Marxism (Philosophies of)

Marxism (Philosophies of)
Philosophies of Marxism Lenin, Lukács, Gramsci, Althusser Michael Kelly INTRODUCTION Marxist philosophy can be seen as a struggle with Hegel or a struggle with capitalism, that is, as an intellectual or a political movement. Neither of these views can be very readily reduced to the other, but nor can they be entirely separated. It is difficult to deal with Marxism in terms of a particular discipline when so much of it sprawls awkwardly across the lines which delineate disciplinary boundaries within the English-speaking institutions of knowledge. The attempt here to approach it within a philosophical context can scarcely avoid transgressing that context and introducing material which, in a narrow definition of philosophy, may be thought out of place. To consider Marxism at all, philosophy may need to consider itself a more commodious enterprise. A history of Marxist philosophy cannot be innocent. The Marxist tradition includes histories of philosophy and philosophies of history. It also includes notoriously conflicting accounts of the nature and status of both history and philosophy. Nor is there any better agreement among non-Marxist thinkers on the nature and status of Marxist philosophy. A study of its history must enter a fiercely contested field of combat, where, more than in any other philosophical tradition, the struggle is waged not only in the intellectual realm but also in the social and geopolitical arenas. The context in which this study is written, in the turbulent and uncertain aftermath of the collapse of communist regimes throughout Europe, carries its quantum of intellectual risk, and confers a certain untimeliness on what is to be said. Far from being a philosophia perennis, Marxist philosophy is in constant mutation, spurred not only by the shifting contours of its environment but also by the changing problems and purposes of its practitioners. With the passage of time, there has grown up an increasing multiplicity of re-interpretations of canonical texts and commentaries, several divergent accounts of who the founder (or founders) were, which of their writings may be relied on and which subsequent commentators should be consulted. In many cases, such issues have been the occasion of bitter controversy, and several schools of Marxist thought have vigorously claimed to possess the only authentic version. Some have, for a time at least, been willing and able to support that claim with judicial or even military coercion. An initial question is therefore that of identity: in what sense can a substantive Marxist philosophy be coherently defined across the diversity of its forms? Eschewing orthodoxies, the present study will be content with a looser understanding of the Marxist tradition as a family of movements, connected in complex and often conflictual relationships. In such a brief span as this chapter, it will not be possible to examine more than a few moments in the tradition, and the main lines of their interrelation. Such a broad approach to Marxism carries a price. In particular, it cannot do more than gesture at the coherence and breadth of view which some versions of Marxism have achieved, and which some, but not all, Marxists have regarded as a major strength and achievement. A closely related issue is what status to accord to philosophy within Marxism. Invariably, this refers back to the relationship between Marx and Hegel. Marx’s much repeated distinction between Hegel’s system (castigated as the idealist shell) and his method (lauded as the rational kernel) has given rise to deeply conflicting interpretations. Whereas some have argued that Marxism continues the Hegelian project of providing a general philosophical framework which unifies the entire field of human knowledge, others have contended that Marx’s signal achievement was to abandon philosophy, having exposed its ambitions as illusory. There are many other positions between these two poles. Without invoking an easy dialectical supersession of these terms, the present study grasps the nettle at least to the extent of accepting that there is a field of discourse within Marxism which must be recognized as philosophical, even when (perhaps especially when) it purports to announce the end of philosophy. At the heart of the problem is the relation between theory and practice. The starting point lies in the major insight of Marxist thought that in addition to understanding or interpreting the world it should seek to change it. Implied in this notion is the view that in the first instance thought is a product of human social activity and that in the second instance it contributes to producing or shaping the future course of that activity. Applied to philosophy specifically, it suggests that philosophers who refrain from seeking change are by default helping to maintain the existing social order. It may then be inferred that philosophers who declare themselves as Marxist (or vice versa) are engaged, through their philosophy, in a project of social change. The consequences of such an inference for Marxist philosophers personally have at different times and places ranged from exile, torture and execution to celebrity, fame and fortune: more often the former than the latter. The shadow of the philosopher-king also looms in the important historical figures who inhabit the pantheon of Marxist philosophy, including Lenin, Stalin and Mao Tse-tung in their day. Their example compounds the tension between theory and practice in urging Marxist political figures to exercise leadership in philosophy and philosophers to don the mantle of statecraft: a wider gulf to bridge within some cultures than within others. Karl Marx’s own discomfort on the interface between his theoretical and political responsibilities was summed up in his reaction to French ‘Marxists’, whose work prompted his much-quoted comment that ‘I am not a Marxist’. While it may be rash to place too much weight on this boutade, it usefully illustrates the problematic relationship between Marxist philosophy and an individual author. Perhaps more than elsewhere, there are visible limits on the extent to which an author can, or would wish to, claim ownership of the texts or ideas ascribed to him or her. If Marx was led to disown his selfappointed disciples during his lifetime, it would be prudent not to assume too close a correspondence between his or other thinkers’ writings and the positions with which they are usually associated. Such prudence would be encouraged by the common phenomenon in Marxism of texts coming to exercise influence only long after they were written and in quite different circumstances from those in which they were produced. This is eminently true of major works of Marx, Lenin, Gramsci and Lukács. A thinker is often brandished as a banner, designating a particular view which may or may not be found explicitly in his or her work. Frequently, by a process of displacement, a thinker or even a philosophical concept will also come to function as a coded reference to a political position or programme, which cannot be directly addressed. An author or idea is in this respect primarily a signifier, whose meaning is closely dependent on the context of its utterance. They can in this way be emptied of meaning, though it is also common for them to become supersaturated with meaning, when accumulated layers of commentary effectively come to bar access to a heavily glossed text. Marxist philosophy is largely inextricable from the groups and movements for which it has been formulated or which have adopted it as a theoretical approach likely to promote the achievement of their political purposes and programmes. Among them have been the labour and trade union movements, the political parties of the left, the movements for national self-determination and the states and regimes which under one guise or another have espoused Marxism. Institutionalization of this kind has several effects which often differentiate Marxist philosophy from other philosophies. One which is rarely remarked upon is that the channels of its communication are frequently those of a sponsoring organization, whether a political paper or journal, a political training programme or a publishing house with a recognizable political or social complexion. Not infrequently, work of Marxist inspiration has been excluded from the channels available to professional philosophy. Marxist texts are always characterized by high levels of intertextuality, such that their importance is often only grasped by a reader who is familiar with other canonical or contemporary texts from which they are specifically distinguished. Another distinguishing feature is the frequent effort to express Marxist ideas in a way which is sufficiently simple and systematic to be widely understood and applied, particularly by a non-specialist readership. Allied to this is the degree of constraint under which work is produced, ranging from standard formats and house styles to varying degrees of editorial intervention and collective authorship. No doubt this is inseparable from the effect institutions have of vesting philosophy with authority beyond the intrinsic merit of rational discussion. There remains one final question for the present historical study: what is the object of study? Is it a history of philosophers, however defined, or of ideas, or of intellectual movements? And what criterion of selection and ordering is to be applied in the face of a daunting abundance of material? The close dependence of Marxist philosophy on the material conditions of its production and its reception suggests that it should be approached as a history of ideas, though the confines of space dictate that it will here be examined most often in terms of an individual philosopher. But while ideas and philosophers do have individual and collective histories, their history is not wholly their own. Concepts, propositions or arguments appear, change and disappear at times and in places that can be charted, but their development cannot be adequately understood in isolation from other historical processes, which provide both the conditions of intelligibility and the main motive force for change. Ideas, in other words, draw their life and strength more from social than from logical relations, though in the present study the social context can be only lightly sketched. If ideas do not entirely have their own history, then they may best be approached through entities which do have their own history. From this perspective, it is clear that countries, or regions, offer the most manageable historical framework. Countries certainly do have their own history, and it may even be argued that having a history is what makes a country a country. The identity of a modern nation is closely bound up with the construction, by itself and others, of a historical narrative in which it figures as the subject. Philosophy is one of the cultural forms through which a nation represents itself, articulating a general statement of its own identity and its history, especially in relation to the acquisition of state power. Marxist philosophy has for most of the twentieth century been a major participant in defining and representing this process, and the remainder of this chapter will therefore be structured in terms of national and regional Marxist philosophical movements. SOVIET MARXISM The Soviet Union was the first country to adopt Marxism as an official philosophy. Supported by resources of the state and the prestige of the October Revolution, Soviet Marxism was for most of the twentieth century the dominant version of Marxist philosophy in the world. Its domination was never complete, of course, and much of the debate among Marxist philosophers has been directed towards attacking or defending all or part of the Soviet synthesis. