union by Alex Callinicos
An article analysing the EU as a capitalist institution and setting out the position that was ultimately adopted by the SWP.

The EU Referendum: The Case for a Socialist Yes by John Palmer
An article putting a left case for “yes” in the referendum, published as part of a debate in International Socialism.

The Common Market by Chris Harman
A perceptive 1971 critique of the predecessor of the EU.

Europe: the Mounting Crisis by Alex Callinicos
An earlier piece by Callinicos on the EU from 1997.

Fortress Europe: the War Against Migrants by Fran Cetti
An sharp critique of the notion that the EU is about defending free movement.

Nationalism and Internationalism in the New Europe by Phil Marfleet
A pathbreaking analysis of “fortress Europe” from 1999.

What to do with the people who do make it across by Daniel Trilling
A short article by Daniel Trilling from London Review of Books on the refugees fleeing to Europe.

International Socialist Tendency statement on the refugee crisis

The EU Referendum: Should We Stay or Should We Go? by Joseph Choonara
A critique of the European Union from Socialist Review.

Better to Stay and Fight by James Anderson

More Space for a Left No by Joseph Choonara
The subsequent debate in the pages of Socialist Review.

European Monetary Union: A Rod for the Backs of Working People by Brian O’Boyle
A critique of the EU’s economic structure and policies from Irish Marxist Review.

Why Did Britain Vote to Leave? by Charlie Kimber
An analysis of the referendum vote on the EU in the UK.

The Working Class

Why the Working Class?
Our Education for Socialism pamphlet on this topic.

The Principle of Self-Emancipation in Marx and Engels by Hal Draper
A wonderful historical piece on Marx and Engels’s “discovery” of the working class movement.

Why the Working Class by Hal Draper
American Marxist Hal Draper defends the notion of workers as a “special class”.

The Workers of the World by Chris Harman
This article surveys the global working class and assesses its continued power.

The “New Middle Class” and Socialists by Alex Callinicos
An overview of debates about the middle class from the early 1980s.

The Working Class after the Recesson by Chris Harman
Harman looks at changes to the working class in the mid-1980s.

Global Cities, Global Workers in the 21st Century by Mike Haynes
A recent look at urbanisation and the working class in the modern world.

New Divisions of Labour in the Global Economy by Jane Hardy
A study of the structure of the global workforce and a response to some of the myths about the relocation of manufacturing industry.

Into the Digital Void by Martin Upchurch
A challenge to conventional views that see digitisation as eradicating the world of work.

Trade Unions and Strikes

Marx and Engels on the Trade Unions
A collection of works from the Marxist Internet Archive.

The Mass Strike by Rosa Luxemburg
A classic pamphlet on how mass strikes develop, written in the wake of the 1905 Russian Revolution.

Patterns of Mass Strike by Tony Cliff
This article assesses Luxemburg’s work, The Mass Strike, and contrasts the kinds of struggles she considers with bureaucratic mass strikes that are tightly controlled by trade union officials.

Marxism and the Trade Union Struggle by Tony Cliff and Donny Gluckstein
The first section of Cliff and Gluckstein’s penetrating account of Marxist approaches to the trade union.

A Reappraisal of the Rank-and-File versus Bureaucracy Debate by Ralph Darlington and Martin Upchurch
A useful summary of the argument about rank and file and bureaucracy in trade unions, along with an assessment of the later writing of Richard Hyman that was critical of this position.

The Communist Party and the General Strike by Duncan Hallas
Hallas looks at the 1926 British General Strike.

The CP, the SWP and the Rank and File Movement by Duncan Hallas
This article looks at different approaches to work in the trade union movement.

The General Strike by Chris Harman
A short piece by Harman on the 1926 General Strike.

The General Strike by Chris Harman
An article considering when slogans calling for a general strike are and aren’t appropriate.

Snapshots of Union Strengths and Weaknesses by Chris Harman
This piece, from 2008, assesses the problems of union organisation in Britain but also counters some of the pessimism about the capacity of the unions to fight.

France’s Hot December by Chris Harman
This piece charts the emergence of a series of mass struggles in France in 1995.

