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This chapter explores Engels’s engagement with apocalyptic thought. Some reduce Marxism to a secularized version of Christian eschatology, a claim that functions as a rhetorical weapon against Marxism’s originality. I reject this simplistic view but take seriously the textual evidence showing Engels’s interest in the apocalyptic figure Thomas Müntzer and the book of Revelation. He praises Müntzer, going so far as to argue that the coming kingdom of God preached by Müntzer was actually a Marxist ideal marked by radical equality. Though Engels rejects Christian apocalyptic doctrines, he shares with them the belief that things must worsen and reach a crisis before a utopian future is possible. Whereas Machiavelli rejects apocalyptic hope and Hobbes tempers it, Engels embraces it.
This essay develops from the hypothesis that the relationship between Marx and cinema is mediated by a shared investment in the revolutionary subject, a collective being capable of abolishing capitalism, insofar as its liberation necessitates total demolition of the standing social order, from which an egalitarian organization of society might then develop. Beginning in Russia after 1917, when cinema was used as a material force to organize workers and peasants, the essay’s first half tracks the way that a cinematic emphasis on the industrial proletariat has been replaced, or superseded, by an emphasis on what Marx and Engels described as a relative surplus population. The essay’s second half illustrates this shift with reference to two popular films, released into the apparent fall of American economic hegemony, approaching them as ensigns of an economy in terminal crisis wherein revolutionary subjectivities might be forged out of the otherwise disaggregate members of the surplus population.
Chapters 4 and 5 examine Dylan’s and Lennon’s conspicuous and copious allusions to events, characters and literature from the past using a framework inspired by the Marxist historiography of Fredric Jameson (2011). Together they reveal the similarities and dissimilarities between Dylan’s and Lennon’s worldview, and show how each artist’s appreciation of history informed their work. Chapter 4 discusses how Lennon’s colonial nostalgia coincided with the Beatles’ propulsion to international stardom during the dissolution of the British Empire, and was further complicated by his predilection for transgressive humour – which included ironic Nazi salutes before vast open-air crowds and acts of grotesque mimicry while performing onstage. Both chapters explore the basis for their subject’s historical awareness and show how it found expression in their work.
Introduction to the research claims and objectives of the work as a whole, paying attention to the fraught relationship between psychoanalysis, race, and poverty. A historical outline of the Freudian free clinic movement is used to examine the viability of an adapted psychoanalysis, with its components of free or low-fee therapy, community outreach, lay counselors, etc.
This chapter continues the analysis of Dylan’s conspicuous and copious allusions to events, characters and literature from the past with reference to Fredric Jameson’s (2011) Marxist historiography. It explores the parallels between Dylan’s romantic attachment to nature and his cultural forebears in nineteenth-century New England transcendentalism, and argues that this was rooted in his Midwestern upbringing on the Minnesotan Iron Range. As with the analysis of Lennon in Chapter 4, it shows how Dylan’s historical awareness formed the basis for his acute response to cultural tensions that arose as the post-war Fordist economic boom shifted into the economic crises of the early 1970s.
John Rawls’s full publicity condition says that persons in the society the philosopher theorizes about must in some sense have access to everything the philosopher says in her theorizing. In other words, everyone living in Rawls’s perfectly just society must have access to A Theory of Justice and related works. This account of publicity is the most difficult to analyze because there are many different interpretations of what, precisely, it requires and also many different arguments in its favor. Not only this, but certain criticisms of Rawls that some deem fatal to his project depend on particular interpretations of this publicity condition that can quite reasonably be rejected. In the current chapter I show that, once again, we face deep trade-offs. Insisting on this account of publicity will change the way political philosophy must be done, but doing so will help achieve normatively worthwhile ends.
Chapter 10 is dedicated to Friedrich Engels, who studied in Berlin at the beginning of the 1840s. The chapter explores Engels’ short monograph entitled Ludwig Feuerbach and the Outcome of Classical German Philosophy. In this work he gives a critical evaluation of German philosophy and speaks with nostalgia of the important role of Hegel and Feuerbach for the development of his thought and that of his collaborator Karl Marx. Engels claims that the radical nature of Hegel’s philosophy lies in its dialectical methodology. While it might at first glance look like Hegel is attempting to glorify the actual, in fact his theory shows that everything that arises in history appears at a specific place and under specific circumstances, and in time everything grows old and decays, at which point it is replaced by something new that is better suited to the new situation. This is a recipe for criticism and revolution. It is argued that Marx and Engels also further develop Hegel’s idea of self-conscious and alienation into a theory of class consciousness.
