U.S. Intellectual History Blog

Marx in the United States: An Interview

Editor's Note

The following is a guest post by Tobias Dias & Magnus Møller Ziegler, who transcribed the following interview that they did with me and who will be translating it into Danish. I publish it here with their permission.

At the end of May 2017, Dr. Andrew Hartman visited Aarhus University in Denmark to give a talk entitled ‘How Karl Marx Challenges the Liberal Tradition in American Intellectual History’. Magnus Møller Ziegler and Tobias Dias, editors of a special issue on Karl Marx from Slagmark, the leading Danish Journal for the history of ideas, took the occasion to ask Hartman about Karl Marx’s intellectual legacy in the US, a topic that he is currently working on for a book project due in 2019 from the University of Chicago Press.

In the forthcoming book, Hartman deals with the complex task of collecting the puzzle pieces for a particular American Marx, however multifaceted and colourful this puzzle may appear. Because what really characterizes an American Marx? How American and Marxist is this Marx? In what ways has Marx served as a catalyst for radical thinking and praxis or a placeholder for the ideas of others? And vice versa: Is Marx something more to the US than just the ‘evil genius’ and antithesis to the American liberal project, is his thought in fact intimately linked with the historical development of the US itself?

Without claiming to give an exhaustive answer to these questions, the interview with Andrew Harman unfolded as a conversation about the broader historical picture of the reception of Marx and Marxism in the US, from Marx’s early writings in the 1850’s for a New York newspaper to the contemporary uses of Marx since the 2008 economic crash. Slagmark began this unfolding by asking professor Hartman about his upcoming book.

Slagmark: Why are you writing this book on Marx in the United States?

Andrew Hartman: I decided to write this book for two reasons, one personal, one political. Personally, when I was 19-20 years old I got really into Marx and Marxism. I was in some ways a political radical; I had become interested in history and philosophy and got hooked on Marx, I joined Marxist reading groups and read Marxist literature. I have always kept that interest, but as I pursued my PhD in US History and have written books on other topics it has been side-lined. But now I am a full professor, and I decided that I want to write a book about a topic that I have a personal passion for. It takes five years to write a book like this, and I want something that is going to keep me interested and fascinated and it has certainly done that so far.

But I think there is a larger social and political reason for why this book is well timed. The reading of Marx in the United States ebbs and flows, sometimes he is really hot, sometimes not so much, and I think we are in one of those hot moments where a lot of people are picking up Marx again. You have seen book sales increase, a lot of people are reading Capital, even the Grundrisse and other works, and part of this has to do with a reaction to the economic crash of 2008. Ever since then, we have seen the rise of new left-wing media such as Jacobin magazine and they have somewhat of a Marxist bent, so it is sort of in the air in the US again and, I think, maybe elsewhere. So, I think there will be a lot of interest in this, and what would be interesting to people is that this isn’t new: There has been other waves of interest in Marx in American history since the 1860’s. So, hopefully, it would be a service to people as well.

Marx’s Own Time and the Late 19th Century

Slagmark: Let us go back to the 1850’s then and start our little journey through the history of Marx in the US with Marx himself. It is well known that Marx wrote articles for the New-York Daily Tribune as its European correspondent, and even exchanged letters with President Lincoln. How did people in the US receive Marx’s ideas in his own lifetime?

Hartman: For about four years in the 1850’s Marx wrote for a New York newspaper and this was his main source of income for those years, and he really relied upon that. He was, as you know, a poor man living in London. He was mostly writing about European politics and his articles were well received. However, the people in the US reading those articles did not necessarily think of him as a great revolutionary philosopher, more as a knowledgeable reporter on European affairs and politics, which was largely what he wrote about. But then when the civil war began in 1861 – and even in 1860 with the rise of the crisis when Lincoln was elected – he was fired from that position, because there was not a lot of money and the newspaper had to dedicate all their resources to reporting on the crisis. That was when he got the position to write for the Austrian paper, Die Press, and that is when he started writing about the civil war for a European audience, particularly for a left-wing radical European audience. I will argue that in his civil war writings, which make for great reading, he was extremely smart about the US civil war and extremely well-read on American politics. A lot of this had to do with his conversations with Engels who was very fascinated with the war, particularly the military aspects of it. But it was also because Marx had long standing correspondences with some of the German 48’ers, his comrades who had emigrated to the United States following the revolutions of 1848. What I will argue is important about these civil war writings are a few things.

