The Philosophy of Marx, by Etienne Balibar

While billed as a succinct introduction to Karl Marx’s philosophy, this book is a dense and challenging read. For one thing it assumes a solid prior knowledge of Marx’s key concepts and their deployment throughout his major works. Nevertheless there is a wealth of stimulating material here. Particularly interesting are sections on commodity fetishism, the notion of progress and evolutionism, ideology and subjectivity (which also examines the meaning of ‘human rights’). What emerges is the complexity and often contradictory character of Marx’s thought, a richness that can’t be boiled down to any banal formulation or reduced to an outmoded determinism. SS

Verso; 2007; 139 pages

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Language ought to be the joint creation of poets and manual workers. George Orwell

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