- Sanjay Kumar
Note: This is the text of a presentation made at the NSI Delhi chapter's winter study camp held in Samalkha, Haryana in December, 2011
I assume everybody here is interested in Marxism because NSI unequivocally espouses the political legacy of Marx. Some of us here are inquisitive about Marxism, they would have heard or read about it; some praise, lot of criticism and ridicule, but have not yet made up their mind about the beast. On the other hand, some of us here may unabashedly declare themselves to be Marxists. If that is not to be taken as a mere label, it implies that they place their personal histories in a definite ideological, social scientific and political tradition. The majority may lie in-between, understanding and agreeing with some Marxist ideas, but then also being also aware of and appreciative of other ideas which do not fit neatly into a clear Marxist schema. I hope what I am going to say will prove useful to everybody here, particularly to the in-between majority.
Let me state in the beginning my take on Marxism. I think Marxism as a body of theoretical ideas and political practices marks an important milestone in the history of humanity. It raises fundamental questions about the world around us, and the place of humanity in it. It provides strong arguments to reject some answers. It gives revealing insights into the nature of human society. Some of the answers it leads to are path-breaking. It provides a world-view which is open (but not chaotic, random, multiple), questioning and critical (but not speculative), and engages with reality with the aim of transforming it (but is not pragmatic). I find Marxist world view liberatory, not because the way it helps in liberation from specific bondages, but what it tells us about the stakes involved in struggles for liberation.