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, Russian socialists discovered Marxist ideas, and, largely under the direction of George Valentinov Plekhanov (1856–1918), elaborated them into a schematic and all-embracing philosophy. Plekhanov’s major work, The Development of the Monist View of History (1895) became both an authoritative statement and a model for later Soviet approaches to Marxism. He critically analysed several currents of previous European philosophy, drawing out the strengths and limitations of their thought as a preparation for the resolution of their problems in the Marxist materialist conception of history. The materialism of the eighteenth-century French Enlightenment, the conception of history of nineteenth-century French historians, the French Utopian socialists’ concept of society and the dialectical philosophy of the German idealists were each examined and found to be useful but flawed. He then expounded Marx’s solutions, based on Engels’s short accounts of his own and Marx’s philosophy, which Plekhanov characterized as a ‘modern dialectical materialism’, thus coining the term which later became the generic title for official Soviet Marxism. He laid a particularly strong emphasis on the determining role played by the economic base of society, as against the political, legal and ideological superstructures, which he saw as merely a function of the base, facilitating or impeding economic developments. Without dwelling on the detail of his interpretation, it may be noted that Plekhanov firmly established the practice of approaching Marxism through the exegesis of passages from Marx and Engels, confirming a scriptural tradition in which texts are the authoritative source of truth. He also approached Marxism through the intellectual history of its antecedents, with several important consequences. In the first instance, it situated Marxism in the mainstream of European thought, with all the intellectual prestige attaching to it, particularly among the Francophile Russian intelligentsia. Second, it suggested that, within this tradition, Marxism appears as a modern and therefore better solution to long-running problems, the very example of human progress. Third, it confirmed the contestatory and polemical character of Marxism, which is almost defined by its conflict with other schools of thought. These characteristics were amplified over the years, as Plekhanov became the catechist of Russian Marxism. Even though he became a leader of the Mensheviks from 1903, his philosophical writings were warmly endorsed by Lenin, and his influence continued for several years after the Revolution and his own death in 1918. Lenin’s main philosophical work is Materialism and Empiriocriticism (1908). In it he attacked what he considered to be idealist deviations in the theory of knowledge, canvassed by leading intellectuals within the Marxist movement, among them Plekhanov, who saw convergences with religious thought. Lenin contested the view that discoveries in modern physics, challenging Newtonian mechanics, lent support to these ‘revisionist’ tendencies. Apart from the reiteration of classical statements of principle drawn from Engels, the major impact of the work was to reinforce the polemical mode in which Russian Marxist philosophy was increasingly couched, with the invective and stigmatizing labels which were more common in political discourse. Lenin also published a number of short popularizing accounts of Marxism, including an essay, The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism (1913), which identified the founding triad of Marxism as German philosophy, English economics and French politics, each superseded by Marx’s theoretical advances. The importance of these works is primarily that they were written by the leader of the revolutionary movement which took power in 1917, and founder of the Soviet state. In this capacity, they underwent the same canonization as Lenin himself, after his death in 1924. Used to support several sides in the philosophical debates of the 1920s, they achieved the status of scripture when, in the early 1930s, Joseph Stalin declared Lenin to have made such a significant advance in Marxism that it was henceforth to be known as Marxism-Leninism. The sanctification was selective, however. In particular, Lenin’s notes on his enthusiastic reading of Hegel, published in 1929, did not attract Stalin’s approval. The process by which Marxism-Leninism became the state philo-sophy of the Soviet Union was marked by bitter controversies, particularly among the professional philosophers who vied with one another to secure the support of Stalin. The groundwork of Marxism-Leninism was laid in the codification of historical materialism by Nikolai Ivanovitch Bukharin (1888–1938), in his manual The Theory of Historical Materialism (1921). It sparked an intense debate, much of it conducted in the pages, and editorial premises, of the leading philosophical journal Pod znamenem marksizma (‘Under the banner of Marxism’—1922–44). On one side, the ‘mechanists’ (Skvortsov-Stepanov, Timiryazev and others) held, with Bukharin, that Marxism now had no need of philosophy since it had advanced to the stage of scientific knowledge. Consequently there was no place for philosophers and ideologists to intervene in matters of natural science. On the other side, the ‘dialecticians’ (Deborin, Tymyansky, Sten and others) argued, in the tradition of Plekhanov, that Marxist philosophy was increasingly needed to generalize, unify and direct enquiry in all areas of knowledge, as a ‘science of sciences’. The debate was concluded in 1929 when Bukharin’s fall into political disfavour took the mechanists with him. The dialecticians’ victory was, however, shortlived. Their general position passed into orthodoxy, but they themselves were criticized by a new generation of ‘bolshevizing’ philosophers who accused them of overestimating Plekhanov at the expense of Lenin, and of unspecified links with Trotsky (who had in fact generally been reluctant to pronounce on philosophical matters). At the centre of these debates was the question of authority, which fell into two parts. First, what authority did philosophy have to direct activity in other areas of society, especially the strategic areas of science and technology? The answer to this was that it had complete authority to legislate and pronounce: Marxist philosophy was fundamental to the successful construction of socialism, both in one country and worldwide. Second, what authority is philosophy itself subject to? The answer to this is that it was subject not to some internal philosophical principle or tradition but to the interests of the working class, represented by the Communist Party, embodied in its General Secretary, Stalin, whose authority was derived from Lenin. The specific contribution of Lenin to Marxism was in turn declared to be his championing of partisanship in philosophy, interpreted ultimately as the obligation of submission to the Party. This was the point at which Marxism-Leninism assumed the position of official state philosophy. The 1930s were a period during which Stalin extended his power over the whole of Soviet life, and over the expanding communist movement throughout the world. Codification and ‘bolshevization’ went hand in hand under the banner of Marxism- Leninism, and reached their apogee in the era of the great purges with the publication in 1938 of the definitive Stalinist manual, History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks), A Short Course. One chapter of the Short Course, credited to Stalin himself, laid out in simple schematic form the basic dogma of dialectical and historical materialism. The four principle features of dialectics, as opposed to metaphysics, are listed as interconnection, change, qualitative leaps and contradiction, while the three features of materialism, as opposed to idealism, stipulate that the world is material, exists independently of mind, and is knowable. This dialectical materialism is the guiding star of the party of the proletariat and when applied to the study of history it yields historical materialism. This recognizes that spiritual life (including ideas and institutions) is a reflection of economic production, and that the determining force in historical development is the mode of production, composed of forces of production and relations of production. Five types of productive (i.e. property) relations have existed: primitive communal, slave, feudal, capitalist and socialist, and the transitions between them have always occurred through revolutions triggered by the faster progress of productive forces (instruments, people, skill) than their associated relations. The authority of the Short Course, assisted by its blunt clarity, channelled Marxist philosophy into a narrow and dogmatic orthodoxy, which held absolute sway in the Soviet Union and in world communism until after Stalin’s death. Since that time it has been the implicit reference point of much of Marxist debate, even (perhaps especially) when Stalinism is most vehemently denounced. Soviet dogmatism was given a further twist in the early days of the Cold War when, under the direction of Andrei Zhdanov, culture, including philosophy, was relentlessly confined to the defence and illustration of Soviet Marxist preeminence in all things. This included strong discouragement of interest in non-Marxist philosophy, even where, as with Hegel, it had strong connections with Marxism, and even extending to Marx’s own noncanonical writings, particularly the Paris Manuscripts of 1844. After the death of Stalin in 1953, and his denunciation by Krushchev at the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party in 1956, the rigidly dogmatic approach began to ease. But an indelible pattern was set, which no amount of destalinization could remove. The authority of the state, the primacy of the party, the obligatory teaching of Marxism- Leninism at all stages of the Soviet education system and a strongly hierarchical academic establishment, all served to maintain the social and intellectual structure of Soviet Marxism largely unchanged. The Stalinist ‘Vulgate’ developed into an elaborate scholastic system, in which controversies might rage over the interpretation of a particular passage of the canon, or over the status of a particular doctrine. A good example was the successful campaign to rehabilitate the negation of the negation, omitted by Stalin from the Short Course, as one of the universal dialectical laws of development. Paradoxically, the very close identification of Marxism-Leninism with the state and