Class Struggles in France by Jim Wolfreys
An assessment of the French struggles of 1995 and their aftermath.

Striking Debates by Paul McGarr
An intervention in recent debates about industrial action in the UK.


Capitalism, Coronavirus and Mental Distress by Iain Ferguson

Marxism and Disability by Roddy Slorach

The Social Roots of Impairment by Lee Humber
A recent work on disability from a Marxist perspective and a brief response.

The Fight against Fascism

Fascism in Europe today by Mark L Thomas

Fighting fascism and the far right today by Lewis Nielsen
Pamphlet aimed at arming activists in the anti-racist and anti-fascist movement with the political strategies that can defeat fascism and the far right

Antisemitism and the far-right today by Rob Ferguson

Trotsky on the Rise of Fascism
A collection from the Marxists Internet Archive.

Plumbing the Depth: Marxism and the Holocaust by Alex Callinicos
An attempt to understand how the Nazi Holocaust happened in order to challenge those who would repeat it.

LGBT+ and Sexuality

Marxism, feminism and transgender politics by Sue Caldwell

Transgender Oppression and Resistance by Laura Miles
An useful introduction to the oppression and struggle of transgender people.

The Roots of Gay Oppression by Norah Carlin
A very clear article on the origin of oppression on the grounds of sexuality from a Marxist perspective.

Class Division in the Gay Community by Peter Morgan
Morgan assesses the gay rights movement in 1998 and the tensions within it.

LGBT+ and Sexual Politics by Colin Wilson
An overview of the fight for LGBT+ rights.

Queer Theory and Politics by Colin Wilson
A Marxist analysis and critique of queer theory.

Racism and Immigration

Racism: individual, institutional and structural
by Esme Choonara

Does Privilege Explain Racism? by Esme Choonara, Ken Olende, Yuri Prasad & Weyman Bennett

Marx and race: a Eurocentric analysis? by Ken Olende

Here to stay, here to fight: How Asians transformed the British working class by Yuri Prasad

What’s wrong with privilege theory? by Esme Choonara and Yuri Prasad

Race and Class by Alex Callinicos
An excellent pamphlet introducing the Marxist position on racism.

Racism: Myths and Realities by Hassan Mahamdallie
An assessment of the changing forms of racism.

Racism and Immigration in Britain by Ruth Brown
A useful historical overview of the struggle over immigration.

Immigration and the British Labour Movement by Paul Foot
A classic article from 1965 by Foot, explaining why Labour bends to the right over the question of immigration controls.

Migration, Migrant Workers and Capitalism by Jane Hardy
An overview of debates around immigration.

The Hijab, Racism and the State by Antoine Boulange
An examination of Islamophobia in France.

Women’s Liberation

Women’s Liberation and Class Struggle
Our Education for Socialists pamphlet on this topic.

Marxism and Women’s Liberation by Judith Orr. A book written in 2015 providing in depth analysis of a Marxist approach to women’s liberation.

How Marx & Engels fought for Women’s Liberation by Judy Cox

Marxism and Women’s Oppression Today by Sheila McGregor
An overview and updating of Marxist approach to the family and women’s oppression.

Marxism and Feminism Today by Judith Orr
A look at some recent feminist writings.

The Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State by Frederick Engels
This work by Engels, though dated in parts, contains his attempt to grapple with the question of the origin of women’s oppression.

Class Struggle and Women’s Liberation by Tony Cliff
A historical survey of the fight for women’s liberation and its relationship with socialism.

Women’s Liberation and Revolutionary Socialism by Chris Harman
Harman’s consideration of different theories of women’s oppression.

Theories of Patriarchy by Lindsey German
A Marxist critique of alternative views of women’s oppression.

Rape, Pornography and Capitalism by Sheila McGregor
An intervention in debates about some of the aspects of women’s oppression from 1989.

Leninism and the Party

The Leninist Party
Our Education for Socialists pamphlet on this topic.

Party and Class by Chris Harman
An extremely useful introduction to the question of the party, written in 1968.