The first argument is, that they helped convince a European audience of radicals that the Union was worth supporting. Because many European radicals up to that point either had no interest, or because they had a sort of politics of self-determination, a national determination that was in part grounded in the struggles of Ireland. They were not in favour of the Union, and sometimes they were even arguing in favour of Confederate self-determination. Marx convinced them that the war was about slavery first and foremost, so there was a moral imperative not to support the Confederacy. But he also convinced them that Union victory would be good for the cause of the working-class struggle because it would destroy slavery and so the working class in both Europe and the US would not have to compete with slave labour, so they could better organize working class consciousness. So, he was hugely convincing to a European audience.

The other argument that I am making – and I am not the first, a few people have made this – is that his close attention to the civil war and the politics of revolutionary class struggle and capitalism helped form his ideas for Capital.

So, that is really where the story starts, with his civil war writings and how they helped shape his ideas more broadly. His civil war writings did not have an American audience, it was a European audience, but they shaped his thinking on capitalism. And later, as the story proceeds through the 20th century, his civil war writings would become extremely influential on how American historians would think about the civil war. In short, at the time, there is not that influence, but it comes later.

Slagmark: Can you go a bit more into on how this experience of the civil war influenced Capital?

Hartman: Sure, that is a puzzle I am working on and trying to piece out. One of Marx’s long-standing arguments about capitalism is that it is both progressive and horrible. It is better than feudalism, because it is revolutionary and unleashes energies and spirits that are progressive and will lead to something better, and it destroys the traditional feudal ties that has kept people in bondage for millennia, but on the other hand, it is horrible because it impoverishes people as a proletariat. And one of the things he noticed about the US civil war is, that not only had the Union come to a different politics because of its different attitude towards slavery, but that it came to this because of its different attitudes about labour, free labour versus slave labour, and how the free labour system, which was the basis of Union political economy, was in direct tension with the slave labour system, which was more traditional and feudal. And these progressive energies unleashed by the Union were a good thing, a revolutionary thing, and he had hoped it would eventually lead to the kind of working class consciousness that would cut across these feudal or traditional boundaries. He had already been working with these ideas, but they were made more concrete by his close study of the US civil war. Many scholars in the US since has disagreed with that, but I think it helped shape his ideas.

Slagmark: Speaking of Capital: In 1887, the first English translation of Capital appeared in Britain. To what extent did people in the US read the book and how did they react to it? And more generally, looking at the long reception time since: To what extent does the reception depend on Marx’s own writings, and to what extent on other Marxist intellectuals?

Hartman: The reception of Marx was slow at first. Interestingly, he was a well-known figure in the radical labour movements. On the occasion of his death in 1883 there was a memorial service at the Cooper Union, this big auditorium hall in New York City was packed so much that it was overflowing by the thousands. It was German and other immigrant communities but also ‘native’ American communities that packed this hall. And I think this is the hub of the radical labour movement that was taking shape in the Gilded Age, and they saw Marx as one of the key figures and here were great speeches given comparing him to John Brown, the famous abolitionist. At this point he was a well-known figure, people had a sense of his ideas perhaps through the Communist Manifesto, but usually just as a sort of name associated with working-class revolution and power. But you are right, when Capital was translated a bit later, what was important to the socialist publishing company that translated it – the Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company which was located in Chicago – was, that they translated it for an American audience. They knew that this was going to sell well, and they knew that this was going to be incredibly important in the context of the Gilded Age labour movement, and so they hired a man by the name of Ernest Untermann, who was a German socialist in Milwaukee, which was building up an important socialist culture. He was actually a brilliant theorist and writer on his own, so he might be the first important theorist in terms of interpreting Marx for an American audience. He wrote this book in 1907, called Marxist Economics, that for many in the radical intellectual circles of the militant labour unions was the first interpretation of Marx in an American context. He worked hard on that book to make analogies to American political history and American political figures like Abraham Lincoln, like the president at the time, Teddy Roosevelt.

So, it is really in the early 20th century when people start thinking about the reception of Capital and start reading it. Charles H. Kerr Company still exists and they have always had this socialist classic reading list that has always been popular, and Capital is their number one selling book.

The Early 20th Century

Slagmark: Going into the early 20th century we also come closer to another anniversary of this year, Russian October Revolution. It must have marked an important shift in the reception of Marx in the US; how did it change the posture towards Marx and Marxism?

