How to Change the World: Reflections on Marx and Marxism
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Eric Hobsbawm provides a fascinating and insightful overview of Marxism. He investigates its influences and analyses the spectacular reversal of Marxism's fortunes over the past thirty years.
discouraged to make much of this anniversary. I recall my amazement when I was approached by the editor of the inflight magazine of United Airlines, 80% of whose readers must be American business travellers. I’d written a piece on the Manifesto; he thought his readers would be interested in a debate on the Manifesto, and could he use something 5 How to Change the World from my piece? I was even more amazed when, at lunch some time around the turn of the century, George Soros asked me what I
This is the first of Engels’ pioneering achievements, for the Condition is probably the earliest large work whose analysis is systematically based on the concept of the Industrial Revolution, which was then novel and tentative, having only been invented in British and French 91 How to Change the World socialist discussions during the 1820s. Engels’ historical account of this transformation lays no claim to historical originality. Though still useful, it has been superseded by later and fuller
concerned – as in the Preface to the Critique – to establish the general mechanism of all social change: the formation of social relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of development of the material forces of production; the periodic development of conflicts between the forces and relations of production; the ‘epochs of social revolution’ in which the relations once again adjust themselves to the level of the forces. This general analysis does not imply any statement about
anything, it was more in line with the general run of Karl Marx’s own thought. The case against the Soviet experiment was not that socialism could only be constructed after the whole world had first gone capitalist, which is not what Marx said, or can be firmly claimed to have believed. It was empirical. It was that Russia was too backward to produce anything other than a caricature of a socialist society – ‘a Chinese empire in red’ as Plekhanov is said to have warned. In 1917 this would have
Stalin in the Short Course of 1938.5 The text had some influence among the then rapidly growing number of Marxist natural scientists. Of the Marx–Engels correspondence with third parties, which constituted probably the largest single body of unpublished Marxian material other than notes, relatively little had been published before 1914, partly in periodicals, partly as collections or selections of letters to individual correspondents, such as the Briefe und Auszüge aus Briefen von Joh. Phil.