On Criticism in Marxist Method
THE FIRST major works of Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel5 s Doctrine of the State and Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, written in 1843 and 1844 respectively, remain largely unread even now. One reason for limited familiarity with these works lies in the fact that most of the early studies of Marx were generally published posthumously and that too only within the last fifty years or so. One more reason is that some students of Marxism tend to dismiss these works as early adventures that belong to the ^pre-history*'' of Marx's thought. For this group, these works belong to the sphere of ^philosophy" as contrasted with Marx's more mature contributions in the field of ^political economy".
We shall briefly return to the last point in the course of this presentation. For the present, it needs to be explained that cur purpose is to examine, within the confines of a brief article, the role of criticism as an instrument of Marxist method as it has evolved in the first efforts of Marx himself. Subsequently, some selected writings of Gramsci and MaOj two of the most outstanding Marxists of this century, are taken up with a view to exploring further the function of criticism in the Marxist method.1 The relevance of this exercise for our own situation will be made explicit in the concluding part of this article.