Reading with Xi Jinping | Marxism: For and Against

By Zhang Wenjie, Peng Yukai, Liu Ning, Yuan Meng, Xian Jiangnan (People's Daily Online) 09:14, April 23, 2023

Despite Marxism appearing for the first time more than 150 years ago, both history and reality have proven it is of a scientific nature. And today still as before, it is brimming with great vitality.

Marxism is very influential even in the Western world today. Robert L. Heilbroner, an American economist, Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Law, has studied the capitalism of the United States in an in-depth way. Later, he committed himself in exploring the prospects of mankind’s development, having developed a deep interest in Marxist thought. His book Marxism: For and Against represents the summation of his research efforts.

He elaborated four central topics of Marxist thought in the book―namely, the dialectical approach to philosophy, the materialist interpretation of history, the socio analysis of capitalism and the commitment to socialism.

In his speech at a symposium on philosophy and social sciences on May 17, 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping referred to the book. Xi said American scholar Robert L. Heilbroner noted in his book Marxism: For and Against that to explore the development prospects of human society, we must seek advice from Karl Marx (1818-1883). Human society is still living according to the laws of development expounded by Marx. Practice has also proven that no matter how the times change and science progresses, Marxism still shows the mighty power of its scientific thought, and with Marxism still occupying the commanding heights of truth and morality.

Marxism is an unsettling presence in the modern world, the source of the most passionate hopes and fears, the most contradictory visions. But I do not want to begin a study of the subject by plunging directly into these troubled waters. Instead, let me pose a question that may stir my reader's interest rather than his or her emotions: Why is it that the work of Marx, from which Marxism springs, exerts such fascination after more than a century? Or as the matter is often put: Why should we still turn to Marx for insight into contemporary affairs when the world has changed almost out of recognition from the time in which he wrote?

We live in an era in need of thinking, and an era that will most definitely see the birth of new thoughts. I hope that this book will be able to enlighten you all.

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Wu Chengliang)


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