Viewing the integrity of Marxism from Marxist classics

Most Marxist classics encompass philosophy, political economics, and scientific socialism. Despite the specialty of each discipline, its central questions incorporate all three areas.

Marx’s Economics & Philosophy Manuscripts of 1844 is such a work. So are some inaugural works of Marxism, including The German Ideology, The Poverty of Philosophy, and Manifesto of the Communist Party. All these works not only comprehensively discuss philosophy, political economics, and scientific socialism, but also clarify the strategies and tactics of the class struggle of the proletariat.

Marx’s Capital is a work on economics, philosophy, and scientific socialism. In its elaboration of political economics, Capital has presented insights on numerous philosophical issues: The dialectical implications in the duality of commodities and labor; fetishism of commodity, capital, and interest in the economic-philosophical discussion of commodity, capital, and interest; and revelations about social development in its discussion of average profit rate. “Under capitalist production, the general law acts as the prevailing tendency only in a very complicated and approximate manner, as a never ascertainable average of ceaseless fluctuations.”8 When discussing the tendency of the profit rate, Engels said, "None of [the profit] has any reality except as approximation, tendency, average, and not as immediate reality.”9 The discussion in Capital of the capitalist production mode reveals that socialism will eventually replace capitalism. Different components of Marxism are highly integrated in Capital. Engels’ Anti-Dilhring addresses (theinterconnections of) the three major parts of Marxism: philosophy, socialism, and political economics. Discussion of these three parts are seen also in Lenin's works such as What the “Friends of the People’’ Are and How They Fight the Social-Democrats; Materialism and Empirio-Criticism; Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism; and The State and Revolution. Mao Zedong’s Analysis of Chinese Classes, Strategies for Chinese Revolutionary War, On Protracted War, On New Democracy, and Correctly Handling Contradictions among the People also embed the three components of Marxism. Recent and contemporary Chinese leaders Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, and Xi Jinping have extended the Marxist discussion of socialism. The interconnections of the major components of Marxism are seen in the works of Marx and Engels and their disciples.

As such, the three parts—Marxist philosophy, Marxist political economics, and scientific socialism—need to be treated as an organic unity. In the past decade or so, China has set up the first-level discipline of Marxist studies and compiled necessary teaching materials. One of its valuable goals is to study and understand Marxism as an organic whole and implement this approach in our teaching practice. The actual practice of our teaching, however, falls short of the purported goal. The three components of Marxism are still presented as three disparate dishes on our platter of education. We must cultivate a new crop of teacher to execute the job effectively, which perhaps should proceed even before the creation of necessary additional teaching materials. My recent efforts in advocating the integrity of Marxism include dozens of academic papers produced on the basis of Capital and its manuscripts. However, my work has not matured to a degree to render a comprehensive textbook, for the fruition of which I invite efforts from my peers.

Notes

  • 1 Mehring, F. (1981). Defend Marxism (Ji Hong, Trans.). Beijing, China: People’s Publishing House. 3.
  • 2 An Anthology of Marx and Engels (Vol. 2). (2009). Beijing, China: People’s Publishing House, 34-35.
  • 3 An Anthology of Marx and Engels (Vol. 10). (2009). Beijing, China: People’s Publishing House, 599.
  • 4 An Anthology ofMarx and Engels (Vol. 1). (2009). Beijing, China: People’s Publishing House, 615.
  • 5 An Anthology ofMarx and Engels (Vol. 4). (2009). Beijing, China: People’s Publishing House, 299-300.
  • 6 An Anthology ofMarx and Engels (Vol. 3). (2009). Beijing, China: People’s Publishing House, 495-496.
  • 7 An Anthology ofMarx and Engels (Vol. 9). (2009). Beijing, China: People’s Publishing House, 30.
  • 8 An Anthology ofMarx and Engels (Vol. 5). (2009). Beijing, China: People’s Publishing House, 181.
  • 9 An Anthology ofMarx and Engels (Vol. 5). (2009). Beijing, China: People’s Publishing House, 693-694.
 
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