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'Why Marx Was Right' by Terry Eagleton

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'Why Marx Was Right' by Terry Eagleton

Post by Ivan on Sat Mar 22, 2014 12:58 pm

Few people have been more misquoted and misunderstood than Karl Marx. And as historian and shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt reminds us: “Marx also remains the target of any number of lazy slurs. The easiest way to kill off debate about Marxism is to jump straight to the Stalin show-trials, Soviet gulags, and Khmer Rouge Year Zero. The philosophical beliefs of a mid-19th-century denizen of the British Museum are all too quickly elided with the most terrible atrocities of the 20th century as an all-purpose intellectual get-out card.”
 
A common cry from the right is that Marxist ideas are yesterday’s story, that Marxism failed and the world has moved on since the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe in1989-91. But has it? Isn’t all work in our capitalist system still a struggle between the bosses, who want to maximize their profits, and workers, who want to maximize their incomes? Can there ever be such a thing as 'a government in the national interest' while there are conflicting class interests? I am dubious about Labour’s ‘One Nation’ mantra, however well-intentioned it might be; wasn’t Disraeli’s description of ‘Two Nations’ closer to the reality, both then and now? The right will try to tell you that there is no such thing as class, or else that ‘class war’ is only practised by the left; Cameron and his upper class spivs have shown that to be patently untrue. As Warren Buffett put it: "Class warfare has been going on for the last twenty years, and my class won."
 
In ‘Why Marx Was Right’, university professor Terry Eagleton demonstrates that the 'underlying logic' of capitalism remains the same and thus a Marxist critique is still most certainly relevant. He reminds us how "Marx is accused of being outdated by the champions of a capitalism rapidly reverting to Victorian levels of inequality", while “capitalism was so exultant and impregnable that in 2008 it only just managed to keep the cash machines open on the high streets.”
 
In this book, Eagleton takes on ten of the most standard criticisms of Marxism (such as that it leads to political tyranny and that it reduces everything to the economic) and he sets out to refute them one by one. He gets some good reviews - "a short, witty, and highly accessible jaunt through Marx's thought in preparation for the second coming”, writes Frank Barry of ‘The Irish Times’, while John Green of ‘The Morning Star’ describes the work as “no abstract argumentation but an eloquent, fact-based rebuttal of the usual criticisms of Marxism”. Tristram Hunt praises Eagleton for stressing the modernity of Marx’s thinking, in particular with regard to the development of the middle class – “men and women situated midway between the workers on the one side and the capitalists on the other”.
 
However, Hunt is not that impressed with the work. He complains that it lacks “the logical precision, winning prose or intellectual ambition displayed in Eagleton's Yale lectures on faith”, and he says it “reads like a rapidly crammed set of notes for an American midwest college course”. His biting conclusion is that “Marx might well have been right about an awful lot, but sadly Eagleton fails to make you care very much”.
 
‘Why Marx Was Right’ was first published by Yale University Press in 2011 and is 272 pages long.
ISBN-10: 0300181531  ISBN-13: 978-0300181531
 
Source:-
 
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/may/29/why-marx-was-right-eagleton-review
 
Further reference:-
 
http://averypublicsociologist.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/why-marx-was-right.html
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Re: 'Why Marx Was Right' by Terry Eagleton

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:05 pm

The concept of "fair shares for all" has a ready audience until someone asks for a share of what YOU have.
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Re: 'Why Marx Was Right' by Terry Eagleton

Post by Dan Fante on Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:04 am

I remember reading Eagleton (Marxist historian I believe) for A-Level history. It was to do with the Diggers and the Levellers and all that during the English Civil War / Interregnum.
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Re: 'Why Marx Was Right' by Terry Eagleton

Post by Penderyn on Sat Apr 19, 2014 5:39 pm

It is a bit like the New Testament amongst American nutters. People yak on about Marx without having read him, ever, and feel confident in talking nonsense. There should be a basic test before they are allowed to bray, in my view.
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Re: 'Why Marx Was Right' by Terry Eagleton

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:24 pm

" People yak on about Marx without having read him, ever, and feel confident in talking nonsense. There should be a basic test before they are allowed to bray, in my view."

Whoops! There goes "freedom of our Press"!
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Re: 'Why Marx Was Right' by Terry Eagleton

Post by boatlady on Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:58 pm

I think the world might be a better (and certainly a quieter) place if everyone had to think before they speak
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