What Is to Be Done? by Lenin
One of Lenin’s most famous writings on the party, which has been widely discussed and debated in recent years.

For Democratic Centralism by Chris Harman
A pithy defence of democratic centralism—a method of organisation advocated by Leninists.

Marxism and the Party by John Molyneux
A study of different Marxist approaches to organisation, covering Marx and Engels, Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky and Gramsci.

Trotsky on Substitutionalism by Tony Cliff
In this essay, Cliff looks at the danger that the revolutionary party can “substitute” for a working class that is not in a fighting mood.

Lenin 1: Building the Party
Lenin 2: All Power to the Soviets
Lenin 3: Revolution Besieged by Tony Cliff
This multivolume work on Lenin includes, among much else, an assessment of his view of the revolutionary party and the strategy and tactics of revolutionary struggle that he developed.

The use of Socialist Worker as Organiser by Tony Cliff
A brief article on the revolutionary paper.

The Revolutionary Press by Chris Harman
This short pamphlet considered the historical lessons from different revolutionary papers.

Sectarianism by Duncan Hallas
This short piece ask what “sectarianism”, often used as a cuss-word on the left, really means

Permanent Revolution

Permanent Revolution / Results and Prospects by Leon Trotsky
These two works outline Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution, his account of how socialist revolution could come about in less highly developed countries.

Deflected Permanent Revolution by Tony Cliff
An important attempt to explore Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution and how subsequent changes to world capitalism affected its application.

Trotksy’s Theory of Permanent Revolution and its Relevance to the Third World Today by Alex Callinicos
An essay considering the fate of Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution.

From Deflected Permanent Revolution to the Law of Uneven and Combined Development by Neil Davidson
The Relevance of Permanent Revolution: A Reply to Neil Davidson by Joseph Choonara
The Dynamics of Revolution by Alex Callinicos
Some recent articles debating the relevance of permanent revolution in the modern world.

Revolutions and revolutionary struggles

Revolution in the 21st Century by Chris Harman
A wonderful short book on revolution in the contemporary world, challenging myths of the irrelevance of workers’ struggles and of socialist ideas.

The Civil War in France by Karl Marx
Marx’s work on the Paris Commune of 1871—the first time workers had held power.

Marx and Engels on 1848
A collection of writings on a year of great revolutionary struggle.

1905 by Leon Trotsky
Trotsky’s assessment on the 1905 Revolution in Russia, considered to be the “great dress rehearsal” for the revolution that followed 12 years later.

The Birth of Our Power: Marxism and the 1905 Revolution by Mark L Thomas
An assessment of the 1905 Revolution written for the centenary.

History of the Russian Revolution Leon Trotsky
The history of the revolution as written by one of its key protagonists.

Lessons of October by Leon Trotsky

Also available in pamphlet form
A brief work on the 1917 Revolution

Was there a Parliamentary Alternative in Russia in 1917? by Mike Haynes
Haynes defends the revolution against reformist critics, past and present.

The Russian Civil War: A Marxist Analysis by Megan Trudell
A study of the civil war that followed the 1917 Revolution.

Trotsky on the Chinese Revolution
A collection from the Marxists Internet Archive.

Trotsky on Revolution and Counterrevolution in Spain
A collection from the Marxists Internet Archive.

France—The Struggle Goes On by Tony Cliff and Ian Birchall
A Pamphlet on the French General Strike of 1968, one of the largest in world history.

Portugal at the Crossroads by Tony Cliff
Written in the midst of the Portuguese Revolution.

Revolution and Counterrevolution: Lessons for Indonesia by Tony Cliff
Written at the time of the Indonesian Revolution of 1998, this work considers general aspects of revolution and how they might apply in the modern world.

A Short Autumn of Utopia by Gareth Dale
An assessment of the East Germany Revolution of 1989.

Manufactured Revolutions? by Dragan Plavsic
An assessment of “colour” revolutions that are supported by imperialist powers but sometimes involve mass participation.

Rupture and Revolt in Iran by Peyman Jafari
A study of the Iranian revolution of 1979 and the regime that emerged from it.

