How to Change the World: Reflections on Marx and Marxism
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Eric Hobsbawm provides a fascinating and insightful overview of Marxism. He investigates its influences and analyses the spectacular reversal of Marxism's fortunes over the past thirty years.
this deprived it of contact with the concrete realities of society – there is no actual reference in Marx to the ‘propertyless class’ whose problems ‘cry out to heaven in Manchester, Paris and Lyons’ before the autumn of 184248 – it provided a powerful capacity to generalise, to penetrate beyond the immediate facts. To realise its full potential, however, philosophical reflection had to be transformed into a means of acting upon the world, and speculative philosophical generalisation had to be
Chartism. Before it, earlier forms of ‘utopian’ socialism in western Europe retreated to the margins of public life, with the exception of Fourierism, which flourished modestly, but persistently, in the proletarian soil.50 A new and more formidable fusion of the Jacobin-revolutionary-communist and the socialist-associationist experience and theories became possible on the basis of a visibly growing and mobilising working class. Marx, the Hegelian, seeking for the force which would transform
lengthy process of post-revolutionary transition. The postponement of the actual transfer of power to some later stage of working-class and capitalist development would no doubt affect the nature of the subsequent transition period, but though it might disappoint revolutionaries eager for action, it could hardly change the essential character of the predicted process. Nevertheless, the point about this period of Marx’s and Engels’ political strategy 65 How to Change the World is that, though
1850s (J.S. Mill’s Principles, Adam Smith, Richard Jones’s Introductory Lecture in 1851).9 He began to publish articles on China (14 June) and India (25 June) for the New York Daily Tribune in 1853. It is evident that in this year both he and Engels were deeply preoccupied with the historical problems of the Orient, to the point where Engels attempted to learn Persian.10 In the early summer of 1853 their correspondence refers to the Rev. C. Foster’s A Historical Geography of Arabia, Bernier’s
on Moscow (and, since 1945, East Berlin): the first and second MEGA and the Werke. After 1933 for practical purposes the vast majority of Marxists in and outside the USSR were associated with the communist parties, for the various schismatics and 190 The Fortunes of Marx’s and Engels’ Writings heretics of the communist movement gained no numerically significant body of supporters. Marxism in the social-democratic parties – even if we leave aside the virtual destruction of the German and