Marx’s Original Vision and its 20th Century Distortions
by Nick Rogers
A number of Marx’s key ideas about communist society and how to get there have been distorted by twentieth century socialists. A politics of human emancipation fit for the twenty-first century should build on Marx’s original vision.
Marx conceived of communism (as he usually described the future society he envisaged – he generally reserved the term socialism for political trends he disagreed with) and the transition to it as an emancipatory journey. Specifically that the transition to communism involves ending the separation between state and citizenry and the withering away or dissipation of the repressive functions associated with the state (although the administrative functions currently performed by the state will still be necessary in any society).
We have to take the transition to the future society very seriously. The development of democratic and participatory forms is more critical than nationalisation. State ownership (although potentially a transitional form) is not the same thing as socialisation.
Nick Rogers writes on socialist political strategy, Marxist political economy, imperialism and the transition to communism.