Tag Archives: marxism

Ernesto Laclau: Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory

Politics and Ideology in Marxist Theory“Men who, since childhood, have had their backs to the entrance of a cave, cannot see the outside world. On the wall inside the cave a re projected the shadows of other men, and by linking the voices of these men to their shadows, the inhabitants of the c ave conclude that the first derive from the second. One of the prisoners, however, manages to escape and perceives the true origin of the voices. Finally he merges from the cave and sees the light of day. At first the sun blinds him, but then he becomes accustomed to it and the vision he gains enables him to understand the falsehood in which he had been living.” (from the Introduction)

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The Revolutionary Ideas of Karl Marx (Alex Callinicos)

Revolutionary Ideas of Karl Marx - cvr“My aim in this book has been to fill a gap in the literature on Marx by providing an accessible modern introduction to his life and thought by someone who shares his basic beliefs on history, society and revolution. I am grateful to a number of people for their help and encouragement: to Peter Clark and Tony Cliff, who had the idea in the first place; to Tony Cliff for his searching criticisms of the book in manuscript; and to Peter Goodwin and Peter Marsden, who performed the same task as well as the more difficult one of trying to make the book readable. Although the general political standpoint taken in this book is that of the Socialist Workers Party, the errors it undoubtedly contains are all my own. I would like to dedicate The Revolutionary Ideas of Karl Marx to Joanna Seddon, to whom I owe, among other things, such knowledge as I have of the Utopian socialists.” (Foreword)

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Marxism and Literature (Raymond Williams)

marxism and lit - cvr“This book is written in a time of radical change. Its subject, Marxism and Literature. is part of this change. Even twenty years ago, and especially in the English·speaking countries, it would have been possible to assume, on the one hand. that Marxism is a settled body of theory or doctrine, and, on the other hand, that Literature is a settled body of work. or kinds of work, with known general Qualities and properties. A book of this kind might then reasonably have explored problems of the relations between them or, assuming a certain relationship, passed Quickly to specific applications. The situation is now very different. Marxism, in many fields. and perhaps especially in cultural theory has experienced at once a significant revival and a related openness and flexibility of theoretical development. Literature, meanwhile, for related reasons, has become problematic in quite new ways.” (from the introduction)

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Marxism and the History of Art: From William Morris to the New Left (Andrew Hemingway, ed.)

Marxism and the History of Art“This anthology is conceived as an introduction to recent thinking about the past of Marxist art history. It is not offered in the spirit of nostalgia – a kind of dusting off of relics – but as a prompt to critique and renewal. My assumption is that much of the history the contributors tell is little known in its specifics, and that its achievements are often misconstrued and undervalued.” (from the introduction)

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Making History: Agency, Structure, and Change in Social Theory (Alex Callinicos)

makinghistorycvr“Making History was first published in 1987. Certainly its tone and perhaps also its substantive preoccupations may seem to belong to a world that is irretrievably lost. There are, I think, two reasons for this. The first has to do with the political context. I wrote the book in the spring and summer of 1986, in the immediate aftermath of the great British miners’ strike of 1984–5. (Indeed, Making History was conceived and much of the work for it done before the strike, but its writing delayed, principally by my involvement in covering the strike for six months as a journalist at Socialist Worker and my co-authoring a book about the miners’ struggle.)1 The strike and its defeat by the Thatcher government was an event of global resonance, both symbolically and practically. It marked the end of a particular kind of workers’ movement and the apparent triumph of a neo-liberal capitalism that was at once brutally single-minded in its preoccupation with profit-maximisation and insidiously effective in mobilising the desires of individuals as possessive consumers.” (from “Context”)

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The Cultural Turn (Fredric Jameson)

cultural_turn“In a brief compass, The Cultural Turn traces the movement of one of the leading cultural intelligences of our time, in pursuit of the mutable forms of the postmodern world. The results will leave few indifferent.” (from Perry Anderson’s foreword)

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Between Existentialism and Marxism (Jean-Paul Sartre)

sartreSo you believe that literature is always committed?

If literature is not everything, it is worth nothing. This is what I mean by’commitment’. It wilts if it is reduced to innocence, or to songs. If a written sentence does not reverberate at every level of man and society, then it makes no sense. What is the literature of an epoch but the epoch appropriated by its literature?” -Jean-Paul Sartre

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A Companion to Marx’s Capital (David Harvey)

book-companion-to-marxs-capital“My aim is to get you to read a book by Karl Marx called Capital, Volume I, and to read it on Marx’s own terms. 1 This may seem a bit ridiculous, since if you haven’t yet read the book you can’t possibly know what Marx’s terms are; but one of his terms, I can assure you, is that you read, and read carefully. Real learning always entails a struggle to understand the unknown. My own readings of Capital, collected in the present volume, will prove far more enlightening if you have read the pertinent chapters beforehand. It is your own personal encounter with this text that I want to encourage, and by struggling directly with Marx’s text, you can begin to shape your own understanding of his thought.” (quoted from David Harvey’s Introduction)

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