Praxis: Marxist criticism and dissent in socialist Yugoslavia - Gerson S. Sher

A detailed study of the Yugoslav Marxist journal, Praxis, published in 1977.

From 1964 to 1975 a group of dissident Yugoslav Marxist intellectuals collaborated on, and identified themselves with, the philosophical journal Praxis. In the early 1950s, inspired by the official Yugoslav critique of the Soviet Union and a relaxed cultural atmosphere, they began to develop a radical interpretation of Marxian theory. These writers maintained that concepts appearing in Marx’s early philosophical writings, especially praxis and alienation, formed the lifelong basis for his work of social criticism and remain applicable to all social formations.

The author examines the philosophical assumptions of the Praxis writers and the manner in which they applied these theories to an outspoken, yet thoroughly Marxist, critique of contemporary socialist systems. The relatively progressive Yugoslav system of workers’ self-management, which has been viewed by orthodox Marxists of the Soviet bloc as a revisionist departure from Marxist-Leninist norms, is subjected to particularly close analysis by the Praxis Marxists; through their eyes, the achievements and failures of contemporary socialism are presented with clarity and force.

The author also describes how the Praxis heresy within a heresy brought its advocates into often intense conflict with Yugoslav authorities and how the group’s fate was influenced by many of the major events of postwar Yugoslav history. Most dramatically, the recent crackdown on dissident activity resulted in the closing of Praxis itself and the ouster of eight of its contributors from Belgrade University in early 1975. Sher contends that the most important source of friction between Praxis and the League of Communists was the latter’s perception that in its attempt to institutionalize Marxist criticism on the fringes of Party life, Praxis represented a direct challenge to the Party’s ideological dominance and hence political viability.

The study thus contributes to an in-depth understanding of the political dynamics of present-day Yugoslavia and presents a timely prognosis for its future, as Yugoslavia prepares for life after Tito. It is also an important contribution to the literature of dissident movements in Eastern Europe and to our growing awareness of the struggle for human rights in the world today.

AttachmentSize
Gerson S. Sher - Praxis.pdf3.47 MB

Comments

Spikymike
Jun 22 2016 10:45

Could do with a short introduction with some background info on the subject and author if the poster wants us to consider reading this book?

OliverTwister
Jun 22 2016 13:18
Quote:
From 1964 to 1975 a group of dissident
Yugoslav Marxist intellectuals collaborated
on, and identified themselves with, the philosophical
journal Praxis. In the early 1950s,
inspired by the official Yugoslav critique of
the Soviet Union and a relaxed cultural atmosphere,
they began to develop a radical
interpretation of Marxian theory. These
writers maintained that concepts appearing
in Marx’s early philosophical writings, especially
praxis and alienation, formed the
lifelong basis for his work of social criticism
and remain applicable to all social formations.
The author examines the philosophical
assumptions of the Praxis writers and the
manner in which they applied these theories
to an outspoken, yet thoroughly Marxist,
critique of contemporary socialist systems.
The relatively progressive Yugoslav system
of workers’ self-management, which has
been viewed by orthodox Marxists of the
Soviet bloc as a revisionist departure from
Marxist-Leninist norms, is subjected to particularly
close analysis by the Praxis
Marxists; through their eyes, the achievements
and failures of contemporary
socialism are presented with clarity and
force.
The author also describes how the Praxis
heresy within a heresy brought its advocates
into often intense conflict with Yugoslav authorities
and how the group’s fate was influenced
by many of the major events of postwar
Yugoslav history. Most dramatically, the
recent crackdown on dissident activity
resulted in the closing of Praxis itself and the
ouster of eight of its contributors from Belgrade
University in early 1975. Sher contends
that the most important source of friction
between Praxis and the League of
Communists was the latter’s perception that
in its attempt to institutionalize Marxist criticism
on the fringes of Party life, Praxis represented
a direct challenge to the Party’s
ideological dominance and hence political
viability.
The study thus contributes to an in-depth
understanding of the political dynamics of
present-day Yugoslavia and presents a
timely prognosis for its future, as Yugoslavia
prepares for life after Tito. It is also an important
contribution to the literature of dissident
movements in Eastern Europe and to our
growing awareness of the struggle for
human rights in the world today.
GERSON S. SHER administers scientific
exchange programs with the USSR and
Eastern Europe for the Commission on International
Relations, National Academy of
Sciences, Washington, D.C. He is the translator
of Svetozar Stojanović’s Between
Ideals and Reality: A Critique of Socialism
and Its Future.

Looks like it was published in 1977.

Steven.
Jun 23 2016 10:37

Great stuff thanks for posting

Gerson Sher
Jan 24 2017 17:46

Steven - glad you like it! I discovered this link just now while refreshing my c.v. and was stunned. - Gerson