party also largely insulated it from developments which took place elsewhere in Marxist philosophy. The logic was simple: if a foreign thinker was not a member of a communist party, he or she was not an authentic Marxist, and could be recognized only as some form of renegade or deviant from Marxism; conversely, if he or she was a party member, his or her work could not be publicly discussed without infringing the principle of noninterference in the affairs of a fraternal party. The result was inevitably a thriving underground preoccupation with foreign Marxist philosophers, and with major non- Marxist philosophers. The resulting gulf between the public and private face of Soviet Marxism rendered it extremely friable under pressure of events. Marxism-Leninism in the USSR’s eastern European satellites, and in pro-Soviet communist movements elsewhere, was clearly marked as a coded acceptance of Russian domination, political or ideological. In those parties which espoused the Eurocommunist line in the 1970s, it was symbolically rejected, while in many others it was discreetly abandoned. In any event, it had no independent strength on which to draw, and when the state and party which sponsored it collapsed at the beginning of the 1990s, Soviet Marxism effectively came to an end. Since it has been the focus and archetype of Marxism for most of the twentieth century, it remains to be seen whether its demise will also prove to be the end of Marxism as such. The Chinese variant of Stalinist Marxism has also been influential. Chinese communism developed two main currents of philosophy, one being the orthodox Marxism-Leninism of the Short Course, introduced by Moscow-trained intellectuals and promoted by the Comintern, the Third or Communist International (1919–43) founded by Lenin to direct the policy and activities of Communist parties worldwide. The other current was an adaptation of the first by intellectuals based in the revolutionary headquarters at Yenan during the late 1930s, of whom the most successful was Mao Tsetung (1893–1976). Apart from a much greater emphasis on the role of the peasantry, Mao developed a classification of contradictions in terms of whether they were antagonistic or non-antagonistic in nature, primary or secondary in the specific context, and what their primary and secondary aspects were. He argued that contradictions and their aspects could in certain circumstances pass from one type to another, particularly when they were handled correctly in the practice of the revolutionary party. With the success of the Chinese revolution in 1948, and particularly after the death of Stalin, Mao was increasingly presented as a second Lenin, and Peking as an alternative to Moscow in the leadership of the world communist movement. During the 1960s, most countries witnessed the rise of Maoist communist movements, which in western Europe were small, but particularly successful in student circles. They were particularly influenced by the events of the Cultural Revolution, during which the ‘little red book’ of Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung elevated his neo-Stalinism to cult status, condensing the official philosophy, renamed Marxism-Leninism-Mao-Tse-tung Thought, into all-purpose gobbets and slogans. From this apotheosis, Chinese communism returned from an internationalist to a nationalist Marxism-Leninism, and for a time during the 1980s began to allow the expression of humanist forms of Marxism associated with Lukács and Gramsci. Whether and how soon Chinese communism will incur a fate comparable to its Soviet counterpart can only be a matter of speculation, but it is clear that its influence on Marxist philosophy elsewhere largely ceased in the mid-1970s. CENTRAL EUROPEAN MARXISM In the early years after the First World War, before root and branch bolshevization had set them all marching to the rhythm of Moscow, there was still a flourishing culture of philosophical debate among central European Marxists. To a large extent this was conducted in the German-speaking circles which had been the intellectual centre of gravity of pre-Bolshevik Marxism. Pervaded by the humanism of the Second International, the organization which brought together the social-democratic and labour parties of Europe (1889–1914), and oriented toward a respect for intellectual and cultural values, it was blotted out by triumphant Marxism-Leninism and lay largely ignored until the post-Stalinist era of the 1960s. At that stage it was rediscovered in the writings of Korsch, Lukács, Benjamin, Bloch and others, and given widespread currency, largely by movements opposed to the dominant communist orthodoxy. Several attempts have been made to construct an alternative tradition by aggregating these writers with the Frankfurt school, with Italian Marxists, and with French writers as diverse as Althusser and Sartre, to create a ‘western Marxism’. Such has been the project of the British New Left Review, which has done a great deal to create an appropriate canon of texts in English, and has rendered accessible a broad range of non-Soviet Marxist theorists. None the less, the notion of ‘western Marxism’, coined in the mid- 1950s by Maurice Merleau-Ponty, loses historical coherence as soon as it is extended beyond the germanophone debates of the interwar period. For this reason, it is more helpful to consider the diverse central European writers withouthaving to wrestle them into an artificial unanimity with each other and with writers from other intellectual and political traditions. Undoubtedly, the giant among these philosophers is Georg (György) Lukács (1885– 1971). Born in Budapest to a wealthy and cultured family, and educated in the universities of Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, he wrote with equal facility in German and Hungarian, and played a significant role in the political history of Hungary and of the international communist movement, as well as being the central figure in major literary and philosophical debates. Brought up in the German philosophical tradition of Kant, Dilthey and Simmel, he came to espouse Marxism via Max Weber and then Hegel, whose thought exercised an enduring fascination for him. A leading figure of the leftist faction in the Hungarian Communist Party during the turbulent events of 1919–20, Lukács developed an interpretation of Marxism sharply at odds with the dialectical materialism which gained ascendancy in Moscow. Through most of his career he was the target of repeated attacks on his ‘revisionist’ positions, despite his efforts at different times to assert his own orthodoxy. There has been considerable discussion as to whether Lukács’s philosophical positions can be directly correlated with his political shift towards a conciliatory attitude to the non-communist left. But since his political sympathies were in many respects close to Bukharin, whose philosophy he opposed, it would be rash to draw any reductive conclusions. Undoubtedly Lukács’s major work is his collection of essays History and Class Consciousness, published in 1923. It was the focus for controversy in the years following its publication, and again at the beginning of the Cold War. It was widely circulated in French translation in the 1960s, before Lukács approved its reappearance in German and English in 1967. The basic thrust of the book was to relocate Marx firmly in the tradition of Hegel, and to draw out the Hegelian concepts which Marx had sought to refashion. In the first essay (‘What is orthodox Marxism?’) Lukács argues that Marx had adopted the progressive part of the Hegelian method, namely the dialectic, setting it against the mythologizing remnants of ‘eternal values’ which Hegel himself had been struggling against. In this sense, Marx was directing against Hegel the very criticism that Hegel had levelled against Kant and Fichte, that they immortalized particular moments of abstract reflection at the expense of an awareness of process, concrete totality, dialectics and history. Hegel, he argued, had been unable to progress from the level of abstractions to a perception of the real driving forces of history, and it had been Marx’s originality to discover these forces. Perhaps the most influential essay in the book, entitled ‘Reification and the consciousness of the proletariat’, launched the interpretation of Marxism as a theory of alienation, remarkably antici-pating the argument of Marx’s Paris Manuscripts of 1844, which had not yet been brought to light. Lukács highlighted the exchangeable commodity as the basic unit of capitalist economies, and the fetishism of commodities as an inevitable consequence, leading people to neglect the human content of activity in favour of its quantifiable exchange value. He argued that it was a logical necessity for the development of capitalism that all relations must eventually be reduced to the structure of commodity-exchange. This process of reification led, he thought, to all aspects of life being calculated and quantified, alienating the individuality of both people and things. Carried to its conclusion, it also stamped its imprint on human consciousness and reified the most intimate areas of human relations and the most rigorous of scientific investigations. Within bourgeois society there was clearly no prospect of a radical escape from the ravages of reification. The only hope of a solution was to transform philosophy into praxis, a practical orientation of thought and consciousness towards reality. Reality in this sense was understood as a process of becoming, a totality. Only the practical class consciousness of the proletariat, grasping itself as the subject of the social totality, could be expected to transform a theory of praxis into a practical theory which overturns the real world, revolutionizes the totality and overcomes the process of reification. Even then it would succeed only as long as it retained its practical orientation and avoided the Hegelian pitfalls of schematization, repetitive mechanical patterns (such as the famous triad: thesis, antithesis, synthesis), and the undialectical project of extending its attention beyond human society to a philosophy of nature. Lukács’s reaffirmation of Hegel’s relevance was in one sense a reclamation of Marx for the European philosophical tradition, and a challenge to the increasing tendency to sanctify Lenin, visible in the last months of the latter’s life and stridently pursued by Stalin in the campaign of bolshevization. His strictures against Hegel’s shortcomings were in another sense an implicit reproach to the codification of Marxism into a set of rigid abstractions, culminating in the Short Course. He reaffirmed the dialectical relationship between subject and object, between theory and practice, as a fundamental tenet of Marxism which guaranteed its progressive and transformative potential. The alternative, he argued, would be a relapse into Utopian dualism, characteristic of revisionism, and generating an ossified theory which would serve as a catch-all justification of any kind of practice. This would most likely lead to a conservative right- Hegelian worship of the state from which Marx had rescued the posterity of Hegel. It is not difficult to see the Marxist-Leninist