Critique of the Gotha Program

Regular price $ 15.95

by Karl Marx, translated by Kevin B. Anderson and Karel Ludenhoff, introduction by Peter Hudis, foreword by Peter Linebaugh

PM Press

10/18/2022, paperback

SKU: 9781629639161


Marx's Critique of the Gotha Program is a revelation. It offers the fullest elaboration of his vision for a communist future, free from the shackles of capital, but also the state. Neglected by the statist versions of socialism, whether Social Democratic or Stalinist that left a wreckage of coercion and disillusionment in their wake, this new annotated translation of Marx's Critique makes clear for the first time the full emancipatory scope of Marx's notion of life after capitalism.

An erudite new introduction by Peter Hudis plumbs the depth of Marx's argument, elucidating how his vision of communism, and the transition to it, was thoroughly democratic. At a time when the rule of capital is being questioned and challenged, this volume makes an essential contribution to a real alternative to capitalism, rather than piecemeal reforms. In the twenty-first century, when it has never been more needed, here is Marx at his most liberatory.


"This is a compelling moment for a return to Marx's most visionary writings. Among those is his often neglected, Critique of the Gotha Program. In this exciting new translation, we can hear Marx urging socialists of his day to remain committed to a truly radical break with capitalism. And in Peter Hudis's illuminating introductory essay we are reminded that Marx's vision of a society beyond capitalism was democratic and emancipatory to its very core. This book is a major addition to the anti-capitalist library." -- David McNally, Distinguished Professor of History, University of Houston and author of Monsters of the Market

"In their penetrating account of Marx's famous hatchet job on the 19th-century left, Hudis and Anderson go to the heart of issues haunting the left in the 21st century: what would a society look like without work, wages, GDP growth, and human self-oppression." -- Paul Mason, writer for New Statesman and author of Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future

"This new edition of Marx's Critique of the Gotha Program, with an illuminating introduction by Peter Hudis, confirms that to re-translate is not only to re-animate old questions in the body of new words, but is also to propel writing towards contemporary exigencies. Arcing across times, the then of a first articulation connects to the now of hindsight and to the unwritten terms of an open future. While the delusions of Real-Existing State Socialism have dispelled, confusions around the role of the state in an emancipating society persist. In this short metatext, Marx's snappish commentaries and his forensic dissections of weasel words and hollow phrases reveal how language matters, because it conveys and betrays ideology, policy and underlying standpoints. Translation works with this malleability of language. Meaning turns on a dime: political orientation can be realigned, if the slogan evinces exactitude, acknowledging history and horizons of possibility. We should learn, through this book, to read closer, better and in dialogue. -- Esther Leslie, Professor of Political Aesthetics, Birkbeck College, University of London, and author of Walter Benjamin

"Critique of the Gotha Program is a key text for understanding Marx's vision of an emancipated society beyond capitalism. With an excellent introduction by Peter Hudis, this new translation is both timely and important. Returning to Marx's pathbreaking essay can give new direction to the political struggles of our time."
--Martin Hägglund, Yale University, author of This Life

"This new translation of Marx's Critique of the Gotha Program includes an introductory essay by Peter Hudis, which points to Marx's distinction between value, that is, the socially-necessary time required to produce a commodity, and labor itself, that is, the actual number of hours a worker engages in. He provides a provocative and useful critique of Lenin's conception of the transition to socialism, and of subsequent Marxist-Leninist and social democratic conceptions of a socialist society. This raises questions about the nature of both labor and value in a society in which both have been transformed by technology. Nevertheless Hudis' analysis provides a clarifying and useful critique of both social democratic and Marxist-Leninist conceptions of socialism/communism." -- Barbara Epstein, Professor of the History of Consciousness Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz, and author of Political Power and Cultural Revolution

About the Contributors:

Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist, and socialist revolutionary. Author of The Communist Manifesto.

Kevin B. Anderson is Professor of Sociology at University of California, Santa Barbara, with appointments in Feminist Studies and Political Science. He is the author of Lenin, Hegel, and Western MarxismFoucault and the Iranian Revolution (with Janet Afary), and Marx at the Margins.

Karel Ludenhoff is an Amsterdam-based labor activist and a writer on Marx's critique of political economy whose essays have appeared in Logos and other journals.

Peter Hudis is Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at Oakton Community College and author of Marx's Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism and Frantz Fanon: Philosopher of the Barricades. He edited The Rosa Luxemburg Reader and The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg.

Peter Linebaugh is the coauthor of Albion's Fatal Tree, and is the author of Stop Theif!The Many-Headed Hydra (with Marcus Rediker), The Magna Carta Manifesto, and introductions to Verso's selection of Thomas Paine's writings and PM's new edition of E.P. Thompson's William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary. He lives in the region of the Great Lakes and works at the University of Toledo in Ohio.