Economic and Political Weekly
Marx & Philosophy Review of Books
This paper was presented at the International conference “150 years Karl Marx's - Reflections for the 21st century” held in Athens, Greece on January 14-15, 2017. Organized by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - Athens Office. The conference discussed the actuality of Marx's theoretical system of the critique of political economy 150 years on from the publication of Capital Volume I.
Gaining social control over the economic life of society - achieving socialism, in a word - requires not only that we know that the democratic republic is the staging ground for such change. It also requires that we recognize that the evidence of the future we want is visible and "invading" our present, to borrow a term from C. L. R. James, in forms that exist in the current conditions of our social life.
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The renewed focus, particularly on the left, on precariousness constitutes a recognition of the harsh reality of capitalism, and particularly of today’s globalized monopoly-finance capital. More than a century of Marxian political-economic critique allows us to appreciate the extent to which the conditions that Marx described, focusing on a small corner of Europe in the mid-nineteenth century, are now global, and all the more perilous.