equivalent looming over the argument. But Lukács did not only set a challenge to Soviet Marxism, he also set an intellectual agenda for an alternative, Hegelianizing Marxism. Cultured and humanistic in its ethos, it drew strength from romantic idealism and traditions of religious fervour. The philosophy of alienation offered a subtle dialectic with a strong appeal to intellectuals, while the philosophy of praxis offered a basis for activism and engagement in the political struggles of the working class, cast as the secular source of salvation. Over the longer term, the richness of Lukács’s conceptualization, and the many philosophical links it made with the European intellectual mainstream, made History and Class Consciousness a bridge between the western New Left of the 1960s and the non-Stalinist roots for which it was so ardently searching. Lukács himself, though long-lived, played a singularly distant role in his own rediscovery, obliged as he was to play intellectual hide and seek with the political authorities in Moscow and Budapest. For most of his career, he was much more widely recognized as a literary theorist and critic of European literature, deeply involved in the cultural controversies, and more than a little reticent about his earlier philosophy. Though he was much read, Lukács had few disciples in central Europe. Perhaps the most noteworthy is the Romanian scholar, Lucien Goldmann (1913–70), who met and admired Lukács in Vienna but spent most of his adult life in Paris, where he distinguished himself primarily through his analysis of French literature using approaches drawn from Lukács and from the structuralism of Jean Piaget. Closer in spirit and preoccupations was Lukács’s contemporary and friend Karl Korsch (1886–1961). A leading figure in the powerful German Communist Party of the 1920s, Korsch took a leftist stance vehemently opposed to the bolshevization of the Communist International. His most influential work, Marxism and Philosophy (1923), aroused sharp hostility and, with other oppositional leaders he was eventually ousted from the Party. In 1936 he emigrated permanently to the United States. Korsch noted that nineteenth-century Marxism had largely ignored philosophy, and he traced the fact to Marx’s and Engels’s view that their materialist conception of history and society was destined to supersede classical German philosophy, from which it sprang, and ultimately destined to replace philosophy. He castigated the undialectical approach of those who had assumed that philosophy was therefore abolished, and of those who wished to reinstate it, pointing out that its abolition was necessary but dependent on the revolutionary transformation of the historical circumstances which produced it. Since this transformation had not taken place, the rejection of philosophy was premature, while its reinstatement was retrograde. The result of abolition was that Marxist economic or political theory were being proposed as value-free sciences which could equally be used by opponents of socialism, and that in practice socialists were combining Marxism with various substitute philosophies which did provide systems of values. Conversely, the result of reinstatement was to reinforce philosophy as an obstacle to the process of its own historical suppression. Since Korsch was attacking both the theorists of the Second International, who had abandoned philosophy, and those of the Comintern, who were reinstating it, he attracted fierce criticism from both sides. There were strong affinities between his position and that of Lukács, but both were increasingly isolated voices in the political aftermath of the failure to achieve socialism internationally. The revolutionary fervour and the messianic tone of their thought did not chime with the increasingly inhospitable social and political climate in central Europe. More consonant with the disillusioned and embattled left of the interwar period is the work of Walter Benjamin (1892–1940), a Berliner who largely avoided political activism but expressed a revolutionary Marxist approach in his critical essays. Benjamin was a critic and historian of culture, rather than a philosopher, sharing the perception of the Frankfurt school (which is treated elsewhere in this volume) that culture had in some respects overtaken politics as the main field of struggle. His work on Brecht (with whom he enjoyed a close friendship) and Baudelaire, and his more philosophical essays collected as Illuminations, began to attract renewed attention in western Europe during the 1970s. Benjamin was a deliberately non-systematic thinker, considering images, aphorisms and allegories as a more potent means of gaining purchase on the course of history. Progressive change was likely, he thought, to arise either from a long-term strategy of attrition or from an extremely focused unleashing of explosive social forces. In either event, his approach was expressed in the contemporary maxim of ‘pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will’, and he summed up his conception of history by reference to a drawing by Paul Klee showing the angel of history facing backwards to look with pity on the debris of its victims, but propelled into the future by a storm blowing from paradise, which constitutes progress. Benjamin himself fell victim to the upheavals of history, taking his own life to avoid falling into the hands of the Gestapo as he attempted to flee from occupied France into Spain. Central European intellectuals, caught between the hammer of fascism and the anvil of Marxism-Leninism, plunged into an understandable slough of despond with the approach of war. The basis for any optimism was slender, but, such as it was, it was articulated in the philosophy of possibility of Ernst Bloch (1885–1977). Born and educated in Berlin, Bloch developed a syncretic philosophy in which Marxist elements jostled with religious mysticism, vitalism and classical German philosophy. During his wartime exile in the United States, he wrote most of his major work, The Principle of Hope, which was published in East Germany, where he had returned, during the 1950s. He later fled to West Germany following disagreements with the communist authorities which he had generally supported, without becoming a party member. Bloch’s thought, expressed almost as aphoristically as Benjamin’s, follows a humanist inspiration to argue that the basic nature of a human being is characterized by living and working towards a future goal which is in the process made real, actualizing one out of the many potential forms of existence. The task of creating a utopia is central to human existence, and falls not only to the intellect but also to the imagination and emotions, which can awaken latent possibilities within the present. Ever since earliest times, human societies have woven images and stories of utopias, which they have variously attempted to bring into being, without ever completely succeeding. The constantly renewed drive to do this is a principle of hope which energizes human activity and finds its highest expression in the Marxist project of a concrete utopia, which can be compared with the kingdom of heaven. Bloch’s very unspecific characterization of what kind of utopia may be hoped for is in sharp contrast with his euphoric endorsements of East German social achievements, and he has been criticized for both. But, assisted by his own longevity, Bloch’s work is another important contribution from the generation of central European Marxist philosophers who were formed and continued to write outside the orthodox Marxist- Leninist framework. Though Bloch, Benjamin, Korsch and Lukács are in many respects different both politically and philosophically, they do share common roots in the classical German philosophical tradition which culminated in Hegel, and a deep regard for the value and efficacity of European cultural traditions. It is this shared culture which gives them their potential for resisting the reduction of philosophy to an instrument to be used, modified or discarded as it suits a particular political purpose. ITALIAN MARXISM From the end of the First World War to the end of the Second, Italian Marxism led an underground life, most of which was only brought to wider attention long afterwards. It was not born in the underground, however. Before the Great War, Marxists were wellestablished figures in the Italian mainstream, active participants in debates which were shaped by the neo-Hegelian revival. Most prominent of the early Italian Marxists was Antonio Labriola (1843–1904), whose Essays on the Materialist Conception of History (1895–1900) were read throughout Europe at the turn of the century. His undogmatic and humanist approach was alert to the sinuosities of history but lyrical about the mission of the proletariat to give meaning to it. His thought left its mark on philosophers like Benedetto Croce (1866– 1952) and Giovanni Gentile (1875–1944), who both grappled with Labriola’s Marxism before taking an avowedly Hegelian path away from it towards liberal and, in Gentile’s case, fascist conclusions. The triumph of Mussolini in the early 1920s created extraordinary difficulties for communists and Marxists in Italy, with activists driven into exile, or hiding, or prison. In exile, a leader like Palmiro Togliatti (1893–1964) was able to shape the political direction of the Comintern, though not the development of Marxist philosophy. Paradoxically, it was the imprisonment of the Italian Communist Party leader, Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937) that produced the most influential theoretical and philosophical development. Born of a poor family in Sardinia, Gramsci studied history and philosophy at the university of Turin before throwing himself into revolutionary politics early in the First World War. He became an editor of the influential socialist review Ordine nuovo (‘New order’) in 1919 and played a key role in the foundation of the Italian Communist Party, becoming its leader in 1923, when his policy of broad alliances eventually prevailed. His political activity in Italy and abroad ended when he was arrested in Rome and imprisoned in 1926. Spending the rest of his life in appalling conditions in prison and hospital, Gramsci wrote prolifically, reflecting deeply on Marxist principles in virtual isolation from current events. His influence stems mainly from his Prison Notebooks, which were published in Italy soon after the Second World War but only became widely known during the late 1960s, when they were identified as offering an attractive alternative to Soviet Marxism. Philosophically, Gramsci’s affinities were with the Hegelian tradition which he had encountered through Croce. He considered that Marx’s achievement had been to create a synthesis from the two opposing schools into which Hegelianism had divided. He also thought that Marx’s own posterity had divided into two schools, mechanistic materialism and dialectical idealism, which now needed to be welded into a new synthesis. His proposal was a philosophy of praxis, a name he chose partly as a code-word for Marxism to placate the prison censors but partly also because it encapsulated his distinctive conception of history as an aggregation of human practical activity. At the core of Gramsci’s philosophy was the humanist question: what is man? A later generation, attempting to meet feminist critiques, has rephrased the question: What is human existence? Gramsci’s answer was that humanity is reflected in every individual person, and consists of the individual, other people and nature. The individual enters into relationships with other people and with nature, primarily through work, generating a network of relationships. These relationships form organic social entities, which become conscious of themselves and become capable of purposeful and effective action. Thus the individual is an integral part of the process of change which is history, its conscious motive force, and the whole complex of changing relationships is part of each individual. Human existence is synonymous with the socio-historical process and the question ‘what is human existence?’ must therefore be reformulated as ‘what can human existence become?’ Within Gramsci’s humanist vision, philosophy appears as the consciousness of the historical process, not only a dimension of the totality of human praxis, and therefore inherently political, but also part of the consciousness of each individual within it. It was in a sense a collective subjectivity, and its value lay in its appropriateness to the task of the collectivity rather than in its relation to any objective reality. In any case, he questioned whether it was meaningful to speak of a reality existing independently from human praxis. He thought it necessary for the unity and advancement of humanity that philosophy should overcome the distance, frequently observed, between the doctrine of the intellectuals and that of ordinary people. There was in particular, he argued, a need for Marxism to foster intellectuals who were an organic part of the working people and capable of raising the level of consciousness of the masses, without bringing elitist ideas from outside. In this way, it would, he suggested, be possible to build a unity of ideas and political action which could challenge the hegemony of bourgeois philosophy and politics. The concept of hegemony is Gramsci’s most influential and contentious innovation, since it emphasizes that the exercise of power in a society is secured not only by the repressive use of state power but also more crucially by the maintenance of a moral, intellectual and cultural consensus. For the working class and its allies to win power, it is not sufficient to engineer a coup d’état, it is also necessary to build an alternative cultural consensus capable of securing hegemony. This is a much broader and more long-term task, requiring a different kind of organization from the highly centralized and disciplined parties built by the Comintern. Learning lessons from the ideological power exercised by the Catholic Church, Gramsci was responding to the fact that Mussolini’s fascism had been successful in gaining popular support, and recognizing that a long ‘war of position’ would be needed to win over the masses for socialism. The alternative, which he rejected, was to fall back on faith in the likelihood of the blind workings of history producing a suitable revolutionary opportunity. For socialists reading Gramsci thirty years later, however, hegemony appeared to emphasize the strategic importance of ideological and cultural struggle as an alter-native to traditional politics, which seemed to offer no prospect of radical change. Because of their fragmentary, allusive and often obscure nature, Gramsci’s prison writings allow of a range of interpretations. At one end of the range, they can be seen as a restatement of fairly orthodox Marxism-Leninism, somewhat veiled by the circumstances in which they were produced. That is largely how they were presented when they were first published. At the other end of the range, they can be interpreted as a penetrating rebuttal of Soviet Marxism which offers an entirely different basis on which to develop Marxist philosophy. That is largely how they have been received since their rediscovery in the 1960s. The philosophy of praxis served to challenge the distinction between theory and practice, obviating the need for a body of theory and thus for the scholastic apparatus of hitherto existing Marxism. The concept of hegemony served to challenge the distinction between base and superstructure, reducing the importance of economics, at a time of relative prosperity, and increasing that of cultural theory, at a time of rapid expansion in audiovisual communication. In this way Gramsci’s posthumous reputation grew both from his conceptual innovations and from the new political directions his ideas opened up. In postwar Italy, Gramsci’s humanist and historicist positions dominated Marxist debate for many years, assisted by the success of the Communist Party in giving intellectuals an organic role to play within political activity. His influence was not unchallenged, however. In particular, Galvano della Volpe (1895–1968) maintained a persistent critique of historicism, which he regarded as a product of the contamination of Marxism by Italian idealist philosophy. An academic rather than an activist, della Volpe drew on the egalitarian and democratic thought of Rousseau, counterposed to the Hegelian theory of the state, and argued that Marxism should concern itself with specific scientific knowledge of the world, rather than with indeterminate abstractions. With the political effervescence of the 1960s came a flourishing Marxist culture which permeated most areas of intellectual inquiry, prompting intense philosophical debates between the diverse movements and schools of thought which sprang up inside and outside the Communist Party. Two philosophers of the far left may be mentioned as having been influential in the English-speaking world. Lucio Colletti, brought up in the tradition of della Volpe, sought to demystify the historicism of Gramsci and to refute the view that Marxism could draw on an underlying materialism in the dialectic of Hegel, whom he regarded as essentially a Christian philosopher. Ultimately, however, he concluded that dialectical mystification was present even in Marx, and he began to distance himself from Marxism. His hostility to idealism was shared by Sebastiano Timpanaro, who attacked the French attempts to reconcile Marxism with existentialist (Sartre) and structuralist (Althusser) theories. A strong proponent of materialism, which he saw as lacking in Gramsci, Timpanaro asserted the objectivity of scientific knowledge and sought recognition for the autonomous existence of the natural world, necessary as a theoretical basis for science and for ecological awareness. These philosophers are not proposed as representative of debates over the past thirty years, and the present study cannot offer an extensive survey of the variety of Italian Marxists. They include a Utopian Marxism strongly imbued with Christian spiritualism, and several suggested combinations of Marxism with other contemporary schools of thought (psychoanalytical, ecological, feminist among others). Moreover, as the example of Colletti suggests, Marxist philosophy shades into other philosophical movements. With the transformation of the Italian Communist Party into a social democratic party, it may be that Italy has largely lost the institutional framework which made it important, or even possible, to distinguish Italian Marxism from other philosophies which are not specifically Marxist. FRENCH MARXISM Marxist philosophy came late to France, despite the close contacts which Marx and Engels had with French socialists. This was partly because Proudhon’s syndicalist socialism continued to have a deep and abiding influence, and partly because of the periods of repression following the failed revolutions of 1848 and 1871. In the 1890s, Marx’s daughters, Laura and Jenny, and his two French sons-in-law, Paul Lafargue and Charles Longuet, did a great deal to make his ideas known in France. Lafargue (1842– 1911), the most active of them, propagated a highly simplified economic determinism which Marx himself was wont to criticize. His main opponent, Jean Jaurès (1859–1914), countered this with a neo-Kantian ethical socialism in which he hoped to synthesize Marx’s ideas with various other progressive doctrines. Their debate was largely curtailed by the intellectual truce which followed the unification of the main socialist groupings in 1905. The most sophisticated French contributor to pre-war Marxism, Georges Sorel (1847– 1922), was a maverick whose unorthodox Marxism included an unusually vigorous attack on rationalism, and a corresponding advocacy of revolutionary myth. At odds with most of his contemporaries, Sorel’s ideas were more influential outside France, especially in Italy, where Mussolini claimed them as an inspiration for his fascist movement. After the First World War, a new generation of young intellectuals gradually introduced a thriving Marxist culture, within or on the margins of the Communist Party. Most prominent of them was Henri Lefebvre (1901–91), a prolific and long-lived thinker who set his mark on sociology as well as on Marxist philosophy. Emerging from the surrealist movement of the 1920s, he used his energy and erudition to popularize the early writings of Marx, some of which he translated into French, and to publish several volumes by or about Hegel, who was just beginning to arouse interest in France. Enjoying the more intellectually relaxed climate of the Popular Front period, Lefebvre wrote what eventually became the most successful short exposition of Marxism in France, Dialectical Materialism (1939). Despite its orthodox-sounding title, it set out a humanist Marxism fundamentally opposed to that of the Short Course, which appeared at about the same time. Lefebvre affirmed the superiority of Hegel’s dialectic over formal logic, based on the dialectic’s attempt to achieve a synthesis of the concept and its content, and thence a synthesis of thought and being. What distinguished the Marxist dialectic was that, whereas Hegel had sought to derive the content from the concept, Marx saw the need to enable the content to direct the development of the concept. The resulting dialectical materialism, he thought, transcended both idealism and materialism, and oriented the dialectic towards a resolution of contradictions in practical activity, or praxis. The unfolding of dialectical praxis in history would, he believed, lead to the practical realization of the full potential of human existence in what he called ‘Total Man’. Recognizing the obstacles to the fulfilment of the dialectic of praxis, Lefebvre systematized the analysis of alienation, which he argued was a fundamental structure of human activity, and could be summarized in terms of a three-stage evolution. In the first (spontaneous) stage, activity generates some form of order in response to needs; in the second (conscious) stage, the spontaneous order is shaped into rational structures so as to work more effectively; and in the third (illusory) stage, the rational structures become fixed and fetishized, beginning to hinder further development, and being misappropriated and used as an