Peter Sedgwick

Original Marxism

(Spring 1964)

Peter Sedgwick, Original Marxism, International Socialism (1st series), No.16, Spring 1964. (review)
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Libres essais Marxistes, Andre Stawar, Editions du Seuil (Paris), no price given.

A collection of essays by a highly original Marxist mind, acutely critical of Stalinist and Trotskyist styles of argument. The philosophic tenor is on the whole dormant and deterministic, with a tendency to ascribe errors of faulty leadership perhaps too broadly to social and national causative factors; e.g. the prevalence of ‘social fascist’ stupidities among Western CP’s during the Comintern’s ‘Third period’ is taken as establishing not the degeneracy of Stalinist policies but the weakness of the Parties concerned.

Stawar’s organisational allegiance was at various times within the framework of the Polish CP, but this outlook is soaked in the European socialist politics of this century. His observations are thoughtful and weighty even where one has to disagree with them.

The essays have an interesting publishing history: several of the earlier articles first appearing in independent reviews in 1934-38, were rediscovered and circulated once again by ‘revisionist’ Poles in 1956. The others were presented to the editors of the leading Polish emigrant review Kultura in 1961, Stawar having journeyed to France for the purpose of completing and publishing his writings before his death. He died near Paris in the Summer of the same year.

It is to be hoped that these essays, excerpts from which have already appeared in New Politics, will find an English edition.

Peter Sedgwick


Last updated on 25 February 2010