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May Day! May Day! Without Profits, Communism Is Doomed

Written by Gary North on May 1, 2014

Lawrence & Wishart, a profit-seeking leftist publisher of the collected works of Marx and Engels, is threatening legal action against Marxists.org, a website run by a remnant of the last remaining English-speaking Marxists.

Marxists.org posts English-language translations of the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and other bourgeois members of the Inevitable Wave of the Future. These are free. That’s the problem. Lawrence & Wishart find it hard to compete against “free.”

Half a century ago, when I was writing Marx’s Religion of Revolution, I used at least one of the books published by Lawrence & Wishart. Most of the time, I used Progress Publishers editions. Progress Publishers, International Publishers, and Lawrence & Wishart got their translations from the Soviet Union, which subsidized the publication of books by Marx and Engels. This was a Marxist slave society’s efforts to keep the tiny world of Communist publishing alive in capitalist nations. I mean, how else were a tiny band of English-speaking Communists expected to make a decent living without relying on the Gulag archipelago to help them keep the flame burning in the West?

As a scholar, I had mixed feelings about the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was nice to see Lenin’s legacy goes the way of all flesh. But without the secret police to keep the faith alive in the USSR, the translation subsidies would cease. That was why the Marx-Engels Collected Works isn’t complete. The Communist revolution went belly-up too early. The Communists should at least have had the courtesy to wait to shut down the whole experiment until after the Collected Works were complete. Sure, a hundred million people died — maybe 130 million, depending on the accuracy of Mao’s records — in the experiment, but there weren’t that many volumes left to translate, were there? (Yes, as it turned out: at least 70.) They should have hung on a little longer. They owed it to the academic world.

So, Marxists.org posted some of Lawrence & Wishart’s USSR-funded translations online for free. Free! I mean, what kind of anti-capitalism is that? Anti-capitalism requires profits to persevere. Anyone who thinks that the proletarian revolution will come, despite some minor setbacks since 1991, is in a retirement home. His walker and his catheter are in good working order, but his eyes aren’t what they used to be. So, with the prospects of Communist growing dim, the publishers of Soviet-subsidized translations figured that they would have to make the copyright system work for them.

Lawrence & Wishart has found a way. It is going to license its material to an outfit that will digitize it and sell it to tax-funded university libraries. Why do libraries need to buy this, when it’s already digitized and online? Because it will soon be taken down. Why? Because libraries are supposedly willing to pay for it.

Of course, these expensive translations will not do any good for professors. So we are told by Professor Jonathan Sperber, who teaches history at the taxpayer-funded University of Missouri. That is because real scholars must read German to know what Marx and Engels wrote, at least when they wrote in German. Translations are for the rabble. Amateurs. Non-tenure-track adjunct professors. In short, losers. He said this: serious scholars of Marx and Engels ought to be using the Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe, which is “by far the most scholarly edition and prints all the material in the original language in which it was written.” (By the way, it is nowhere near complete. It is projected at 120 volumes.) Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe has screened out amateurs. If you cannot read it in German, you cannot know the truth. But of course this truth was supposed to lead to a worldwide revolution. It is hard to organize a worldwide revolution if you have to read German. It kind of limits the market.

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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12 thoughts on “May Day! May Day! Without Profits, Communism Is Doomed

  1. Well as far as world wide war Obumma is sure workin' at it. Plus the fact that he is also working for a world wide caliphate. Boy we have a great prez.! God help us.

  2. Patriot-Research says:

    It's Marx Communist writings, and has NO place in a Civilized World…I hope it all vanishes forever and anyone that support these writing after all the people on this planet that had been murdered (100's of Millions) should be held accountable along with all the Commie murders that performed these hainous acts..!!!

  3. redmeatstate says:

    No problem, they'll simply replace Marxism with Islam. Same result with more tyranny and death.

  4. Marx and Engels were idiots capable of only surface level, two dimensional thinking. They blatantly ignored the natural laws and self evident observations, not to mention, consciousness. You clearly can not make it up as you go ignoring self evident truths.

  5. Publius says:

    "a website run by a remnant of the last remaining English-speaking Marxists." seeing Marxists as a dying breed is nonsense…check the Obama Administration!

  6. Tionico says:

    the current administration of Kinyuns, Inc, is not marxist so much as fascist. Close cousins, I know, but not quite.

  7. Jeers1215 says:

    I don’t see the end of Marxism. My professors love Marx, and students eat it up. Marxism is one of the foundational paradigms of social science, which is the closest thing to a religion most of these kids have.

  8. I agree with Tionico…. as a Marxist Obama would have nationalized GM and Chrysler.

    As a fascist Obama bailed both out with strings attached – more Volts, more hybrids and mo money for the UAW so that they would keep the Faith alive in Michigan. Mike Dukakis put the philosophy best ages ago, "Partnerships between Government and Industry".

  9. Marxism gives us a good idea of the hellish life that awaits people who forsake God and forsake reason.

    I do not know if Mr. Putin is a sincere Christian or is playing to the gallery. I'd like to think that he is sincere and that while some of his governance isn't to my liking that he at least has turned his back on marxism.

  10. Actually they're cultural Marxists and economic fascists.

  11. There will NEVER be a world caliphate Carol. Islam is FAR too religiously and politically divided for it to happen.

  12. Bean Bagger says:

    Good point! I said this over and over without America and its belief in Christianity and God’ blessing the whole world would be like Somalia. Yep!

    Everyone lives off of Judeo-Christians because God unleashed his blessing on US and we turn blessed the world. Albeit not perfectly. But most places are a lot better off because of our know-how and materials.