Marxism in a Lost Century

Buy hardcover (Brill)
Published Nov 2016
ISBN: 9789004227798

A Biography of Paul Mattick

Gary Roth, Rutgers University at Newark

Marxism in a Lost Century retells the history of the radical left during the twentieth century through the words and deeds of Paul Mattick. An adolescent during the German revolutions that followed World War I, he was also a recent émigré to the United States during the 1930s Great Depression, when the unemployed groups in which he participated were among the most dynamic manifestations of social unrest. Three biographical themes receive special attention — the self-taught nature of left-wing activity, Mattick’s experiences with publishing, and the nexus of men, politics, and friendship. Mattick found a wide audience during the 1960s because of his emphasis on the economy’s dysfunctional aspects and his advocacy of workplace councils—a popularity mirrored in the cyclical nature of the global economy.

Biographical note

Gary Roth is a Lecturer at Rutgers University-Newark and co-author (with Anne Lopes) of Men’s Feminism: August Bebel and the German Socialist Movement (Humanity Books, 2000).


Appropriate for readers interested in social movements, the history of the twentieth century, left politics and theory, workers councils, Marxism, and the working class political behavior.

Table of contents

List of Photos
List of Abbreviations
About the Notes

1. Introduction

2. Children at Work and War
2.1 At Home
2.2 Protest and Revolution
2.3 Revolution in Retreat

3. Young Radicals
3.1 March 1920
3.2 KAPD

4. Between Berlin and Cologne
4.1 Bouts of Unemployment
4.2 Movement in Decline
4.3 Older Friends

5. New Worlds
5.1 Voyages
5.2 Work and Writing
5.3 Amalgamation

6. Chicago in the Depression
6.1 Opening Years
6.2 Opposition and Accusations
6.3 Across the Country
6.4 Crisis Theory

7. The Unemployed Movement
7.1 The Workers League
7.2 Federation and Party
7.3 Fascism’s Initial Impact
7.4 The German Émigré Community

8. The Independent Left
8.1 German to English
8.2 Editors’ Reluctance

9. International Council Correspondence
9.1 Pamphlets and Authors
9.2 The Inevitability of Communism
9.3 Mid-Decade

10. Towards War
10.1 International Developments
10.2 Opportunities
10.3 Living Marxism

11. End of an Era
11.1 Self-Reflections
11.2 Anti-Fascism

12. The War Years
12.1 Relationships
12.2 New Essays
12.3 Leaving Chicago

13. New York City
13.1 Isolation
13.2 Travelling to Berlin

14. Quiet Times
14.1 Writers’ Bloc
14.2 Back to Nature
14.3 Boston

15. Rekindling
15.1 Recent Admirers
15.2 A New Left

16. Reception
16.1 Discovery in Germany
16.2 From Marx and Keynes to Roskilde

17. Winding Down
17.1 Last Years
17.2 Illness

Works Cited