The current issue of Social Scientist is the second special number on Marx that we are bringing out during his death centenary year. The first, it may be recalled, was in March; and before the year is over, we propose to bring out a third special number. The first special number in March had been concerned primarily with the historical analysis of Indian society from a Marxist perspective; the accent in the current issue is on general theoretical questions. The lead article by M Basavapunnaiah discusses the concepts of "contradiction95 and "antagonism" in Marxist theory. It argues that antagonism or non*" antagonism inhere in the very nature of a contradiction and are not mutually transmutable. Ic argues that the contrary view which holds that contradictions which were originally non-antagonistic can develop into antagonistic contradictions and vice versa is an erroneous interpretation of Marxist theory. Such a view defines the concept of antagonism in terms of the form of struggle used to resolve a contradiction rather than in terms of the basic nature of the contradiction itself. But an antagonistic contradiction, e.g, between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, remains an antagonistic contradiction even if in certain concrete conditions it becomes possible to resolve it peacefully. The author argues that this erroneous philosophical formulation about the mutability of antagonistic contradictions into non-antagonistic ones and vice versa underlies a number of erroneous ideological-political positions which developed in the world communist movement.
The issues raised in the article are undoubtedly of the utmost practical importance and need to be disscussed and debated widely. Social Scientist would like nothing better in this Marx Centenary Year than to stimulate productive debate for clarifying basic theoretical