Marx at the Margins: On Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Non-Western Societies, Expanded Edition (with a new preface)

Author(s): Kevin B. Anderson
Release Date: Feb 12, 2016
Publisher: University Of Chicago Press
ISBN-10: 022634567X
ISBN-13: 978-0226345673
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With a New Preface 344 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2010, 2016 In Marx at the Margins, Kevin Anderson uncovers a variety of extensive but neglected texts by Marx that cast what we thought we knew about his work in a startlingly different light. Analyzing a variety of Marx’s writings, including journalistic work written for the New York Tribune, Anderson presents us with a Marx quite at odds with conventional interpretations. Rather than providing us with an account of Marx as an exclusively class-based thinker, Anderson here offers a portrait of Marx for the twenty-first century: a global theorist whose social critique was sensitive to the varieties of human social and historical development, including not just class, but nationalism, race, and ethnicity, as well. Through highly informed readings of work ranging from Marx’s unpublished 1879–82 notebooks to his passionate writings about the antislavery cause in the United States, this volume delivers a groundbreaking and canon-changing vision of Karl Marx that is sure to provoke lively debate in Marxist scholarship and beyond. For this expanded edition, Anderson has written a new preface that discusses the additional 1879–82 notebook material, as well as the influence of the Russian-American philosopher Raya Dunayevskaya on his thinking.

  1. International Editions: Persian translation: Tehran: Zherf Books, 2012.
  2. French translation: Marx aux Antipodes, Paris: Éditions Syllepse, 2015, with new introduction by Anderson.
  3. Japanese translation: Tokyo: Shakai Hyoron Sha, 2015, with new introduction by Anderson.
  4. Chinese translation: People’s Publishing House, Beijing, forthcoming.
  5. Indonesian translation: Jakarta: Insispress, forthcoming.
  6. Portuguese translation (Brazil): Sao Paulo, Boitempo, 2019 translated by Allan M. Hillani and Pedro Davoglio, with a preface by Guilherme Leite Gonçalves.
  7. Portuguese translation (Brazil): “Marx era um pensador eurocêntrico e racista?” by Jones Manoel.
  8. Arabic translation: Damaskus, Ninawa Studies Publishing & Distribution
  9. Tamil translation: Tamil Nadu, India: New Century Book House, 2022

Book Reviews: English


Book Reviews: Other Languages

“[Concerning] Edward Said’s infamous bracketing of Marx as merely a left-wing manifestation of nineteenth-century Orientalistm…..: The claims that Marxism is Eurocentric, Orientalist, deterministic, and teleological have not gone unanswered…. Marx at the Margins may not be the first to take on this task, but will doubtless be considered a touchstone of discussions on this subject, if not the definitive defense of Marxism for years to come.”

— Nagesh Rao, International Socialist Review

In his recent path-breaking work, Kevin Anderson demonstrates how Marx’s inquiries into the race/class dialectic, both in the US civil war and in Ireland’s struggle against British colonialism, led him to change his earlier hypothesis of society’s unilinear development and the progressive aspect of British colonialism. …Especially in his studies of Russia and non-western formations (from 1857 to his 1879–1882 notes on indigenous peoples), Marx formulated a multilinear and non-reductionist theory of social change that did not focus exclusively on economic relations of production. Anderson concludes that Marx’s mature social theory “revolved around a concept of totality that not only offered considerable scope for particularity and difference but also on occasion made those particulars – race, ethnicity, or nationality – determinants for the totality.”

– E. San Juan, Jr., author of Beyond Postcolonial Theory

Marx at the Margins is a book of tremendous scope, filled with important scholarly contributions, including Anderson’s highly original reading of Marx’s theory of history. In this truly ground-breaking work, Kevin Anderson analyzes Marx’s journalism and various unpublished writings on European colonialism and the developing countries for the first time, breaking the long-held stereotype that Marx was an incorrigible class and economic reductionist. Well-written in clear and accessible prose, Marx at the Margins proves that Anderson has mastered his material and that Marx himself is the sophisticated and original theorist of history some might not have ever expected him to be.”

