Istvan Meszaros and Marx's theory of alienation
Date Written: 19/11/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
The article explains how alienation can only be overcome by collective action which challenges capitalist relations of production.
Istvan Meszaros, who died last month, was an eminent and celebrated Marxist philosopher who played a huge role in introducing Marx's theory of alienation to a new generation of Marxists in the 1970s. Meszaros's writings are richly theoretical and indispensable for those interested in Marxist philosophy. Meszaros was an assistant to the great Hungarian Marxist, Georg Lukacs, before leaving Hungary in protest against the Soviet invasion of 1956. Meszaros responded to the publication of Marx's Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, written in 1844 but not published until the 1930s by illuminating the origins of the Marxist method. In particular, Meszaros developed Marx's previously neglected theory of capital as an alienated from of the labour process, the 'social metabolism' between man and nature. Meszaros's Marx's Theories of Alienation was also a polemic against those who, under the influence of Stalinism, argued that Marx's early works were should be dismissed as idealistic rather than materialist, and that Marx had abandoned his earlier concepts, including that of alienation. This is why Meszaros goes to some length to trace the continuities between the Manuscripts of 1844 and Lenins writings in this complex, challenging and rewarding study.
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