Introduction to Marxist Theory

Introduction to Marxist Theory

Introduction to Marxist Theory

Introduction to Marxist Theory

Excerpt

Marxism may be studied today for at least two good reasons. In the first place, Marx was one of those pioneers, like Darwin or Freud, who changed the tenor of man's thought; and every student of history and society must sooner or later come to terms with him. His work may be riddled with ambiguities and inconsistencies, but it remains one of the landmarks of human thought, and the critical appraisal of any great system is one way of extending our knowledge. Marx's insight was never so constructive as it was analytic and critical; and certainly his influence has not been wholly beneficial. Yet much the same could be said of the founders of many other systems.

There is a second, but no less important, reason for studying Marxism. Marx's theories have often been refuted, but they are now the official beliefs of a third of the world's population. Hence-- to discuss them systematically is no mere academic diversion: urgent questions of domestic and international policy compel us to inquire into what the communist part of the world believes, or professes to believe. The democrat ought to know the case of his chief opponent, its strength and its weakness. To reject communism is not enough; it must be rejected soberly, and on the right grounds, with knowledge of what it does and does not contain.

To explain Marxism has naturally involved an examination of the writings of both Marx and Engels, since it is from these two men, joint authors of the Communist Manifesto in 1848, that the ideas of modern communism are largely derived. If our study . . .

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