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To Be a Marxist in Czechoslovakia

Miroslav Kusý, edited and introduced by Dirk Mathias Dalberg (Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava)

Contradictions: A Journal for Critical Thought V, no. 2 (2021): 159–182

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Keywords: Miroslav Kusý, Czecho-Slovakia, Marxism, Normalization

Miroslav Kusý (1931–2019) was a Marxist-orientated Slovak philosopher who, after the crackdown on the Czechoslovak reform process in August 1968, applied a critical reading of the official interpretation of Marxism. An example of this is the short essay “To Be a Marxist in Czechoslovakia,” from 1984. Like other of his critical statements written in the 1970s and 1980s, it was published only in samizdat. In this text, published here for the first time in English, Kusý summarizes, explains, and criticizes the official interpretation of Marxism and counterposes his own understanding of it. In doing so, Kusý fits into the tradition that revolves around finding a correct interpretation of Marx.

Kusý's essay is translated by John Minahane.

Dirk Mathias Dalberg, after a biographical outline and a short overview on the political thinking of Miroslav Kusý in the 1970s and 1980s, introduces the text and names Kusý’s main arguments. Dalberg places Kusý’s thinking into the broader context of contemporary dissident thinking in Czechoslovakia and offers further readings which show Kusý’s understanding of Marxism in concrete examples.

doi: 10.46957/con.2021.2.9

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