State Capitalism and the USSR

State Capitalism in Russia by Tony Cliff
Cliff’s pathbreaking analysis of the Soviet Union as a state capitalist economy, rather than a workers’ state or a completely new form of society.

State Capitalism by Peter Binns
A brief statement of the theory.

Russia: How the Revolution was Lost by Chris Harman
A very clear analysis of the rise of Stalinism and the nature of the counterrevolution it entailed.

Cuba Behind the Myths by Chris Harman
This review article sets out an analysis of state capitalism in Cuba.

Strategy and Tactics

Strategy and Tactics
Our Education for Socialists pamphlet on this topic.

Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder by Lenin
An important short book by Lenin in which he debates “ultra-left” elements within the Communist movement during the upsurge in struggle that followed the First World War.

What do we Mean by Ultra-Leftism by John Molyneux
A useful summary of Lenin’s argument against “left-wing communism”.

Do we Support Reformist Demands by Duncan Hallas
Hallas cautions against a sectarian approach by revolutionaries.

Agitation and Propaganda by Duncan Hallas
A short piece by Hallas that considers the distinction between propaganda (“presenting many ideas to a few persons”) and agitation (“presenting one idea to many persons”).

The Comintern by Duncan Hallas
This excellent little book explores the history of the Comintern, or Third International, formed by the Bolsheviks after the Russian Revolution to build the international struggle against capitalism.

First Four Years of the Communist International, volume 1
First Four Years of the Communist International, volume 2 by Leon Trotsky
A collection of works on the Communist International or Comintern.

The Third International after Lenin by Leon Trotsky
Trotsky’s assessment of the takeover of the Communist International or Comintern as Stalin rose to power in the Soviet Union.

Whither France? by Leon Trotsky
An important body of writing on the struggles in France from 1934-6.

Spontaneity, Strategy and Politics by Chris Harman
Written in the aftermath of the rise of the “anti-capitalist movement” from 1999, Harman looks at the different strategic approaches in the movement.

When Unity is Strength by Sabby Sagall
A short piece on the united front, the tactic through which revolutionaries work with reformists over particular issues.

On the United Front Tactic: Some Preliminary Notes by Duncan Hallas
Hallas looks at the united front and how it might be applied by a small revolutionary party.

The SWP and its Predecessors

Trotskyism after Trotsky by Tony Cliff
A brief account of the theoretical ideas that informed the International Socialist tradition that the SWP grew out of.

Introduction to Origins of the International Socialists by Duncan Hallas
Hallas on the debates and ideas that led to the formation of the IS, forerunners of the SWP.

Towards a Revolutionary Socialist Party by Duncan Hallas
Hallas presents the case for the forerunner of the SWP.

Building the “Smallest Mass Party in the World” by Ian Birchall
A brief history of the SWP, written in 1981.

A World to Win by Tony Cliff
Cliff’s autobiography contains some interesting material on the origins and evolution of the SWP.

Seizing the Time: Tony Cliff and 1968 by Ian Birchall
The year 1968 was a crucial year for the IS that preceded the SWP.

Trotsky and Trotskyism

My Life by Leon Trotsky
Trotsky’s autobiography.

Trotsky’s Marxism by Duncan Hallas
A short book concentrating on Trotsky’s key political ideas.

Trotsky 1: Towards October
Trotsky 2: The Sword of the Revolution
Trotsky 3: Fighting the Rising Stalinist Bureaucracy
Trotsky 4: The Darker the Night, the Brighter the Star by Tony Cliff
Cliff’s multivolume work on Trotsky’s life and his theories.

Trotskyism by Alex Callinicos
A study of the development of the Trotskyist movement.

Their Trotskyism and Ours by Alex Callinicos
A comparison of orthodox Trotskyism and the politics of the International Socialist tradition.

The Middle East and North Africa

Living on revolution time: understanding the dynamics of the uprisings in Sudan and Algeria by Anne Alexander

The contemporary dynamics of imperialism in the Middle East: a preliminary analysis by Anne Alexander

Class, power & revolution in Sudan by Anne Alexander

Never Going Back: Egypt’s Continuing Revolution by Phil Marfleet
A valuable overview of the struggle in Egypt, written in late 2012.

