Book Review: Marx, carbuncles and all

 Marx without Myth by Maximilien Rubel and Margaret Manale (Blackwell)

A very good biography of Marx, which recounts fairly and without eulogy his personal and political activities year by year, is Marx without Myth by Maximilien Rubel and Margaret Manale (published by Basil Blackwell in 1975). What makes it so good is that the authors recognise that Marx stood for “a classless, stateless and moneyless society” and point out that, right from his first socialistic writings at the end of 1843, Marx held that mankind could only be emancipated through the abolition of money and the State.

Marx maintained this view for the rest of his life even if, as Rubel and Manale point out, “he was not always able to reconcile his conduct with his theoretical views”. For instance, he was obsessed with the Russian threat to Western Europe, an obsession which led him to very questionable cooperation with Tory journalists like David Urquhart and Maltman Barry. As late as 1877 Marx was writing anonymous anti-Russian articles in the Tory press! But then we have never been committed to endorsing everything Marx said and did, even though we do owe him a tremendous debt as the man who first provided a scientific basis for the case for Socialism.

Adam Buick