Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Dustbin of history?

In "Theorizing Religion" today, it was time again for Marx' greatest religion hits: the start of the Contribution to a Critique of Hegel's "Philosophy of Right" (where religion's described as the opium of the people), the "Theses on Feuerbach," and the "Fetishism of Commodities" discussion in Kapital. It's one of my favorite sessions - as in years past, this was most students' first chance to actually read anything of Marx's - and one of those where I get almost preachy. (Barth, Dewey and Zen are others.) But China on the horizon of my thinking made the experience today quite different. In past classes, I realized, Marx has been safely passé. One could savor the early Marx, and even cherry-pick from the later work, without having to engage the disastrous history of state Marxisms. Who in our time would actually try to create a classless society where "species being" might flourish?

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