On the occasion of Karl Marx’s 200th birthday this year, numerous conferences, edited volumes and special issues have celebrated his work by focusing on its main achievements – a radical critique of capitalist society and an alternative vocabulary for thinking about the social, economic and political tendencies and struggles of our age.
Albeit often illuminating, this has also produced a certain amount of déjà vu. Providing an occasion to disrupt patterns of repetition and musealization, Krisis proposes a different way to pay tribute to Marx’s revolutionary theorizing.
An alternative ABC
We have invited authors from around the globe to craft short entries for an alternative ABC under the title “Marx from the Margins: A Collective Project, from A to Z” – taking up, and giving a twist to, Kevin Anderson’s influential Marx At the Margins. The chief motivation of this collaborative endeavour is to probe the power—including the generative failures—of Marx’s thinking by starting from marginal concepts in his work or from social realities or theoretical challenges often considered to be marginal from a Marxist perspective. Rather than reproduce historically and theoretically inadequate differentiations between an ascribed or prescribed cultural, economic, geographic, intellectual, political, social, or spatial centre and its margins, the margins we have identified and inspected are epistemic vantage points that open up new theoretical and political vistas while keeping Marx’s thought from becoming either an all-purpose intellectual token employed with little risk from left or right, or a set of formulaic certitudes that force-feed dead dogma to ever-shrinking political circles.
We have welcomed short and succinct contributions that discuss how a wide variety of concepts – from acid communism and big data via extractivism and the Haitian Revolution to whiteness and the Zapatistas – can offer an unexpected key to the significance of Marx’s thought today. The resulting ABC, far from a comprehensive compendium, is an open-ended and genuinely collective project that resonates between and amplifies through different voices speaking from different perspectives in different styles; we envisage it as a beginning rather than as an end. In this spirit, we invite readers to submit new entries to Krisis, where they will be subject to our usual editorial review process and added on a regular basis, thus making this issue of Krisis its first truly interactive one. The project is also an attempt to redeem, in part, the task that the name of this journal has set for its multiple generations of editors from the very beginning: a crisis/Krise/Krisis is always a moment in which certainties are suspended, things are at stake, and times are experienced as critical. A crisis, to which critique is internally linked, compels a critique that cannot consist simply of ready-made solutions pulled out of the lectern, but demand, in the words of Marx’s “credo of our journal” in his letter to Ruge, “the self-clarification (critical philosophy) of the struggles and wishes of the age”.
Karl Marx needed financial support
Not unlike Karl Marx himself, Krisis – as an entirely autonomous journal – remains under constant financial pressure. To survive and keep publishing in the future, we need the financial support and generosity of our readers, contributors and sympathizers to pay the bills. In short, just like Marx depended on Friedrich Engels’ generosity, we depend on you!