Marx in 1968: Report on a Journey

Goldman, Harvey

Publisher:  Insurgent Notes
Date Written:  20/05/2018
Year Published:  2018  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23442

Harvey Goldman discusses his intellectual jounrey during the 1960s in relationship to Marism. As a member of SDS, Goldman was engaged actively in student activism.




In many ways, I was very lucky from the point of view of studying Marx before 1968. I was an activist in sds from 1964-68, and sds’s turn to make sense of the escalation of the Vietnam War after February 1965 in terms of imperialism, led me and others to the deeper study of capitalism. As I started to organize sds chapters in Michigan, including the mobilization of students to attend the march on Washington in April 1965, I came under the influence of a janitor (!!) at Michigan State, where I was an undergraduate. Roy Barr was ten years older than me and, in retrospect, he was clearly trying to groom me as a Marxist activist. Because of him, I read Capital, volume 1, twelve hours a day for several weeks in 1966, long before I read Marx's early writings. This was one of the greatest intellectual experiences of my life.

I was also lucky, even before I met Roy Barr, to have had a professor who had written a biography of Vito Marcantonio, the American legislator and leftist activist, and who taught the history of the American left in the twentieth century, which led me to read many things, including the volumes of Theodore Draper on the Communist Party. So I was increasingly focused on Marxism and the left by 1966.

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