Monday, April 4, 2011

Marxism - A Graphic Guide by Rupert Woodfin and Oscar Zarate

Marxism - A Graphic Guide
by Rupert Woodfin and Oscar Zarate
Icon Books, 2009

Review by Ramona Wadi

An alternative approach to political thought, Marxism - A Graphic Guide introduces the reader to Marx and his political works through comics. Starting off with "Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains ..." the reader is taken on an introductory journey of Marxism and the way Marxism was adopted and at times even twisted, in the name of revolution.

The ten major points of the Communist Manifesto grace the introduction to the book, contrasted by ten points of Marxist criticism as a conclusion. Readers embark on a journey that is philosophical, economical and revolutionary. Marx's view on the dialectic is that without contradictory opinions, we would be constrained to accept imperfect explanations of the world. The dialectic therefore, is vital if one is to study a society that is continuously changing.

The theory of alienation deserves a special mention, as it is a process which manipulates humanity into its own distortion. Workers need to be aware of their own enslavement in order to achieve the foundations of revolution. Alienation is not confined to a single type of society or nation - it is a worldwide condition of humanity. This makes revolution an international struggle - according to Marx the concept of a revolution is incomplete if it is confined to a single nation.

The book also provides brief overviews of the Russian Revolution and the prominent people associated with the revolution, Stalin, Lenin and Trotsky. Post-Marxist thought is brought to the reader with an overview of Italian communist Antonio Gramsci, who claimed that ideology could either hasten the path to revolution or prevent it from happening.

Point eight in the Marxist criticism states that an alternative to revolution is democratic transition. However, given what we know of democracy and the way it alienates society with its concepts of majority and minority, maybe it is appropriate that one revisits the book from its very introduction - the proclamation of unity for the workers.

1 comment: said...

"Workers of the world, unite!" had been one of the columns of Marxism.
In the latest 2 decades Marxism is knowing a world crisis, just because there are less and less "workers" and more and more worms who just live taking advantage of other people.
The workers are very few and, at the same time, continuously engaged to maintain as their own families as the worms who don't work.
One day Marxism will know new glory again, because it is the only global idea good for all populations, who are currently divided by religions, languages, uses and customs.
After Christianity, which knew success after 3 centuries, and after the ideas of French revolution, which started to know world success after 60 years, sooner or later Marxism will know a natural and strongest invasion everywhere. Because Marxism is the third strongest revolution in the latest 2000 years.