One of the paradoxical outcomes of the collapse of the Soviet Union was the revival of Marxism. No longer were Marxists held responsible for sins of the Soviet Empire, the debate had shifted focus, to analyze less how ‘socialism’ did not work but how global capitalism is failing. Global capitalism has developed a system of production that involves sweatshops, outsourcing and temporary employment. The latest financial crisis has seen the reversal of free market principles with countries bailing out and nationalizing banks. Wars are being fought over oil with the Middle East and in Central Asia. In some large cities, mansions are protected by private security firms while slums are left with rundown public services. The environment is polluted and faces the effects of climate change. Finally, the struggle between global and indigenous cultures is resulting in loss of languages, but also opportunities for solidarity. Next time you enter your local bookshop witness the predominance of books on these issues that Marxists would interpret as stemming from global capital. Most of the writers of these books are by no means Marxists, but we can see how Marxism, in terms of the questions it poses has become ‘the common sense of our epoch’ (Halliday, 1994).
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