The Egyptian Workers’ Movement and the 25 January Revolution by Anne Alexander
An assessment of the role of workers in the revolution.

Taking sides in Syria by Simon Assaf
An argument that the left should support the Syrian uprising.

The Middle East Revolutions
Socialist Review’s collection of articles.

Spectres of Counter-Revolution by Alex Callinicos
An analysis of the attempts to break the Egyptian revolution by the ruling class, from autumn 2013.


China: Whose Revolution? by Charlie Hore
A work on the 1949 revolution.

The Mandate of Heaven: Marx and Mao in Modern China by Nigel Harris
An analysis of Maoism and Mao’s China, written in 1978.

China’s Century by Charlie Hore
A look at the growth of China from 2004.

China’s Economy and Europe’s Crisis by Chris Harman
An attempt to grapple with the rise of the Chinese economy.

China, Tibet and the Left by Charlie Hore
A defence of Tibet’s right to independence.

China’s Capitalism and the Crisis by Jane Hardy and Adrian Budd
An assessment of China’s place in the world.

The Global South

The Development of Capitalism in Russia by Lenin
Although Lenin is here considering the concrete development of Russia at the end of the 20th century, his work contains a series of important arguments about the nature of the peasantry that have been influential on many later writers.

Globalisation and the Third World by Phil Marfleet
An article considering changes to the Global South brought about by the development of world capitalism and imperialism.

Aid, Governance and Exploitation by Charlie Kimber
An assessment of the role of the West in exacerbating African poverty.

Agriculture, class and capitalism by Henry Bernstein
An interview with Henry Bernstein on Marxism and agriculture, which also suggests additional reading on debates in this area.

Latin America

Argentina: Rebellion at the Sharp End of the World Crisis by Chris Harman
An analysis of the mass struggle of 2001.

The Poisoned Embrace: Plan Colombia and the Expansion of Imperial Power by Mike Gonzalez
An analysis of the struggle in Colombia and the role of the US from 2001.

The Zapatistas: the Challenges of Revolution in a New Millennium by Mike Gonzalez
Zapatistas after the Great March—a Postscript by Mike Gonzalez
Two articles on the Zapatista movement in Mexico.

Venezuela: Many Steps to Come by Mike Gonzalez
Chavez Ten Years On by Mike Gonzalez
Two articles on Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela.

Venezuela and Revolution in the 21st Century by Joseph Choonara
An overview and assessment of Chavismo and the struggle in Venezuela from 2006.

Bolivia: The Rising of the People by Mike Gonzalez
An analysis of the wave of struggles in the 2000s in Bolivia.


Israel: The Hijack State by John Rose
An important account of the rise of Israel and the future of the Palestinian and Arab struggles, first published in 1986.

Powerless in Gaza by Anne Alexander
An analysis of the Palestinian Authority and the “peace process” in the Middle East, written in 2000.

The “South Africa Moment”: Palestine, Israel and the Boycott by Tom Hickey
An analysis of the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

South Asia

India: Imperialism, Partition and Resistance by Sam Ashman
An article on the history of British colonial rule in India and the events leading up to its partition into India and Pakistan.

Caste and Class by Chris Harman
Harman considers the persistence of caste in India.

The Hindutva and European Fascism by Chris Harman
Harman contests the claims, common on the left, that right wing Hindu movements in India are simply an expression of fascism.

Gandhi: the Man Behind the Myths by Talat Ahmed
An assessment of the Indian anti-colonial leader and his politics.

The US

The Hidden History of US Radicalism by Megan Trudell
A historical survey of struggles in the US.

1934: The Year of the Fightback by John Newsinger
1937: The Year of the Sitdown by John Newsinger
Assessments of two years that saw heightened class struggle in America.

Obama and the Working Class Vote by Megan Trudell
Obama’s 100 Days by Megan Trudell
Why Obama Won by Megan Trudell
A series of articles on Obama.