Does a Proletarian Struggle Resonate with the Masses Today? A Discussion on Marxism

The Discussion Map charts important debates from the pages of the EPW.


Will a Marxist approach to politics today result in a just democracy? 

Murzban Jal, in his 2011 article, calls for rethinking the dominance of ideology in the public sphere, and argues that one must “transcend” the current politics of the liberals and orthodox left who no longer critique wars and imperialism. Arguing in favour of a Marxist revolution, Jal writes that the proletarian struggle would install a democracy that is classless and humanist. 

Arun K Patnaik responds to Jal, commenting that communists wish to lecture the masses without ever bothering to learn from their struggles. Patnaik contends that Jal suppresses critical questions on Marxist thought, thereby reinforcing a “theological attitude” among Marxists themselves. 

Jal replies to Patnaik, calling his rejoinder “anti-communist rhetoric” and accuses him of criticising Marx within the framework of Western liberalism. 

Patnaik, in response, says that criticising Marx does not make one anti-Marxist, and questions whether the “old” communist calls for a revolution can truly challenge today’s neoliberal state. 


A few other works that are broadly related to this discussion:

  1. Marx’s Concept of Socialism, Peter Hudis, 2019
  2. Marx and the Politics of Emancipation, Marcello Musto, 2019
  3. Marx at 200: Beyond Capital and Class Alone, Kevin B Anderson, 2018

Ed: To contribute to a more comprehensive discussion map, please share links to other relevant articles in the comments section or write to us at with the subject line “Ideology and Praxis.”


Curated by Kieran Lobo []


Image Courtesy: Modified. Wikimedia Commons/\E Capiro/Public Domain

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