Marx’s Philosophy of Revolution in Permanence: Its Significance for Our Time
How can Marx’s ideas help us with the problem of how to make new revolutionary beginnings in a time when the counterrevolution is ascendant, without losing sight of the need to prepare for the equally crucial question of what happens after the revolution? Capitalism has taken various forms as it developed, with the latest shaped by its endemic crisis since the mid-1970s generated by its falling rate of profit. Throughout these stages, the humanism and dialectic of Capital remain prime determinants of allowing Marxist responses not to stop at economic analyses but to release, rather than inhibiting, new revolutionary subjects and directions. Critical for the present moment is to take up Marx’s humanism and dialectic as crucial dimensions of his philosophy of revolution in permanence. This encompasses not alone the famous March 1850 Address to the Communist League, but also the full trajectory of Marx's revolutionary life and thought from the 1844 Economic-Philosophic Manuscripts through Capital to the new moments of Marx's last decade as expressed in his writings on Russia and his Ethnological Notebooks. We trace Marx's theoretical/philosophical concept of permanent revolution in a number of his writings, to confront how various post-Marx Marxists addressed or ignored this dimension of Marx's thought, and explore whether this concept can be seen as central to Marx's body of thought, and can assist in the dual task of needed revolutionary transformation – the destruction of the old (negation) and the construction of the new (the negation of the negation).
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