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8. Marx’s Bolivar

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Chapter Summary

It was undoubtedly something of a mischance that led Marx to write his article on Bolivar. Marx divided up the work with Engels, and it was his fate to have to do the Bolivar article. The fact that Marx had never previously contemplated Bolivar, and yet when he did have to write about him felt compelled to launch an extensive, hackneyed diatribe in which the Latin-American revolutionary was identified with a third person shows clearly enough that Marx saw in Bolivar an imitation of Napoleon III, or, more precisely, some sort of Bonapartist dictator. Demonstrating the presence of two 'souls' within Marxism, the libertarian and the Hegelian, and emphasising the need to privilege the former over the latter, we can restore to Marxism its character as a revolutionary, critical theory, full of the disruptive potential that Marx's thought always entailed.

Keywords: Bolivar; Hegelian; Latin-American revolutionary; libertarian; Marx; Napoleon III



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