Hartman: It is really with the Russian revolution that Marx becomes much more a household name in the US for reasons that are understandable, because the Socialist Party, which had grown at that time to be a rather large force on the left, with Eugene V. Debs as its leader and its five-time presidential candidate.

So, Debs is an important figure, because he was a working-class labour hero leading various strikes. He spent some time in prison after the Homestead Strike of 1892, and he was then in prison again after another strike in, I think, 1906 for about four months, and a Milwaukee socialist by the name of Victor Berger kept visiting him, giving him stuff to read and it was in that time he read Capital. He proclaimed from then on that he was a Marxist and that this was the most important book he ever read in this life. So, the leader of the socialist party was a self-declared Marxist from that point on, and he got millions of votes in the election of 1912 and again in 1920, where, although he was put in prison for speaking against American entry into World War I and ran as president from prison, he got over one million votes.

In that sense Marx was ready for a wider audience because of Eugene Debs and the Socialist Party, and the Russian revolution cemented the possibilities of the ideas of the Communist revolution for American radicals and the Socialist Party. So, from then on people really start reading Marx, trying to figure this out. The radical movements start to grow larger, but also splinter, and then you get various people in the 20’s and especially in the 30’s, who were the people interpreting Marx for larger audiences, and that is when Leon Trotsky becomes hugely important for American radicals, who were not in the Communist Party.

Slagmark: A common critique of Marx’s reception and dissemination in Europe is that it was in some way distorted by Engels. But from what you are saying this seems to not be a problem in the US, for example with Debs who read Capital and said that it was what influenced him to become a Marxist. Compare that to Karl Kautsky in Germany who says somewhere that Engels’s Anti-Dühring was more important to him than Capital. Was Engels less read than Marx in the US?

Hartman: Engels is less important in the US. Here is where perhaps Engels is important – through the back door: One of the things Engels wrote about after Marx had died, in all those writings where Engels tried to explain Marxism for a larger audience, was the concept of dialectical materialism, and that became official Soviet theory after the revolution, in the 1920’s especially, and that was Trotsky’s main theory as well. And I cannot underestimate how influential Trotsky was to American radicals in the 1930’s, at least those not in the Communist Party. So many important influential American intellectuals emerged from the various Trotskyist parties in the 1930’s – and often went on to become Conservatives – and often times their entire understanding of Marxism was the theory of dialectical materialism, which was nothing Marx had ever even written about, but was a reading Engels had given, that Trotsky and others then took to extreme new ends in terms of trying to explain the inevitability of socialist revolutions as part of a process of dialectics.

Slagmark: So, Trotsky was important, but what about other influential interwar intellectuals, or intellectuals who were very influential in Europe in the 1920’s and 30’s, such as György Lukács, Karl Korsh, Antonio Gramsci, just to name a few? How did the passionate and extensive appropriation of Marx’s legacy, the expansion of the Marxist project by these thinkers, resound in the US?

Hartman: The easiest answer right now is that I am not sure. From what research I have done, I think most of those debates were not necessarily taking place in the US, because there was a whole separate American reception of Marx.

A good example of this is Sidney Hook, who wrote an incredible important book in 1933 (Towards the Understanding of Karl Marx: A Revolutionary Interpretation, ed.) that most people who considered themselves Marxist intellectuals read and thought deeply about. And Hook was trying to bring together Marxism with American pragmatism, so he really is trying to interpret Marx and theorise a Marx that would make sense in an American intellectual tradition. So, I think the terms of debate in the 1930’s were different, except when it comes to Trotsky because he had such a larger than life influence on the various Trotskyist parties in the United States. And what is interesting about that is, that at the time I do not think they were that important except that all of the intellectuals gravitated towards Trotsky and those movements because they seemed more intellectual than the Communist Party and because they seemed to have more intellectual freedom than they would have had in the Communist Party where they would have had to subsume their ideas to Stalin and the Soviet Union or the leadership in the US. So many of those people in the Trotskyist parties became such influential thinkers in the cold war. They became the main way in which many Americans in the cold war interpreted Soviet thinking and Marxist thought, that in retrospect they just seem crucial. Sidney Hook is among them but James Burnham is also an important figure.

