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London Marx’s Late Writings: Theories of revolutionary change and of alternatives to capitalism

The London chapter of the International Marxist-Humanist Organization invites our members and all interested friends to this public event.

Speaker: Kevin B. Anderson

Chair: Gilbert Achcar

In his last years, Karl Marx (1818-83) sketches three types of revolutionary change, each of them different from the united working class uprising that forms the conclusion of the first volume of Capital. Important as that rigorously dialectical, though  abstract model is, it does not deal with race, colonialism, gender, the state, or other concrete factors discussed in some of his other writings, especially his late – largely unpublished – writings. (1) In 1869-70, Marx speculated that a British workers uprising might be sparked by one in Ireland led by the peasant-based Fenian nationalist movement. Inside Britain, English chauvinism and prejudice towards the Irish blunted working class solidarity and retarded formation of class consciousness. (These Marx writings build upon those of the 1860s on race, class, and revolution during the US Civil War.)  (2) In his 1877-82 writings on Russia, Marx suggests that resistance in its communal villages against capitalist encroachments could lead to a form of modern communism, if this resistance could link up with the Western European labor movement.  On Algeria, India, and Latin America, his notes on communal village structures and anti-colonial resistance imply something similar, and also take up gender in a serious way.  (3) During the 1870s, Marx clarifies and deepens his concept of communism in the German and French editions of Capital (1867-75), in the Civil War in France (1871), and in the Critique of the Gotha Program (1875), where he sketches non-statist forms of free and associated labor that go far beyond the more centralist and statist notions put forward in the Communist Manifesto.

Kevin B. Anderson is Professor of Sociology at University of California, Santa Barbara, with courtesy appointments in Feminist Studies and Political Science. He is the author of Lenin, Hegel, and Western Marxism (1995), Foucault and the Iranian Revolution (with Janet Afary, 2005), and Marx at the Margins (2010/2016). Among his edited volumes are the Rosa Luxemburg Reader (with Peter Hudis, 2004) and the Dunayevskaya-Marcuse-Fromm Correspondence (with Russell Rockwell, 2012).  He also writes regularly for New Politics, The International Marxist-Humanist, and Jacobin on Marxism and on international politics and radical movements in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.