[OPE-L:4512] James White, *Karl Marx and the Intellectual Origins of Dialectical Materialism*

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Sun Nov 12 2000 - 23:18:45 EST

A 1996 book I have just been exposed to argues Marx beginning his
withdrawal from Hegel before the first edition of *Capital* (e.g. the
subsumption discussion was REMOVED -- the part which the Vintage edition
ADDED back).  Subsequent editions and interest in Russia sustained the
change in direction.  This is NOT an Althusserian arguement, but in some
senses consistent with Althusser.

To give you a taste, White says that one cannot judge an author out of the
context of his predecessors and the language used by those in his/her
environment.  So with Hegel and his immediate predecessors, and so with
Marx.  Up to the mid-1860s, Marx grounded the movement of history in
philosophy.  Afterwards, as he proceeds through editions of Capital Volume
1 and toward deeper interest in Russia, we see him moving (not completed
before his death) toward a conception of socialism grounded not in
philosophy (Hegel's Universal, Particular, Individual) but in terms of
ancient communities .  

White argues that Engels and Plekhanov fought off this change in
direction, and established DM and thus philosophy as the basis of
socialism.  There is extensive commentary on Marx and Chernyshevsky and
Sieber, also on Kovalevsky and on the drafts to Vera Zasulich.  Also, on
Hegel, the revisions of Marx's texts throughout his work, Engels,
Plekhanov, and a little on Struve.  He points to 8 versions of Volume 2
noting that the first draft begins in 1865 but that Marx was never able to
come to grips with the full theoretical consequences of his change in
direction.  On p. 210 he places the 2nd German edition Afterword comment
by Marx on Hegel in context.  

On Marx on Mikhaylovsky White calls attention to Marx writing that the
latter "feels he absolutely must metamorphose my historical sketch of the
genesis of capitalism in Western Europe into a historico-philosophical
thoery of the universal path is people is fated to tread" (written end
1878/early 1879, but unpublished until 1888, translated into Russian by
Danielson from French original). 

A weak review by Sean Sayers of the book appears in Hist. Mat. #5.

Has anyone read this book and have reactions?

Paul Z.

******************** http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/PZarembka

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