Christopher Hill

Charles Brown BrownBingb at
Sat Mar 15 08:18:04 MST 2003

From: "David Quarter" <davidquarter at>

Why should critiquing, and perhaps even disagreeing completely
with, Marx's argument concerning the origin of captialism make
some non-marxist? Can one not agree with elements of marxist
theory, let alone Marx's notioin of a classless society, without
necessarily accepting every thing he argued?



CB: As I said, disagreeing with Marx that capitalism originated in class
antagonism is to disagree with the most fundamental idea and empirical
demonstration in his work. I don't know why one would want to hang on to the
label "Marxist" in that case. It becomes confusing when you use the name
"Marxist" and reject the central principle of Marxism. Sort of like the
British "Labour" Party now.  It would be clearer to get another name,
"post-Marxist" or something, if you wanted to indicate that you had developed
out of Marxism, turned into its opposite or whatever - "anti-Marxism" ?

In terms of classless society, there are non-Marxist socialists. Use
"socialist" . But to disagree with Marx on class antagonism as the motor of
change is to be definitively a non-Marxist socialist.

I still don't understand why someone who rejects completely Marx's argument
on the origin of capitalism would want to call themselves a Marxist. He
didn't concentrate emipirically a lot on the origin of feudalism or slavery.
 Don't you recognize the argument in _The Manifesto of the Communist Party_
as the essence of Marxism and Marx ?  What do you like about Marx if he is
wrong about that ?

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