instrument of oppression by one group over another. The revolutionary overthrow of alienated structures thus appears as a requirement of human self-realization. It is clear that, by its generality, Lefebvre’s analysis can be applied to the oppressive role of the state under communism as much as under capitalism, and to the sclerosis of thought in the Communist Party as much as in the Sorbonne. In the first years after the Second World War, Lefebvre was lionized by the French Communist Party (PCF) as one of its most distinguished intellectuals but, unlike its Italian counterpart, the PCF tended to regard major intellectuals as figures of symbolic rather than practical importance. With the tightening of the Cold War, he was reproached for his lack of orthodoxy, and withdrew from philosophy into sociology, which provided the focus for his subsequent work. In the late 1950s he became an influential figure on the non-communist left, where his dialectical humanism was widely welcomed as an open and non-dogmatic basis for social critique. His conception of philosophy also shifted to a suspicion that any general philosophical assertions would be likely to fall into mystification. Ontological or cosmological statements should, he thought, be left to poets and musicians, and Marxist philosophy should concentrate on honing the concepts of dialectics as a critical method, to be part of what he termed metaphilosophy. This meant that praxis, which was action-oriented, should be supplemented by other dimensions, including a creative function, which he termed poesis, to form a concept of ‘everyday life’. More productive in sociology than in philosophy, Lefebvre’s humanist and Hegelian Marxism offered plausible explanations for the uprising of students and workers in France in May 1968 and proved an attractive conceptual framework for some members of the radical movements involved. The chief spokesman for Marxist-Leninist philosophy in the postwar period was Roger Garaudy (b. 1913), who articulated a Stalinism of strict obedience up to the 20th Congress of the CPSU in 1956. In its aftermath, he had the task not only of leading the philosophical denunciation of Stalin but also, implicitly at least, of finding a suitable replacement philosophy for the French Communist Party. His first step was to propose a Marxist humanism directed towards the discovery of Total Man, little different in substance from that of Lefebvre, though political difficulties made it impossible to acknowledge the debt. His second step was more original, however, in that he sought an explicit dialogue with other forms of humanism, particularly in the Catholic and existentialist intellectual movements. The vitalist philosophy of Teilhard de Chardin, exercising widespread posthumous influence, seemed to offer significant common ground, though Garaudy stopped short of accepting that evolution would culminate as Teilhard suggested, in the creation of God. Garaudy turned to Hegel, who was also attracting the interest of theologians, as a possible basis for a common humanist philosophy. The alarm his ‘God-building’ caused in communist circles was a material factor in leading the Party to abandon the notion of an official philosophy in 1966. Disavowed by the Party for disagreements over the events of 1968, Garaudy underwent a religious conversion, first to Catholicism and then to Islam. The most trenchant opponent of the path followed by Garaudy was Louis Althusser (1918–90), who developed a critique of humanist Marxism, producing in the process an innovative and influential philo-sophical reworking of Marx, expressed in two studies published in 1965, For Marx and Reading Capital. A professional philosopher rather than an activist, he was initially inspired by Mao Tse-tung’s writings on practice and on contradiction, and was widely followed in French Maoist circles of the 1960s and early 1970s. Althusser began from a reexamination of the history of Marxist philosophy, in which he argued that there was a radical discontinuity between Marx and his predecessors, Hegel and Feuerbach. He suggested that Marx had first rejected the idealist system of Hegel, and then the materialist humanism of Feuerbach, in order to emerge with a distinctive and scientific theory. He dismissed the view that the theory was a supersession of Hegel and Feuerbach, which would imply that it conserved important parts of their philosophy, and argued that Marx had made an epistemological break, establishing his theory as a science of history, entirely distinct from the ideological conceptions from which it has emerged. He noted that ideas and concepts tended to emerge in response to a historical situation and to aggregate into more or less coherent combinations, each of which formed a problematic. Retaining a particular concept generally implied accepting the entire problematic to which it belonged, and thus mature Marxism had to exclude ideas drawn from pre-Marxist problematics. Marx’s own early writings with their notions of alienation, human self-realization and Hegelian dialectics came before the epistemological break and should therefore be considered as belonging to pre-Marxist and unscientific problematics. Althusser conceded that Marx’s later writings sometimes contained ideological residues, but generalized his argument to assert that the concept of the epistemological break could be applied to distinguish what was scientific (or theoretical, as he preferred to say) from what was ideological in Marx’s work, or in the work of anyone else. In this way theoretical practice could be clearly separated from ideological practices. Althusser next identified the problem that while the mature Marxist theoretical practice was well developed, Marx had never gone back to reformulate the philosophical principles which it implied. There was, in other words, no theory of theoretical practice. In its absence, various ideological approximations were made to serve, most of them Hegelian in origin. He suggested that these had now become an obstacle to the further development of Marxism, and set himself the task of undertaking a philosophical reading of Marx, Engels and Lenin, especially Marx’s major work Capital, attempting to elucidate a theory of theoretical practice. Since such a theory was not articulated explicitly, the texts would need to be read ‘symptomatically’, to detect symptoms which might point to the theory at work in a practical way. If the theory had not been supplied by Marx, it could certainly not be taken from Hegel or Feuerbach. Althusser consequently drew from Spinoza’srationalism, Freudian psychoanalysis and Saussurean structural linguistics to provide usable concepts. Althusser began with the concept of contradiction. The Hegelian notion of a struggle of opposites was replaced by the notion of a process of production, in which a raw material of some kind was transformed into a product by some process of transformation involving human work, or practice, and an appropriate means of production. In societies, or social formations, there are four main processes of production, each with many subsidiary processes: they are the economic, political, ideological and theoretical practices. These practices are highly interlocking in that each is conditioned by all the others, a situation which he designated ‘overdetermination’, borrowing from Freud’s analysis of dream images. Contradictions, or transformations, in one level of practice might transfer to or condense in another, and if contradictions in several or all practices came to fuse together, then a general transformation or revolution would be likely to ensue. The concept of overdetermination was presented as a more complex, and more rigorous, basis for the analysis of history than the Hegelian dialectic it replaced, and contained a different conception of causality. The linear cause-and-effect principle of classical physics, and the expressive causality of the Hegelian dialectic, were replaced by a structural causality in which a particular event is not determined by an earlier event or a more fundamental event, but is overdetermined by a structure of practices to which it belongs. There is no centre to the structure, and since practices develop unevenly, one of them is dominant in the structure at a given time, though none is permanently so. Even economic practice has no permanent domination, though it has the special power of determining which practice does dominate. This is Althusser’s version of the base-andsuperstructure model of society, reformulated to give greater relative autonomy to the superstructures, which no longer merely reflect the economic base. Thus, although economic developments are determinant in the last instance, there is no moment at which they abruptly take over, and so ‘the lonely hour of the last instance never comes’. Althusser’s model was crowned in effect by philosophy (designated as Theory, or the theory of theoretical practice) which had the role of ensuring the coherence and rigour of other theories (and their corresponding practices), and therefore appeared as a science of sciences. Criticized for his theoreticism, he devoted most of his writings after 1968 to self-criticism in which a series of retreats from ‘high’ Althusserian positions was accompanied by further conceptual innovations. Three of these may be mentioned as particularly influential. First, he advanced an alternative conception of philosophy as class struggle in theory, and as a weapon in the revolution. This suggested that its role was to ensure the theoretical correctness of political practice and the political correctness of theory. Second, he redefined the dialectic of history as a process without a subject or a goal, as opposed to the Hegelian dialectic which was both humanist, in seeing human existence as the subject of history, and ideological, in seeing history as advancing purposefully towards some final end. And third, he offered an account of ideology as the necessary illusion of a lived relationship between individuals and their circumstances. In this, he argued that most of the apparatuses of a modern state are primarily ideological, rather than repressive, in that their main function is to elicit the consent of the governed. People are incorporated into these ideological state apparatuses by the effect, which all ideology has, of calling on individuals to recognize themselves as subjects, in the sense both of being persons responsible for themselves and of being subordinated to an authority. His analysis of ideology has been widely adopted in critical theory and political philosophy internationally. Of the philosophers who have continued Althusser’s work, three are particularly worthy of note. Etienne Balibar developed a critique of the abandonment, in France and elsewhere, of the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and has applied Althusserian analysis to issues of nation, race and class. Pierre Macherey developed a theory of how literature is produced, rather than created, and reveals the contradictions which ideology serves to conceal. He also advocated an appropriation of Spinozist conceptions by Marxism in preference to Hegelian ideas. Georges Labica re-examined Marx’s early writings, criticizing