Marx and the Marxists: The Ambiguous Legacy

Marx and the Marxists: The Ambiguous Legacy

Marx and the Marxists: The Ambiguous Legacy

Marx and the Marxists: The Ambiguous Legacy


This volume of exposition, comment, and readings is offered as an introduction to the study of the theory and practice of Marxism. Obviously it cannot be comprehensive in scope or exhaustive in its analysis. Some currents of thought, for example, syndicalism and guild socialism, which have had only peripheral relations with the main streams of Marxist tradition, have not been considered because of the short compass of the work. I have sought only to lay before the reader the chief issues which have divided Marxists from non-Marxists and Marxists from each other.

The development of Marxism as a movement has resulted in some peculiar paradoxes which make it difficult to retain traditional conceptual formulations. Where Marxism as a movement has triumphed, as in the Soviet Union, its socialist ideals have failed or have been betrayed; where it has failed as a movement, as in the West, its ideals have made considerable headway. It seems as if history itself has been guilty of lèse-Marxism.

Events of the last twenty-five years or so have shown how important a knowledge of the ideas and movements discussed in this book is to an intelligent appreciation of political affairs. It is safe to say that had Roosevelt and Churchill and their advisors been better informed of them they would have been better prepared for the Soviet strategy of the cold war. The wages of ignorance may very well be the loss of freedom.

The most a book of this kind can do is to arouse the interest of the reader to a point where he is curious to find out more about the subject it treats. Whether it is successful in this respect each reader, of course, will judge for himself.


April, 1955 . . .

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