Post-World War II

Slagmark: This leads us a bit further into the 20th century and the time around the Second World War. Of course, something decisive happened around this time where the anti-communist politics escalated in the US and got deeply institutionalised. However, a certain Marxist impulse was still capable of keeping itself alive. Important figures such as Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse were exiled to America in this period. What was the American reception of these intellectuals? Maybe you can demarcate some intellectual lines between the Soviet and the Western Marxist reception in the US in the post war period?

Hartman: As a result of the Cold War, Marx’s reception in the US became less and less Soviet dependent, because that became anathema because of the Cold War. For a large swath of the United States, Marx became this evil genius that they associated with the Soviet Union. But even for people on the left and liberals, the Communist Party became taboo. And the intellectuals who might have had a close association with the Communist Party, who might have been fellow travellers in the 1930’s, by the 40’s and 50’s this was just no longer the case.

Some of this is political and institutional with the “Red Scare”, people lost their job, but sometimes people in fact consciously changed because they thought there was reason to dislike the Soviet Union apart from the American Cold War, and so they consciously changed. And that is when different forms of Marxism, I think, began to open themselves up to Americans. And some of it was the Black Marxism of W.E.B Du Bois or C.L.R. James, which continues to shape American intellectuals, I would say, up until today. They became extremely popular by the 60’s and 70’s and then of course a lot of it was through the lens of the Frankfurt School.

What is interesting about Adorno in the 1940’s and 50’s is that the people most influenced by him were Cold War liberals like Richard Hofstadter, and they were most interested in his concept of the authoritarian personality and what forms Nazism. They were looking around in the 1950’s United States with McCarthyism and they thought they saw similar sort of patterns. At that point Adorno was not that influential in the United States, but by the 1960’s Herbert Marcuse becomes one of the father figures of the New Left, and then you had a whole new generation of people who began reading the Frankfurt School; Walter Benjamin, Erich From, and Adorno and Horkheimer, all of them. So, the 1960’s New Left Marxism owed a great deal to the Frankfurt School, but even then there was still this very particular sort of American ‘westernized’ Marxism that was not like the Frankfurt School but was searching for more American traditions to link up Marxism with. So, the famous revisionist diplomatic historian, William Appleman Williams, was reading Marx and writing these weird American translations of Marx, not literal translations, but trying to make sense of Marx in the 1960’s that would have made it seem as if Marx was an American theorist. Because in the 1960s there was this sense among intellectuals that alienation was the most important problem and so they were reading the early Marx and thinking a lot about how humans can feel connected to each other in what began to be called Capitalism, so they were thinking a lot about Marx as almost a communitarian.

Slagmark: With this influence of the Frankfurt School in the 1960’s and 1970’s, how much was that Marx acting through surrogates, and how much was it the independent ideas of these other thinkers which had a new influence apart from Marx?

Hartman: It is hard to say, I think there was a bit of both going on. There were elements of the Frankfurt School that really made sense to an American audience, but elements that did not. And I think Marcuse definitely had a huge reception and I think that is one of the reasons he stayed and became something of an academic rock star in the United States, whereas someone like Adorno was less enamoured with the US, obviously, and also vice versa, it was really hard for an American audience to make sense of him, so I think it depended on the figure and the types of thinking. Because Marcuse was so interested in marrying Freud and Marx he became really influential in the US because we have always been enamoured with Freudian thinking.

Slagmark: The late 1960’s and the 1970’s was also a time when radical politics really took into the streets and became part of the day to day agenda. This is also the case with Black Marxism, which you mentioned and which marries the civil rights movement with Marx and Marxism. To what extent was there a collaboration or dissemination of Marx between the intellectual life in the universities and the concrete political activities and struggles? Did they utilize Marx in different ways or inspire each other?

Hartman: Early in the 1960’s, when the New Left intellectual movement arose, these were people deeply read in Marx and thinking about Marx in new and interesting ways, and the thing they were trying to explain was why capitalism had not come to its contradiction. This was when they theorised something called ‘corporate capitalism’, because it seemed as if capitalism had stabilised and that even the American working class really loved capitalism, so they were re-reading Marx and critiquing parts of Marx and thinking through Marx. I think that helped shape a whole generation of activists who pointed to the state and the corporation as being the twin evils and that these twin evils manifested themselves in the military. This is the anti-war-movement’s politics with regards to Vietnam. So, it is a many-layered reception of Marx. Most of the activists out on the streets, especially in the 1960’s, had probably not read Marx beyond the Manifesto. More likely they had been reading Mao or Franz Fanon, especially those who wanted to bring together Marxist critique of capitalism with a politics of identity liberation whether it is black power or women’s liberation. So, by the late 1960’s and 70’s Marx was many layers removed from the actual ‘on the streets’ activism, but at the same time, as these movements die, as these movements see that there is no revolution on the horizon, many of these people on the left get institutionalized in the academy and begin take Marx seriously, and that is the point, in the late 1970’s and early 80’s, when Marx becomes such an important part of the curriculum in the American academy and really has been ever since. So that is a residue of the movement – and the failure of the movement to achieve what it set out to achieve, which was some sort of socialist revolution.

