Why Marx was not a Marxist

Description

Marxoncefamouslystatedthatifhewascertainofanything,itwasthathewasnotaMarxist. This

seemsaratherpeculiarsentimentfromGreybeardhimself.Whywouldheuttersuchaphrase?This

isthequestionthatinformsourinterrogationofMarxianpoliticaleconomysinceMarx.Thisseminar

seekstobroachafewofthekeystreamsofMarxistpoliticaleconomythathaveemergedsinceMarx’s

ownlifetime.Thesedebatesarenumerousandsignificantwithregardtothecontemporaryterrainof

Marxian political economy. As I suggested in the previous seminar, the function of the state in

capitalist society is a useful way to broach these debates. The lecture will canvass strategic

interventions in Marxian political economy and suggest useful avenues of enquiry for future

engagementswiththisfertileandcontentiousdiscourse.Theseminardiscussionwillseektoengage

contemporaryissuesinMarxianpoliticaleconomywithinthecontextofthetotalityofcoreconcepts

inpoliticaleconomywehavesurveyed throughout thesemester.Letusposearuthlesscritiqueof

everything wehavesurveyed thusfar.

Ihavepostedaplethoraof readingsbut theybarely scratch the surfaceofwhathas transpiredin

MarxianpoliticaleconomysinceMarx’stime.Theselectiononofferalsoreflectsmyowninterestsand

prejudices.IwillelaboratetheseasbestIcan throughoutthelecture inordertoequipyouwiththe

tools to formulate your own positions. I strongly encourage you to disagree with me.

ReadtheEngels lettertoBernsteinpp.353-358foranexplanationofwhy Marxstatedhewasnota

Marxist.Thecontextisrelevantbuttherealsignificance ofthisstatementisthereasonMarxsought

todistancehimselffromtheFrench‘Marxists’.Considerthisinrelation towhatweareconfronted

withinthecontemporary periodas‘Marxism’.

Asidefromthis,trytoreadtheBryanarticle infullandtheVilarpieceifyouhavetime.ThePoulantzas

and Miliband articles constitute one of the most important debates on theories of the state in

capitalism.Readtheseatsomepointinyourlives,ifnotthisweek.TherestIleavetoyourinterest.

Questions

What is the functionand character of the state in capitalist society?Elaborate in relation to your

readings of the offerings for this week and from what you took from Marx’s own work.

WhywasMarxnotaMarxistandwhatparallels,ifany,canyouidentifyinthecontemporaryperiod?

Bespecificifpossible.

WhatdoyouconsiderthefundamentalproblemswithinMarxianpoliticaleconomyandhowdoyou

thinktheycanbeaddressed?Considerinrelationto Bryan’sremarks.

IsMarxianpoliticaleconomysinceMarxrelevantforaddressingcontemporarysocialissues?Discuss

in relation to at least two social issues that have an impact on our lives.

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