This paper summarizes the book by Shlomo Avineri which denies the existence of such a gap in the life of Karl Marx and endeavors to support the claim using detailed studies on a wide range on the works of Karl Marx, both on political and social thought…
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Avineri (4) acknowledges the possibility of immodesty or repetitiveness by any new volumes of literature on the works of Karl Marx. He also ascertains his inspiration to write the book as a conviction from the double distortion that the social and political ideas of Marx have suffered from the intellectual history of the ideas themselves. He also notes the imbalance in the views on the nature of the political thought of Marx explaining why the debate about Marx always revolves around implied or explicit political objectives. The book makes an attempt to set Marx apart from both his disciples and enemies with the aim of bringing out another, more balanced, view of political theory as a result of Marx’s thoughts. He claims that although it has seemed like a truism, there has been repeated overlooking of the theory, which has led to it being associated by failed political policies such as those of Stalin and Lenin. It follows, therefore, that the dialectical relationship that links theory to practice has to be based on prior understanding of the theory. Moreover, the understanding should be as independent as possible before it can be related to practice. The book also makes considerable attempt to separate the social and political thought of Karl Marx from the cold war and its consequent effects, something that has lingered prominently in many writings from the west about Karl Marx. Avineri (8) begins his book by tracing the theoretical works of Karl Marx published since 1927. From the writings, he notes the considerable gap existing between the discussion and interest evoked by the works of Karl Marx as he acquaints the reader with the writings and theories, both social and political, as portrayed in the works. He also explains the controversies that loomed in the Marxist movement citing the lack of understanding by the protagonists about Marx’s view on some of the relevant subjects. For instance, he cites the lack of awareness by Plekhanov when he wrote ‘The Monist view of History’ that Marx had explained the same, in a different fashion though, in his writings on the German ideology. In another case, Lenin’s work titled ‘Materialism and Empirio-Critism’ disregarded the economic-philosophical manuscripts of Karl Marx. In a nut shell, Avineri (10) explains in his book that much of what passes for Marxism traditionally, is sometimes directly in contradiction with some of Marx’s own works.
Avineri (23) explains the paradigm shift in the discussions about Marx’s theory as fueled by the latest discovery of some of his earlier writings. He cites the initial discussions that were narrowed on ideological and political debate among the various socialist schools or between anti-Marxists and Marxists. He explains how the writings directed much attention to the rich philosophical speculations of Karl Marx and how they attracted the attention of other larger groups, who had until then not been interested in Marxism and the writings of Karl Marx. The book also brings out the writings of K
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