Geras, pluralism and the International Marxist Group (IMG)

Bates, D. (2015) Geras, pluralism and the International Marxist Group (IMG). In: Political Studies Association Annual Conference, 30th March-1st April, 2015, PSA, Sheffield.

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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.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General) > B0069 General works
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dr David Bates
Date Deposited: 28 May 2015 11:06
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2015 11:34

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00