Geras, pluralism and the International Marxist Group (IMG)

Conference paper


Bates, D. 2015. Geras, pluralism and the International Marxist Group (IMG).
AuthorsBates, D.
TypeConference paper
Description

This paper will situate Norman Geras’s liberal defence of Marxist pluralism in the context of the wider ideology and politics of the International Marxist Group (IMG) of which Geras was a key member. For it is only through understanding the demands of Marxist pluralism made through this group that we can interpret Geras’ democratic pluralist reading particularly of Rosa Luxemburg (and Trotsky) In his 1981 essay ‘Classical Marxism and Proletarian Representation’, Geras wrote:

‘I extrapolate here… a pluralist principle. This is a Marxist conception of the working-class democracy allowing for points of view other than one’s own and even though they may be thought either tendentially or actually to compromise the very goal; of socialism (Geras1981: p. 83)

This led Geras to re-theorise the relationship between means and ends, such that the principle of self-emancipatory democracy comes to be placed at the fore.

The paper will go on to look at how Geras’ arguments shift somewhat in his later writings - to this extent I argue that there is a ‘young’ and ‘mature’ Geras. The mature Geras moves towards the prioratisation of liberal rights above democratic considerations. Clearly motivated but the intellectual concerns of his later work, the conclusions which Geras reached have wider implications for any egalitarian politics. These implications I will also address.

Year2015
ConferencePolitical Studies Association Annual Conference
Related URLhttp://www.psa.ac.uk/psa-communities/specialist-groups/marxism/forum/psa-annual-conference-sheffield-2015
Publication process dates
Deposited28 May 2015
CompletedApr 2015
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