Collected Works of Marx and Engels | Libcom
Collected Works of Marx and Engels | Occupied Times
Collected Works of Marx and Engels | Download tar.gz
Welcome to the Internet, where all that is solid melts into pixels and nothing stays offline. Last week, the self-described “independent radical publishers” Lawrence & Wishart forced the Collected Works of Marx and Engels to be removed from the Marxist Internet Archive, eradicating it as a resource from the worker’s movement it was written for.
In a baffling statement which denounces the destructive institution of private property whilst simultaneously availing themselves of it, the publishers declare that to safeguard the collected works for the people, they are removing them from open access and locking them within the back rooms of the academy.
We’re taking them back. Today, on May Day, Libcom and the Occupied Times are taking direct action and encouraging others to do the same. We’re republishing as much of the Collected Works of Marx and Engels as we have, which can be found online at marx.libcom.org and marx.theoccupiedtimes.org. Consider this a rejection of commodification, or consider it revenge for Kronstadt, Barcelona and Hungary. Either way, we don’t need a publisher to ensure access to them. They can also be downloaded here and republished on your own website.
This isn’t just about theory and 100-year-old texts. We’re at a specific stage in class struggle; these texts were written for the workers movement and the workers movement should have full access to them now. The enforcement of intellectual property upon objects that articulate and eulogise the necessity of the commons represents the outright denial of escape and liberation from the predicament of history – from the injustice of exploitation and the realities of class struggle.
As the affordances of digital publishing lean so clearly towards the reality of the commons, we cannot at this stage allow private interests reminiscent of a bygone era to trump pragmatism and progress. To prevent making this knowledge and these tools free for all is to co-operate in our own continued oppression.
Intellectual property is theft.