Date: Sun, 14 Aug 1994 00:09:26 -0400 (EDT) From: Alex Trotter <uburoi-AT-panix.com> Subject: Re: trotsky's marxism Concerning djones's latest post on this subject, I wasn't aware that the pre-1850 works of Marx are the only ones taught in universities these days. Can others on the list vouch for this? I think the "philosophical" early works of Marx are important because in them he makes clear that labor encompasses only one part of human activity, and communism is not reduced to the liberation of labor. This early vision never entirely left Marx, and coexisted--a bit incongruously--with the "revolutionary reformism" he expressed in _Capital_ and in his political activities in the International. Very late in his life, his work represented more of a *return* to the themes that had taken his interest in his youth, as I've already mentioned in the posts about his _Ethnological Notebooks_. Marx can perhaps be rescued from culpability in the rise of state capitalism (though even there, not entirely: he is well known to have defended the military exploits of governments, such as those of the U.S. federal gov't. in the Civil War and the Prussian state in the 1870 war with France, that he deemed "historically progressive"), but it's harder to do it for Marx-ism. Indeed, it's difficult to determine just what Marx-ism is. Marx himself wouldn't identify with it. Where does that leave us? Students of Marx (more broadly, of revolution) should by all means read as much of him as possible, from all periods, but I would continue to say that the "mature" work can be rightly criticized for tendencies that were subsequently taken up by Marxists, with baleful effects (the exaltation of the dignity of labor chief among them). --AT BTW, does the _Grundrisse_ qualify as an "early" work?
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