the simplistic schema of his adoption of English political economy, French socialism and German philosophy, and arguing that he finally succeeded in escaping from philosophical mystifications only by substantially abandoning philosophy in favour of a science of history. Labica is also the major French instigator of academic research into the history of Marxist thought. Althusser’s ideas remained oppositional on the French left, partly because of his political disagreements with the French Communist Party, of which he was a member, and partly because non-communist critics tended to view his enterprise as an attempt to rescue Stalinist conceptions. His name was largely erased from public discussion after 1980 when he killed his wife, in a bout of his recurrent psychiatric disorder. None the less, many of his ideas became common currency in Marxist philosophy, and have had widespread influence particularly in literary and cultural criticism. Paradoxically, his onslaught against Hegel also had the effect of stimulating renewed interest in Hegelian studies in France. Several Marxist philosophers responded to the challenge by carefully re-examining the concepts which had come through Hegel. Jacques D’Hondt sought to rehabilitate the progressive content of Hegel’s own life and thought. Solange Mercier-Josa argued that it was productive to look at the original Hegelian versions of Marx’s main concepts so as to grasp the originality of his reworking of them, and also perhaps to retrieve some useful Hegelian concepts which Marx neglected to rework. Perhaps the most comprehensive of the attempts to find a synthesis in the Hegelian style is the work of Lucien Sève. In a series of studies, culminating in a compendious work, An Introduction to Marxist Philosophy (1980), Sève sought to systematize the concept of contradiction, suggesting that the distinction between antagonistic and non-antagonistic forms should not exclude their mutual interpenetration. He maintained the Hegelian distinction between objective and subjective dialectics and consequently between real historical development and the logical ordering of concepts with which to grasp it, while at the same time affirming the dialectical relationship between them. Sève also argued that Marxist materialism, understood as a scientific approach to knowledge rather than as a political ideology, was not specifically atheistic and should be open to learning from what religious thought expressed in intuitive or imaginative terms. The breadth and erudition of Marxist philosophy in the 1960s and 1970s made it one of the dominant currents in French and European intellectual life, with a strong place in the schools and universities, as well as in political discourse. Towards the end of the seventies it began to run out of steam, under a combination of pressures which included the alternative attraction of other schools of thought (feminism, poststructuralist, psychoanalysis, ecology, spiritualism and postmodernism), as well as shifts in national politics and the accelerating decline of communism internationally. A variety of strategies was proposed to rejuvenate Marxism, including the incorporation of Italian Gramscian and Anglo-Saxon analytical versions of Marxism, but more often including eclectical borrowings from non-Marxist currents. Perhaps most significant was the impact of questioning from various quarters as to the need for, or legitimacy of, such a comprehensive intellectual enterprise (or master-narrative) as Marxism had historically undertaken. It was a question which struck an undeniable chord with intellectuals who were increasingly working without reference to a real or imagined Marxist collectivity (state, party or professional grouping) which could give a communal identity or an institutional basis to their thought. As a result, Marxist philosophy was in serious disarray even before the historical events of 1989 plunged it into catastrophe. CONCLUSION Since the present study is undertaken in the perspective of ‘continental philosophy’, it would not be appropriate to conclude without evoking the implied standpoint of the observer, that is, the philosophy of the English-speaking world, and in particular of the British Isles. The supposition that continental philosophy is something which happens elsewhere, on a real or imagined continent of Europe, indicates the extent to which the dominant currents of English-speaking philosophy have sought to isolate their intellectual traditions from foreign influences. In practice, English-speaking academic philosophy has been deeply engaged with continental European philosophers, even though they have often, like Popper or Wittgenstein, been regarded as honorary English philosophers. The strategy of exclusion implied by the term ‘continental’ serves to keep out undesirables, of which the least desirable has generally been the Marxist tradition. Until recent times, the exclusion of Marxism from at least academic philosophy has been largely complete, with the result that it has fallen to other disciplines, particularly literary and cultural studies, sociology, politics, history, geography and archaeology, to introduce continental Marxist philosophers to English-speaking intellectuals. Marxism-Leninism was given some currency through the agency of communist parties, whose small size tended to exacerbate their dependence on Moscow. But for most of the period from the 1920s to the 1960s its influence was confined to the trade union movement. During the 1930s a small number of intellectuals were attracted to communism, and one of them, Christopher Caudwell, might have founded an indigenous Marxism in Britain had he not been killed fighting for the Republic in Spain. Later, Maurice Cornforth (1909–80) was an effective exponent of Marxist-Leninist philosophy, applying it in polemics against Popperian positivism and linguistic philosophy during the 1960s, and began to formulate a more critical view of Marxism shortly before his death. During the 1970s, English-speaking communist parties, in rapid decline, divided between Marxist-Leninists and Eurocommunists, who took Gramsci as their main philosophical inspiration. During the 1960s a strong interest in Marxism emerged in the New Left groupings which were founded by dissident communists and Trotskyists. They drew on the non- Marxist-Leninist writings which were being published in France and Italy. The American journal Telos and the English journal New Left Review, and its publishing house, played a major role in the cultural, political and historical fields, in translating and introducing the work of Marxists who have been discussed above. From the early 1970s, the journal Radical Philosophy played a similar role with particular emphasis on philosophical discussion, by no means all Marxist. The growth of a flourishing English-speaking Marxist culture was visible from the 1960s with the emergence of literary and cultural critics like Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, Terry Eagleton and Fredric Jameson, and historians such as E.P. Thompson, Christopher Hill, Eric Hobsbawm and Perry Anderson, among others. Philosophy proved more resistant to Marxist influence, though it is visible in the philosophy of science, particularly in the work of Roy Bhaskar, whose theory of scientific realism was linked to a project of general human emancipation. More ambitious and influential has been the work of Jon Elster and G.A.Cohen, who have attempted to reformulate the main principles of Marxism in terms of analytical philosophy. The confrontation of Marx with Popper, Keynes and Austin produces insights which are refreshing within the analytical tradition and challenging to Hegelian dialectics. The reconciliation is inevitably incomplete, however, and involves rejecting much of Marx’s socialism and historical materialism. English-speaking Marxist theory has developed in relative dissociation from powerful Marxist political movements. It has keenly observed such movements abroad, but their domestic counterparts have been either far left groups with marginal influence or mainstream parties with little commitment to particular doctrines. Its academic detachment has to some extent insulated it from the debacle of communism in 1989. That year did not bring Marxist philosophy to an end, but it does provide a convenient point at which to end the narrative of its history. Though it is always rash to extend history so far towards the present that it cannot be seen at any historical distance, 1989 is mainly significant in that the collapse of communism, symbolized by the breaching of the Berlin Wall, was a turning point in international history heavy with consequences for Marxist philosophy. While some English-speaking writers have continued to feel at ease in a broadly Marxist moral and philosophical framework, the political fall-out of 1989 has impelled others to take a more sympathetic view of other alternatives. This latter tendency is also encouraged by the increasingly chill winds blowing from the continent on unreconstructed Marxism. Marxist philosophy has generally been distinguished by its close relationship to its social context, and in particular to the institutional forms through which its practical and political orientation is mediated. In its most institutional form, Marxism-Leninism, it became inextricably tied to the Soviet state and to the network of communist parties and client states which pledged their allegiance to it, including mutatis mutandis the Chinese variant. To a large extent, it has collapsed with the states and parties which sustained it, and, in Europe at least, writings in this tradition are now unreadable, except as historical docu-ments, or as liturgy for the fragmented groups of old believers who continue to keep the faith. The question which remains posed is how far this erasure will affect other Marxist traditions which have been outlined in the present chapter. The answer can as yet be only speculative, but it is probable that the future of Marxism as an identifiable philosophy will depend on the persistence or emergence of states, groupings or movements which can provide a plausible institutional basis for the imperative to change the world as well as interpreting it. It is unlikely for the foreseeable future that any individual state will provide such a basis, and the calamities which have overtaken those which did so in the past will more probably serve as a counter-example. Similarly the health and influence of those political parties which still claim the name communist or Marxist suggests that they are scarcely better placed. If the link between theory and practice is taken seriously, then the failure of practice must call into question the validity of the theory. It is only a partial defence to argue that the previous practical implementation of the theory was deficient, since that accepts a substantive severance of the link. If the chief originality of Marxism is that it claimed to have the means to put its theory into practice, then it has largely lost that originality. An attenuated commitment to change would effectively place Marxism in the same position as any of a number of philosophies which express moral or social imperatives