Marx’s Social and Political Thought after the MECW and MEGA2
Permanent link to Research Commons versionhttps://hdl.handle.net/10289/16085
Recent decades have seen significant advancements in the accessibility of Marx and Engels’ social and political thought due to publication of most of their writings, published or otherwise. The Marx and Engels Collected Works, which contains their published works, some economic manuscripts and important drafts, and letters translated into English, was completed in 2004; and the more extensive Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (Complete Edition) is nearing completion. In parallel, the removal of Soviet editorial influence over the publication and interpretation of these collections has facilitated new interpretations and challenges to old dogmas surrounding the thought of Marx and Engels. However, this process has been questioned for a total depoliticisation which overemphasises an amorphous ‘thought’ and abandons the political, activist nature of their work. This thesis uses recently available and partially untranslated material published within the Collected Works and the Gesamtausgabe to present three vignettes of Marx’s social thought: the development of the proletariat as their focus in the 1840s; solidarity with Poland and the international relations of the workers’ movement; and the theory of the machine system, applied to contemporary platform capitalism. While these confirm the contradictory nature of Marx’s social thought across different writings, recognition of the political nature of Marx’s analysis means this contradiction can be contextualised through the fluid political situation which Marx and Engels sought to interpret and change. Thus, a less dogmatic and more nuanced picture of Marx can emerge from the MECW and MEGA2, yet this must still be seen as a political, activist Marx.
The University of Waikato
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- Masters Degree Theses