Chapter 3 is dedicated to Hegel’s student, the poet Heinrich Heine. It provides an account of Heine’s life and his personal relations to figures such as Hegel and Marx. An analysis is given of Heine’s On the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany, with specific attention paid to the role he ascribes to Hegel. Heine portrays Kant and Fichte as philosophers of the revolution and Schelling as the philosopher of the Restoration. If Schelling is the villain, then Hegel is the hero of the story of German philosophy that Heine wants to tell. Hegel is portrayed as the high point of the development of the revolution of German thought. Heine compares the revolution of the mind that took place in Germany with the French Revolution that took place in the real world. He predicts a great German revolution that will begin a new period in European history. An interpretation is given of Heine’s poem “Adam the First,” which takes up some of the motifs from Hegel’s analysis of the Fall. An account is also given of Heine’s “The Silesian Weavers,” a poem written on occasion of the rebellion of weavers in Silesia in Prussia in 1844.
Chapter 5 is dedicated to a study of Hegel’s controversial student Bruno Bauer. An account is given of Bauer’s life and his relations with Hegel, Marx, Engels, and others. The chapter gives a close reading of Bauer’s Christianity Exposed. This work was immediately banned by the Prussian government, which confiscated the book from the bookstores and tried to destroy the entire print run. Bauer explains that the work is about the atheistic Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, which, he claims, has recently seen a revival. Bauer explains his idea of “modern criticism,” by which he means that the proper philosophical view should not just be critical of specific things but rather should issue a universal criticism, sparing nothing, regardless of how sacred it might be. Bauer argues that alienation is a necessary feature of religion. He holds Christianity responsible for the undermining of freedom, equality, and love. Bauer notes that religious sects must also persecute any form of critical or independent thinking. Religion thus demands that individuals sacrifice their faculty of reason, which amounts to their very humanity.
Chapter 9 is concerned with the thought of the Russian anarchist thinker Mikhail Bakunin. In 1840 Bakunin traveled to Prussia and attended the University of Berlin. There he came into contact with some of Hegel’s leading students. The chapter begins with an analysis of his work God and the State. Like Hegel, he has recourse to the myth of the Fall in order to understand the fundamental shift from nature to spirit. But in contrast to Hegel, the important thing about the biblical account for Bakunin is the element of rebellion, which is essential for human freedom. A comparison is given of the criticism of religion found in Bauer and Bakunin, according to which humans must emancipate themselves from the belief in God in order to realize their own freedom. Bakunin also draws on Hegel’s theory of recognition and freedom. To be who we are, we need the recognition of others in society. An overview is provided of Bakunin’s criticism of Hegel and his followers in Statism and Anarchy. Finally, Bakunin’s bitter polemic against his one-time friend Karl Marx is examined.
The EU and OECD’s use of poverty lines set at a percentage of national average income is testimony to the widespread acceptance of Peter Townsend’s purely relative poverty definition. It has often been defended, including by Townsend, as a development of Adam Smith’s reference to ‘necessaries’ differing across social contexts. This article contends that Townsend’s definition is clearly inconsistent with Smith’s work but entirely consistent with a passage by Wilhelm Schulz which established the term ‘relative poverty’ and asserted that people’s material needs are proportionate to their nation’s economic output per head; Karl Marx quoted that passage in a short piece that criticised Smith. A recent defence of Townsend’s definition is its supposed international public endorsement in empirical studies of socially perceived necessities. A review of this evidence finds that publics, like Smith and British poverty researchers before Townsend – most notably Seebohm Rowntree – see the extent of material need as affected by social context but not proportionate to national average income. Publishing purely relative and absolute purchasing power poverty statistics together offers a way of portraying hardship levels that is balanced to reflect publics’ more narrowly relative understanding of material needs.
In his philosophical writings, Marx develops a conception of self-realization which includes a conception of positive liberty. Based on his critique of deontological ethics and law he rejects the idea that negative liberty is sufficient to realize emancipation and to overcome alienation. In the central concepts of Marx's philosophical anthropology (alienation, recognition, species being), a conception of positive liberty is integrated which will be made explicit here. In the third part of my chapter, it is shown that in his program of a critique of political economy Marx also uses a conception of positive liberty as a guiding principle. In the fourth part, the way in which Marx's conception of positive liberty fits into a philosophical tradition that can be labeled as "post-kantian perfectionism" is discussed. In the final fifth part, two fundamental problems in Marx's conception are considered and it will be shown why and in which sense the conception of positive liberty identifiable in Marx is systematically still important (if some philosophical corrections need to be made).
