[Marxism] 7 Reasons ‘Radical’ Publishers are Getting OWNED by the Internet | Novara Wire

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat May 10 17:07:48 MDT 2014

Lawrence and Wishart assume that their scholarly edition of Marx ought 
to be collected in the library, or on the shelves of those able to 
afford it, while the rest can make do with the editions of portions of 
his work already circulating in other editions. The Marx and Engels of 
the MECW are for specialists, who can interpret them for use by everyone 
else. This has been the model of official Marxism for decades, and 
accounts in part for the excessive weight given to intellectual workers 
and theorists in a movement supposed to be far wider than that. This 
promotes the veneration of Marx’s work as scripture, accessed only by 
the suitably learned, whereas we believe in its importance especially as 
the record of a political life – in the letters, as well as the drafts 
and the manuscripts. Taking the MECW out of the hands of specialists 
allows us to shatter the doctrinal image of Marx propounded by this or 
that party and discover the record of a critical, changing mind 
committed to the abolition of capitalism and private property.

The young Marx knew about dusty collections of weighty tomes: ‘You do 
not need to read the books; their exciting aspect suffices to touch your 
heart and strike your senses, something like a Gothic cathedral. These 
primitive gigantic works materially affect the mind; it feels oppressed 
under their mass, and the feeling of oppression is the beginning of awe. 
You do not master the books, they master you.’ That’s in the first 
volume of MECW, until recently available at the tap of a few keys from 
my home computer. Under L&W’s new ‘access’ system, I’d have likely never 
read it. It seems the publishers want their edition to sit in a library 
as beautiful and useless as a Gothic chantry, a memorial to dead men, 
rather than a tool in the hands of the living.


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