A Marxian Eschatology?

  • Ali Rattansi
Part of the Contemporary Social Theory book series


Marx’s early writings have a distinctly apocalyptical character and it is not difficult to understand why some critics have seen in his discourse a sort of disguised and secularised eschatology, an interpretation made much easier if his earlier and later writings are indiscriminately conflated to yield a unified doctrine. Tucker, for instance, has quite bluntly referred to Marx’s views as ‘through and through a moralistic myth’ in which ‘the historical world of capital and labour becomes, in the end, a world that knows neither capital nor labour, a world of “full and free development of every individual”’.1 Marx’s belief in the possibility of some kind of total emancipation obviously provides interpretations of this genre with much sustenance, and it is in this element of his thought that Avineri locates a central weakness. ‘Turning the possibility of human redemption into an historical phenomenon about to be realised here and now’, he argues, ‘secularises the Hegelian synthesis that saw the dialectical tensions resolving themselves in the present generation and finding their Aufhebung in an apotheosis through which the historical process would achieve its ultimate height.’2 It is thus irrelevant that whereas Hegel regarded this act as the culmination of history, Marx saw it as the beginning of ‘true’ history.

Copyright information

© Ali Rattansi 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ali Rattansi
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Leicester School of EducationUK

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