Karl Marx’s 198th birthday

samir amin 3“To be a “Marxist” is to continue the work that Marx merely began, even though that beginning was of an unequal power.  It is not to stop at Marx, but to start from him.  For Marx is not a prophet whose conclusions, drawn from a critique of both reality and how it has been read, are all necessarily “correct” or “final”.  His opus is not a closed theory.  Marx is boundless, because the radical critique that he initiated is itself boundless, always incomplete and must always be the object of its own critique, must unceasingly enrich itself through radical critique, treating whatever novelties the real system produces as newly opened fields of knowledge.”

Samir Amin:  Introduction to The Law of Worldwide Value

Karl Marx – May 5 18181 to March 14 1883

karl marx 2“My inquiry led me to the conclusion that neither legal relations nor political forms could be comprehended whether by themselves or on the basis of a so-called general development of the human mind, but that on the contrary they originate in the material conditions of life, the totality of which Hegel, following the example of English and French thinkers of the eighteenth century, embraces within the term “civil society”; that the anatomy of this civil society, however, has to be sought in political economy. The study of this, which I began in Paris, I continued in Brussels, where I  moved owing to an expulsion order issued by M. Guizot.

“The general conclusion at which I arrived and which, once reached, became the guiding principle of my studies can be summarised as follows. In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness.

“The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness.

“At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or — this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms — with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure.”

Karl Marx:  A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy


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