Slagmark: With the risk of opening up for an even bigger discussion concerning the shaping of the Marxist project in the US: Within a couple of hours you are going to talk about the Marxist contestation of the liberal tradition. You seem to insist on a particular American Marxism, however multi-layered; which implications did both the contestation from and the clash with liberalism more concretely have on the shaping of an American post-war Marxist project?

Hartman: In the 1950’s the dominant intellectual string was liberalism, but I think what many of those intellectuals in the 1950’s theorized and articulated was a notion that that had always been the dominant string in American political and intellectual history, but that people had failed to say as much and it was in this point that they were saying it, and there is always some slippage as to whether that was description as in “yes, that had happened” or prescription as in “this is what would be best going forward”. And I think there is a little bit of both, I do think that the liberal tradition has been extremely powerful in an American context, more so than other national contexts properly, but that the intellectuals in the 1950’s were a bit insecure about this in the global context of Communism on the march and in the shadow of the rise of Fascism in the 1930’s and 1940’s. So, they were trying to articulate and elaborate on a tradition in America that was vibrant and even revolutionary. So, you had someone like Walt Rostow who wrote The Stages of Economic Growth with the subtitle “A Non-Communist Manifesto”. This is exactly how he is couching a theory of development in an American context, and that is that it is vibrant, it is progressive, it is good for humanity, and leading some place, almost in a teleology in the same way Marxism is supposed to lead some place good. And that is why at the same time you get for example the CIA funding various very lefty, liberal projects in Europe in terms of the production of art. There is this sense amongst liberals that we need to project ourselves as the true heirs of the revolution and enlightenment especially. And I think one of the main reasons for this is that there is a sense that we need to counter Marxism which has had this hold on the 20th Century. All the revolutionary energy has been placed in this idea of Marxism so American liberals definitely conceptualize their thought in the 1950’s as a counter to Marxism. But I think what is interesting about that is – and you see this throughout but especially after the 50’s and then in the 1960’s – that you see that American Marxists indeed agree that American liberalism is dominant in the American political tradition and so the attempt to articulate an American Marxism is very much in response to a dominant liberalism, and Marx becomes the most important figure, and his texts become the most important way of thinking outside the liberal tradition.

Slagmark: Jumping a bit maybe to a different string of questions: Speaking of this American way of using Marx and of how maybe there is a specific ‘American Marx’: is it possible today to separate the use of Marx or Marxist thought in general in the US from a critique of the US, a critique of particularly American capitalism?

Hartman: I would say that 99% of the time, in the various sort of mentions of Marx, the implication is that this is a critique of the United States. In fact, I will argue that one of the reasons that Marx continues to be received in the United States, read in the United States, and an important what I call ‘alter ego’ in American political culture, is precisely for that reason. If you want to be critical of the United States it is a good source to turn to. But there have been really important theorists such as Marshall Berman who wrote this book called All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, in which he argues that Marx is this theorist of modernity and that American culture is as modern as it gets and so the two can be sort of read together. Berman was a Marxist so he was obviously critical of capitalism and American capitalism, but he is not seeing the two as antithetical. I am trying to think through where I stand relative to that, and it really is hard to think about an American identity that would embrace or incorporate Marx, and I think one of the reasons that Marx is important is that he sets the boundaries of what it means to be an American. There have been intellectuals throughout American history since Marx began to be received in the United States who have wanted to argue for an American Marx, but I think that is a pretty difficult proposition.

The Contemporary Marx

Slagmark: This could maybe lead us to talk a bit about contemporary uses of Marx. You mentioned the 2008 crash in the beginning as something which has sparked interest in Marx in the US anew, and many intellectual discussions in the wake of 2008 seemed to agree on the fact that Marx’s critique almost ‘naturally’ has unveiled its theoretical strength. How do you look at this narrative concerning the US? How Marxist is really the critique of capitalism in the US since 2008? And how do these forms of critique we have seen in for example the Occupy movement differ from or resemble past Marxist approaches in the US?

