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From political economy to the communist project

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Chapter Summary

With dialectics helping Marx grasp the logic of change, and with historical materialism directing his attention to class struggles and material contradictions, political economy brought Marx to three conclusions. First, capitalism's demise comes through economic crises and/or a social revolution. Second, capitalism's technological complexity, material abundance, democratic potential, and class structure produced the presuppositions of communism. Third, for a communist political project to succeed it would need to cultivate the preconditions necessary for its emergence. This chapter examines this project and how it was later transformed under Marx's name. Marx discovered the objective and regulatory laws of all history and the Soviet state was viewed as history's most recent evolutionary development. Marx's program of permanent revolution combined radical politics with flexible strategies for achieving practical goals. Marx's method of thinking about science and the study of capitalism shows us how to bring flexibility and precision to a progressive politic.

Keywords: capitalism; communism; communist project; Marx; political economy; Soviet state



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