An-unfinished-revolution-frontcover-max_221

An Unfinished Revolution: Karl Marx and Abraham Lincoln

The impact of the American Civil War on Karl Marx, and Karl Marx on America.
Karl Marx and Abraham Lincoln exchanged letters at the end of the Civil War. Although they were divided by far more than the Atlantic Ocean, they agreed on the cause of “free labor” and the urgent need to end slavery. In his introduction, Robin Blackburn argues that Lincoln’s response signaled the importance of the German American community and the role of the international communists in opposing European recognition of the Confederacy.

The ideals of communism, voiced through the International Working Men’s Association, attracted many thousands of supporters throughout the US, and helped spread the demand for an eight-hour day. Blackburn shows how the IWA in America—born out of the Civil War—sought to radicalize Lincoln’s unfinished revolution and to advance the rights of labor, uniting black and white, men and women, native and foreign-born. The International contributed to a profound critique of the capitalist robber barons who enriched themselves during and after the war, and it inspired an extraordinary series of strikes and class struggles in the postwar decades.

In addition to a range of key texts and letters by both Lincoln and Marx, this book includes articles from the radical New York-based journal Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly, an extract from Thomas Fortune’s classic work on racism Black and White, Frederick Engels on the progress of US labor in the 1880s, and Lucy Parson’s speech at the founding of the Industrial Workers of the World.

Blog

  • Rigoberta Menchú: A New Court Ruling



    Rigoberta Menchú was born in Quiché, Guatemala on January 9th 1959 to indigenous Mayan parents. After leaving school she became an activist campaigner, lobbying against the human rights violations that were perpetrated during the 1960-1996 Guatemalan Civil War, by the national Guatemalan armed forces. 

    Continue Reading

  • Radically Independent: A Fourth of July Reading List



    The workingmen of Europe feel sure that...the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy. 
    
— Karl Marx and the First International Workingmen’s Association to Abraham Lincoln, 1864

    Today marks two hundred and thirty eight years on from the Declaration of Independence, penned by Thomas Jefferson and others. It was Thomas Paine's pamphlet Common Sense, published in The Rights of Man and Common Sense, which inspired people in the Thirteen Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. In clear, simple language it explained the advantages of and the need for immediate independence.  The passionate cry for independence continues to this day, with the recent call for a Scottish independence.

    Continue Reading

  • Happy Birthday Karl! A Marx Reading List to celebrate the day of his birth.



    Although born in the early 19th century, the relevance of Karl Marx's ideas for analysing 20th and 21st century capitalism, as well as for understanding the political and economic struggles and changes of his own day, remain vital and essential.

    Here, Verso present a Marx Reading List for that world-changing historical thinker, born 196 years ago today.

    Continue Reading

Other books by Robin Blackburn, Abraham Lincoln, and Karl Marx