EPILOGUE

Multiple Marxes

There have always been multiple Marxes, and each one is a product of a reading strategy. A reading strategy involves a choice of texts in a biographical frame, philosophical presuppositions about language and meaning, and political purpose - whether acknowledged or not. As there were multiple Marxes, so there were multiple debates. By now these have long sedimented into further layers of text and tradition that readers must address. While Marx may have thought that he could scorn the issue by saying that he was 'not a Marxist', he nonetheless left behind a vast legacy of works and writings of very different sorts, advising against any 'master-key' to history, yet jotting down an enigmatic 'guide for my studies'. 1 This has set the stage for a modern patristics concerned with orthodoxy and revisionism, Leninism and Social Democracy, the Frankfurt School, Gramsci and Althusser, rational-choice and analytical Marxists, 'the return of the political' in discourse theory and the 'society of the spectacle' in late capitalism. This list is of course just a selection. Rather than recount these familiar themes and add yet more variations, I have tried to do something rather different. This has entailed looking carefully at what these famous debates actually are - what narrative structure is invoked in this debating process — and offering an alternative to readers who think they might be interested in Marx. That is what is signalled in the title The Postmodern Marx.

Generally such debates have been conducted from positions of assumed authority and had a trajectory towards closure and exclusion, or to put it simply, 'We're right and you're wrong'. While it is difficult

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