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Marx's Ghost: Midnight Conversations on Changing the World Paperback – October, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The old ghost has a lot to tell us, so we find out from these imaginative and compelling conversations in Highgate Cemetery. We hear from Marx's companions and his sometime adversaries as well. But especially from the author who guides the conversation, and in lucid and informative prose draws the curtain from many of the ills of the world while also directing us to ways to escape from what might be a grim future. A very valuable and timely contribution. --Noam Chomsky

This is a delightful read, in which we meet Marx the humanist, Marx the supporter of the eight-hour day, Marx before Marxism, as C. Wright Mills used to say. Charles Derber is in that tradition of Mills, one who wants to reclaim the real history of the demonized for a new generation. --Tom Hayden

Charles Derber is one of the most astute analysts of the political economy of the Western world. He proposes practical solutions that are both reformist and revolutionary in their scope for transforming today's outdated and unfair system of capitalism. Marx's Ghost is the essential handbook for social and environmental activists everywhere. -- Jonthan Steele, The Guardian --Jonthan Steele, The Guardian

About the Author

Charles Derber, Professor of Sociology at Boston College, has written twenty books,including bestsellers with multiple translations and editions. He has also written opinion pieces for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, Newsday, and other newspapers and magazines. His most recent book is Capitalism: Should You Buy It? An Invitation to Political Economy (Paradigm 2014).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Paradigm Publishers (October 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612050662
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612050669
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,591,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Social Scientist Consumer Victim on April 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book revolves around an imaginary encounter with Marx's ghost, a ghost with comprehensive awareness of most major events, which occurred from the time he lived until the present. It is written to inspire hope, to build a sense that there are viable alternatives to contemporary corporate capitalism and brutal militaristic empires. It shows that Marxism is not a relic of the past, but offers tools for understanding present crises, how society evolved to this situation, and how it can offer a vantage for seeing beyond where we now are. The Marx of this book makes it clear that he never forgot the commitment to personal freedom and the transcendence of alienated social relations embodied in his early writings. The ghost is aware of how his work has been used to justify repressive authoritarian regimes, which were in some sense worse than capitalism, and he assumes responsibility for ambiguities within his writings, which are vulnerable to being profoundly misread. The ghost uses the methodology and framework he developed while he was alive to trace the contradictions embedded within capitalism and shows how the system's inherent logic brought it to the present contradictions, where it is teetering on collapse.

The late Dr. Marx recognizes that the fall of capitalism does not guarantee a more humane world, and that it could produce a barbarism more destructive than anything history has yet seen or even total oblivion. He discusses events that occurred after his death, including fascism, the great depression, regimes that perverted his name, and the risk of that human technology could destroy the entire biosphere. In the process, he tries to distinguish when his predictions were right and wrong. When he failed, he explains why.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Homer J. Fong on January 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book did a great job incorporating several of Marx's works into modern context in the U.S. and worldwide. This is great for anyone trying to understand a Marxist perspective on capitalism and economic collapse. Derber also discussed what may happen in the future and ways to get involved.
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By Em on May 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
What would you do if you encountered the ghost of Karl Marx, one of the greatest philosophers of all time, alone in a cemetery one night? After getting over the initial shock and pinching yourself several times, hopefully, you would engage in a debate on the past, present, and future of the world's economic, social, and political issues. Through dialogues ranging from the environment, to racism, our economic crisis, and modern capitalism, the author does exactly this. The ghostly Marx rehashes his original ideas and principles proposed in the 1800's, but reframes them in a modern context through debates with the author. The book culminates with a discussion on ways to make positive changes to address the current issues the United States, and the world, is facing.

This book offers a witty, intellectual interpretation of the state of current global affairs through a Marxist lens. The merits and drawbacks of the Marxist philosophy are thoroughly considered in a conversational, accessible fashion. This book does an excellent job of addressing the global issues we have faced, are facing, and will face in the future, and then offering possible strategies to approach solutions.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ami Bankruptcy on August 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
In Marx's Ghost, Charles Derber presents the reader with a digestible way
of reading Marx, helping the reader to realize the relevance of Marxist theory
today. Derber provides prescriptive measures for how we should respond to our
current financial crisis. Derber focuses on contemporary issues like globalization
and the dominance of neoliberalism and predicts how Marx would respond and
interpret both.

Filled with interesting and funny dialogue: Derber brings Marx to life
so the reader really feels engaged with the text. Derber incorporates crucial
aspects of Marxist thought in easy to read ways; some concepts include TINA, the
isolation of the worker and the unsustainable characteristics of capitalism.

Marx's Ghost is the perfect introduction to Marxist theory and a great
contemporary companion to Marx's writing.
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