Adventures in Marxism

Berman, Marshall
Publisher:  Verso, London New York, United Kingdom / USA
Year Published:  1999
Pages:  274pp   ISBN:  1-85984-734-X
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX6142

Marshall Berman explores and rejoices in the emancipatory potential of Marxism.

Berman writes: "Wouldn't it have been absurd for Marx to finish his great work: How can Capital end while capital lives on? To stop simply and abruptly, rather than create an ending, preserves far more of the truth that Capital has to tell: circling, spiraling, plunging one way and another, turning in upon himself, seeking endless for new axes to turn on, Marx kept his thought and his work open-ended, and hence as resilient and long-lived, as the capitalist system itself. This is why we are still only beginning to explore the depths of Marx's thougth: why he speaks to us in a voice fresher than ever today; and why he will be dancing up Broadway when we are all dead."

"There is a certain paradoxicality at the heart of Marx's whole enterprise. Sometimes he understands freedom not as a value but as a fact, not as something men ought to pursue but as something they cannot avoid - a synthetic a priori truth about human action, a liberte to which (in Sartre's phrase) man is condemne. At other times, however, he regards freedom as an achievement: a difficult feat that is possible only after such "labor of the negative" (Hegel) - a labor or liberating onself from the illusions of the particular "illusory community" that surrounds one, of getting out (as Wittegenstein put it) of the fly-bottle one finds oneself inside. When he describes capitalist society, Marx is constantly making the point that everything in it is under "illusions of the epoch," is dominated by "fetishism," and hence is unfree - except, of course, for the "fully conscious" revolutionary group.

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