In this collection of trenchant essays and interviews, István Mészáros, the world’s preeminent Marxist philosopher and winner of the Libertador Award for Critical Thought (the Bolivar Prize) for 2008, lays bare the exploitative structure of modern capitalism. He argues with great power that the world’s economies are on a social and ecological precipice, and unless decisive radical action is taken soon to totally transform our economic system—from one based upon the blind pursuit of profit to one controlled by the workers themselves to not just satisfy our basic needs but to help each of us to develop our full potential as human beings—we will find ourselves thrust headfirst into barbarism and environmental catastrophe.
Mészáros, however, is no pessimist. He believes that the multiple crises of world capitalism will encourage the working class to demand center stage in the construction of a new system of production and distribution designed to meet human needs rather than serve the relentless pursuit of profit—a struggle which is already underway in places such as Venezuela. As John Bellamy Foster says in the foreword to this indispensable book, “Today the structural crisis of capital provides the historical setting for a new revolutionary movement for social emancipation in which developments normally taking centuries would flit by like phantoms in decades or even years. But the force for such necessary, vital change remains with the people themselves, and rests on humanity’s willingness to constitute itself as both subject and object of history, through the collective struggle to create a just and sustainable world. This, Mészáros insists, constitutes the unprecedented challenge and burden of our historical time.”
‘The Pathfinder’ of 21st Century Socialism.
referring to István Mészáros, Miraflores Palace
September 10, 2001
For me, István Mészáros is one of the few people who has made essential contributions to the body of Marxist thought. Like Marx, he is not easy to read, but he is definitely worth the effort.
If everyone had the spirit of István Mészáros, that is, if everyone were…so mindful of the totality and the future, so fierce in opposition, so faithful to the exploited and oppressed, and so hopeful for a better world, then such a world would be in closer reach.