Marx on Russia: New Insights After the MEGA2
Time of visit: 1 March–30 April 2018
Marcello Musto (1976) is Associate Professor of Sociological Theory at York University (Toronto). The central purposes of his work have been: 1) to reconstruct the stages of Marx’s critique of capitalism in light of the most recent textual acquisitions of MEGA²; 2) to provide a new critical comparison between Marx and 19th and 20th century’s Marxisms; 3) to highlight the contemporary relevance of Marx for current issues.
His books, and articles have been published worldwide in more than twenty languages. Among his edited and co-authored volumes in English, reprinted in several editions, there are: Karl Marx’s ‘Grundrisse’ (Routledge, 2008); Marx for Today (Routledge, 2012); Workers Unite! (Bloomsbury, 2014) and The International after 150 Years (Routledge, 2015). He has been working on Marx and Russia in his recent L'ultimo Marx [The Late Marx] (Donzelli, 2016).Among his forthcoming books there are the monograph: Another Marx: An Essay in Intellectual Biography (Bloomsbury, 2018); and the edited volumes The Marx Revival (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and (with B. Amini) The Routledge Handbook of Marx's 'Capital': A Global History of Translation, Dissemination and Reception (Routledge, 2018).
Short description of ongoing research:
After 1872 Marx read dozens of brand new books about the nature of the Obshchina, and the development of the industrial and agricultural capitalism in Russia. The proposed research will address questions such as: how has the study of Russian economy and society influenced or changed the overall interpretation of capitalism in Marx? What were the most influential Russian political economists and sociologists who contributed to a new development of Marx's ideas? How does the new interpretation of the route of capitalism in Russia challenge orthodox Marxism that, for many decades, was so hegemonic in Soviet Union?
During the last decade of his life, Marx also significantly changed his conception of the political role of Russia. In the 1850s and 1860s, Marx had always considered Russia, due to its despotic regime and slow economic development, to be one of the main obstacles to the emancipation of the working classes. On the contrary, in the second part of the 1870s, after a more rigorous analysis of the country, influenced particularly by the work of Nikolay Chernyshevsky, Marx looked at Russia in a new, different way. He believed that there were conditions more favorable for a social revolution in Russia than in England, despite the fact that capitalism existed only in the latter. The agitations of the Narodniks, a movement with which he sympathized, only served to cement this new conviction. Marx realized that the possible eruption of revolutionary events and the potential revolutionary subjectivities had to be understood more flexibly.
Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Vesa Oittinen, Markku Kivinen