username wrote:In the last half century we have had a few great German experts on Marx as well as a noted Italian but mainly a number of great French intellectuals who redefined what Marx said such as Louis Althusser, and they all disagreed with each other on a number of issues and their areas of interest too. They can not all be called Marxists as many did not call themselves that, but had insightful things to say. The only noted American theoretician has been Chomsky. Most of them are dead now but there is currently a consensus that Marx, primarily a historian/ideolog first and philosopher second, would have changed a lot of his ideas. This is more realistic as he was quite intelligent.
Like many involved in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, Marx and Marxism loomed large in my earlier history, and I continue to have a healthy respect for Marx. At the risk of going badly off-topic, I therefore feel bound to disagree with you. In Marxian terms, "ideology" is not a happy term; and Marx, who focused on an analysis of the capitalist mode of production and of the ideology associated with the bourgeoisie, was a counter-ideologist in his own terms. Much of his work -- the Grundrisse
, the three volumes of Capital
, and his notes for a fourth volume of Capital
, Theories of Surplus Value
, itself published posthumously in three formidable volumes, is on economics. He is an economist in the classical tradition, whose work develops the economic theories of David Ricardo in particular, and his analysis of simple reproduction, expanded reproduction and of the capitalist business cycle are all seminal. He has been much maligned since the vaunted "defeat of Communism", but the current obviously structural crisis of global capitalism suggests that his analysis of capitalism is not that far off the mark. Contrary to popular belief, he did not offer an analysis of socialist economics, and certainly offered no theory of communist economics. In strictly Marxist terms, it is questionable whether there has been a properly realised socialism in the world yet, and there most certainly has not been a realised post-capitalist communism.
I'm not sure who the experts on Marx to whom you refer were, apart from Althusser. The noted Italian of whom you are thinking was probably Gramsci, who died a lot longer than half a century ago. Given the timeframe you set, I'd guess that the German experts are the Frankfurt School. Your noted American theoretician of Marxism, Noam Chomsky, is actually not a Marxist as far as I know. An American theorist of Marxism who comes to mind is the late Paul Sweezy, who was an extremely competent economist and was probably the leading student of the late Joseph Schumpeter, a conservative economist who rightly admired Marx. Some of Schumpeter's most important work focuses on analysis of the capitalist business cycle in which Marx's work was seminal, as I have noted; and Schumpeter draws upon the work of others, such as the early Soviet economist Nikolai Kondratieff, whose long waves of capitalist development (called "Kondratiev Waves") may well shed significant light on the current plight of the global economy. For a sense of the economic heart of Marx's work and the way it was developed later, you could do worse than to read Paul Sweezy, The Theory of Capitalist Development
, which is probably still published by Monthly Review. I'd suggest that you spend time dipping into the Marxist Internet Library, at http://www.marxists.org
, for a better portrait of Marx's works, Marxian theorists and the many strands of Marxist theory.
Truth is truth is truth. Commitment to Dharma surely entails intellectual integrity in this regard as well -- not oversimplifying, and giving credit where credit is due.