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Readings of Capital: A Starting Point for Reinventing Socialist Politics?

  • Ingo SchmidtEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter explains the emergence of different readings of Capital in the changing historical contexts in which socialist movements were operating. More specifically, Capital, and other texts by Marx and Engels, were key to the formation of Marxist socialism in the days of the First and Second International. Unable to explain imperialist expansion and rivalry, this first wave of reading Capital was supplemented with a second wave prior to WWI and the Russian Revolution. Bureaucratic rule in the Soviet Union and Western welfare states and a shift of revolutionary processes to the colonial world eventually produced a third wave of reading Capital in the 1960s. The chapter concludes with some thoughts on the lessons the three waves of reading Capital might offer to present-day socialists who have to come to terms with the failures and defeats of past socialisms.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Athabasca UniversityAthabascaCanada

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