The Call Radio

The Call Radio


Episode 1.3 — Vivek Chibber on Collective Action

October 08, 2018

This is the last in a series of three lectures, presented by The Call, on the fundamentals of Marxist politics by Vivek Chibber. In this concluding lecture, Chibber turns to a discussion of class struggle. Marx predicted that the working class would overthrow the capitalist system in short order, but the last century has confirmed that the capitalist system is far more stable than many Marxists expected. If this is true, how useful is Marx’s theory of class struggle? Chibber proposes two options. Either Marx’s theory was flawed, or he made the wrong predictions from the correct theory. Chibber argues for option two, that Marx’s error was not his analysis of capitalism, but an underestimation of the difficulty of organizing workers in the face of the concentrated power of the capitalist class. We also know that there have been successful class struggles. From this starting point, Chibber pursues a few critical questions. Why is it so hard for workers to organize themselves, especially as compared to the capitalist class? If the working class has so little power, how is it that movements ever succeed? And knowing that movements of the working class will always be difficult to construct and maintain, what social, political, and economic conditions will put these movements in the best position to claim lasting victories? Please enjoy these lectures, and also be sure to check out The Call at socialistcall.com.