The Philosophy of Marx

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Verso, 1995 - Philosophy - 139 pages
2 Reviews
Providing a lucid and accessible introduction to Marx, complete with pedagogical boxes, a chronology and guides to further reading, Etienne Balibar makes the most difficult areas of his philosophy easy to understand. One of the most influential French philosophers to have emerged from the 1960s, Balibar brings a lifetime of study and expertise to create a brilliantly concise portrait of Marx that will initiate the student and intrigue the scholar.
He examines all the key areas of Marx's writings, including his early works, "The Communist Manifesto," "The German Ideology" and "Capital," explaining their wider historical and theoretical context. Making clear such concepts as class struggle, ideology, humanism, progress, determinism, commodity fetishism and the state, Balibar includes brief yet incisive biographical studies of key Marxists such as Althusser, Gramsci, Engels and Lenin.
"The Philosophy of Marx" will become the standard guide to Marx's thought.

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Over the last thirty years or so I've read all of Marx's work and that of many others writing about Marx.Most of the good ones were fairly clear.I have come across a few that I suspected were frauds, often smart frauds but still frauds.I'm thinking of Balibar's supervisor Althusser in particular.Like her supervisor she writes using the same flowery often incomprehensible prose.I believe the reason for this is that in France there is a tradition that says if you want to go down as being deep make it sound as complex as possible.Balibar is writing for the sophisticates of the French bourgeoise intelligensia, her audience,or better still the gallery she is playing to does not include workers.
I have looked at the positive reviews for this book and find them completly incomprehensible.This book is touted as an introductory text for Marx.Without a solid grounding in German idealism and Marxist thought most of what's written in this book is way over the heads of the uninitiated.If I were to give this book to the average reader who has no knowledge of Marx I know very well what that they wouldn't be able to get through the first 5 pages of the book.
I imagine that the author promised to write an introductory text for the publisher and came up with this mostly obsfuscating drivel and then the publlisher went ahead and published it putting a good spin on the back cover.if you want a good book on philosophy and Marx get hold of Alan Wood's 'Karl Marx'.It's clear and not a piece of snobbery.I don't like this book.I consider people like Balibar as closet enemies of the working class and are only using Marx's work to further their own academic careers.


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About the author (1995)

Étienne Balibar is a French Marxist philosopher and the most celebrated student of Louis Althusser. He is also one of the leading exponents of French Marxist philosophy and the author of Spinoza and Politics, The Philosophy of Marx and co-author of Race, Nation and Class and Reading Capital.

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