This essay outlines Brecht’s relation to Marxism along three dimensions. First, it examines his Marxist influences including Karl Marx, V. I. Lenin, Karl Korsch, and Fritz Sternberg. Second, it explores Marxist reactions to him, particularly those of Georg Lukács and Theodor Adorno. Lastly, it investigates his influences on Marxist thought vis-à-vis Walter Benjamin, Louis Althusser, Roland Barthes, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Rancière, and others. It shows that not only was his work heavily influenced by the movement, his thought also occupies an often-unrecognized central position within it.
Rorty’s liberalism strays so far from its classical form that one might wonder why we cluster him together with thinkers such as Locke, Kant, or even more recent writers such as Rawls. Clarifying the particulars of Rorty’s political philosophy – his particular liberalism – requires one to enter into a set debates about metaphysics, epistemology, and social thought that go beyond liberalism, veering into literary criticism, critical theory, and Marxism. This chapter begins by laying out the contours of Rorty’s political commitments, beginning with how they first came together in what he calls his “postmodernist bourgeois liberalism.” It then shows how his liberalism finds its fullest expression in the “ideally liberal society” set out in Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. It goes on to examine how, in subsequent work, Rorty revised his description of that society in response to criticisms from feminist theorists. It concludes that his later writings indicate that Rorty’s position is potentially more radical than he, or his readers, recognize.
In this brief tribute, I pursue the long-promised imaginary conversation with Peter Fitzpatrick and engage two themes: the nature of an abyss and the conversion of Karl Marx from a revolutionary thinker to a best exemplar of evolutionary thought. If these themes make some sense, a good way of being with Peter is a further exploration amidst us all.
The Marxist legacy is rich, plural, and contradictory. It is characterized by complexity and difference, but it can also be understood as bifurcated. There are two souls of socialism. One leads to domination; the other seeks out emancipation. This chapter seeks to map both the dualism and the diversity that have been suggested by thinkers ranging from Marx himself through to his remaining followers today.
Peter Beilharz is Professor of Culture and Society at Curtin University, Western Australia, and Professor of Critical Theory at Sichuan University. He is the author of 30 books and 200 papers. He founded the journal Thesis Eleven in 1980.
This introductory chapter lays out the method, theory and historical framework of the study. It focuses on the potential for historical materialism to help us better understand and critique international law uncovering its structural complicity with oppression, exploitation and dispossession. Along with offering a succinct summary of the capitalist mode of production in Marxist thought, the chapter also reflects on the benefits of combining textual deconstruction with materialist analysis in order to better comprehend law as a textual discipline that is at the same time profoundly entangled with extra-textual processes of capitalist accumulation. Drawing from epistemology and the Marxist philosopher, Luis Althusser, the author defends the importance of a symptomatic reading of international legal materials that centres a specifically juridical problematic.
The desire to produce theory that affects practice makes political philosophy self-reflective. What kinds of insights do political philosophers aim to communicate, and to whom? What kinds of work should we do? What can we sensibly hope to achieve? Or, in short, what sort of vocation is political philosophy? Answers vary enormously. They include one derived from Max Weber (the political philosopher as “guidance counselor”); a Platonic one (“guide to knowledge”); a Marxist one (“obstetrician of the revolution”); a Habermasian view (“conservator of the discourse”); the view of the later Rawls (“theory-providing citizen-discussant”); the realist view developed by Raymond Guess (“historically-minded Ideologiekritiker”); as well as another type of realist view according to which the political philosopher (“seeker for moral truth”) plainly searches for the moral truth in their domain. This chapter discusses the first four of these conceptions.
Kant developed an understanding of justice to enable free and equal citizens to coexist in ways that respected the moral status of each. Individuals owe each other the founding of states to coexist under public law that protects safety and integrity. An account of distributive justice is part of what we need to explain what sort of entity the state ought to be. But even though the modern concept had become available in the late eighteenth century, important intellectual movements organized around alternative responses to the social question arose roughly at that time. Rawls’s theory is a response to them that offers a substantial elaboration of the notion of social justice. Rawls does not merely defend one idea as central to distributive justice but integrates various approaches. Recognizing the breadth of the domain to which considerations of distributive justice apply makes it doubtful that a unitary criterion could guide distribution.
Chapter 4 discusses how capital for Marx functions as a totality. It also explains how Marx’s conception of totality is based on Hegel’s conception of the logic of essence. Capital has a sui generis character, and is able to maintain and reproduce itself through individuals. Thus, the ground-level of domination in capitalism is not the domination of capitalists over workers, but the abstract domination of the totality of capital over both capitalists and workers. It is true that individuals can exert power over each other; yet they can do so not due to their personal characteristics, but in fact as a “personification of economic categories.” Finally, I observe that the power of capital has an impersonal and non-intentional character, although that power must necessarily be mediated by the action of individuals.