Karl Marx and Intersectionality

Kevin B. Anderson

Anderson_Marx_400Wx300HThe concept of intersectionality is used to examine Marx’s theory of race and class during the US Civil War, his writings on gender, and their relationship to the work of the founders of US Marxst-Humanism, Raya Dunayevskaya and Charles Denby. This includes their differences with C.L.R. James as discussed in Jacqueline Jones’s recent book on race. Originally appeared in Logos 14:1 (Winter 2015) – Editors


(Persian Translation)
(Spanish Translation)


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  1. Daniel Read

    Fantastic exposition. I had no idea, however, of Marx’s comments on John Brown and the possibility of a slave insurrection. I’m currently reading Settlers by J. Sakai, and whilst the author is of course politically divergent from Marxist Humanism, I’d still appreciate it if anyone has any links to material on Marx’s views on John Brown.

  2. Kevin Anderson

    Thanks, Daniel.

    To my knowledge, Marx did not refer to John Brown again after that intriguing letter to Engels evoking the possibility of a “slave revolution” and comparing events in the US to the emancipation of the serfs in Russia.

    One has to remember that his Civil War writings are often very fragmentary, as he had few outlets for his political journalism after the Tribune dropped him due to its need to concentrate on domestic affairs, and before the International was founded in fall 1864.

    However, he did from time to time refer to slave uprisings. One interesting case is in his unpublished notes from around 1879 on Karl Buecher’s book on plebeian and slave uprisings in Rome. There, Marx deplores the failure of the free plebs to support the slaves, comparing their attitude toward the slaves to that of the “poor whites” of the US South. He also hinted at this point in his famous 1877 letter to to the Russian journal Otechestvennye Zapiski [Notes of the Fatherland].

    Whether in Rome, the Britain/Ireland, or the US, he pointed to blockages that prevented class solidarity among the oppressed, while at the same time viewing such solidarity as a dialectical possibility. That, anyway, is what I argue in Marx at the Margins. (As to Rome, I don’t do so there because those notes are not yet published and cannot be quoted. They will eventually appear in MEGA IV/27.)

  3. Daniel Read

    Thanks for getting back to me, cheers!