with general hortatory effect. Viewed in this light, it becomes less important to set precise limits on what may be called Marxism. For most of its history, Marxist philosophy has had an active and influential place as a strand in many currents of thought. Some, like the Frankfurt school, took it as a starting point; some, like the French existentialists, attempted to marry it with another tradition; and some, like the structuralists, accepted it as one element feeding into their theory. There is no reason to suppose that the process of intellectual cross-fertilization is likely to come abruptly to an end. The loss of a distinct and coherent tradition of Marxist philosophy would in some respects liberate its proponents from their obligations to a collectivity, and perhaps also from the authority of a canon. In other respects, however, it would remove a point of reference and an identity, which has had the unusual role of forming common links between the different cultural and intellectual environments of Europe whether western, central or eastern, and of opening them out to a wider world outside. The resistance to overarching world-views or master narratives is no doubt in part a response to the constricting effects of international Marxism especially in its dogmatic forms. In a world where postmodernism is setting the intellectual and cultural agenda, there may be a role for a humanist post-Marxism which retained its varieties and its international dimensions without proclaiming the necessity or authority to synthesize them. But if Benjamin’s angel of history is still being driven by the storm from paradise, it is unlikely to linger over the debris that it leaves behind, and it remains to be seen how much of Marxist philosophy will survive from the wreckage. BIBLIOGRAPHY The following is a list of some of the relevant texts published in English. It is divided into primary texts and critical texts, though in the nature of the subject, the distinction between the two is in some respects arbitrary. Primary texts 7.1 Althusser, L. Essays in Ideology, London: Verso, 1984. 7.2 Althusser, L. Essays in Self-criticism, London: New Left Books, 1976. 7.3 Althusser, L. For Marx, London: Verso, 1990. 7.4 Althusser, L. Reading Capital, London: New Left Books, 1970. 7.5 Balibar, E. and Wallerstein, I. Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities, London: Verso, 1991. 7.6 Benjamin, W. Charles Baudelaire, a Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism, London: New Left Books, 1972. 7.7 Benjamin, W. Illuminations, London: Jonathan Cape, 1970. 7.8 Bhaskar, R. Dialectic, London: Verso, 1992. 7.9 Bhaskar, R. Scientific Realism and Human Emancipation, London: Verso, 1986. 7.10 Bloch, E. The Principle of Hope, 3 vols, Oxford: Blackwell, 1986. 7.11 Colletti, L. From Rousseau to Lenin, London: New Left Books, 1972. 7.12 Colletti, L. Marxism and Hegel, London: New Left Books, 1973. 7.13 Cornforth, M. Communism and Philosophy, London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1980. 7.14 Cornforth, M. The Open Philosophy and the Open Society, London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1968. 7.15 Della Volpe, G. Critique of Taste, London: New Left Books, 1978. 7.16 Della Volpe, G. Rousseau and Marx and Other Writings, London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1978. 7.17 Engels, F. Anti-Dühring, London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1975. 7.18 Engels, F. Dialectics of Nature, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1972. 7.19 Garaudy, R. Marxism in the Twentieth Century, London, 1970. 7.20 Garaudy, R. The Turning Point of Socialism, London, 1970. 7.21 Goldmann, L. The Hidden God, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1964. 7.22 Goldmann, L. The Human Sciences and Philosophy, London: Jonathan Cape, 1969. 7.23 Gramsci, A. Letters from Prison, ed. L.Lawner, New York: Harper & Row, 1973. 7.24 Gramsci, A. Selections from his Cultural Writings, ed. D.Forgacs and G. Nowell- Smith, London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1985. 7.25 Gramsci, A. Selections from the Prison Notebooks, ed. Quintin Hoare and G.Nowell-Smith, London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1971. 7.26 Ilyenkov, E.V. Dialectical Logic: Essays in its History and Theory, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977. 7.27 Konstantinov, F.V. (ed.) The Fundamentals of Marxist-Leninist Philosophy, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1974. 7.28 Korsch, K. Marxism and Philosophy, London: New Left Books, 1970. 7.29 Labriola, A. Essays on the Materialist Conception of History, Chicago: Charles H.Kerr, 1908. 7.30 Lenin, V.I. Collected Works, London: Lawrence & Wishart; Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1972. Volume 18 contains Materialism and Empiriocriticism, and volume 38 contains his Philosophical Notebooks. 7.31 Lefebvre, H. Critique of Everyday Life, London: Verso, 1991. 7.32 Lefebvre, J. Dialectical Materialism, London: Jonathan Cape, 1968, 7.33 Lukács, G. The Destruction of Reason, London: Merlin, 1980. 7.34 Lukács, G. History and Class Consciousness, London: Merlin, 1971. 7.35 Lukács, G. The Ontology of Social Being, 3 vols, London: Merlin, 1978–80. 7.36 Macherey, P. A Theory of Literary Production, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978. 7.37 Mao Tse-tung, Four Essays on Philosophy, Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1966. 7.38 Mao Tse-tung, Selected Works, vols 1–4, Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1967–9. 7.39 Marx, K. Selected Writings, ed. D.McLellan, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977. 7.40 Marx, K. and Engels, F. Basic Writings on Politics and Philosophy, ed. by L. S.Feuer, London: Fontana, 1969. 7.41 Marx, K., and Engels, F. Collected Works, London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1975–. About two-thirds of the planned fifty volumes have now appeared. 7.42 Oizerman, T.I. The Making of the Marxist Philosophy, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1981. 7.43 Plekhanov, G.V. Selected Philosophical Works, 5 vols, London: Lawrence & Wishart; Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1974. Volume 1 contains The Development of the Monist View of History. 7.44 Roemer, J. (ed.) Analytical Marxism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986. 7.45 Timpanaro, S. On Materialism, London: New Left Books, 1975. Critical texts 7.46 Acton, H.B. The Illusion of the Epoch, London: Cohen & West, 1955. 7.47 Anderson, P. Considerations on Western Marxism, London: New Left Books, 1976. 7.48 Anderson, P. Arguments within English Marxism, London: Verso, 1980. 7.49 Avinieri, S. Varieties of Marxism, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1977. 7.50 Benton, T. The Rise and Fall of Structural Marxism, London: Macmillan, 1984. 7.51 Berki, R.N. The Genesis of Marxism, London: Dent, 1988. 7.52 Berlin, I. Karl Marx, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978. 7.53 Boggs, C. Gramsci’s Marxism, London: Pluto Press, 1976. 7.54 Borkenau, F. European Communism, London: Faber, 1953. 7.55 Borkenau, F. World Communism,University of Michigan Press, 1962. 7.56 Bottomore, T. (ed.) A Dictionary of Marxist Thought, London: Blackwell, 1983. 7.57 Callinicos, A. Althusser’s Marxism, London: Pluto Press, 1976. 7.58 Callinicos, A. Marxism and Philosophy, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983. 7.59 Carver, T. Marx and Engels, London: Wheatsheaf Books, 1983. 7.60 Caute, D. Communism and the French Intellectuals, London: Macmillan, 1964. 7.61 Caute, D. The Fellow-travellers, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1973. 7.62 De George, R.T. Patterns of Soviet Thought, Ann Arbor, 1966. 7.63 De George, R.T. The New Marxism, New York, 1968. 7.64 Derfler, L. Paul Lafargue and the Founding of French Marxism, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1991. 7.65 Deutscher, I. Stalin: A Political Biography, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1966. 7.66 Deutscher, I. Marxism in Our Time, London: Jonathan Cape, 1972. 7.67 Eagleton, T. Walter Benjamin, or Towards a Revolutionary Criticism, London: Verso, 1981. 7.68 Elliott, G. Althusser, the Detour of Theory, London: Verso, 1987. 7.69 Evans, M. Lucien Goldmann, Brighton: Harvester Press, 1981. 7.70 Fiori, G. Antonio Gramsci: Life of a Revolutionary, London: New Left Books, 1970. 7.71 German, R.A. (ed.) A Biographical Dictionary of Neo-Marxism, Westport: Greenwood Press, 1985. 7.72 Hirsh, A. The French New Left, Boston: South End Press, 1981. 7.73 Holub, R. Antonio Gramsci: Beyond Marxism and Postmodernism, London: Routledge, 1992. 7.74 Hudson, W. The Marxist Philosophy of Ernst Bloch, London: Macmillan, 1982. 7.75 Hunt, I. Analytical and Dialectical Marxism, London: Avebury, 1993. 7.76 Hyppolite, J. Studies on Marx and Hegel, New York, 1969. 7.77 Jacoby, R. Dialectic of Defeat: The Contours of Western Marxism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981. 7.78 Jameson, F. Marxism and Form, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971. 7.79 Judt, T. Marxism and the French Left, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986. 7.80 Kelly, M. Modern French Marxism, Oxford: Blackwell, 1982. 7.81 Kolakowski, L. Main Currents of Marxism, 3 vols, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978. 7.82 Labedz, L. Revisionism: Essays on the History of Marxist Ideas, London and New York, 1961. 7.83 Leonhard, W. The Three Faces of Marxism, New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1974. 7.84 Lichtheim, G. Marxism in Modern France, London and New York: Columbia University Press, 1966. 7.85 Lichtheim, G. Marxism, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 3rd impression, 1967. 7.86 Lichtheim, G. Lukács, London: Fontana, 1970. 7.87 Lukes, S. Marxism and Morality, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985. 7.88 MacIntyre, S. A Proletarian Science: Marxism in Britain 1917–1933, London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1986. 7.89 Matthews, B. (ed.) Marx 100 Years on, London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1983. 7.90 Merquior, J.G. Western Marxism, London: Paladin, 1986. 7.91 Mészáros, I. Lukács’ Concept of Dialectic, London: Merlin, 1972. 7.92 Mouffe, C. (ed.) Gramsci and Marxist Theory, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979. 7.93 Poster, M. Existential Marxism in Postwar France, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975. 7.94 Rossi-Landi. F. Marxism and Ideology, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990. 7.95 Scanlan, J.P. Marxism in the USSR, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985. 7.96 Schram, S.R. Mao Tse-tung, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1966. 7.97 Schram, S.R. The Political Thought of Mao Tse-tung, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1969. 7.98 Sowell, T. Marxism, Philosophy and Economics, London, George Allen & Unwin, 1985. 7.99 Tismaneaunu, V. The Crisis of Marxist Ideology in Eastern Europe, London: Croom Helm, 1988. 7.100 Wetter, G. Dialectical Materialism, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1958.

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