– Douglas Kellner, University of California, Los Angeles and author of Critical Theory, Marxism, and Modernity

Anderson makes the case that Marx’s theory of revolution began over time to concentrate more on the intersectionality of ethnicity, race, nationalism, and class. This contribution enhances the role that a Marxist analysis of class can play in contemporary discussions of critical race theory, theories of interculturality, and multicultural education.

– Peter McLaren and Nathalia E. Jaramillo, authors of Pedagogy and praxis in the age of empire.

“Anderson may just have provided the burgeoning Marx industry with another major focus for its research and debates. Marx at the Margins reveals a dimension of Marx that is very little known and even less understood.   Anderson makes an overwhelming case for the importance of Marx’s views on non-Western societies, ethnicity, nationalism, and race to our interpretations of his thinking over a wide range of topics. This is an incredibly innovative, interesting, and terribly important book-one that will greatly benefit any of its readers.”

-Bertell Ollman, New York University, author of Alienation


  • A Note on Marx’s Relationship to Engels
  • A Note on Sources

Acknowledgments Abbreviations Chapter 1: Colonial Encounters in the 1850s: The European Impact on India, Indonesia, and China

  • The 1853 Writings on India: Qualified Support for Colonialism
  • Marx, Goethe, and Edward Said’s Critique of Eurocentrism
  • Resistance and Regeneration in the 1853 Writings
  • The 1853 Notes on Indonesia
  • On China: The Taiping Rebellion and the Opium Wars
  • “India Is Now Our Best Ally”: The 1857 Sepoy Rebellion

Chapter 2: Russia and Poland: The Relationship of National Emancipation to Revolution

  • Russia as a Counterrevolutionary Threat
  • On the Chechens and the “Jewish Question”
  • The Turning Point of 1857-58: “In Russia the Movement Is Progressing Better Than Anywhere Else”
  • Poland as “External Thermometer” of the European Revolution
  • The Polish Uprising of 1863: “The Era of Revolution Has Opened in Europe Once More”
  • Debates Over Poland and France within the International
  • Dispute with the Proudhonists over Poland
  • Last Writings on Poland

Chapter 3: Race, Class, and Slavery: The Civil War as a Second American Revolution

  • “The Signal Has Now Been Given”: The Civil War as a Turning Point
  • The Civil War and Class Cleavage in Britain: The Movement against Intervention
  • “A War of This Kind Must Be Conducted in a Revolutionary Way”
  • Continuing Disagreements with Engels, Even as the Tide Turns
  • Toward the First International

Chapter 4: Ireland: Nationalism, Class, and the Labor Movement

  • Engels and Marx on Ireland, 1843-59: “Give Me Two Hundred Thousand Irishmen and I Will Overthrow the Entire British Monarchy”
  • Marx on Ireland During the Crucial Year 1867: “I Once Believed the Separation of Ireland from England to Be Impossible. I Now Regard It as Inevitable”
  • Theorizing Ireland after the Upheavals of 1867
  • Notes on Irish Anthropology and History
  • A Change of Position in 1869-70: Ireland as the “Lever” of the Revolution
  • The Controversy with Bakunin and After
  • Ireland and the Wider European Revolution

Chapter 5: From the Grundrisse to Capital: Multilinear Themes

  • The Grundrisse: A Multilinear Perspective
  • Non-Western Societies, Especially India, in the 1861-63 Economic Manuscripts
  • The Narrative Structure of Capital, Vol. I, Especially the French Edition
  • Subtexts of Capital, Vol. I

Chapter 6: Late Writings on Non-Western and Precapitalist Societies

  • Gender and Social Hierarchy Among the Iroquois, the Homeric Greeks, and Other Preliterate Societies
  • India’s Communal Social Forms under the Impact of Muslim and European Conquest
  • Colonialism in Indonesia, Algeria, and Latin America
  • Russia: Communal Forms as the “Point of Departure for a Communist Development”

Conclusion Appendix: The Vicissitudes of the Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe (MEGA), from the 1920s to Today

  • Riazanov and the First MarxEngels Gesamtausgabe
  • The Collected Works of Marx and Engels
  • Marx’s Oeuvres, as Edited by Rubel
  • The Second MarxEngels Gesamtausgabe, Before and After 1989

References Index