read Marx!

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Immanuel Wallerstein is interviewed by Marcello Musto at TruthOut, forcefully recommending that we read Marx! Musto writes that "today, almost everywhere around the world, on the occasion of the bicentenary of Marx's birth, there is a 'Marx revival'," which he describes as "a return to an author in the past wrongly associated with Marxism-Leninism dogmatism and, then, hastily dismissed after the fall of the Berlin Wall." Accordingly, he writes that "Returning to Marx is still indispensable to understanding the logic and dynamics of capitalism:"

His work is also a very useful tool that provides a rigorous examination addressing why previous socio-economical experiments to replace capitalism with another mode of production failed. An explanation of these failures is critical for our contemporary search for alternatives.

Musto describes Wallerstein as being "among the greatest living sociologists and one of the most appropriate scholars to discuss the current relevance of Marx," and quotes him as saying, "The existing capitalist system cannot survive, but nobody can know for sure what will replace it:"

I am convinced that there are two possibilities: one is what I call the "Spirit of Davos." The goal of the World Economic Forum of Davos is to establish a system that maintains the worst features of capitalism: social hierarchy, exploitation and, above all, polarization of the wealth. The alternative is a system that must be more democratic and more egalitarian. Class struggle is the fundamental attempt to affect the future of what will replace capitalism.

This section of the interview is particularly trenchant:

In 2017, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Russian Revolution, some scholars returned to the contrast between Marx and some of his self-styled followers who were in power during the 20th century. What is the main difference between Marx and them?

Marx's writings are illuminating and much more subtle and variegated than some of the simplistic interpretations of his ideas. It is always good to remember the famous boutade in which Marx said: "If this is Marxism, what is certain is that I am not a Marxist." Marx was always ready to deal with the reality of the world, not like many others who dogmatically imposed their views. Marx changed his mind often. He was constantly on the search for solutions to the problems he saw that the world was facing. That is why he is still a very helpful and useful guide.

To conclude, what would you like to say to the younger generation who have not yet encountered Marx?

The first thing I have to say to young people is that they have to read him. Do not read about him, but read Marx. Few people -- in comparison with the many who talks about him -- actually read Marx. [...] So, my message to the new generation is that Marx is eminently worth discovering but you must read, read, read him. Read Karl Marx!

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on March 24, 2018 8:06 PM.

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