On Marx: Revolutionary and Utopian

On Marx: Revolutionary and Utopian

by Alan Ryan
     
 

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A lucid introduction to the philosophical complexities and the practical limits of the political thought of Karl Marx.
When Karl Marx was buried at Highgate Cemetery in North London in 1883, his longtime friend and collaborator, Friedrich Engels, remarked that he was "above all a revolutionary." For Marx, the struggle to accurately describe or interpret the

Overview

A lucid introduction to the philosophical complexities and the practical limits of the political thought of Karl Marx.
When Karl Marx was buried at Highgate Cemetery in North London in 1883, his longtime friend and collaborator, Friedrich Engels, remarked that he was "above all a revolutionary." For Marx, the struggle to accurately describe or interpret the world in rational terms was not enough; the point of politics and philosophy was not to diagnose human society but to change it. According to Marx, history was defined by class conflict, with the state heretofore existing as a medium through which the ruling classes can exploit the labor of the productive classes. Only through revolution could true self-government be achieved with the ultimate goal of achieving a stateless, self-administering society free of coercive law, police, and military forces. Marx spent most of his adult life dedicated to uniting the radical working-class movements of Europe around this central idea.
In On Marx, Alan Ryan examines Marx's political and economic philosophy within the Victorian context of Marx's own life and times as well as glancing forward to the uses and abuses of his ideas by his many successors. Tracing Marx's influences from Hegel to Feuerbach, from French socialism to British political economy, and documenting his ideological battles with his contemporaries, Ryan provides a sterling explication and critique of Marx’s theories of alienation, surplus value, class struggle, and revolution. Situating Marx into the framework of everyday politics is never easy, but this one volume provides the clearest, most accessible introduction to Marx's theories in recent years.On Marx: Revolutionary and Utopian features:• a chronology of Karl Marx's life• an introduction and text by Alan Ryan that provides crucial context and cogent analysis• key excerpts from: "Notes on James Mill," The German Ideology, "Theses on Feuerbach," The Communist Manifesto, Capital, The Civil War in France, and Critique of the Gotha Program

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
04/14/2014
Ryan (On Politics) provides a lucid and concise primer on Marx’s life and thought, with background on Marx’s philosophy, and analysis of the idea “that Marxism was derived from German philosophy, British political economy, and French socialism,” especially the work of Ludwig Feuerbach. Feuerbach brought to light “the illusory quality of religious belief,” leading Marx to the revolutionary notion that to get rid of such illusions, “we must change the society that produces them.” Marx fled Germany for Paris, where he met Frederich Engels, then London. From these sources Marx developed his theory of history as one of conflict between classes, mainly workers whose labor creates goods, and owners who control the means of producing goods. These two groups are always after different ends, and are only just barely able to work together. At those times when they can no longer work together, revolution occurs and a new stage in history breaks forth. In addition to excerpts from The Communist Manifesto, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, Critique of the Gotha Programme, and Civl War in France to show Marx’s evolution as a thinker, Ryan also offers a historical and personal timeline to contextualize Marx’s works. Part of a Liveright series of titles by Ryan. Agent: Jennifer Weltz, JVNLA Inc. (Aug.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780871407931
Publisher:
Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
08/11/2014
Series:
Liveright Classics Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
412,629
Product dimensions:
4.70(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.10(d)

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Meet the Author

Alan Ryan was warden of New College, Oxford University, where he was a professor of political theory. He is the author of John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism, Bertrand Russell: A Political Life, and On Politics: A History of Political Thought from Herodotus to the Present.

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