Marx has returned, but which Marx? Recent biographies have proclaimed him to be an emphatically nineteenth-century figure, but in this book, Mike Davis’s first directly about Marx and Marxism, a thinker comes to light who speaks to the present as much as the past. In a series of searching, propulsive essays, Davis, the bestselling author of City of Quartz and recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, explores Marx’s inquiries into two key questions of our time: Who can lead a revolutionary transformation of society? And what is the cause—and solution—of the planetary environmental crisis?
Davis consults a vast archive of labor history to illuminate new aspects of Marx’s theoretical texts and political journalism. He offers a “lost Marx,” whose analyses of historical agency, nationalism, and the “middle landscape” of class struggle are crucial to the renewal of revolutionary thought in our darkening age. Davis presents a critique of the current fetishism of the “anthropocene,” which suppresses the links between the global employment crisis and capitalism’s failure to ensure human survival in a more extreme climate. In a finale, Old Gods, New Enigmas looks backward to the great forgotten debates on alternative socialist urbanism (1880–1934) to find the conceptual keys to a universal high quality of life in a sustainable environment.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Preface: Marx at the Chicken Shack ix
1 Old Gods, New Enigmas: Notes on Revolutionary Agency 1
2 Marx's Lost Theory: The Politics of Nationalism in 1848 155
3 The Coming Desert: Kropotkin, Mars, and the Pulse of Asia 179
4 Who Will Build the Ark? 201