Thursday, 7 October 2010

Norman Levine: What Karl Marx really said. In: “The Journal of Commerce”. Washington. 18. März 1999 [extraits]

The great 20th century contest between capitalism and communism was fought by two enemies, Washington and Moscow, who did not know what Karl Marx actually wrote. The misunderstanding of what Marx meant arose because more than a third of what he put on paper remained unpublished until recently. It is only since 1970 that the complete corpus of the works of Marx and Friedrich Engels has slowly started to be printed. The publication of all the writings of Marx and Engels may be compared to the appearance of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Just as those records forced both Christians and Jews to re-evaluate their history, so the printing of the full works of Marx and Engels will force scholars to re-assess what Marxism was all about. After the collapse of communism, an international association formed under the auspices of the famous International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam, took over scholarly responsibility for this gigantic project. The work is accomplished by teams in various countries around the world and coordinated in Amsterdam by Jürgen Rojahn. […] The original manuscripts are no longer hostages and three vital centers—Amsterdam, Moscow and Berlin—have agreed to cooperate in the retrieval of this bibliographical legacy, the publication of the MEGA. “This may be forcing a major reinterpretation of the thinking of Marx,” Dr. Rojahn told me. “Take ‘Das Kapital’ as a case in point. Marx himself only published volume one before his death, and it was Engels who edited the second and third volumes. The MEGA contains Marx’s drafts to all these volumes.”
“In the past it was thought that Marx and Engels were intellectual twins, but current research suggests that significant differences separated Marx from Engels,” he continued. Indeed, the MEGA will show in what way Engels altered Marx’s text for volumes two and three. It appears that it was Engels who revised these texts into a prophecy of inevitable decline of capitalism, whereas Marx himself never fortold such an ending.

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