All these endless paeans to Marx get tiresome and finally puzzling. Marxists and much of the left are fixed by Marx with nothing to show for it. The left should have established socialism long ago, but still flounders in confusion and ineptitude. Part of the reason is Marx himself whose theories have been turned into a religion whose adherents are beyond rational discussion. And Marxists are deadbeats at this point and stall any kind of strong activism that could challenge the powers that be. The problem is the second rate package of the theory that Marx struggled over for decades, in the end to no avail: his unfinished Capital is testimony to his struggle to creat theory. But the whole chase after theory was a futile task. Organic wholeness to Marx’s discoveries?? Bullshit. The whole package is a set of errors where a much simpler approach might have worked better and restrained the later descent into violence.
Michael Lebowitz might best be described as a figure from the left’s past and also its future. His 1992 volume Beyond Capital reached back over the heads of six generations of Marxists to grapple with the qualities that gave Karl Marx’s discoveries an organic wholeness too often missing in later generations’ efforts. In it, he approaches the difficulties of Marx’s work not only for our own time, but within his own systematic project, to reveal the lives of the living, breathing working class, evolving, changing, ever caught up in complex struggles. And to pinpoint a way out of capitalism.