“At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or—this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms—with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure.”
Political theorists have been debating this passage and the assumption of capitalism’s demise ever since it appeared in Karl Marx’s preface to “A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy” in 1859.
But the question of when capitalism will burst asunder appears to be turned on its head when considering the copyright legal flap over Marx’s writings.
A radical publishing house, called Lawrence & Wishart, who at one time was connected to Great Britain’s Communist Party, is demanding the removal from the Marxists Internet Archive of the “Marx-Engels Collected Works”—hardcover books that sell for up to $50 a pop.
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