chapter  1
A starting point
Pages 5

It is a mistake to believe that there is one authentic, pure or correct interpretation of Marx’s thought (or that of any other theoretician for that matter) which can be held up as what he ‘really’ meant. All interpretations of this kind are selective and historical since they relate to the different contexts and interests of the expositors and the stage of social development at which they are thus elaborated. There is a tendency among Marxist commentators, for obvious reasons, to portray Marx’s writings as more consistent than they are and to suppress omissions, errors, blind spots and unresolved tensions; in short, to transform Marx into a myth. The deification of Marx also carries the temptation to assume that his criticisms of his various theoretical combatants (Hegel, Feuerbach, Bauer, Stimer, Ricardo, Mill, etc.) are definitive, final and unambiguously devastating. It is a theme of this study on the contrary that, seen from a later stage, Marx’s assessments of other theorists emerge as frequently selective, partial or simplified in the interest of mounting a critique of societies from the prestigious standpoint of a 'science’ of socialism. This con­ tention is followed through in particular in relation to what I argue is Marx’s invalid critique of Hegel to demonstrate the selective emphasis present in Marx’s interpretation which can be seen to have been un­ critically perpetuated later on in the tradition by some of the neoMarxists treated in this study.