• Marx, Praxis and Socialism from Below

    Peter Critchley (see profile)
    Marx, Karl, 1818-1883, Communism, Socialism, Politics and government, Sociology
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    Marx, Karl Marx, Marxism, Politics
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    This thesis distinguishes between a scientistic-deterministic Marxism and a critical-emancipatory Marxism in order to establish Marx within the tradition of socialism from below, a conception which affirms the principle of self-emancipation. The thesis argues that Marx developed the most powerful practical critique of the capital system that exists. I shall demonstrate that the point of Marx's emancipatory project was to facilitate the recovery of human subjectivity from behind the alienated forms through which sociability has come to be expressed, thus affirming conscious, creative human agency in a self-made social world. I shall further argue that Marx could only go so far conceptually and theoretically so as to leave the space for the reality creating constitutive power of praxis. I shall argue that Marx belongs to the tradition of ‘socialism from below’, a tradition which emphasises democratisation as a process based upon the principle of self-emancipation. This tradition is defined against the tradition of ‘socialism from above’. I argue that the abandonment of the principle and the practice of self-emancipation lies behind the distortions and deviations of Marxism in the twentieth century. To demonstrate this clearly it is necessary but not sufficient to expose the failures of party political and state socialism. The thesis, therefore, also identifies some deep-rooted conceptual problems in the Marxist tradition, highlighting those principles which remain pertinent to emancipatory struggles in the modern world. Marx is shown to have made the move from theory to practical struggles in order to transform the world from within its own material sphere. Marxism can, in this sense, reclaim its relevance as a viable emancipatory-revolutionary project capable of being a factor in the transformation of society. And it is as such that Marxism remains the most intellectually and politically cogent hope we have in the struggle against the rule of capital.
    Doctoral research
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    5 years ago
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