Paresh Chattopadhyay: Marx's Associated Mode of Production: A Critique of Marxism.

Author:Liodakis, George
Position:Book review
 
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Paresh Chattopadhyay

Marx's Associated Mode of Production: A Critique of Marxism, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016; 259 pp.: ISBN 1137579714, 89.50 [pounds sterling]

This book, comprising 12 chapters, concerns Marx's idea of human emancipation focusing on labouring people's self-emancipation towards a post-capitalist 'associated mode of production'. As the author points out, in the current conditions of an exacerbated planetary crisis and a growing social and environmental degradation, this emancipatory idea is more relevant than ever before (p. 1).

As highlighted in the introductory chapter, 'the idea of human emancipation ... is an abiding message in Marx's writings almost from the beginning of his adult life' (p. 12). Following Marx's (and Engels') work, the author stresses that socialist revolution is not a momentary event, but rather an epochal transformation activated by proletarian struggles over a long period transforming both circumstances and people themselves (p. 6). Contrary to the standard position of the so-called 'twentieth century socialism' (TCS), he also notes that 'just as state is non-existent in Marxian socialism, in the same way, Party is also totally irrelevant in socialism as conceived by Marx and Engels' (p. 7), and that 'there is absolutely no text in Marx's published work where even the slightest mention of this strange figure makes its appearance in a discussion on socialism/communism' (p. 7). Consistent with his previous work, the author characterises these (TCS) regimes as 'state capitalism' (pp. 7, 225), assessing plausibly that 'Marx's socialism has not yet even been tried' (p. 12).

In Chapters 2 and 3, the author explores Marx's research practice, leading to a great number of notebooks, from which one can draw valuable insights. Against a notorious ideological reading of the work of Marx and Engels in the past, he pledges for a scientific rather than ideological reading (pp. 52-53), and his is indeed a faithful and yet critical/ non-dogmatic reading of Marx's work. In a brief portrait of post-capitalist society, presented in Chapters 4 and 5, he states that Marx's associated mode of production 'excludes, by definition, state, private ownership of the conditions of production, commodity production, and wage labour' (p. 59).

Chapter 6 deals with some feminist critiques of Marx, an alleged 'patriarchal bias', a bias of his value theory as ignoring a gendered division of labour, and the claim that domestic...

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