logo
  New Login   

Marxiological Notes on the Perforated Sheet of Marxism


Dev N. Pathak

IN DEFENCE OF MARXISM
By Leon Trotsky
Aakar Books, New Delhi, 2012, pp. 263, Rs. 250.00

THE MARXIAN IMAGINATION: REPRESENTING CLASS IN LITERATURE
By Julian Markels
Aakar Books, New Delhi, 2012, pp. 160, Rs. 395.00

SOCIAL STRUCTURE AND FORMS OF CONSCIOUSNESS (VOL. II): THE DIALECTIC OF STRUCTURE AND HISTORY
By Istvan Meszaros
Aakar Books, New Delhi, 2012, pp. 409, Rs. 995.00

MARXIST POLITICS
By Md. Ayub Mallick
Aakar Books, New Delhi, 2012, pp. 423, Rs. 795.00

VOLUME XXXVII NUMBER 9 September 2013

Arguing in his In Defence of Marxism at the dawn of searing disillusionment with the greatest Communist experiment in Soviet Russia, Trotsky noted, ‘just as a tidy housewife never permits an accumulation of cobwebs and garbage, just so a revolutionary party cannot tolerate lack of clarity, confusion, and equivocation’ (Trotsky 2012: 5). The appeal for a linear sense of tidiness and a debatable category of ‘party’, notwithstanding, Trotsky’s essays and letters to the American Marxists, and the rejoinders to the same by the opposition, underlined the probing questions in the annals of Marxist thinking and leadership in the decade of 1930s. Many of those questions have been recurrent, with as well as without intellectual sophistication, in every turn of the epoch, for critical engagement. The contemporary commonsense, thus, is naturally fraught with unsavoury questions posed to political Marxism and its champions—preachers/teachers of Marxism and vanguard elites. The questions underline the theoretically unreflective and overly simplistic conclusions of ‘vulgar Marxism’. The latter, an abiding concern of most of the discerning students of Marxism, attempts ‘substituting a fetish-like view of science (some main figures of the Second International), or an arbitrary/subjective conception of the “class struggle” (Stalin and his followers), or a combination of the two (structuralist Marxism) for the Marxian dialectic of base and superstructure and the irrepressible dynamism implicit in it’ (Meszaros 2012: 34). In addition to manufacturing overly simplistic, ideologically blinkered, explanations of the political developments in the wake of new challenges, the Marxist brigade also tend to use the Marxian concepts of dialectic, class, and revolution as red herrings. Meanwhile, there have been theoretical attempts at extending, enhancing, departing, reconciling and revitalizing the Marxian imagination. Not so much in Marxist sociology as in humanities and cultural theories, Marxism acquires a distinct biographical and epistemological trajectory. It, synoptically, amounts to understanding Marxism with as well as without Marx, with radical departures and critical negotiations. In other words, the history of Marxist thoughts and practices leads to an inevitable and necessary domain of pluralism of thoughts, which solicits a little more than ideologically delimited engagement and enquiry. The interrogation becomes much potent and plurivocal when it is situated in a humanistic framework. Particularly, seeking for ‘Marxism as a Humanism’, in the line of Sartre’s ‘Existentialism is a Humanism’, leads to problematize, ‘Marxism without Guarantees’ (Davis quoted by Markels 2012: 120). It also aids in comprehending the dominant trend of ‘over determination’ ...


Table of Contents >>
Please or to Read Entire Article
«BACK

Free Access Online 12 Back Issues
with 1 year's subscription
Archive (1976-2011)
under construction.