There are certain fundamentals that no marxist would ever dispute. Amongst them is The German Ideology’s claim that ‘the first premise of all human existence and, therefore, of all history’ is ‘the premise… that men must be in a position to live in order to be able to “make history” ’,2 with its implication that ‘the production of material life itself’ is ‘a fundamental condition of all history’, and one which ‘in any interpretation of history one has first of all to observe … in all its significance and all its implications and to accord it its due importance’ (Marx and Engels, 1846a: 39). But if marxists would agree to accord production ‘its due importance’, they would be less than unanimous in their views of what observing it ‘in all its significance and all its implications’ actually entails for their theory and method. For this reason, we think it essential to make our own understanding of the fundamentals of historical materialism explicit before proceeding further.
KeywordsSocial Relation Productive Force Socialist Construction Ruling Class Historical Materialism
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