What does it mean to be a Marxist?
in The Norman Geras Reader
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In this chapter, Geras distinguishes three meanings of 'being a Marxist': personal, intellectual and socio-political. For someone to be a Marxist, in the first sense, he or she must subscribe to a significant selection of recognized Marxist beliefs, and describe him or herself as a Marxist. The second is that, as well as having some relevant combination of Marxist beliefs, a person can work, as writer, political publicist, academic, thinker, researcher, within the intellectual tradition begun by Marx and Engels and developed by later figures. The third this that a person is a Marxist if they belong to the Marxist left. Unless a Marxism of personal belief and a Marxism of creative intellectual work both thoroughly renewed and wrested once and for all from the grip of anti-democratic and illiberal themes and concepts, Marxism as a political force might just as well be dead and buried.

The Norman Geras Reader

‘What’s there is there’

Editors: Ben Cohen and Eve Garrard


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