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The Algebra of Revolution: The Dialectic and the Classical Marxist Tradition (Revolutionary Studies) Hardcover – 2 Jul 1998


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (2 July 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415198763
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415198769
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 17.1 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,836,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Rees is a broadcaster and writer who is a national officer of the Stop the War Coalition (UK) and a member of the editorial board of Counterfire (www.counterfire.org). He is the writer and presenter of the political history series Timeline.

In 2011 he participated in the Egyptian Revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak and his book on the Arab Revolutions, 'The People Demand, a short history of the Arab Revolutions'was co-written with Joseph Daher.

He is currently pursuing doctoral research on the Levellers and the English Revolution at Goldsmiths, University of London. In 2006, John Pilger said: "I know of few who speak and write more wisely of the danger we face from rapacious power, and what we should do about it, than John Rees".

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Review

""The Algebra of Revolution offers a fresh and superbly clarifying account of the major developments in classical Marxism. It presents this account in terms that a wide range of readers will be able to understand.."-William Keach, Brown University

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Hegel's name has often come to the lips of marxists during great crises in history or at crucial turning points in the development of marxism. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 3 May 2004
Format: Paperback
Of the countless accounts of Marxism out there, this is arguably one with particular resonance today. Rees places his critique in the context of the failure of some of the most influential trends in socialist theory and practice (from Kautsky to Althusser), culminating in the post-war retreat of Marxist theory in the face of postmodernist conservatism.
Rees attempt to demonstrate that this failure as not a failure of Marx's theory, but rather the failure of many on the Left to understand it, particularly to understand it in the context of the dialectical method. In a way this is reminiscent of Lenin's critique - where he claimed that '...without having thoroughly studied and understood the whole of Hegels Logic...none of the Marxists have understood Marx.'
In short; Rees summarises Hegel's philosophy, Marx's critique of it and the development of material dialectic, how Marxists have subsequently interpreted it and the significance of those interpretations to both theory and practice.
Although this may sound heavy going for the uninitiated, it is however very assessable, and addresses some of the basic questions we might ask - what am I? How do I change? How am I related to the world outside me? why is the world the way it is? can I change the world? if so, how? At the heart of Marx's philosophy is an attempt to answer these questions and others, and a critical aspect to understanding this philosophy is the dialectic - and this is the core of Rees's book. In the very simplest form - contradiction and change i.e.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Jun. 2004
Format: Paperback
After an introduction addressing the "contradictions of contemporary capitalism" and giving an outline of Rees's understanding of the dialectic, successive chapters address the dialectic in Hegel, Marx and Engels; the "First crisis of Marxism" (covering Bernstein, Kautsky, Plekhanov and Luxemburg); Lenin; the Hungarian communist Georg Lukács (and the Italian Antonio Gramsci); and Trotsky. In relation to each author or group of authors the use of dialectical argument is explored, together with the context in which the author is using it. A final brief conclusion deploys the work done in the book to criticise very briefly French Stalinist theorist Louis Althusser, the 'post-modernist' theorists who took Althusser's critique of Engels as a starting point and the 'analytical Marxists' Gerry Cohen and Jon Elster.
Rees's book is quite clearly the best currently available introduction to the Marxist dialectic in English, as well as being a serious study of controversial issues. Here the biographical method enables Rees to make philosophical ideas clearer by putting them in the contexts of their authors' times and political engagements. I would still recommend the book as fundamental reading for Marxists.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Nov. 2001
Format: Hardcover
Up until reading this book I had some awareness that the dialectic involved something to do with a full grown oak tree and an acorn, which somehow explains the world!?!? However, Rees' clear and simple style makes clear what can otherwise be a very bewildering subject. Given the increasing and unexpectedly complex nature of the world these days following September 11th it is essential to have a clear guide to help one through the confusing turbulence! A highly essential book!
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