Main Currents of Marxism: The Founders, the Golden Age, the Breakdown

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1978 - Philosophy - 1284 pages
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The commanding study of Marxism, now in one masterful volume with a new preface and epilogue by the author.

From philosopher Leszek Kolakowski, one of the giants of twentieth-century intellectual history, comes this highly influential study of Marxism. Written in exile, this "prophetic work" presents, according to the Library of Congress, "the most lucid and comprehensive history of the origins, structure, and posthumous development of the system of thought that had the greatest impact on the twentieth century." Kolakowski traces the intellectual foundations of Marxist thought from Plotonius through Lenin, Lukacs, Sartre, and Mao. He reveals Marxism to be "the greatest fantasy of our century...an idea that began in Promethean humanism and culminated in the monstrous tyranny of Stalinism." In a brilliant coda, he examines the collapse of international Communism in light of the last tumultuous decades. Main Currents of Marxism remains the indispensable book in its field.
 

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This combines the author's The Founders , The Golden Age , and The Breakdown into a single package, with a new preface and epilog. Read full review

Contents

Bibliographical Note
3
Introduction
5
The Origins of Dialectic
10
The contingency of human existence
12
The soteriology ofPlotinus
13
Plotinus and Christian Platonism The search for the reason of creation
17
Eriugena and Christian theogony
21
Eckhart and the dialectic of deification
27
g Contradictions in the world
320
The negation of the negation
321
Critique of agnosticism
322
The relativity of knowledge
324
Practice as the criterion of truth
325
The sources of religion
326
Recapitulation and Philosophical Commentary
327
Three motifs in Marxism
335

Nicholas ofCusa The contradictions of Absolute Being
29
Biihme and the duality of Being
31
salvation through annihilation
32
The Enlightenment The realization of man in the schema of naturalism
34
Rousseau and Hume Destruction of the belief in natural harmony
36
Kant The duality of mans being and its remedy
38
Fichte and the selfconquest of the spirit
43
Hegel The progress of consciousness towards the Absolute
48
Hegel Freedom as the goal of history
59
Marxs Thought in Its Earliest Phase
80
Hess and Feuerbach
89
Marxs Early Political and Philosophical Writings
99
The Paris Manuscripts The Theory
109
The Holy Family
121
Progress and the masses
122
The world of needs
123
The tradition of materialism
124
The German Ideology
126
Social being and consciousness
128
The division of labour and its abolition
130
Individuality and freedom
132
Stirner and the philosophy of egocentrism
134
Critique of Stirner The individual and the community
138
Alienation and the division of labour
141
The liberation of man and the class struggle
142
g The epistemological meaning of the theory of false consciousness
143
Recapitulation
146
Socialist Ideas in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century as Compared with Marxian Socialism
150
Babouvism
152
SaintSimonism
154
Owen
158
Fourier
163
Proudhon
167
Weitling
173
Cabet
175
Blanqui
176
Blanc
177
Marxism and utopian socialism
179
Marxs critique of Proudhon
184
The Communist Manifesto
186
The Writings and Struggles of Marx and Engels after 1847
192
Lassalle
195
The First International Bakunin
200
Capitalism as a Dehumanized World The Nature of Exploitation
215
The classical economic tradition and the theory of value
219
The double form of value and the double character of labour
222
Commodity fetishism Labourpower as a commodity
226
The alienation of labour and of its product
230
The alienation of the process of socialization
233
j The pauperization of the working class
236
The nature and historical mission of capitalism
239
The distribution of surplus value
241
The Contradictions of Capital and Their Abolition The Unity of Analysis and Action
244
The economic and political struggle of the proletariat
248
The nature of socialism and its two phases
251
the whole and the part the concrete and the abstract
256
consciousness and the historical process
262
Comments on Marxs theory of value and exploitation
267
The Motive Forces of the Historical Process
275
Social being and consciousness
278
Historical progress and its contradictions
284
The monistic interpretation of social relationships
288
The concept of class
289
The origin of class
293
The functions of the state and its abolition
294
Commentary on historical materialism
298
The Dialectic of Nature
308
Materialism and idealism The twilight of philosophy
309
Space and time
312
The variability of nature
313
Multiple forms of change
314
Causality and chance
315
The dialectic in nature and in thought
317
Quantity and quality
318
Marxism as the source of Leninism
341
Selective Bibliography
345
Bibliographical Note
353
Karl Kautsky
379
Rosa Luxemburg and the Revolutionary Left
403
Bernstein and Revisionism
433
Marxism as a Soteriology
447
a Hedonist Marxism
468
a Jansenist Marxism
475
an Attempt at an Open Orthodoxy
496
Marxism as an Instrument of Sociology
511
a Polish Brand of Orthodoxy
523
Marxism as Historical Subjectivism
529
AustroMarxists Kantians in the Marxist Movement
549
The Beginnings of Russian Marxism
601
Plekhanov and the Codification of Marxism
620
Marxism in Russia Before the Rise of Bolshevism
640
The Rise of Leninism
661
Hie party and the workers movement Consciousness and spontaneity
664
The question of nationality
674
The proletariat and the bourgeoisie in the democratic revolution Trotsky and the permanent revolution
680
Philosophy and Politics in the Bolshevik Movement
687
New intellectual trends in Russia
692
Empiriocriticism
695
Bogdanov and the Russian empiriocritics
702
The philosophy of the proletariat
709
The Godbuilders
713
Lenins excursion into philosophy
714
Lenin and religion
723
Lenins dialectical Notebooks
725
from a Theory of the State to a State Ideology
730
The Revolutions of1917
735
The beginnings of socialist economy
741
The dictatorship of the proletariat and the dictatorship of the party
744
The theory of imperialism and of revolution
749
Socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat
754
Trotsky on dictatorship
763
Lenin as an ideologist of totalitarianism
766
Martov on the Bolshevik ideology
770
Lenin as a polemicist Lenins genius
772
Selective Bibliography
779
Preface
787
Theoretical Controversies in Soviet Marxism in the 1920s
824
Marxism as the Ideology of the Soviet State
849
The Crystallization of MarxismLeninism
881
Trotsky
934
Communist Revisionism
963
Reason in the Service of Dogma
989
Karl Korsch
1033
Lucien Goldmann
1046
The Frankfurt School and Critical Theory
1060
Marxism as
1104
Marxism as a Futuristic Gnosis
1124
Life and writings
1125
Basic ideas 1128
1128
Greater and lesser daydreams
1129
Marxism as a concrete Utopia
1132
Death as an antiUtopia God does not yet exist but he will
1136
Matter and materialism
1138
Natural law
1140
Blocks political orientation
1141
Conclusion and comments
1143
Developments in Marxism since Stalins Death
1148
Revisionism in Eastern Europe
1153
Yugoslav revisionism iibj
1167
Revisionism and orthodoxy in France 11jo
1170
Marxism and the New Left
1177
The peasant Marxism of Mao Tsetung
1183
Epilogue
1206
New Epilogue
1213
Selective Bibliography
1215
Index
1223
Copyright

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About the author (1978)

Leszek Kolakowski (1927-2009) was professor of philosophy at the University of Warsaw until the Polish political crisis of March 1968 when he was formally expelled. He then moved to universities in North America and the United Kingdom. From 1981 to 1994 he was a professor in the Committee on Social Thought and the department of philosophy at the University of Chicago. He is best known for his critical analyses of Marxist thought, especially his three-volume history, "Main Currents of Marxism" (1976). In his later work, he increasingly focused on philosophical and religious questions. He was the author of numerous books.

About the Editor:
P.S. Falla is a well-known linguist and translator of Russian and other languages.

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