Hartman: Since 2008 there has been so much criticism of capitalism because capitalism had failed, as it was designed to do, and some of this critique has been Marxist and some has not. And now we are at the point where even some of the most liberal economic commentators, someone like Paul Krugman who writes in the New York Times, has said Marx was right, we are all Marxist now. But that is hyperbolic. Let us just say that Marx’s criticism of capitalism is closer to the mainstream because of 2008 than it has been perhaps since the 1930’s. It is not in the mainstream in any means, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal are not publishing long Marxist analyses of capitalism, but I think it is in the air. Then there are these journals online, like Jacobin and N+1, that I would argue are trying to work out a popularisation of Marx in the contemporary context. And they are well read! Lots of people read these things online. It is also my sense that people are returning to the original Marx more so than they did, say, in the 1960’s because in the 1960’s people and intellectuals had a sense that capitalism had solved all its contradictions, and so we have to rethink capitalism in relation to the state, in relation to liberalism. If 2008 proved anything to many people it is that the contradictions have arisen again, so people have returned to the original Marx, not through interlocutors like Trotsky or the Frankfurt School. People are returning to the original Marx because the original Marx’s critique of capitalism seems to make better sense now than it has since the 1930’s. So, a complex question with a complex answer. On the one hand, I think there is a sort of generic sense that maybe there is something there, on the other hand, in smaller more left-wing circles, people are actually reading Marx seriously and trying to make sense of the world seriously through the actual original texts, and what comes of that is hard to say, but that is why we do history. In 20 or 30 years, I think we will figure out that “Oh, Americans in 2017 were reading Marx through this lens”, but right now it is hard to say.

Slagmark: At least from a European perspective the previous peaks in interest in Marx have coincided with crises of capitalism, in the 1920’s and 30’s and again in the 1970’s. Looking back on the entire American reception on Marx, to what extent has this also been linked to the crises of capitalism?

Hartman: Mostly. The original rise of Marx reception in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is associated with the crisis of 1893 and the Gilded Age in general, the crisis of what was called the labour question, and then the 1930’s. But I will also say that it is closely tied with political mobilization by the left. Now the question might be, are those happening in response to the crises as well, and yes, I think so. The high points in Marx’s reception for the American left are the 1890’s or early 1900’s, the 1930’s and maybe now. The 60’s are sort of the odd moment out, because a lot of people were reading Marx, there is this radical moment in American history, and yet there is no crisis of capitalism in the 1960’s, and that is why I think the reading of Marx is weird in the 60’s and why the Frankfurt school are so important, because they were much more about sort of bureaucratic and totalitarian culture, so they were less about the actual crises. When we saw the crisis in the 70’s there was not a lot of reading of Marx though, and that is a puzzle I still need to work out.

Slagmark: Ending on the question of that puzzle, that is it from us, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us.

Hartman: Thank you, it was fun.

Dr. Andrew Hartman is a PhD in US history from the George Washington University. He was the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Studies at the University of Southern Denmark for the 2013-14 academic year and is currently professor of history at Illinois State University. Hartman has previously worked on American liberalism and the Cold War and is the author of, among other books and contributions, A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars (University of Chicago Press, 2015).

Slagmark (lit. ‘battlefield’) is the leading Danish journal for History of Ideas. Tobias Dias is a PhD Fellow in the History of Ideas at Aarhus University. Magnus Møller Ziegler is a PhD Fellow in Philosophy, also at Aarhus University. A Danish translation of the interview with Prof. Hartman will appear in Slagmark No. 77, which they are editing and preparing for publication in May 2018 on the occasion of Marx’s 200th birthday.

2 Thoughts on this Post

  1. Andrew, could you comment a bit more on:

    So many important influential American intellectuals emerged from the various Trotskyist parties in the 1930’s – and often went on to become Conservatives – and often times their entire understanding of Marxism was the theory of dialectical materialism, which was nothing Marx had ever even written about.

    I know that Engels did a fair amount of “interpreting” Marx in this area, but I do know that Marx had talked about dialectics, even if he did not go into incredible depth, let alone articulate a theory of dialectical materialism.

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