Marx’s Reflections and Marxist Interpretations
Special Session with John Milios
In Marx’s analysis of the Capitalist Mode of Production and more precisely in his theory of value, the key to decipher the capitalist political and ideological practices and structures is to be found. In this context, many Marxists believed that the analysis of “commodity fetishism” in Section 1 of Volume 1 of Capital renders the basis for understanding ideological domination and political coercion under the capitalist rule. This presentation will argue that “commodity fetishism” is only a preliminary notion, which allows Marx to arrive, in subsequent sections of Capital, at the concept of the “fetishism of capital”.
In this way we will attempt to investigate if and to what extent the notion of fetishism has itself attained a fetishist function within Marxism, creating inversions, transpositions and misinterpretations, and what is actually its significance in the framework of the Marxist approach to ideology. Marxists who have based their analyses on fetishism have elaborated idealistic anthropologies (Lukacs), while materialists (Lenin) have ignored it. We will look at the two reasons for this.
John Milios is Professor of Political Economy and the History of Economic Thought at the National Technical University of Athens. An author of a wide selection of books including A Political Economy of Contemporary Capitalism and its Crisis: Demystifying Finance, The Origins of Capitalism as a Social System, and Rethinking Imperialism: A Study of Capitalist Rule, among others. John also directs the quarterly journal of economic theory Theseis. John was the leading economic adviser with SYRIZA until March 2015.
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