Our Institute was founded in 1981 on the initiative of among others, Ernest Mandel (1923 – 1995). Mandel was one of the most creative and prolific revolutionary Marxists in the post-war world. In five decades of theoretical work, he published some 2000 articles and 30 books.
It is therefore surprising that before Manuel Kellner's Gegen Kapitalismus und Bürokratie – zur sozialistischen Strategie bei Ernest Mandel (2009), no book had dealt comprehensively and critically with Mandel's theoretical life's work.
In 2000 the anthology The Legacy of Ernest Mandel was published by Verso books. Edited by Gilbert Achcar, the book is based on a seminar held in July 1996. The anthology provided essays by Robin Blackburn, Norman Geras, Michael Lowy, Charles Post, Francisco Louca, Michel Husson, Jesus Albarracin, Pedro Montes, and Catherine Samary engaging with aspects of Mandel's work. However, of neccesity, the contributions in the book concentrated on only parts of Mandel's extensive writings.
In the same year as Gegen Kapitalismus und Bürokratie, Jan Willem Stutje’s Ernest Mandel: A Rebel's Dream Deferred was published, also by Verso. For the first time a political biography of Mandel was available. Stutje's book focuses on personal biography, political activism, interviews with contemporaries and Mandel's discussions with personalities such as Che Guevara and Rudi Dutschke.
In Gegen Kapitalismus und Bürokratie, however, Kellner develops a comprehensive and critical appreciation of Mandel's overall theoretical contributions, making it an excellent addition to the existing literature.
Mandel's thought was not only central to the Fourth International of which he was a leading figure, it had a wider impact on post-war Marxism. However, no English-language book has comprehensively dealt with his theoretical body of work. An English translation of Kellner's book will be an important contribution to the study of an influential and creative Marxist.
Gegen Kapitalismus und Bureaukratie is based on 32 years of close familiarity with Mandel's work and the author's seven-years effort to create a thorough view of his theory. Kellner identifies a dilemma that ran through all Mandel's work: the tension between his claim to a free-thinking Marxism that is willing to open itself to a world in constant change, and his insistence on loyalty to Marxist orthodoxy.
Kellner's is a ‘remarkable work’ which ‘studies, with rigour and precision, the ideas of one of the most influential Marxist intellectuals of his time.’ (Michael Lőwy). Especially today, in the context of a renewed interest in Marxism and intensifying social conflicts, this systematic study of the thought of Mandel will be of value to activists and scholars.
To make this work available to English readers, we are working together with the Historical Materialism book series. Gegen Kapitalismus und Bureaukratie would be a wonderful addition to this renowned book series. In recent years HM has published important historical documents on the history of Marxism, socialism, feminism and other social movements. In the English-speaking world, it has become one of the most prominent outlets for critical Marxist thought.
To raise the necessary funds for translation of this 450 plus pages long work, we require your help. Please make donations for this project through Paypal or through bank-transfer:
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Gegen Kapitalismus und Bürokratie – zur sozialistischen Strategie bei Ernest Mandel (2009) was originally published by Neuer ISP Verlag, Köln.