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The Tyranny of Theory

: A Contribution to the Anarchist Critique of Marxism

Ronald D. Tabor


Does Marxism equal totalitarianism? Are the ideas of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels somehow responsible for the horrors of Communism? Or were Communist societies simply an aberration – the result of a profound misreading of Marxian concepts, the unfortunate outcome of objective conditions, or the work of perverse, power-hungry individuals?

In this volume, Tabor argues that, despite the apparently libertarian vision of Marx and Engels, the roots of totalitarianism lie within Marxism itself. Focusing on central facets of Marxist theory – its conception of the state; the notion of the dictatorship of the proletariat; the analysis of capital; the materialist conception of history; and dialectical materialism — Tabor argues that the sources of despotism can be traced in all of these.

However, Tabor contends, Marxism’s totalitarian logic is especially apparent in two of Marxism’s most fundamental notions: (1) the belief that the state, in the form of the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” can be utilized to establish a free society; (2) a philosophical outlook that insists that human society, history, and the cosmos as a whole can be convincingly explained by, and subsumed under, one logically consistent world view, its own. Seen philosophically, then, Marxism must be understood as a form of totalizing rationalism that seeks to impose itself on humanity (and the Earth) by means of a monolithic state.

Ronald D. Tabor is a long-time revolutionary activist and writer (author of Trotskyism and the Dilemma of Socialism [with Christopher Z. Hobson], and A Look At Leninism). A Marxist for many years, Tabor was active in SDS, a member of the International Socialists, and a founder of the Revolutionary Socialist League. After years of study, Tabor became critical of Marxism and embraced anarchism, becoming involved in the Love and Rage Revolutionary Anarchist Federation. He is currently part of the collective that publishes the Utopian magazine and is a member of the First of May Anarchist Alliance.

Publisher: Black Cat Press
Number of pages: 358
ISBN: 978-1-926878-12-6
Format: trade paperback
Printer: Black Cat Press

SKU: TCI-046 Category:

Additional information

Weight 258 g
Dimensions 20.5 x 13.2 x 2.5 cm

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